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

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 15 November 2001

ďFamily Recipes Tell StoriesĒ

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 motherís 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 MeMaís 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 familyís 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-grandmotherís 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; donít start counting unit itís 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.

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/lks_friday/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 1 Feb 2002 and was last revised on __________

Copyright © 1999, 2001, 2002 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604