Writer and archivist Valerie Frey will discuss her new book, Preserving Family Recipes: How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions Nov. 10 at the University of Georgia Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.
Published by the UGA Press, Frey’s book is a guide for gathering, adjusting, supplementing, and safely preserving family recipes and for interviewing relatives, collecting oral histories, and conducting kitchen visits to document family food traditions from the everyday to special occasions. The talk will begin at 3 p.m. It is open free to the public and a reception will follow.
Patrick Allen, acquisitions editor for the book, said he pursued the book after reading about Frey’s occasional genealogy workshops as part of her duties with the State Archive in Morrow.
“Whenever she mentioned food or family recipes in the course of discussing family ancestry her audiences always responded well. She began to add more and more information about family foodways to her talks—until preserving family foodways became the focus of her talk,” Allen said. “When I read the article, I thought a book born out of her workshops would be a good fit for UGA Press. Part of our mission is to document the rich history of the state and family foodways is a part of our shared heritage. People who might be intimidated to record their family history if pursued through archives and libraries can easily jump into the subject if they think of tracing their family tree through shared family meals, holiday traditions, and the like.”
Frey’s book is the first of its kind to give a useful, practical guide to recording one’s “foodways genealogy,” combining a practical how-to format with the high standards of a professional archivist.
A Georgia native, Frey uses many examples in the book from the state or the region, but the book’s guidance can be used by anyone of any regional or national background.
“There are, for example, a few first-generation Americans in the book who combine American with Asian or European foodways,” Allen said.
Frey’s talk is part of the Spotlight on the Arts festival, a 10-day event highlighting UGA units and facilities, from visual arts and creative writing to music, dramatic arts, dance and more to foster an awareness and appreciation of the arts and an environment conducive to artistic innovation.