CONNECTING THROUGH FOLKLORE, FICTION, AND MORE
Preserving Your Family Food Lore
By Karen Pierce
wizards are in your family? Regardless of whether or not they were gourmet
chefs, the people in your family who have cooked and/or served your favorite –
or not favorite - foods make for wonderful food stories.
So why not turn
your remembrances of Aunt Rose, Grandpa Joe in the kitchen or at the grill into
the stuff of food lore? These kitchen kings, queens and paupers may have had a
way with food that for one reason or another was unforgettable and preserving
them can be as simple as spreading jam on bread.
Food lore is a folklore
category that refers to the food way beliefs, myths, tales, and practices of a group
of people that can be shared (word of mouth, short stories, etc.). Your food
lore - funny, happy, sad - tells others about special people, places, and
events in your life.
For example, my
cousin Douglas wrote a humorous food tale about the summer his dad made
zucchini ice cream. In the 1940’s the old-fashioned hand cranked ice cream
maker had been the highlight of their family summer.
My Uncle Bob’s
explorations of various foods as ice cream flavors left Douglas
uninterested in ice cream of any kind. What kid doesn’t love the creamy texture
and rich taste of vanilla, strawberries and/or chocolate, right? But surplus garden
captured my uncle’s curious creativity not only for himself but for his children
and grandchildren who never knew him.
of a woman I know placed an engagement ring inside a bag of flour he picked up
for her on his way home from work. It wasn’t until she got ready to bake a cake
that she discovered his ‘proposal’. That’s a food tale worth telling again and
Celebrate the family
food lore moments of your life by writing them down or recording them. Start
with notes about a family reunion, wedding, or campfire meal then expand those
notes into paragraphs. Add recipes if available. In no time at all you will
have chronicled your unique family food lore.
Karen Pierce Gonzalez is
author of the newly revised Family
Folktales: What are Yours?