As everyone knows, I'm big on tradition. When it comes to food and the holidays, it's doubly true. It helps me feel connected to family and friends who've come before, and by talking to James about these traditions while we cook together, it's connecting me to the future as well--through him.
For Christmas morning brunch I make the same items that my Grandma Folk made every year when I was a little girl. Two of the recipes come from Martha Dixon's Copper Kettle Cook Book which was published in Grand Rapids, MI in 1963.The first is Butter-Ball Coffee Cake and the second is a Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Both can be made a day or two ahead and are simple and delicious.
Additionally, near and dear to my heart is the Cheese Souffle recipe that came from my cousin Joyce Harding Wotring. Cousin Joyce passed away quite a number of years ago from breast cancer, if memory serves. I make this souffle each Christmas in her honour. Part of why I love it that you assemble it the day before, pop it in the refrigerator and bake it Christmas morning. The souffle, coffee cakes and a ham to round things out, make for a delicious (and easy!!!) Christmas brunch.
So what does this have to do with history? You can learn about history by taking classes, reading books, watching documentaries, and going to an art museum. But, you can also learn about history by reading old cook books. Cook books are a window into the socio-economic climate of the times. Currently, I'm reading my way through the 1943 Edition of the Joy of Cooking. First published in the early 1930s, the Joy of Cooking is a a testament to the values of the times. The recipes are generally short, simple and frugal and clearly show their ties to the Great Depression.
Why don't you start some traditions of your own?