"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed Taylor Daily Press - 18 Nov 1999

Family Recipes Tell Stories

Have you ever wondered how your grandmother or mother cooked your favorite food at Thanksgiving or Christmas? Food is not just nourishment; it is a cultural connection you have with family and friends. Your ancestral recipes, their heritage and traditions, are what bind families, friendships and the generations together.

How many times have you sat around with your family and friends to tell the stories of all the wonderful foods you enjoyed during the holidays or on special occasions? I can't tell you how many times I've heard the stories about my Great-Uncle James and how he always ate his mother’s dessert first and then ate his meal!

Do you have favorite recipes? If so, this holiday season make an effort to write down your family ancestral recipes. Be sure and tell the story of the origins of how this recipe was developed. Include who first started preparing the dish and why. Then have photocopies made and give them to your family members at your holiday events. If your family members live out-of-town, mail the family recipes in your holiday cards.

My grandmother died in 1976 and shortly before she died, she gave me her famous Bread Pudding recipe. I was the only person in the family she shared this secret. Every year, I take it upon myself to prepare several large batches for our family holiday events. Now, I have included this ancestral recipe in my family tree information so that others will be able to enjoy the flavor of MeMa’s cooking.

Generally, recipes are only shared among family members and are closely guarded by owners, but by sharing ancestral recipes you will be preserving your family’s heritage for the future generations.

The men and women from whom we descended spent a good portion of their time working with food. They grew and gathered, cooked or pickled. Very little was ever thrown away. For example, lard from cooking was used for shortening or saved for making soap. Here is my great-great-grandmother’s recipe for lye soap: 3 cans of lye, 3 gallons of water, 15 pounds of lard. Take 3 cans of lye and place in 1-gallon of water and let cook for 15-minutes. Then add the lard and the remaining 2-gallons of water. Let boil for 45-minutes; don’t start counting unit it’s boiling real big. After that, begin stirring until it is too hard to stir any more. Then pour into molds or wooden frames, as it is cools cut into blocks.

You do not want your family ancestral recipes to be forgotten. They are a tribute to you family as a whole. You should make an effort to rescue these recipes and include them in your family tree research.

6th Annual Texas Civil War Preservation Seminar

On Saturday, Nov. 20, 1999, the “6th Annual Texas Civil War Preservation Seminar” will be hosted at the Harold B. Simpson History Complex and Confederate Research Center, Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas. The theme for this year’s seminar will be “Gettysburg: Confederate Crisis at the Crossroads.”

Presentations will be made by Don Pfanz on “The First Day: Indecision or Good Judgment,” Jeff Wert on “The Second Day: A Disjointed Affair – Confederate Command on July 2, 1863,” Carol Reardon on “The Third Day: Confederate 1st Corps Generalship On July 3, 1863,” Bob Krick on the “Lee Perspective” and “I considered him a humbug’ – James Longstreet at Gettysburg,” and John Nau on “An Update: Civil War Preservation – Texas Style.”

The seminar will begin at 8:00 a.m. and the fee for regular registration is $50 with breakfast and lunch, and $40 without meals. For further information, on the seminar contact: Harold B. Simpson History Complex, P. O. Box 619, Hillsboro, Texas 76645, telephone: (817) 582-2555, e-mail: patterson@hillcollege.hill-college.cc.tx.us or visit their website at: http://www.hill-college.cc.tx.us/crc/crc.htm. Or telephone Dan Laney at (512) 306-9933 with the Austin Civil War Round Table, 3101 Bee Caves Road, Suite 302, Austin, Texas 78746 or visit their website at: http://www.realtime.net/~mclare/index.html.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/2670/ COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 8 Nov and was last revised on 10 Jan 2000

Copyright © 1999, 2000 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604