I’m passionate about helping people write their family cookbooks for one simple reason: I feel like a large part of our collective history is being lost. Home cooking is largely an oral tradition, passed from parents to children through kitchen conversations, stories and examples. In North America and other developed areas, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for those conversations and demonstrations to happen. We’re well into the second generation of women who spend a good part of the week working outside the home. And even those who have the occasional lazy afternoon to devote to recreating Grandma’s tea cookies are likely to be living across town or across the country from Grandma. In some cases, sadly, Grandma is no longer around to share the little tips and techniques that made her cookies renowned.
In the United States, where families bring together culinary traditions from dozens of different countries of origin, the loss of ethnic recipes—the homemade pierogies, samosas, empanadas and calzones, among other treats—represents a particularly sad break from our rich heritage.