What food legacy will you leave behind? Fast food, microwave dinners, prepackaged meals, left overs? After being gifted with the talent to cook and bake basically anything I want, I have started considering the legacy that I WOULD have left behind if God hadn’t gifted me with such a talent. I have cooked most of my adult life, but it was really basic cooking. I still am no gourmet by a long shot (not that I would want to be). My legacy would have been one of super-sized menus and prepackaged meals.
Somewhat out of necessity, I started really watching what I purchased when grocery shopping. I made a rule for myself–buy only things that you have to cook yourself (and no, Hamburger Helper doesn’t count). Not only did I notice that my grocery bill dropped, but my cabinets and freezer were nearly always full. Add to that good news, a home that smells like “from scratch” cooking, and the combination is a little hard to beat. I can’t even remember the last time I purchased a “prepacked” meal. The only thing I buy that would even get close to that would be the meatballs that are already prepared for you. I like meatballs over hamburger meat fried out, and they taste good. The time investment in making them myself would cause me to avoid meals with meatballs, so I felt that one diversion was ok.
Magazine titles such as “Cook’s Illustrated,” “Cooks Country,” “America’s Test Kitchen,” and “Mother Earth News all played an integral role in my success as a home cook. While I haven’t studied them a lot, I have gleaned a lot of knowledge from their helpful pages. Now, I am not intimidated by those who cook well. The process doesn’t confuse me. I have organized my kitchen, so I know where everything is and it’s comfortable for me regardless of what dish I am conquering.
Now, the family heritage project. I have started a project encouraging people to write down the recipes of those meals they enjoy for the sole purpose to pass them along to the next generation. Yeah, it takes a little time to write it all down, but it is very much worth it. Not only are you leaving instructions to a memory they will likely want to relive again and again, you also helped to instill better eating habits (as long as your recipe isn’t how to heat a frozen pizza). 🙂 So here is the first card in my family heritage project.
I have gone in search of vintage recipes. The problem is that all I find are cookbooks printed by magazine companies, churches, etc. What I have learned in the process is that most of us (me included) cook meals that our family looks forward to, but we do it without a recipe. We just DO IT. This is what I want you to do…I want you to have someone in your family sit and document what you are doing. Yes, this may feel a little odd for you. You will actually pull our those measuring cups that you never use–not to be sure you use enough of something, but instead to tell your recorder how much of it you are using. Have them document your steps, being careful to include the time for prepping, the time for cooking, how thick you cut your items (roughly), and any small details that may mean the difference between success and failure. Don’t worry about documenting brand of ingredients unless the brand really has a lot to do with the outcome of the dish.
When you finish your recipe card, share it. Maybe even have someone in your family cook it for you by following your recipe to see if you forgot to add anything. This will be the first of your personal collection–your family heritage collection. Something that follows us throughout our lives (the memories from the foods we eat) is being missed. How many times have you heard, “I wish I had a slice of grandma’s carrot cake.” Well you could if grandma had written it down. Think about the future generations of your family. WRITE IT DOWN.
In an attempt to encourage you to pass along your recipes to those you love, I am going to be creating a number of different printable items for you. I am calling this project the “Family Heritage Project.” This first printable is a recipe card. It is my first, so give me your feedback.