Immigrant Foods

Since my daughter hit a major growth spurt this summer, she was in need of some new winter clothes. Being a budget-minded person, I hit my two favorite thrift stores. While browsing through the cookbooks, I came across The Frugal Gourmet On Our Immigrant Ancestors by Jeff Smith. At only a dollar, it was too good to pass up.

The book is more than just a cookbook. It starts out with a glossary section. This includes information on kitchen equipment, cooking methods and terms, ingredients and condiments, and herbs and spices. The next section is the immigrant experience. If you have an opportunity to flip through this book, definitely check out this section. It will open your eyes to what your immigrant ancestors went through.

After these two sections, you reach the cookbook part of the book. It gives recipes from thirty-five ethnic groups including Armenian, Ethiopian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Romanian and Welsh, just to name a few. Each ethnic group has a separate chapter. The chapter begins with a brief overview of the group, which is followed by 5-15 recipes for the group.

The final chapter is the epilogue. It includes a bibliography for recipes and immigrant stories, and sources for unusual ingredients.

Finding this book reminded me a fact that it's easy to lose sight of while researching your family tree. Genealogy is about more than just names, places and dates. It is the stories, heirlooms, recipes and culture that are passed down through the generations. What has been passed down through your family through the years? Does your family have recipes that have been cooked for generations?


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