Saturday 30 July 2011

Carnival Of Genealogy 108 - Foods & their links to the past

This posting is doubling up as my weekly contribution to Weekend Cooking and my monthly contribution to the Carnival of Genealogy.

General Pondering
There is something rather comforting about food and I wonder what it is? Is it that historically, generations before us our ancestor and relatives went to bed hungry, so that when we feel the need for something to perk us up we eat? Then, what foods do we eat? Women often find solace in chocolate, a fact that is hormone driven, but has that always been the case? As children many of us have happy memories of being off from school, cocooned on the settee with a special blanket and being given a food, such as soup for lunch. Even now, I like a particular brand of Vegetable or Tomato soup if I am poorly.

Links to the Past
Recipes and food often hold special places in our hearts and are reminders for past & happier times or of those special people in our lives.

There is nothing particular special about the recipe above. It was written by my Great Grandmother, Annie Prudence Butcher nee Harris (1879 - 1972) in about 1965 to my Grandfather, her son and my Grandmother and mother. It is a simple jotting of a recipe, which presumably, my Grandfather had asked for in a previous letter; a letter which sadly has not survived. This is the Great Grandmother, who to was a very elderly lady, that allowed me to sit on her bed and tickle her toes when I was about three and is probably one of my earliest memories.

Wine making did play a part in life of my Grandfather. My Mum remembers a bottle of wine, which was about 10 years old at the time being taken to the reception of his Nephew and being shared round. Mum commented that the wine was very strong, enough to knock your head off!

I inherited from my Grandmother a Victory in Europe cookery book from July 1945, which I wrote about HERE. There is just something very special about this little recipe book and I don't know if my Gran ever used it. Perhaps, the specialness, is because, after 15 years I still miss my beloved Grandmother dreadfully and since my holiday and whilst away on Jersey, seeing elements of the Second World War there, it made me wonder what my Grandmother had experienced. 

Casting my mind back to the summers of my childhood, there was the delicious home made lemonade, which sat in the larder in a large heavy 1930s china jug decorated with summer flowers. The jug has long since gone but the recipe lingers on and will be made today I think, a lovely summers day in England. 

The recipe is simple.

Add sugar to a jug, to taste
Cut 1 or 2 lemons 
Add boiling water to the jug and stir
Place in the fridge until cold

More casting my mind back was for Saturday evening tea, was a large potato baked in the oven, forked pricked and then served with strong grated cheese and a smell that I still love and every time I smell it, it evokes happy memories of my childhood, and the people who greatly influenced me to become the person that I am.


  1. You are so right about food having the ability to connect us to those we love, and special memories.
    For me, it is my grandmother's special Christmas cookie that she made every year, and that I continue to make to this day.

  2. That's a really lovely letter! The lemonade sounds delightful!

  3. This is a wonderful post! You inspired some of my own favorite food memories that remind me of my Grandma and family times together.

    Although, I don't think I'll be making potato wine any time soon. ;-)

    Rose City Reader

  4. What a great post -- I love that wine making and hand-written recipes.

  5. Awesome! I have some of my moms hand written recipes and I cherish them!

  6. Thanks everyone for stopping by. I did make some of the lemonade yesterday, and immediately upon tasting, I was plunged back to the happy days of the school holidays with my Grandmother. Those memories are priceless.

  7. I wish I could share a glass of that homemade lemonade with you Julie. It sure sounds good! Great post!

    Thanks for participating in the Carnival of Genealogy. :-)

  8. OOO, lemonade. My grandmother used to make that, and tea as well, in a large clear glass pitcher and store in the frig. Thanks for the memory blast!

  9. I shall have to try making lemonade by that method. And your baked potato - one of my favorites! Thanks for sharing, Julie

  10. Anonymous2:03 am

    Food can be such a pathway to the past. I loved this post, especially the wartime cookbook cover. And lemonade is sounding very good at the moment.


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