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?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Food Friday: Ya-Bra

Do you have a name for a family recipe that makes little sense to anyone outside of the family? In my family we have a few, Soupy Macaroni and Pink Stuff are two recipes that come to mind.

In some cases a recipe name could be an "anglicized" version of an ethnic recipe name. It also might just reflect what the family thought it looked or tasted like. While the recipe might have deep family ties to an immigrant ancestor, it could  be something the family cook found in a magazine, newspaper, or tasted at a  potluck.

When I looked at today's recipe from a Missouri congregation of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now called Community of Christ), my instant reaction was "what's that?" Reading the ingredient list it becomes obvious that it's a take on stuffed grape leaves or Yaprak Dolma. In this version, cabbage leaves are used, probably as a substitute for a difficult to find ingredient.

This family may have referred to this dish as Ya-Bra because it sounds somewhat similar to the Turkish pronunciation of Yaprak (perhaps the closest the family could come to figuring out how to spell it).

Friday, September 5, 2014

Food Friday: Cheese Casserole

Today's recipe comes from a cookbook complied  by a bank. Silver Dollar Recipes from Troy Bank and Trust Company (n.d.) is great because it not only has names but it includes their position at the bank. That's one of the benefits of seeking out cookbooks published by work places or even volunteer organizations.
From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

There's not much in regards to non-food information in this cookbook. There is an introduction but no date and the regular headings found in cookbooks (appetizers, entrees, desserts, etc.) are missing. It appears that the cookbook was put together as a thank-you to customers.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

So today's recipe is Cheese Casserole provided by the Assistant Vice President of the bank. Pretty easy since the recipe only involves bread, cheese, eggs and milk. Add some sausage or bacon and you would have breakfast.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega
The cookbook does include some annotations from the previous owner as you can see from the page shown above. There are "m"s as well as some circles around the "m." My guess is that the "m" indicated what recipes to try and maybe the circle indicates that it was tried. No indication of what the previous owner thought of the recipes.

Thanks to my good friend Lee Eltzroth of the Hunting and Gathering blog who is always on the lookout for cookbooks for me. I appreciate her help in finding unique cookbooks to share.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Food Friday: Breakfast is Served

Today's cookbook is from Texas. The Houston Civic Club Cook Book (1906). Arranged by Mrs. C.M. Crawford and Ladies of the Civic Club is a must for anyone who has ancestors in Houston during this time. It includes a history of the Civic Club, their club's constitution, and a list of officers. Best of all it's available for download from Internet Archive.

There's all kinds of great advertisements in this cookbook, it appears that there are more than you would find in similar cookbooks including this one with a photo of a butcher shop.

Or this one that proclaims no liquor is sold.

It's not too often that I find breakfast dishes in the community cookbook I peruse so today is a rarity. While I'm not sure how dainty bacon and corned beef is, it does sound good since I'm ready for breakfast right now.

I like the last line that says "This recipe is original and delicious, if properly served." It's almost like saying, "if this doesn't turn out, it's your fault." If only other recipes had such great disclaimers.