Food is so much a part of our family, our culture, and our communities. The meals we share together are a way to celebrate our history. Each meal is a form of communication and communion.
In Creating Family Archives: How to Preserve Your Papers and Photographs, I use an example of my grandmothers' recipes to explain the archival concepts of provenance and original order. (Provenance is the history of ownership of an item, whereas original order refers to keeping records in the same order of classification as when they were created).
I chose this example because I grew up loving my paternal grandmother's recipes, which were mostly Lithuanian dishes. Potato pancakes, kugelis, elephant ear cookies were prepared on her teeny stove and served lovingly. Another snack she made was a matzo with margarine and peanut butter with a heart etched on top. It sounds bizarre, but it was delicious!
As Thanksgiving and the holidays approach, I wanted to create a 40-question guide that could capture these special food-related memories. I crafted a list of questions to record as much information about a favorite family recipe as possible. As you gather together over a meal, take a moment to ask about the nuances of your favorite dishes.
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To learn the preservation secrets used by libraries, archives, and museums to protect their priceless materials (that you can also use for your family heritage items) read my book:
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