Four generations of the New Jersey-Pennsylvania area Buck Family met for the first time in recent memory near Lenoir in the western North Carolina mountains. The family’s favorite recipes were one focus of the reunion. Family members compiled traditional family recipes going back to grandmother’s day. Some of the favorites are 100 years old. The recipe booklet made an excellent reunion souvenir.
The cookbook listed favorite foods of family members, most treasured ways to prepare foods and some tips about how to make the favorites. The 32-page book of Buck family foods contained some Pennslyvania Dutch favorites, seafood choices, breakfast dishes, and tasty desserts. Five generations of Bucks attended the reunion and all had comments about the book.
Many were favorites of childhood, made by grandmothers, while others reflected fast food offerings of the present. The book also was a cultural indicator of the family backgrounds during the last century, the changing tastes of its members and the shifting culture of America.
Many of the recipes recalled family stories and those who contributed them told family experiences about each. Cookbook editors were Ruth Buck Clark and Kathie Buck using recipes submitted by family members.
About the author
Forrest S. Clark is a regular contributor to our reunion information. He lives in Kissimmee, Florida, and is active with his 8th Air Force reunion.
Treasured family tokens keep pride and history alive
When Vikki Boss attended family reunions as a kid, “everyone went home with one of Grandma Bessie’s sweet potato pies.” That was their closest thing to a souvenir, but as tasty as the pies were, each could be enjoyed just once.
Now Boss is the organizer of the Miller-Weems Family Reunion every other year. Her involvement goes beyond choosing a time and place. Like other reunion organizers, Boss now uses family-oriented mementos and souvenirs as a way to foster a sense of family pride and history, and to supplement funds needed for reunions.
For 10 years, Boss included reunion-centric mementos. There were t-shirts, of course, a family cookbook and a handmade genealogy booklet. Boss’s most popular souvenirs were root beer bottles with labels that read “Specially Brewed for The Miller-Weems Family Reunion,” the location and the date. She found a company that personalized candy wrappers and ordered packets of four buttermints wrapped in green foil and stamped with gold letters. She filled mason jars with the candy and tied green and gold ribbons on top.
She’s made programs with a cover bearing an old photograph of her paternal grandparents. She made 50-page copies for each of the families – full of genealogical information culled from relatives, newspaper clippings, obituaries, family Bibles and the Georgia libraries near where her family originally settled.
Robert Johns, Jr., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, gathers 85 to 100 family members. Johns’ family has produced a cookbook (sold for $12), but at least as popular have been imprinted baseball caps. Two years ago, a relative assembled a quilt with a square for each family member, reaching back to the 1800s.
Johns, who says he didn’t attend reunions until he took notice of relatives dying, has become the family historian. For 15 years he has taken a notebook and tape recorder to reunions and wants to make a book with family stories, but has no plans to sell it — it’s his own pet project.
From a story by Christopher Yasiejko in the News Journal, Providence, Rhode Island.
Who DAT Made DAT
Carole Neal shared this recipe form developed by her cousins Vikki and Kristin Day who collected the recipes and made a souvenir recipe booklet. Neal said she submitted a few of her mother’s recipes and a recipe each in memory of her sister Cynthia and our cousin Penny. She also included a little write up about family meals while she was growing up to put her submissions in context. The booklet included an introduction referencing the many good cooks in the family, particularly those who no longer are with us.