Your Family History in a Recipe

Did you know you can find your family history in a recipe?  It’s true.  Since a family history is just a family’s story, recipes, meals, traditions, and celebrations are part of that story.  From simple comfort food to fancy holiday dishes, you can find family history in a recipe.  Cookbooks and recipes are one fun, creative way to share and enjoy your family’s story.

The Joy in Family Cookbooks

My mother collected recipes from her mother and grandmother.  She compiled them several years ago, and it’s interesting to find “medicinal” recipes from the early 20th century that are our family’s history.  My great-grandmother had a recipe for ginger tea to calm an upset stomach.  My grandmother had a recipe for sugarless teething biscuits.  There are things I’ve never heard of like brown sugar seafoam candy and sauerkraut cake.

A few years ago, I put together a family recipe book and asked each person in the family for their three favorite recipes.  The result is a great book that we can use for delicious recipes, of course, but it’s also both fun and useful to know what other people like to eat when they come to visit!

Grandma’s Fudge Recipe

My grandma had a great, classic fudge recipe that I still use.  I love it because it’s not only delicious but it makes a lot so it’s perfect for giving away.  As my grandma’s niece said about this recipe, “If you’re going to make fudge, make fudge.”  And this does it!

Grandma Stott's Five Pounds of Fudge

enough fudge to sample yourself and give away, too

Course: Dessert
Author: Jennifer Wise
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 16 oz chocolate bar, broken in pieces
  • 12 oz chocolate chips
  • 1 pint marshmallow creme
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 cups chopped nuts optional
  1. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine sugar, butter, and milk. 

  2. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 10 minutes.

  3. Remove from heat and add chocolate and marshmallow creme. Stir until combined, then stir in vanilla. Add nuts if desired. Stir well.

  4. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan for thick pieces of fudge or a jelly roll pan for thinner pieces of fudge. Let stand until cool.  Cut into squares.

If you’d like to use this recipe for neighbors and friends this holiday season, you can always impress with beautiful labels on top, too.

Your Family History in a Recipe

What comfort food from your childhood do you enjoy?  What is a traditional food your family loves this time of year?  Have you recorded your traditions and favorites somewhere so they can be known and enjoyed for another generation?  Nostalgia is nothing more than a way back home.

~Jennifer  #familyhistoryfriday

This particular recipe book is a 6×9 wirebound book and can be made at this website by clicking “template gallery” at the upper right, then entering 11479 in the search field to find the template.  The cost is around $17 and includes as many pictures and as much text and digital art (included) as you like.  Instructions for using a template can be found here.









Jennifer Wise

consultant at Heritage Makers
I'm Jennifer, and I'm passionate about connections.I enjoy helping people discover the very real benefits of preserving stories, photos, and memories because of the impact they have on children, families, and individuals. I blog weekly at sharing tips, ideas, solutions, and inspiration, and I'm over at, too. Learn more about me at the "About" tab.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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12 thoughts on “Your Family History in a Recipe

  1. Food is a huge part of carrying on the lineage of my family, my son knows about the Italian side because of the food, since my grandparents are no longer with me.

  2. You probably won’t believe me but i am already going to make fudge this afternoon with chocolate chips apparently. Will return and try your recipe soon #WanderingWednesday

  3. I am so interested in family food history! It really does tell us so much about ourselves. I really love family recipes as well, and your Grandma Stott’s fudge sounds amazing. Thank you so much for sharing it and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party.

    • Thanks so much, April! My mom was very interested in family food history, too, and wrote and collected quite a few things I now have to refer to (and use)! And, yes, my grandma’s fudge is excellent. 😉 Enjoy! Happy to be a part of your fantastic Link Party! Thank you. 🙂

  4. Yummmm fudge! I love family recipes…isn’t it so cool how so much family history lives in the food we learn to make?? My mom and I just made my grandma’s butter cookies and my aunt’s peanut butter balls this past weekend. It’s our way of remembering loved ones who aren’t around to celebrate with anymore.

    • Yes, exactly–it’s such a neat way to remember loved ones who have passed. I love that about this recipe, too, plus the fudge is delicious. 🙂 It makes so much that my daughter took a LOT of it to school today to share with friends at lunch, and we still have a lot left! 😉 Thanks for stopping by and for the great comment. 🙂

  5. That is such a neat idea! I have a binder like this, of recipes we collected at my bridal shower. And I agree, family recipes can tell so many stories…

  6. I have definitely found the recipes I’ve inherited from my family binds me closer to them as I make – and share – those yummy dishes. Last Christmas we shared a family favorite: Coquito, a beloved Puerto Rican coconut beverage. It was a hit with those who had and hadn’t had Puerto Rican food before – and it made my ancestors feel a little closer that holiday season. By the way, I love your grandma’s niece’s wisdom, “If you’re going to make fudge, make fudge.” 🙂 #HeartandSoulLinkUp

    • That is awesome! And I saw that recipe and wanted to try it. I still need to! It really does bring your family closer, too. There’s a real sense of connection and belonging that happens. Yeah, I loved “If you’re going to make fudge, make fudge.” 😉 Thanks for stopping by.