Remember When …



Let’s get back to settling America with all the different cultures. One of the fun things I love to do in life is cook for others, from an old family recipe to a new on-line one that bring smiles.

Growing their own food was the only way the settlers got food, they learned recipes from the Native Americans that had lived there for centuries.

As the settlers came from all over the world, so did many types of recipes and ways to cook. Family recipes would pass down through the generations and without it written down or a way to measure exactly.

Grandparents loved to share their family heritage, so we knew where we came from, but our food is also our culture identity through what kinds foods we eat.

In Mesopotamia, Egypt about 1700BC they have found four clay tablets with a recipe for beef stew carved on them and was remade and shown in New York City.

In Rome was found the first written cookbook in about 500 AD and now we have about 24,000 cookbooks of all types published each year. Just think about, it started on a clay tablet, now we read it on an electronic tablet.

The first cookbook in English was put together in London by 1390, written by King Richard’s II master cooks. In the original 13 American Colonies first know cookbook, “American Cookery” was written by Amelia Simmons in 1796, “made for all grades of life” (levels of wealth) which most could not afford.

Simmons also was the first one to write about cupcakes or tiny cakes, she called it in her book. When Eliza Leslie wrote her cookbook, “Seventy- Five Receipts for Pastries, Cakes and Sweetmeats” celebrated her, she called it a cupcake in 1828 because it was the size of a cup (like the name pound cake).

Many people from different countries were coming to the USA for freedoms but the brought with themselves bad traditions, of having people paid to cook for them, in their homes, so the women had to learn to cook for themselves.

After the Civil War things changed for the pioneer families and the women were that had to sew and cook, and men had to tend the animals and work the land to provide food. By 1896 Fannie M. Farmer wrote a cookbook to help solve some problems with precise measuring and easier recipes.

Many cookbooks have been written throughout time (even families wrote their cookbooks) about every type of diet like vegetarians, all meat to paleo diet etc. Who remembers Julia Childs writing the French cookbook for the servant-less and the first women chef, I ever saw a TV, now there are a lot. Bona Petite!!

When I got married in 1977, I would cook a new recipe a week from my “Better Homes and Garden” magazine, before getting my 1950s “Better Crocker cookbook” now having more than 300 books.

Old cookbooks used to show you etiquette, manners and even how to set a table. My parents and grandparents taught me to cook and bake, I am so glad they did! I love it and I have taught my kids and others to cook. There are many schools and colleges to teach you how to cook and bake all over the world. We have everything available now with blog’s, the online libraries of books and videos of how to make everything. Have you ever taken a cake decorating or cooking class? I have and loved it.

Mott College has a new updated Culinary Arts College located downtown Saginaw Street, Flint. Enjoy cooking and having a meal with a friend.

Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email