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Preserving and Sharing Family Recipes + Recipe Contest!

The following post from our star genealogist and French and Belgian Country Manager Marie Cappart explores how to collect, preserve, and share your family recipes. But before we dive in — we’re excited to announce that we’re holding a family holiday recipe contest! Follow the instructions at the bottom of the post for a chance to win a free MyHeritage Complete plan or AI Time Machine™ theme pack!

Who doesn’t love food, and who doesn’t have a family recipe tucked away in a cupboard or drawer somewhere? Family recipes are so much more than lists of ingredients and instructions: they are knowledge and nurturing transmitted from generation to generation, often from mother to daughter. If you are the guardian of such precious culinary heritage, you certainly want those traditions to outlive you, so future generations can gather around family tables with these recipes from the past.

Food has always been an integral part of daily life. Since the day we are born, we’re surrounded by meals. “What’s for dinner?” is a question asked in most households every day! All around the world, on every day of the year, families gather to enjoy traditional meals, often made from recipes they learned from previous generations.

Collecting family recipes

You may have received a lovely collection of family recipes inherited from family members already, but bear in mind that there may be even more recipes in your family hiding amongst additional relatives’ things. One great way to get the conversation about culinary traditions in your family is to invite relatives for dinner to discuss their memories over some of your favorite childhood dishes. Another is to ask if you can come visit and observe them cooking their favorite recipe sometime.

This is a perfect opportunity to conduct research about the recipes themselves: what ingredients were used, what quantities and measurements, what techniques, and so on. Even if you don’t get it right the first time you make it, you will have the most important ingredient for any recipe: family love!

Grandmother helping her granddaughter make dough by adding olive oil

The best way to learn is straight from the source!

By exploring family recipes, you can learn all about what ingredients were available and how much they cost, grocery shopping trends, and cooking techniques of different historical periods. If your relatives aren’t old enough to remember, you might be able to find this information in newspaper archives. Newspapers have often included recipe sections, even more than 100 years ago. Try the newspaper records on MyHeritage and see what you can find.

Preserving recipes and culinary traditions

Some family recipes are fiercely guarded secrets. Whether you plan to share your recipes with others or keep them in a close circle, it’s important to preserve your recipes in a place where you will be able to find them and they won’t get ruined. Most of us inherit family recipes handwritten on notebooks, loose pages, or index cards, but these can be easily damaged, especially when they are being used in a busy kitchen!

To ensure your family recipes don’t get lost or ruined, it’s best to make copies of them to use in the kitchen, and store the originals in acid-free storage. I also strongly recommend digitizing them and uploading them to MyHeritage for safekeeping. This ensures that if anything happens to the original, you will still have the recipe in digital form. You can also read the recipe off your mobile device using the MyHeritage app when cooking in the kitchen.

Some of my grandmother’s recipes from the 1920s

Some of my grandmother’s recipes from the 1920s

By the way, MyHeritage’s photo features can come in handy when preserving family recipes. For example, did you know that the Photo Enhancer can clarify text, not just faces? If you have a copy of a recipe that is blurry or unclear, try enhancing it with the Photo Enhancer. You can tag the author of the recipe in the image, and if you know the approximate date or year when the recipe was written down, you can add this to the image and to the album description. I also recommend adding any notes you have about the cooking habits of this person to their bio in their family tree profile, for example: “Bertha was famous for her Belgian waffles” or “George’s blueberry pancakes were a must.”

If you have photos of your ancestors in the kitchen or around a family table eating a great feast, you can use MyHeritage’s photo features to repair, enhance, colorize, and animate them!

Sharing your favorite recipes

You can create albums of your favorite recipes and organize them according to the family branches they come from. Then, you can share the albums with your family and friends. Share the original images or photos of the dish on social media along with the text of the recipe so others can recreate it. You can even photograph each step of the recipe to help create a detailed guide for future generations to follow — or create a video tutorial. (This may be especially helpful for recipes containing measurements such as “a pinch of this” and “a dash of that”!)

One creative way to share a family recipe is to create a DeepStory of the relevant ancestor explaining how to make the dish. Select your favorite photo of the ancestor who invented or passed on the recipe and make it speak with the feature, using the recipe as the spoken text. This will make it really feel like the ancestor is passing the recipe on straight to the younger generation.

The absolute best way to share a recipe is, of course, to cook it and feed the delicious results to your loved ones. You can even organize a family event around this: invite your relatives to a “family recipe potluck” and have each one bring a favorite family dish for a special event celebrating food and family.

A happy intergenerational mexican family passing food to each other at the table and smiling.

Make sure to take lots of pictures — it’s sure to be an event to remember!

Taste your family history

The best part of food history is that you get to taste your own family’s story. So roll up your sleeves, tie on your apron, and get cooking.

Ready to follow Marie’s excellent advice? Enter your family recipe for a chance to win a free MyHeritage Complete plan or AI Time Machine™ theme pack!

To enter, share your favorite family holiday recipe on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok with the hashtag #atasteofmyheritage (or email it to us at Please include the recipe in some format, whether that’s text or an image. Bonus points if you add a photo of the finished dish or of the person who passed it down to you, and include the story behind the recipe as well. You could even create a DeepStory as Marie suggested above! (Just make sure to submit only photos that you took yourself or otherwise have permission to share.) Please submit your recipes by the end of the month. After the deadline, we’ll announce our winners!

Good luck — we can’t wait to see your recipes!

The post Preserving and Sharing Family Recipes + Recipe Contest! appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Source: My Heritage

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