Since shortly after I started this blog on Halloween 2012, I have been talking in a very loose way about ‘heirloom recipes’.
My first mention is in this archive post about my grandma’s carrot salad, but it was about a year later that I consciously realised this was the topic that drew me to food blogging – that my attraction to food writing is pretty much a pure reflection of my inquisitiveness about people.
Heirloom recipes, or dishes that have been handed down from one person to another, most conventionally from mother to daughter, are the perfect subject for nosy foodies like me. Not only do you get to hear about dishes that are probably damn good – otherwise why would they be remembered, or written down? – but you also get to hear a little bit about the circumstances into which the recipe owner was born.
You get to hear about where their family travelled and why; about their likes and dislikes; about conversations they had at the table. You may learn about a dish that was pretty much the only thing Grandma could make. Heirloom recipes, I think, are the kitchen sink dramas of food writing: comforting, familiar, occasionally mundane, more often heart-wrenching and sometimes embarrassingly compelling.
It is for these reasons that I’ve resolved to make more of an effort to collect heirloom recipes – not just my own, of which I am lucky to have many – but other people’s. I started collecting heirloom recipes through Gannet & Parrot a few months ago, but they were getting lost among a cluttered website that had basically taught me how to blog. I needed a new, tidy place to keep them, so I started The Heirloom Recipe Collector, and now I hope that you will join me over there.
I intend to keep both blogs going for as long as I can manage, though of course there is a possibility that one will eat the other. For now, I intend to keep Gannet & Parrot going, as a place to record my experiments in the kitchen, my journalism, and for the odd bit of commercial content that I feel is worth sharing.
On The Heirloom Recipe Collector, I will be publishing readers’ heirloom recipes as well as articles and resources on the crossover topics of food, nostalgia, family and social history. The Heirloom Recipe Collector is entirely illustrated and edited by me, but for it to survive and grow I need you. If you can think of a dish that was taught to you by someone close, and you would like to share it, please get in touch with me by email; I’d love to hear from you, and from anyone with related interests or projects that can be shared on the site.
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About Chloe King
I'm a freelance writer, designer and webby type. I live with my husband and daughter in the south of England. I like to cook and can throw a good party.
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