Monday, January 09, 2006

Create a Youngster's Heritage Recipe Book

“Why don’t you write down our favorite recipes in a book for me?” our granddaughter asked her mom.

So creating a heritage recipe book for a Christmas gift resulted. The family favorites have been written down, with space for the young cook to add more. I’ll go through some of those that date back to her great, great grandmother and see if she wants to add those, along with the stories behind them.

Favorite recipes can tell one aspect of a family’s story. When were they served? Who traditionally prepared them? Were they handed down through the generations or a new recipe you discovered and recently began serving?

Various Methods of Compiling Recipes

You’ll find various methods of compiling these recipes. Try something mentioned below, combine one or two of them, or seek out something of your own.

*Recipe Cards – These are one of the easiest ways to collect recipes. You can put them in a recipe box, or slide them into compartments in a photo album

*Books made especially for recipe collecting – My daughter found a three-ring recipe binder, made especially for jotting down recipes on the included pages. You also can add sketches.

*Photo albums of various sizes where you can include photos – These have pages for inserting recipe cards and for larger pages with recipes written on them. There is room, too, for photos of family gatherings, youngsters cooking, and foods they’ve made.

*Albums that incorporate scrapbooking techniques – With scrapbook albums, you can paste or attach recipes on cards or scrapbooking papers. Then adorn with photos and various decorative touches.

*Computer programs that save recipes and stories – There are a number of computer programs that enable you to compile a cookbook. You can save these on CD or print off and make into book format.

Brainstorming Recipes

Try brainstorming some of the recipes your family enjoys and the stories associated with them. Think of recipes, simple and fancy, that your family enjoys…recipes you and your children want to remember over the years.

*Green Bean Casserole – My daughter makes this for holiday occasions. Her grandmother always made it and Beth especially liked it. Now her daughter does. This is one of the recipes added to the cookbook.

*Pancakes – My husband has perfected a recipe for pancakes and waffles the family likes. So the story associated with it and the recipe is another to be included.

*Party Chicken – My son-in-law’s mother makes this, which has become a favorite in their family.

© 2005

(Mary Emma Allen researches family food history from her multigenerational home in Plymouth, NH. She also writes stories for children and is working on a book based around her family during the Civil War era. E—mail:

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Memories of Grandma's Quilt

As I shopped for groceries during a trip to Sioux Falls, SD recently, I noticed a display of paintings – actually prints from paintings. One caught my eye titled, “Grandma’s Quilt.”

A quilt was draped over a chair with sewing basket beside it. The intricate detail and warm colors reminded me of sewing quilts with my grandmother. This would be a delightful picture to hang in one’s sewing room.

I also thought of the sketch I did for my book, The Magic of Patchwork. It depicts a young girl sewing with her grandmother, reminiscent of my quilting with Nanny. It’s in black and white. However, I could enlarge it, add color (or leave in black and white) and reproduce it in larger size to frame or print as postcards and notepaper.

Quilting inWinter

These colder days of winter with snowbound hours or long evenings of darkness often seem an ideal time for quilting and handiwork. The pioneer homemakers engaged in much of their sewing and quiltmaking during this time of year.

Nanny and I, when I was about eight years old, sat beside the kitchen woodstove, cut and stitched patches into quilts for us four children. I was so pleased when, years later, my mom found that old quilt. Though well worn, it remained in salvageable condition.

Recipes for Quilting Days

While you’re working on your quilting and patchwork, you may want to have meal cooking or made beforehand so you don’t have to take time away from your tasks. You also could put a one pan dish into the oven to bake, using baking bags which save on cleaning tasks as well.

If you’re quilting with other ladies, you can have a potluck lunch, with everyone bringing something to share. This can be sandwiches, casseroles, salads, fruit, desserts, cheese and crackers.


Tear one head of lettuce and arrange in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Layer the following ingredients in this order:
*1 cup chopped celery
*1 sliced green pepper
*1 cup sliced onion
*1 cup grated carrots
*10-oz. package peas, slightly cooked
*1/2 package bacon, cooked and crumbled

Spread 2 cups mayonnaise over salad. (Use light mayonnaise or salad dressing, if desired. You also can use less if you want.)
Top with 4 ounces grated Cheddar cheese. (This can be the low fat variety.) Refrigerate overnight, or 8-10 hours before serving.

Serve with a cup of soup and hot bread or rolls.


(If you have quilting memories you'd like to share, e-mail me: Type "Country Kitchen blog" in the subject line.)