Family History and Food: Genealogy Beginner for Blog Action Day
Today is Blog Action Day and the subject is food. This year’s subject puts me in mind of how our gastronomic tastes and cooking practices have changed from those of our not so distant ancestors. Remembering some of the dishes grandma prepared makes me wonder if perhaps my forebears would have as poor an opinion of my food choices, as I have had of theirs. In my youth, dishes like Blood Pudding, Headcheese and Haggis would elicit a fight or flight response when encountered at the dinner table. Then again, only imagination can satisfy what Great, Great, Great Grandfather McCallum would have though of the mechanically deboned chicken nugget.
Factors such as geography, availability and technology have unarguably contributed to a drastic change in diet and menu within the last 100 years.
Food and family history
The evolution of food from our distant and not so distant past to our modern kitchens can be a great source for family history stories. Enriching your families narrative with traditional recipes then and now in a cookbook, is a superb way to explore past generations. It is also a great way to preserve recipes and traditions for future generations.
Cook up some family stories
Writing on the subject of your families historic cookery does not have to be limited to recipes. Did you ever wonder what it was like to cook on a coal and wood stove, or think about what your life would be like without a refrigerator or microwave? Our forebears regularly grew gardens and raised animals for food. They hunted, fished and took advantage of nature’s bounty of wild berries, nuts and fruits. Unlike us, they did not have supermarkets and they certainly did not have access to modern food preservatives. Asking questions about how they prepared food to be stored over winter months, where they stored it and what types of containers they stored it in, are well worth including.
In these ordinary details of our past generations, we often find tales of courage and survival, not to mention healthy lifestyles. We are coming full circle and current trends such as the 100-mile diet, organic food and urban gardens, should alert us to the fact that we just might learn something from them.