Lisa Goldberg still regrets it when she thinks of her aunt’s recipes that she couldn’t take up. “My aunt was the best cook … [but] I only got a handful of prescriptions from her, âshe says.
Goldberg, the Sydney-based founding member of the Cooking club on Monday morning, a nonprofit that curates and documents recipes from Jewish kitchens across Australia and around the world, doesn’t want their children to have the same ârecipe regretâ: the special kind of sadness you feel when you take the chance to record a prescription and not get it back.
If some of your family recipes are left unwritten or scribbled on scraps of paper, here are some ways to record, revive, and preserve them to avoid recipe loyalty for yourself and future generations.
Before recording your family recipes, write a list of the people whose recipes you want to document and the specific dishes you want to record.
Next, schedule a regular time to record these recipes, either in person or via video call. The author and author Jaclyn Crupi recorded the recipes for her Nonna, which she presented in the book Nonna Knows Best.
“I went to my Nonna every Sunday and cooked with her,” says Crupi. She wrote down her nonna’s recipes and drew pictures to capture the details of techniques such as kneading.
For the Australian-Indonesian-Chinese cook and food writer Lara Lee, the discovery of her late grandmother’s handwritten recipe books in Indonesia inspired her first cookbook, Coconut and Sambal. To write it, she spent a total of six months in Indonesia. Lee learned to cook her grandmother’s recipes not only from her cookbooks, but also with the help of her aunts and great aunts. They went through their grandmother’s recipe books and Lee picked a recipe that she wanted to learn.
“They looked at what she had written and told me … how they had learned,” says Lee.
Write until it is correct
You have to perfect a recipe by making it yourself. When testing recipes, Goldberg cautions against relying on handwritten notes alone. She tells the story of a recipe that was sent to her. After several attempts to do it, it just didn’t work. When she showed the person what she had written, they were able to sort things out. âI didn’t mean a cup of flour. No, I meant half a cup of almond milk. “
If you can’t go back to the person who taught you the recipe, Goldberg recommends consulting a chef or cook. If there was a recipe that she couldn’t copy, such as a pastry, she would ask an expert, Goldberg says. âI would go to the guy who Marta owns … a beautiful Italian bakery. I would visit him, explain the problem to him, and say, ‘Can you help me?’ âIf you repeat the recipe with someone else, you can recover missed steps until you get it right.
If your family recipes are lost, they may not be gone forever. Crupi suggests reviving lost recipes through cookbooks or even a cooking class. Reading, tasting and preparing the kitchen from your legacy can bring the recipes back to life in your memory.
Another option is to write down everything you can remember about the dish. Think about the aromas, smells or tastes, details like the appearance of the dish and its name. Even if you don’t have a surviving family, This information can be used to search online or through Facebook groups to contact people who can help you identify the court.
Immersing yourself in the food of your culture can connect you to your past as well.
Goldberg remembers the mother of her sister-in-law Elizabeth. “She used to make these amazing poppy seed strudel and walnut strudel … really extraordinary and unique,” says Goldberg.
Goldberg picked up the recipe with Elizabeth while she was still alive and also learned the story behind it. Elizabeth told Goldberg how she survived the Holocaust and that her parents were killed in the camps. When she came to Australia in the 1950s it was with nothing. “No money, no clothes … no recipes,” says Goldberg.
One afternoon in Sydney, Elizabeth was served a strudel at a friend’s house that reminded her of her mother’s. She hadn’t had it in years and thought it was lost. Through this random tasting, she received the recipe and was able to recreate her mother’s version from it.
Heirloom cookbooks are cookbooks with time-honored family recipes that have been passed down through the generations. If your family is lucky enough to have one but is afraid of damaging or losing your only copy, Alice Cannon, a paper restorer and president of the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material (AICCM), recommends photos of each page make.
If the original needs to be repaired, you can find a restorer in a private practice through the AICCM searchable database. When it comes to storage, Cannon recommends using a light and dust protected box.
Cannon suggests using a print-on-demand photo book service (there are several online for making a new âkitchen copy.â Cooking regularly from a family recipe preserves the heirloom and memories.