Photographed by Ledges Photographic Studio, 2010

We were gearing up for a family picnic this weekend and as Mom and I were discussing the menu (beyond hot dogs and hamburgers) it occurred to me that another big way I’ve gotten people talking about customs, history and such is over food. We each have our memorable or comfort meals. Gran would make Schnitzel for my uncle’s birthday, Mom would make her Seven Layer Salad or Cannonballs for various get-togethers, and, as I’ve mentioned before, I remember my paternal grandfather best manning the grill for superb barbeque. We have our major disagreements—my cousin and I each prefer a different family version of lasagna, there is a deep split on the subject of lumps in potatoes, and I’m probably the only one left in the family that must have Deviled Eggs made with Miracle Whip versus Mayonnaise. Regardless, we gather and associate important family moments with food.

One of the ways we’ve tried to preserve some of that information is through a cookbook my Aunt created specifically for immediate family members—though I think versions have spread out farther. It has most of our favorite recipes, stories associated with the foods, and some general family history and pictures. It’s a project I would highly suggest for a food-oriented family. It can be a pain to compile but it’s a keepsake we all treasure!

I leave you with one of my contributions for the picnic. It’s a variation on Raspberry Tiramisu that I love to make… but only if I have somewhere to take it! It’s much too lovely (and tempting) to have in my home.

And thanks to Ledges Photographic Studio for the magazine-quality pic!

Happy hunting,