As a mother with four small children, countless relatives
and a very limited budget, my annual holiday panic is about to set in.
That's right - it's time to start thinking about holiday gift giving, and
while this may not seem like an appropriate topic for this column, I hope
that by the time you finish reading you'll see that it really does fit.
If you've been following this column since the summer and started your
journey toward your family history, you should have a fair bit of
information collected. Last month, I shared my discovery of a pamphlet that
proved to be a true diamond of a find in my research, and I shared my
desire to build a family "story" - filled with stories and anecdotes that
help give depth and insight into those relatives who came before. Thinking
about the holidays reminded me of another subject that helps define who we
are - F O O D!
Family favorites, recipes handed down through the ages, tweaked and altered
until they are uniquely ours. And with the recipes come the traditions -
cakes saved for special days, Sunday morning traditions, a Christmas
"must-have", etc. What family story would be complete without these? And
this sparked an idea - a way to share my research and solve my gift-giving
woes - a collection of recipes, facts and traditions - a family cookbook!
"I refuse to believe that trading recipes is silly. Tunafish casserole is
at least as real as corporate stock." - Barbara Grizzuiti Harrison
So this month is devoted to collecting all the recipes - Aunt Jenny's
pumpkin bread, Big Daddy's icing, Mom's rice salad, etc. Can you think of
any special foods or even just unique recipes that are a part of your
family story? Was there something that was served every Thanksgiving or
Christmas? Something made only for Halloween or Easter? Did Aunt Jane have
a special dish she always brought to family reunions? Cakes or casseroles
that were made especially for giving away? A favorite stew for warming
chilled bones on a cold winter night? A solution to a bountiful harvest of
tomatoes or cucumbers?
As you collect recipes, remember to ask for anecdotes to go along with
them. The stories of great grandma waking at the crack of dawn to ready the
Thanksgiving turkey and fill the house with smells of her apple/raisin
stuffing. Or stories of heading to a local berry patch to collect and eat
as many berries as one could hold for grandma's famous pies. And don't
forget Uncle Henry's 4-alarm, set your hair on fire chili recipe!
To add even more flavor to your cookbook, you could include pictures of
family events - a small child caught picking the raisins out of the
stuffing at Thanksgiving, a mountain of morsels at a family wedding, a
birthday featuring that special cake... or what about a sample packet of
Uncle Henry's chili spices, or a mix for Aunt Jenny's bread? You could turn
it into a gift basket with book, utensils and mixes... just let your
imagination (and pocketbook) be the guide!
Other Gift Ideas
"Do give books - religious or otherwise - for Christmas. They're never
fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal." - Lenore Hershey
And there are other ideas for tying together your genealogical research and
gift-giving this year:
A family quilt - using scanned photos transferred to fabric blocks
A calendar - with old photos and important family dates already entered
A family yearbook - combining photos of this year and yesteryear
A children's book - sharing your research with even the youngest members in
a unique way
and much, much more...
About the author
Shannon Warnick is Mom to Lisa, Collin, Daniel and Sarah.
She loves to research on the internet and help those around her find what they need.
Shannon loves the freedom the Internet has given her.