Friday, January 23, 2015

Food Friday: The Johnny Appleseed Culinary Collection

There's no doubt in my mind that community cookbooks are a great genealogy source. I think if you've been reading this blog you know my passion for them.

But if you need another example, today's Food Friday post is a good one.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

This "official Bicentennial cookbook of Fort Wayne, Indiana" is a fabulous example. Just take a look at pages 10 and 11.

The Oyster Bisque by Mrs. James Fuelling (Sally): "This recipe was given to me long ago by my grandmother Emma Beirlein. They family lived in the Bloomfield section of Fort Wayne."

The Borscht recipe by Mrs. Richard C Ver Wiebe (Carol): "This type borscht was made by my father's family- Germans from Danzig who lived for almost 200 years in Russia before they came to the United States to settle in southern North Dakota and northern South Dakota as homesteaders."

Grandma Pierre's Cabbage Peanut Salad by Mrs. Norman G. Bell (Barbara): "...Mrs. Joseph Pierre, a member of one of Fort Wayne's pioneer families, made this cabbage salad..."

And it goes on. Now are all community cookbooks like this? No. But that's the point. You never know what great stuff they can include. Are you putting together a cookbook for your society or group? Consider adding those type of intros to each and every recipe.


Now, today we are featuring an Indiana cookbook and this comes on the heels of an announcement that funding may be tragically cut from the Indiana State Library which would result in the elimination of genealogy from that library. We unfortunately live in a time where politicians don't see the importance of libraries and archives. Now's the time to let them know that libraries are our history and our legacy. Read more about this threat at the Indiana Genealogical Society Blog.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Food Friday: Everything is Better with Bacon

At my house we have a little argument going on regarding bacon. Growing up, my mom would cook bacon until it was so crisp it bordered on burnt. I don't say this as an indictment. I LOVE crisp bacon.

My kids on the other hand think bacon is great when it's more flimsy and pale. You know, when the fat is white and glistening.

Who's right?

You need to cook this in a microwave about 8 mins before I would eat it. Image: "Tasty Sliced Bacon” by Witthaya Phonsawat. Courtesy

Well obviously I am, but let's get to the matter at hand, cooking with bacon.

Even in 1890, people could see the importance of adding bacon to a dish to make it something everyone loves. Today's recipe comes from Receipt Book. Published and Sold by the Improvement Society of the Second Reformed Church, New Brunswick, N.J.

So I present to you Little Pigs in Blankets (but not the Pigs in Blankets you are probably thinking of).

And wisely the recipe author notes to cook the bacon til it's "crisp and brown."

Large oysters + crispy bacon = A wonderful meal.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Food Friday: Egg-A-La-Espanol

Happy 2015! Welcome to a new year of Food.Family.Ephemera.

Today's recipe comes from Our Savior's Lutheran Church of Menomonie, Wisconsin circa 1930. Interestingly enough Menomonie was voted as one of the "best small towns" in 2012 by Smithsonian Magazine.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

Who doesn't like a great egg dish and you have to love it when it has an international flavor. Today's recipe was provided to the cookbook by Miss Vera Kraft.

Yes, I know this is sideways but Blogger doesn't want to cooperate

Well maybe that's not so international afterall but with cheese and toast, you can't go wrong.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Food Tweet Confessions

Here's a tweet of my breakfast on 8 June 2014 courtesy of @findmypast & @scgsgenealogy

My name is Gena and I tweet pictures of my food.

Yes, I know that seems like a waste of time for many. I hear the jokes and disparaging remarks about people who take photos of their meals.

And I totally get it. Yep, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, any social media website has the potential to be a catalyst for vital information.

But they are also a place for recording our day-to-day lives. While many are bemoaning the fact that letter writing is dead and that abbreviated texting language has replaced real human interaction, social media does provide us with a forum to record our life experiences. And as you may know by now, I'm a big advocate for recording our family's food history.

My hope is that when I'm long gone my future family will stumble upon my tweets of meals I shared with family and friends on travels and at home for special occasions. I hope that provides a glimpse of my life and my family history. Recording my personal food history allows future generations to see events I took part in, places I visited, place me in a particular time and place, get an idea of what foods were accessible, and what recipes I ate that reflect time, ethnic roots, and place. Food history is a vital part of learning more about family history.

Yes, I tweet photos of my food. Just as I wish I had more photos and letters and diaries detailing my ancestor's lives, I also wish I had photos of my ancestors  and the food they ate and enjoyed.

Thanksgiving on a cruise ship is pretty wonderful!

(c) 2013 (both photos) Gena Philibert-Ortega

This Thanksgiving consider taking photos of your food. Make that a part of your family history. If you want to see my tweets I'm @genaortega.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Preparing for Thanksgiving

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

It's Thanksgiving week! What are you cooking? Here at my house there is some serious house cleaning and decorating going on. I thought I would share some blog posts about traditional Thanksgiving recipes I've written. Check out these articles for a little inspiration for a throwback Thanksgiving.

Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Recipes in the Newspaper. GenealogyBank Blog. 21 November 2014.

Rationing Thanksgiving Dinner during World War I. GenealogyBank Blog. 27 November 2013.

My Ancestor’s Menu: Researching Food History in Newspapers. GenealogyBank Blog. 5 June 2013

Don't forget to also check out past Thanksgiving posts here on Food.Family.Ephemera:

Friday, October 31, 2014

Food Friday: Spooktacular Foods

Typically on Food Friday I write about a recipe found in a community cookbook. But today I am veering off the normal course.

"Halloween Decor Pumpkin Cookies" by Serge Bertasius/Courtesy of

I'm going to encourage you to read my article, Old Halloween Recipes from Our Ancestors’ Kitchens found on the GenealogyBank blog. This article looks at older newspapers and the Halloween recipe ideas they printed. They might give you some last minute ideas for tonight.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Food Friday: Baked Deviled Eggs

Welcome to the weekend! Food Friday today is brought to you by Best Recipes of Wieuca Road Baptist Church. A Project of The College Division of Wieuca Road Baptist Church (no date, Atlanta Georgia).

Today's recipe is a different take on one of my favorites, deviled eggs.

Have you baked your deviled eggs?