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.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hear About Cookbooks at the Family Tree University Virtual Conference

I love attending genealogy conferences. There are so many benefits that those 2-4 days can have on your research. Presentations, networking, and new resources from a conference can greatly enhance your research.

Going to a conference without leaving your home can be even better.

The Family Tree University Virtual Conference, September 14-16, provides you with all the benefits of attending a conference without having to leave your home. Pay to stay in a hotel? Find a parking space? Hassle with traffic? Forget about it!

Where's the Cookbooks???

I will be presenting two of my favorite subjects at the Virtual Conference. Top 10 Tools for Social History and Cook Up Answers about Immigrant Ancestors. To check out the other speakers and their topics click here.

Register Now!

Want to register but need to save a little money? No problem. Register with my special code  FRIENDSOFGENA and save 20%. You can even use this coupon code to save on other classes offered by Family Tree University.

Register today by clicking here.