Country Kitchen: Capturing Holiday Memories

Country Kitchen: Capturing Holiday Memories
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The holiday seasons of November and December provide a wealth of opportunities to create memories. Many types of celebrations may have evolved in your family and come from an accumulation of ancestors.
Sometimes we don't record the memories because we're not sure where to start or they seem so commonplace. The memories of baking aromas, the meals served, the occasions when we had family get-togethers all can be captured for our enjoyment, our children's and future generations.

You'll find various ways to capture holiday memories past and present.

You can utilize pictures, cards, journal entries, newspaper articles, family round robin stories, and scrapbooking. Once you begin, other ways of saving these holiday memories and recipes will come to mind.

Start With the Present

If you don't have any idea where to start, begin writing down current celebrations

We live in a multi-generational household with grandchildren adding excitement to the holidays. If I don't record these events, some of these memories may be lost forever, especially the humorous and poignant ones.

When my daughter was growing up, we had customs carried over from my husband's and my families...and we made some of our own. We also got together with family who lived in the same town and enjoyed holiday celebrations with them.

Customs of Other Cultures & Era

If you know that your family has ties to other countries and cultures, you might want to research those holiday customs. This will help give you a picture of what life was like for your ancestors in different countries and eras.

Some of this research might be done through reading historical fiction and non-fiction. Since I've traced some of my ancestors to medieval England, I've found it interesting to read mysteries set in those times.

The description of the characters' lives, the type of homes they lived in, the food they ate, all give me a better picture of where my ancestors came from. If you find stories set during the holidays, you'll have additional data.

Compile a Recipe Book

Find out about the foods served during family celebrations and compile a recipe booklet. Some of these might be hand-me-down recipes you use today or your mother or grandmother did.

Other recipes could be ones you research from an era or culture where your ancestors lived. For instance, my mother-in-law had German heritage as well as Scotch/Irish. Looking into the holiday customs of those countries, especially during the years when her ancestors migrated would provide additional recipes for a collection.

These are just a few ideas to get you started on recording your family holiday food history.

A favorite family holiday recipe: SNICKERDOODLES

Cream 1/2 cup butter with 3/4 cup sugar. Beat in 1 egg and 1 egg yolk. Sift together 1 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Stir into creamed mixture. Fold in 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup raisins, if desired.

Drop by teaspoon onto buttered cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 10-12 minutes.

Article (C) 2003 Mary Emma Allen

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About The Author

Mary Emma Allen researches and writes from her multi-generational NH home. Check out her new site, Tea Time Notes

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