July 31st is Food Day Canada, and I’m thinking about how I might celebrate.
When I was growing up, food was an integral part of any event that my family had. My dad always joked that when my mom was going to have a get-together, he could have invited twenty people off the road because there was always too much food.
Recently Ancestry did a survey, and they found that 67% of Canadians feel family recipes bring them closer to their heritage. Almost half of Canadians are concerned family history will be lost if recipes aren’t passed down.
Family recipes have always been important to my extended family and to me, for that matter. A few years ago, I created a recipe book for my mom. The book was called “Recipes with Heart”* and it featured my grandmother, Mary, my mom, Eleanor, and all of my mom’s siblings. On each page layout, I had photos of my aunts and uncles at the time and of when they were young. I also included a recipe that they were famous for.
For instance, my Auntie Faye was famous for her Yorkshire Pudding and Auntie Edna for her Tamale Pie, Uncle Ken’s Two-Ingredient Omelets, and of course, I included my mom’s Pineapple Delight. With a family of seven children, there were plenty of recipes to go around. In fact, now that I have all of my mom’s recipe collections that actually have recipes from more family members, I’ve been thinking of putting them together as the second volume.
All these family recipes make sense with the rest of the Ancestry survey, which found that nearly three-quarters of Canadians first learned to cook at home with their parents or grandparents, and 58% feel family recipes give insight into how their ancestors lived. Ancestry’s billions of digitized records tell innumerable family history stories. Still, according to genealogist and family history expert Lesley Anderson, some of our most compelling records can be found in the recipe books in our kitchen cabinets.
My grandmother was a terrific cook, so I’m sure that’s how my mom’s family learned how to cook, and with such a large family, they would have all had to do their part in helping out with the preparation and the cooking.
Now my Auntie Edna’s Tamale Pie wasn’t a family tradition, but it’s has become one over the years. Our family used to have theme dinners. So one month, it would be Italian, and another might be Mexican or Hawaiian. Each person had to bring a dish following the theme, and dressing up along with the theme was encouraged. I remember wearing a Hawaiian short outfit to a dinner in the middle of January, and believe me, it was cold in Edmonton that year. We joked about being stopped by the police for a random check and wondering what the police would have thought.
This Food Canada Day, Ancestry is encouraging Canadians to preserve their family history while filling their bellies along the way. Why not dig through your old family recipes and choose one or two and continue your family traditions. What will you cook up?
If you’re wondering how to create your own family recipe book, I can help you with that project. FOREVER has templates as well as the Artisan program. I’ll help you create your own family recipe book with a vintage look, and you can find some ideas HERE.