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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Book Review: Finding Inspiration in "Sweet Home" Cooking

    I buy cookbooks for many reasons. The last reason I buy a cookbook is because I want to cook the recipes.

    First, I am attracted by an interesting title and cover, even better with a photograph. Next, I'm interested in the story line or theme. Is this a book about foreign cuisine with amusing travel anecdotes? Will I learn something about food customs or preparation technique?

    I buy cookbooks because a well-written recipe can be almost as satisfying as a slice of decadent death--by-chocolate cake (note: almost). We aren't a big dessert family, saving sweet treats for holidays and Sundays, but I love flipping though a cookbook and tasting the deliciousness of home-made goodness.

    I also buy cookbooks because they inspire me to try something new -- a new dish, a new technique, or maybe a new way to preserve my own recipes.

    Sweet Home: Over 100 Heritage Desserts and Ideas for Preserving Family Recipes is one of those cookbooks I bought because of the very last reason. More than just a collection of recipes or a coffee-table book of mouth-watering photographs, Sweet Home is filled with ideas for any family historian who has wondered about preserving old recipes or sharing memories of family meals. That I can't wait to try out most of the recipes is an added bonus.

    Who wouldn't love to taste

    • Cloudberry Krumkaker Cones
    • Mom's Banana Cake
    • Spiced Cider Doughnuts
    • Pumpkin Snack Bread
    • Dad's Chocolate Mudslide Cookies

    Author Rebecca Miller Ffrench grew up in a family of dessert lovers where evening dessert "was a sacred bonding time." She talks about the sad passing of weeknight desserts in most homes and reconnecting with the past through food. In the same way that Gena Philibert Ortega notes the importance of food and meals in family tradition (From the Family Kitchen), French writes about how recipes and cooking have always been a central part of family life.

    More Than Recipes

    Sweet Home is filled with more than recipes. The four chapters -- Preserving, Celebrating, Giving, Creating -- are anchored by dozens of ideas for preserving and sharing family recipes and favorite foods.

    Preserving focuses on recording food stories and memories and sharing favorites with tips from interviewing cooks to making an accordion fold recipe album.

    Celebrating showcases "10 Ways to Make Small Moments Big." I like the fun idea to make photo cake cards on a stick to use in decorating future birthday cakes! 

    Giving features ideas for personalizing food gifts in clever and unique packaging.

    Creating is for the family food historian in many of us with ten possibilities for Creating Your Own Food Story with activities, writing, and new traditions.

    As I read Sweet Home and enjoyed the beautiful photographs, I was inspired to think about how I could preserve my own family's food memories before they slip away. Some of the recipes reminded me of dishes I had forgotten or hadn't made in years. Sweet Home is a more than a cookbook, it's an inspiration for why we need to save family food memories and  a simple guide on how to get started.

    Sweet Home: Over 100 Heritage Desserts and Ideas for Preserving Family Recipes , by Rebecca Miller Ffrench (Maryland: Kyle Books, 2012). Available from

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