July 8, 2012

From the Family Kitchen

Every ingredient and recipe in our kitchen has a story, and many of us know this because we blog about it :).  We eat what we eat because of where we came from.  The evolution of your personal food history is directly related to our upbringing, everyday food, holiday traditions and special occasions.  Food has played an integral role in the formation of our social traditions.

Gena Philibert-Ortega's book From the Family Kitchen is a book for anyone interested in the intersection of cooking, food origins and family traditions.  She explores the cultural, economic and physical factors that influence our food choice.  The book inspires us to dig into our family food histories and preserve it for our future generations. In addition to historical guidance and practical genealogical resources, the book also includes a beautiful recipe journal to encourage readers to record their own family traditions. 

We can discover what food has got to do with our genealogy as food differs depending on factors such as place, taste, ethnicity, religion and family influence.  People hold food memories to food they eat on holidays and special occasions.  The recipes passed through generations hold value. 

What families eat often reflects on their financial resources, events that occur such as war, depression, scarcity and diets.  Personality traits, preferences, religious beliefs, health movements and attitudes during the time also influences the choices families make.  We know a little about a person by what they eat.  

The book is separated into 3 parts.  Food heritage, look back at historical recipes and recipe journal.
The author writes about how people gather and share their family heritage through scrapbooks, cookbooks, blogs, wikis and more.   
I liked the part when the author writes about true origin of ethnic food. We usually make presumption about food thinking that they were eaten in that ethnicity. Although, the people in that ethnic group haven't even heard of that food :)
  • Pizza evolved from the tomato pie that is served in Italy with cheese and crust.  Lasagna and pizza with lots of cheese and tomato sauce is the commonly known Italian food, although in Italy people eat a variety of healthy food because of the availability of fresh vegetables, seafood and olive oil.  Italian immigrants in America adapted the ingredients and cooking methods to American ways because of availability.  
  • The popular Chinese food in American culture is fortune cookies and chop suey, which didn't come from China.
  • There are lots of interesting stories about Jewish delis and Mexican salsa.
US is known to be a melting pot of cultures, so the food has lots of influences.  There are lots of stories about the type of food early Americans ate that we probably won't eat now.  The change in the way of cooking and technology i.e refrigerators and railroads influence what we eat.  Even what is written in cookbooks is different because in the 20th century cookbooks gave wisdom and household tips to women.

If you enjoy reading books about social history, sociology, cultural anthropology or other social sciences, then this book will be interesting to read. 

If you like to win this book please leave a comment on this post.  Open to Canada and USA.  Giveaway ends on July 20th.
Update: Winner is Marina

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  1. I've heard of this book, and it sounds interesting. Will check it on Amazon. Thanks for the review. :)

  2. Wow... Nice to know about the origin of the food we eat!

  3. This sounds like an interesting book.I love reading about different cultures and if it's about food it's a bonus.

  4. I have never heard of this book. It sounds like a very interesting read.

  5. Oh wow! What an interesting sounding book - I love random facts like that!
    sbabij2 at shaw dot ca

  6. Sounds like a great cookbook. Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to win a copy.



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