As the holidays swiftly approach, my mind has been turning toward one of the central aspects of any celebration...the food! This year we have several family members joining us for Thanksgiving, so we all sat down to draft this year's menu. This is an annual event in my family. It doesn't matter that 99% of the time the menu is exactly the same as it was the year before, it still needs to be discussed. Will we have the holiday fruit salad with pineapple, or the holiday jello mold with pineapple?  Will we do peas or green beans? Can we get away with only doing the Mrs. Cubbisons' stuffing, or do we also have to do the oyster dressing that only Dad will eat? Just how many pies are too many pies? In the end, we end up with a list that looks quite familiar. There will be different people's names written next to different dishes based on a combination of their culinary prowess and how far they are having to travel. There is a comfort in having it all settled, in being assured that this Thanksgiving will be a true Thanksgiving. Not like those other Thanksgivings where I was unable to have to come home, the Thanksgivings where I had to eat other people's traditions.

But traditions change. People change. My father likes to have oyster dressing because that was what he always had growing up. (Until he met my mother and was introduced to proper bread stuffing.) And I wonder, are we short changing him by determining that his tradition shouldn't be carried on? There are family recipes that I have never had. My great great grandmother apparently used to regularly make blachinda, a German pumpkin turnover.And which foods will be the next to go. Will it be my great grandfather's cornbread? Will it be the lasagne recipe that my grandmother got from an Italian neighbor when they were stationed in Germany? Will it be the peaches and cream pie recipe that we discovered wasn't original to Grammy, but is actually identical to the one in the Betty Crocker cookbook?

There is something special about eating foods that you know were loved by the family that came before. So this Thanksgiving, I think I am going to change up that set menu. This year I am going to make blachinda in honor of Christine Schmauder, my German immigrant great great grandmother. And maybe I'll even vote for that oyster dressing.

I encourage you all to ask family members about traditional holiday fare that you might not know about, recipes that may have fallen by the wayside. Or, you can check out the library's cookbook collection. We have generic holiday cookbooks, as well as cookbooks highlighting the cuisines of different cultures. Make this holiday season's meals about remembering old traditions and creating new ones.

Heirloom recipe cookbook : the food we love from the times we treasure  The food staff of Southern Living has uncovered and updated a treasure-trove of heirloom recipes that will be relied on for generations to come. These recipes will "stick around" and are staples for family get-togethers, church suppers, and covered dish dinners. They are unforgettable and memory evoking, and thus won't ever go out of style. From an aunt's famous buttermilk biscuits, to country-fried steak, homestyle meatloaf, double-crust peach pie, and homemade bread and butter pickles, over 200 of our highest-rated recipes have been selected for this unique collection of prized family favorites.

 

The Hadassah Jewish holiday cookbook : traditional recipes from contemporary Kosher Kitchens  Hadassah is the well-known national Jewish women's service organization. The first Hadassah cookbook was published in 1931, and there have been many from individual groups since then, but this lavishly illustrated oversize volume is the first to present recipes contributed by members from all over the country. Recipes are organized by season and/or holiday, beginning with favorite Shabbat (Sabbath) recipes; each section is introduced by an authority on the subject, such as Claudia Roden (The Book of Jewish Food) and Joan Nathan (Jewish Cooking in America). There are some 250 recipes, many of them shown in full-page color photographs, and sidebars and boxes on religious symbolism and traditions, ingredients, and other such topics throughout.

 

The coming to America cookbook : Delicious recipes and fascinating stories from America's many cultures Presents a collection of recipes from a variety of cultures, including Mexican, Chinese, Turkish, Moroccan, Nigerian, and Irish. Cook up a heaping dish of culture with tasty recipes from American immigrants, who knew culture could be so delicious? In the Coming to America Cookbook, you'll discover how America's immigrants have lived and dined over the centuries. This scrumptious survey of a wide variety of cuisine Mexican, Irish, Chinese, Moroccan, Turkish, Ethiopian, Nigerian, and many more blends together an appetizing mix of kid friendly recipes and fun food facts throughout each chapter

 

 

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