Recipes Tie Families Together


Country MoonIt is pretty amazing when we stop to think about how much our lives revolve around food. Usually, food is the simple theme when there is a social gathering; whether it be a home cooked meal, grilling out, or cooking over an open fire, food brings it all together.

Of all the various ways of incorporating food into our lives, old family recipes evoke the fondest memories. Many times, these are passed down from generation to generation solely by word of mouth. Everyone remembers a favorite recipe that their grandmother, aunt, or mom used to make, but all too often they don’t know exactly what ingredients or how much of each were used. Sadly, many family favorites have been lost through time this way.

That is why I was thrilled when my bonus daughter, Kim (we like this term better than "stepdaughter"), suggested we do a family cookbook. This brilliant idea became my next project. However, there are no simple projects in my life. This was such a great idea that not only would I do the Hoffman/Jim's family, but also the Brueck/my mom's family, the Frye/my dad’s family, and the Scruggs/Ron’s family. Instead of doing four separate small cookbooks, I would combine all the recipes into one large book and also include recipes from friends, for they become our families, too. After all, the more the merrier, they say!

I soon learned that, although putting together a family cookbook is a lot of work, it is also very rewarding as long as a few simple rules are followed. Naturally, first on the agenda was collecting the recipes. There are many sub-categories that can take a recipe in different directions, like grilled meats, slow cooker meals, gluten free, etc. I decided that I preferred family heirloom favorites as opposed to just each family’s favorites. So I specified this in the initial contact letter to each person.

As far as number of recipes, I chose not to specify. I knew that some would have trouble coming up with even one while others would send me an endless number.

Many of my family recipes are scribbled on little scraps of paper and stuck in my recipe box. One of my projects for the winter is to get them all organized and put on a DVD, so they will be in some type of order and also be preserved. The cookbook project will do double duty to help accomplish this task, too. However, looking through the scraps of paper, I realized that even though I knew the shortcuts to each recipe, others would not. For that reason, each recipe would have to be very specific and adhere to certain guidelines such as:

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