Monday, December 31, 2012

The Best of Food Friday 2012

On the eve of a  new year, I thought I would recap the most popular Food Friday posts for 2012. 

State Library of Queensland, Australia via Flickr the Commons

They are:

Turkey Skeleton Soup (Nov 23  ) 

Idiot Salad (Oct 26)

I want to thank my readers for checking out Food Friday each week. Have a great 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Food Friday Follow-Up: German Potato Salad

This last Food Friday I posted a recipe for German Potato Salad. Lucky for me, my friend and fellow genealogist Gary Clark of tried the recipe.

Here's what he had to say:

(c) 2012 Gary Clark, Used with Permission

"Loving German potato salad as I do, it was a no-brainer to give the recipe in your December 28th blog posting a try. For one, the recipe in Favourite Recipes looked simple, and it was. Since the cook book came from Motley, Minnesota, I assumed there were some  German descendants that offered their family favorite."

"I used the ingredients as specified, knowing I could jazz up the recipe on a second try. I took some minor liberties on a couple items, only because they weren't precisely specified.  I used red potatoes, they seem to hold up better while boiling, and left the skin on. I also sliced them before I boiled them.  You just have to watch them closely as they will be cooked in a short 10 minutes or so.  Also, slicing them before boiling keeps you from turning them into mush while trying to slice them once they are cooked."

"I made the sauce as written.  Used red onions as a personal preference, and I probably used a little more bacon than called for. No one complains about too much bacon however.  It also said to grate the onion.  I really didn't want to start crying from the fumes that grating would cause, so I just diced them."

(c) 2012 Gary Clark, Used with Permission.

"This was easy to make, with all the ingredients already in most cupboards. I tried a quick faux wienerschnitzel using thin sliced boneless pork chops. Pounded them even thinner, adding pepper and flour in between poundings.  Fried quickly in a hot skillet with olive oil.  It was not really authentic schnitzel, but pretty good anyway."

"I will make the potato salad again, probably adding a little more vinegar for a bit more bite. Of course this is personal taste."

"Kudos for including this cookbook and recipe in your blog."

Thanks Gary!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Food Friday: German Potato Salad

Have  holiday leftovers? If you're like us, you may be eating countless ham sandwiches and need something to add to that. How about German Potato Salad?

from the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Today's recipe comes from Favourite Recipes from  the Motley Lionettes in Motley Minnesota.
This 1980 cookbook includes a synopsis of what the Lionettes had achieved in the past year.

Here's the recipe

Friday, December 21, 2012

Food Friday: Christmas Fruit Cake

Every year I hear people complaining about fruit cake and every year no one shares a slice with me. Yes, I like fruit cake. When I think of fruit cake I remember an old neighbor who would serve it with tea in a cute tea set complete with a knitted tea cozy.

So here's not one but two fruit cake recipes for you from Recipes from Our Redeemer's (Benson, Minnesota, 1964)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Food Friday: Arroz Con Jocoque

There's no doubt that community cookbooks are a source for researching women but there are other types of cookbooks that provide valuable information like  names and addresses. On the GenealogyBank blog I wrote about newspaper recipe contests and the resulting cookbooks that included women's names. The modern magazine Taste of Home is another good example of showcasing recipes from women around the United States and in some cases including their photos.

Today's recipe comes from Favorite Recipes of America: Casseroles Including Breads, published by the Favorite Recipes Press (1968). This book was part of a five  book set that included Desserts, Salads, Meats, and Vegetables.

I have to admit that I know very little about the Favorite Recipes Press and how they acquired recipes for this collection. If you know more about this collection, please leave a comment.

According to the introduction written by Mary Ann Richards, Staff Home Economist:

The fine collection of casserole and bread recipes in this edition of FAVORITE RECIPES OF AMERICA offers you a multitude of dishes. These recipes were selected from the more than 50,000 in my files to represent regional cookery at its finest and to give you a real variety from which to choose.

These favorite American recipes were home-tested by hundreds of cooks just like you in all parts of the country. Each recipe was personally endorsed by the homemaker whose name appears under it.

Recipes included are from women who reside all over the United States and beyond. Their name, city and state accompany each recipe. In a few cases, their associations are also included such as in the case of Mrs. Edwin J. Witzenburger, Officers' Wives Club, Fucha AS, Tokyo, Japan who provided a Crab Meat Newburg recipe (pg. 141).

Today's recipe is for Arroz Con Jocoque submitted by a fellow Southern California resident, Mrs. C.C. Carson (pg. 227).

Just goes to show that even those seemingly dated cookbooks from years ago can hold genealogical value.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Win My Book and Money! Recipe Contest

Official Submission Page

The holidays aren't complete without that special family recipe. Archives wants to celebrate your family's favorite holiday recipes. Between now and 12:00pm (PST) on December 21, 2012, enter the Archives Family Recipes Contest for a chance to win great prizes:
  • 1st Prize: $300
  • 2nd Prize: $200
  • 3rd Prize: $100
First, second, and third prize winners will also receive an autographed copy of From the Family Kitchen: Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes by Gena Philibert-Ortega (Family Tree Books, 2012).

Entering is easy. Click here for the official submission page and enter your family's recipe and the story about why the recipe is so special. Was this what Grandma always saved her pennies for so she could get all of the ingredients? Is it one of those wacky recipes that nobody actually eats, but makes people disappointed if it isn't on the table?

Entries will be judged on uniqueness, creativity, and the family story behind the recipe. Full contest rules can be found here: Official Rules Page.

These special foods are not only tasty, but they bring back wonderful memories of holidays past and the people who made them before us. They are a part of our families' histories.

Winners will be announced Friday, December 21, 2012.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Food Friday: Cookie Recipes from the Mothers of World War II

Today is  the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor so it seemed fitting to provide recipes from a cookbook published by the Mothers of World War II (1954).

The address found on the cover is that of their nationwide headquarters in 1954.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

As with any recipe from an older cookbook make sure you read it carefully. In some cases these recipes don't include all the ingredients or the directions for baking such as the first recipe for Ice Box Cookies on this page.

Was one of the women in your family a member of the Mothers of World War II? A list of  women in Unit 107 from Markle, Indiana can be found here. Their annual convention program for 1965 and 1968 is also online via the Wabash Valley Visions and Voices Digital Project.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Food Friday: Turkey Skeleton Soup

Here we are, the day after. Today may find you in a quandary over what you should do with all of those leftovers. We are pretty boring and typically in the days after Thanksgiving we have leftovers and then turkey sandwiches and turkey enchiladas.

In case you want to do something with that turkey carcass, consider making a soup. These instructions from 1898 provide a foundation for making a soup that can  include a "turkey skeleton."

This is from  The Puritan Cook-Book. Composed of Contributed Recipes. Edited by The Loyalists and The Sisters of Dorcas, Sunday School Classes in Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church (Rochester, NY) available on Google Books.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Friday, November 16, 2012

Food Friday: Thanksgiving Edition with Shrimp Cocktail

Next week is the big day. It's time for Thanksgiving and the all you can eat buffet that many of us are cooking for our families.

What are you cooking for Thanksgiving? Is it different than what you had last year? What traditions do you have around the holiday?

At my house Thanksgiving varies slightly depending on if I'm cooking or if my brother and his family come to our home. My brother is a talented cook and comes up with some great side dishes.

So this Thanksgiving we are having: Turkey, Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce (the canned kind), Homemade Cranberry Sauce, Rolls, and Potatoes and Gravy. For dessert we will have Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie. Of course there will probably be a few appetizers as well.

Use this Thanksgiving to conduct interviews with family. Ask them about past Thanksgivings. Take photos of the food you are eating, the people preparing it, and the table. Resolve to make Thanksgiving a time for collecting and documenting family history and your family's food history.

Today's Food Friday is a Thanksgiving menu courtesy of the Celebrations cookbook published by the Assistance League of Salt Lake City, 1992. Their Thanksgiving menu is a little different than mine but I wouldn't mind too much having some seafood with my turkey.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Food Friday: Ice Cream Muffins

One of the things I love about community cookbooks is when the owner has made comments beside a recipe or has stuck in additional recipes either by using them as a bookmark or adhering them to the pages of the cookbook.

Back in September I spotlighted a jello recipe from the community cookbook compiled by the Reading (Kansas) Women's Club. You can see that post here.

As I looked through this cookbook a few recipes fell out including this one for ice cream muffins.

from the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

I love the comments on the back of the recipe card.  The one at the bottom says it all.
from the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Friday, October 26, 2012

Food Friday: Idiot Salad

The Beta Sigma Phi's have several different types of cookbooks. This one, The Beta Sigma Phi International Cookbook. Salads including Appetizers includes 2000 recipes.

The Beta Sigma Phi website explains about their history and about their founding by Walter W. Ross, "In 1931, during the Great Depression, there was a need for an organization that could bring women together and expose them to a social, cultural and educational climate that was not available in those difficult times."

Beta Sigma Phi's President Walter W. Ross III in 1970, the copyright date for this cookbook, introduces the cookbook, provides a short history, and remarks that this particular cookbook is printed in "three regional editions to give you an excellent representation of recipes from your area, as well as recipes from chapters throughout the international membership."

Beta Sigma Phi cookbooks feature the names of members along with the name of the chapter they belonged to and their city and state.

I have to say this cookbook has the greatest titles for recipes. Such as these recipes for Devil's Delight and Devil Dip.

But even better has to be this recipe for Idiot Salad.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Food Friday: What's Cookin'? Cheese and Fish Salad

Today's recipe comes from a California cookbook that really isn't a community cookbook but it does contain great information about the women whose recipes are spotlighted.

What's Cookin' by Ruth Gordon is "a collection of Menus (sic) and recipes that have appeared in the Santa Ynez Valley News, Solvang, California. All these recipes are original or old favorites of the hostesses that they have used for years..."

There is no date for this cookbook but my guess is it's from the mid 20th century. That's my guess since the recipe I'm spotlighting is a combination of gelatin, fish, cheese and mayo. Interesting gelatin recipes were popular around the 1950s.

What's Cookin' is digitized and available through Internet Archive.

Look at some of the great information included with these recipes. Stories, names of residences both in California and outside of the state accompany many of the recipes.

An Index is found at the back of the book but it appears that it doesn't include all the names featured in this cookbook.

And then last but certainly not least. I've always heard you shouldn't mix fish with cheese but obviously that was not always a cooking rule. I'm not against any food being accompanied with cheese, I'm a big fan of that dairy product. I'm just not sure about the whole seafood, cheese, gelatin and mayo combination.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Join Me for a Webinar This Thursday

You are invited to attend our FREE online UGA Virtual Chapter Meeting
Speaker – Gena Philibert-Ortega
Topic – The Secret Lives of Women: Research Female Ancestors Using the Sources They Left Behind
Thursday, October 18, 2012, 7:00 pm MDT @
Women ancestors can be difficult to trace--but not impossible. How do you research female ancestors and how is that research different than searching for male ancestors? Sources discussed go beyond sparse government papers, and into libraries, archives, manuscript collections, and female specific resources.
Gena Philibert-Ortega holds Master’s degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies and Religion. She is the author of hundreds of articles published in genealogy newsletters and magazines. Her writings can be found on her blogs, Gena’s Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. Her newest book is From the Family Kitchen (F + W Media 2012). She is a board member for UGA and editor of UGA's Crossroads.
The UGA Virtual Chapter meets online on the third Thursday of each month except December. These meetings are free to the public. To attend the presentation, go to and, on the date and at the time of the meeting, click on the UGA logo. Enter the presentation as a guest. Archived copies of our monthly meetings are available to UGA members only. UGA Membership is only $35.00 per year. To join UGA, visit our website at Look down the blue panel and select the option to "Join UGA!" Follow the prompts.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Food Friday: Out of Vermont Kitchens

One of the great benefits of traveling is picking up community cookbooks to add to my collection. On a trip to Illinois I picked up the very large Out of Vermont Kitchens. Compiled by Trinity Mission of Trinity Church, Rutland, Vermont and the Women's Service League of St. Paul's Church Burlington, Vermont. 1939.

This cookbook is 400 pages and bound with a metal coil. While most cookbooks are compiled by one entity this one is the work of two different churches. One of the first pages explains this collaboration

"The Rr. Rev. John Henry Hopkins, D.D. who also served as rector of Trinity Church, Rutland, and St. Paul's Church, Burlington. Thus these two great parishes have had a special bond of union and friendship."

Sometimes people assume that community cookbooks all look the same. Nothing could be further from the truth with this example. Each recipe is penned in the author's hand. So instead of a typed book, this book features each individual woman's handwriting. I haven't seen other examples of this but I'm sure there must be.

I will say it reminded me of the arguments that today's children won't be able to read cursive because it's not taught in schools anymore. They would have a tough time reading this cookbook. Let' s just say not everyone's handwriting is legible.

I love it when a cookbook's owner makes notes about recipes. And this cookbook's previous owner doesn't disappoint  Notice in the recipe below she wrote "this we will skip." She also wrote that about a wild duck recipe. My guess is she wasn't a fan of the game meats. She wrote next to a dense full page Russian Bortsch recipe "too much effort."

Below is a recipe for War Cake, making use of what women would have had due to rationing. Note that this is  a recipe from World War I not World War II.

The end of the recipe provides its origin. It says "During the war this recipe was not given away- but sold for ten cents- benefit Red Cross." I found a posting by a blogger who made  this recipe and she writes about it here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Food Friday: Reading Women's Club Jello a la 1976

You have to love the bicentennial celebrations here in the United States. It's during that magic year of 1976 that towns, organizations, and groups published all types of histories and even cookbooks.

Enter the Reading Women's Club (Reading, Kansas) Cookbook. This 1976 cookbook published by the Reading Women's Civil Club includes a list of members, a photograph of their presumed meeting place and of course recipes.

 Lots of great midwestern recipes in this cookbook. Of course I had to gravitate to the one that is an old favorite. In my family, as I have written before, it is called Pink Stuff.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Food Friday: Beef Tomato Gravy from the LA Times

Today's Food Friday comes from a website that I LOVE but quite frankly didn't think included any community cookbook like cookbooks. Well, let me explain. This cookbook isn't a community cookbook, but it does include the names of women and even street addresses .

Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project is sponsored by Michigan State University Libraries. 76 digitized cookbooks ranging from the late 18th century to the early 20th century are featured here. I have some favorites on this website including the first cookbook believed to be published in the United States, written by an American.

Today's recipe comes from The Times Cook Book, No. 2: 957 Cooking And Other Recipes.../By California Women; Brought Out By The 1905 Series Of Prize Recipe Contests In The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles: Times-Mirror Co., abt 1905.

The Feeding America website says of this cookbook,

"From 1902 to 1917, the Los Angeles Times newspaper published a series of recipe books based on its cooking contests; all are interesting in that they truly reflect the mix that was southern California at the beginning of the 20th century. This volume contains about 1000 recipes including "Old-Time California, Spanish and Mexican Dishes...Recipes of Famous Pioneer Spanish Settlers."

I chose the following recipe, not so much for what it is but more because it lists the woman's name and street address. This recipe of Beef, Tomato Gravy is from Mrs. Anna B. Rogers, 528 West 2nd Street, Pomona, CA.

page 3,

Friday, September 7, 2012

Food Friday: Ham Croquettes and Liverwoerst from New York

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love community cookbooks. Yes, there's the interesting recipes but it's so much more than that. I really like the idea of getting a sense of what life was like during the time my ancestor walked the earth. Kind of like if you crossed genealogy with the movie Somewhere in Time.

Today's cookbook compiled by The Ladies of the Church of the Good Shepherd from Binghamton, New York (1896) is available for free from Google Books.

Unfortunately, it doesn't have a ton of names in it. But look what it does have.

 A history of the church

Advice on food

Wonderful advertisements

Oh yes and recipes including one passed down from ancestors.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Travel Meets Genealogy, Part 2: Running Away to Home

This is part 2 of my interview with Running Away to Home author Jennifer Wilson. You can read part 1 of the interview on my blog Gena's Genealogy. In this interview we talk more about Croatian food and antique recipes.
(c) 2012 Jennifer Wilson. Used with permission.

Gena: I love your idea about posting antique recipes on your blog. What gave you the idea to do this?

Jennifer: As you remember from the book, I'm not the world's best genealogist on paper. But I collect ephemera like nobody's business. I just wanted to show how there are different ways you can hand down your family's story--including through food. That'll be an element that runs through the France book, too. I'd love for your readers to share an antique recipe from their own family! Everyone loves an old recipe, and some can be quite odd. Always so interesting to see. Email me at I'd love to hear from you!

(c) 2012 Jennifer Wilson. Used with permission.

Gena: What is your favorite Croatian recipe you could share here?

Jennifer: I absolutely love zelodac, which is disgusting to most people's palate. It's like a Scottish haggis, and the word in Croatian means "stomach." My great-grandma used to cook it in the stomach of a sheep. I just use sausage casings (stomach of a pig, technically) and boil it. It's an Easter treat. My husband would advise me to put "treat" in quotation marks. It's very simple, and a combination of ingredients that you don't really see together. I love recipes that are so old that you can just feel the antique quality to them.

1 lb. ham, diced
1 lbs. cooked bacon, diced
Sausage Casings
3 bunches green onions, chopped
12 oz cornmeal
8 eggs
6 oz raisins
Salt to taste
Beat eggs. Add cornmeal and stir well. Add other ingredients. Rinse the sausage casing by holding one end up to the faucet. You can either purchase a sausage stuffing kit, or cut a big water bottle in half to use as a funnel. It’s awkward and messy, but it works.
Stuff the mixture into the casings to form bratwurst-sized sausages. Don’t overfill or leave air bubbles. Prick with a fork. Boil in water for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Gena: Anything in Croatia you would not eat?

Jennifer: Nah, I couldn't afford to be too picky. But I wasn't crazy about pelinkovac, which was a shot that people liked to do in celebration. Made from wormwood, I think. Tasted like ear wax. I suffered through it, of course, it's rude to turn down a drink in Croatia. But I wasn't savoring it, either.

Gena: Please describe a typical day’s menu in Croatia

Jennifer: For our family, we started the day with sliced apples (Mrkopalj had amazing apples, from the tree outside) and drinkable yogurt, that Jim swears by when we travel internationally. We were never sick from food on the road once, and he swears its yogurt that helped. Orange juice and Nescafe, which is much nuttier and more robust in Europe. Lunch we'd eat mortadella sandwiches with fresh kruh or bread from the bakery. Supper was something we shared with neighbors or friends at the caffe-bar--chicken soup or pig on a spit or sheep on a spit and some garden veggies. Lots of great food, very simple and straightforward. All organic and fresh, too. Sometimes the fishmonger would drive through the village from the sea an hour away, and then we'd eat fresh fish.

To learn more about Jennifer's book, see her website.