Friday, March 20, 2015

Food Friday: River Road Recipes by The Junior League

Inevitably when I present on community cookbooks and talk about the groups who produced them, someone yells out, "The Junior League!"

Yes, The Junior League is one great example of writing and publishing community cookbooks. Founded in 1901, their mission as shown on their website is "The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable."

The Junior League's Pinterest board dedicated to cookbooks lists the first cookbook as one published by the  Junior League of Dallas  in 1923. Today, there are over 200 cookbooks in print.

Surprisingly, I have very  few Junior League cookbooks. Through the continuing kindness of Lee Eltzroth*, I have a new one for my collection. River Road Recipes II. A Second Helping Published by The Junior League of Baton Rouge, Inc. (Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1976).

The Junior League of Baton Rouge was founded in 1932 and "has a history of service to children and their families in the areas of education, health, and arts and cultural enrichment." Their website include the names of past presidents and distinguished volunteer members.

This particular cookbook has some great recipes. Today I decided to take a walk on the wild side and provide an adult beverage recipe that can be made non-alcoholic if you wish.


Of course, most people now would want to forego the 20 shakes of MSG. But it's up to you. But do remember to add the vegetable garnish.







* I highly suggest following Lee on Twitter @galpix.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Food Friday: Tomato and Caviar with a Side of Crab

It is Women's History Month and over at my other blog, Gena's Genealogy I am writing about resources each day in March to help with researching female ancestors. Today's post was about the book, The Business of Charity: The Woman's Exchange Movement, 1832-1900 by Kathleen Waters Sander. This book explores the Woman's Exchange movement which helped women become self-sufficient economically.

So I thought I would feature a cookbook from one of the Woman's Exchanges. Today's recipe comes from  The Portland Woman's Exchange Cook Book (Portland, Oregon 1913). The forward to this cookbook explains:

      The Portland Woman's Exchange, for whose benefit this book has been compiled, is not a money-       making institution. It is a philanthropy sustained by its subscribers. Its sole aim is to help women       to help themselves. Only 10 per cent commission is charged upon the goods sold, so the                       restaurant and tea-room become the main source of revenue for which to pay the running                   expenses of the business, for the list of subscribers is small."

It goes on to explain that sales from the cookbook will help to wipe out the deficit they face at the end of the year.

Today's recipes are from one of the pages of appetizers featured in the cookbook. I love the one titled simply Hors D'Oeuvre from Mrs. Alford.


In the case of this cookbook, it's audience was most likely women of a higher economical status who would provide ongoing donations  (or subscriptions) to the Woman's Exchange. While most if not all community cookbooks are fundraising tools, this one most likely had a very specific audience.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Food Friday: Colonial Dames Turtle Soup

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega
 I'm very fortunate. Readers and others know of my interest in community cookbooks and offer gifts to me from their own collections or ones they find on their book buying trips. Reader Jackie has gifted me a fabulous community cookbook entitled, To a King's Taste. Recipes collected by The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Louisiana. Originally printed in 1952, this edition is from the seventh printing in 1963.

So maybe you are asking, "who are the Colonial Dames?" You can read more about their society and how to join on their website. (Just as a side note, they have a great page about American samplers on their site.) You can also peruse a 1902 membership directory and much more from the Society on Google Books.

To a King's Taste is a wonderful  example of how great community cookbooks are. Names? Oh, there are names. Just take a look at this two page list of names of Mardi Gras Kings and Queens starting in 1872 and ending in 1963. Notice that the women's maiden names are followed with their married names.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega


So since this is a Louisiana cookbook and there were many interesting recipes, I decided to spotlight one of the Turtle Soup recipes. Notice that the recipe below it is for the "mock" version.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

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.

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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 Freedigitalphotos.net



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!