Genes Reunited Blog

Top tip - Genes Reunited blogs

Welcome to the new Genes Reunited blog!

  • We regularly add blogs covering a variety of topics. You can add your own comments at the bottom.
  • The Genes Reunited Team will be writing blogs and keeping you up to date with changes happening on the site.
  • In the future we hope to have guest bloggers that will be able to give you tips and advice as to how to trace your family history.
  • The blogs will have various privacy settings, so that you can choose who you share your blog with.

New Scottish Census

New Scottish census records

Do you have Scottish ancestors?

Perhaps you do and you just didn't know! Search our brand new Scottish census records today and discover if you have Scottish roots.

Search Scottish Census

Long Lost Family Recipes - why modern home cooks are recreating old family recipes


Published on 11 Sep 2013 10:56 : 3 comments : 885 views

Recipe cards found at the back of the kitchen draw. Scrawled on scraps of paper found in aprons. Old cookbooks with scribbled notes in the margin. At some point most of us have come across these culinary gems. These are more than just recipes. They are links with our past and our connections to special events in the lives of our ancestors . 

A recipe for grandmother’s apple pie, great grandfather’s method for cooking the perfect Irish stew and the full proof biscuit recipe that’s been in the family for years can all mean more than an inherited diamond brooch. With the surge of interest in researching our family history curiosity heads to the pantry. We not only want to know what great grandpa did in the war. We want to know what great grandma made in the kitchen. 

The intertwining of genealogy and food hobbies is driven by a sense of nostalgia and thriftiness. With TV shows such as ‘Long Lost Family’ and ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ more and more of us are looking into the past, building family trees and delving into archived records. As well as birth, death and marriage records and results from a Census search, we’re playing family food detective, searching for half-remembered dishes from childhood memories.

It can be a fun task testing dishes and seeing if the correct ingredients and methods have been used. Just like Goldilocks sampling the three bears’ porridge, you could be testing to see if you need more salt in your great aunt’s lobster bisque recipe, a dash or two of chilli sauce or if it’s just right. 

The exercise of cooking the old recipes our relatives made in the past makes us look back at the diets from those times. Subtle changes can make the biggest difference. Butter instead of margarine, full fat milk delivered by the milk man instead of shop bought semi-skimmed, a particular brand of cooking sherry and so on. Financial means also affected home cooked meals. The more frugal homemaker wouldn’t use recipes that used a lot of butter or cream in every day cooking as they were costly. 

Looking back to the meals of previous generations also raises an awareness of eating habits and what brands and ingredients were available. The emergence of fast food outlets and big chain supermarkets has grown over the past 40 years. Before that most people got their meat from the local butchers, bread from the baker and other items from grocers and newsagents. Back then everything was fresh and nothing was wasted.

Some recipes reflect the economic times. In these frugal times that’s no bad thing. It wasn’t uncommon for a family to make one chicken last over three meals. A baked ham would serve as a meat and two veg dinner for one evening and any leftovers could be layered into sandwiches, baked into a quiche, added to a rice or pasta meal or fried next to scrambled eggs.

As we move through our super speedy, fast food culture, we risk losing touch with the special moments of family home cooking when recipes were shared between generations. Look in your kitchen cupboards, the boxes in the attic and family scrap books to discover old heritage recipes. Make sure you continue cooking up plenty of dishes to keep the family traditions alive.

Have you found any long lost family recipes whilst discovering your genealogy? Please do share them and let us know if they tasted as good as you remember or indeed helped you feel a connection to your relatives. 

 

Comments

Profile Picture
Send Message
by Marie on 12 Sep 2013 13:37 :
A recipe my mum use to use it was lovely

BRAMLEY SURPRISE PUDDING

SERVES 4

HALF PINT OF MILK
LARGE MUG OF FRESH BREADCRUMBS
HALF TABLESPOON SUGAR
10 OZ (APPROX) OF BRAMLEY COOKING APPLE PEELED CORED AND SLICED
1 TABLESPOON OF COLD WATER
1 ROUNDED SPOON OF JAM OR MARMALADE
A FEW DROPS OF VANILLA ESSENCE (OPTIONAL)
2 EGGS SEPERATED

GREASE A ONE PINT PIE DISH OR SUITABLE OVEN PROOF DISH
PREHEAT OVEN TO 200 C OR GAS MARK 6

BRING MILK JUST TO BOILING POINT, POUR OVER BREADCRUMBS, STIR IN SUGAR, COVER AND LEAVE TO SOAK FOR 30 MINS.

MEANWHILE,SIMMER APPLE SLICES WITH THE WATER UNTIL SOFT AND PULPED. REMOVE FROM HEAR AND BEAT IN THE JAM, SPOON MIXTURE INTO BASE OF PREPARED DISH. STIR EGG YOLKS AND VANILLA ESSENCE INTO BREAD CRUMB MIXTURE. FOLD IN STIFFLY WHISKED EGG WHITESAND POUR OVER APPLE MIXTURE. BAKE FOR ABOUT 35 MINS UNTIL SET AND GOLDEN SERVE HOT.
Profile Picture
Send Message
by Joan on 12 Sep 2013 21:14 :
I remember my mother had a red notebook during the war. She used it to note down recipes adapted for rationing. She either wrote them down or stuck in a cutting from a magazine or newspaper. I have often wondered what happened to that book, as it would have been a great slice of history.
Profile Picture
Send Message
by CassieB on 6 Oct 2013 17:44 :
When we cleared my mother-in-law's home we found her mother-in-law's housekeeper's recipe book. It looks as though she collected recipes from other housekeepers in the area. It also contains some household tips for cleaning and laundry. Fascinating stuff!