Saturday, January 10, 2015

Ancestral Recipes

Some of the favorite recipes in our family came from our grandmothers.  Werecipe_book collected as many as we could while our own mothers were alive because they collected them too.  All of our daughters immediately copied the old recipe cards as soon as they were engaged.  They wanted them in their homes too.

Consider collecting your own favorite ancestral recipes too.  They make a great Christmas gift if you print and bind them in some fashion.   Twenty years ago, while stopping in a tiny service station in the mountains above Angel’s Camp, Calaveras County, California, I spotted a little self-published recipe book that was a collection of favorite recipes from the area.  My 2nd great grandparents lived there during the time that most of the records were written down.  My grandfather left home at an early age coming to Utah and had little contact with his family afterward.  He died at a relatively young age and as a result none of Great Grandma Drew’s recipes were passed down to our branch of the family.  

Thanks to the little recipe book treasure that I found by happenstance, we now have some culinary insights into the dishes that grandma prepared for her family.   Wow!  She was a good cook if she used even 10% of the recipes in the book.  Capture and share the recipe treasures from your own family.  It takes time and patience to collect them.  Keep a reminder and list of discoveries on your phone or tablet.

The recipe card on my wife’s recipe box for Zucchini Cake looks too new to be one of the original copies from our first year of marriage.  I don’t know if it has been recopied or if the following recipe is of more recent vintage.  Either way, it is delicious.  Whenever the cake is made in our home, it seems to draw all of the neighbor ladies within minutes of being frosted.  I even get a taste of it if I’m lucky.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake


  • 2 ¼ cups sifted all purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (about 2 ½ medium)
  • 16 oz package (about 1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 325 F.  Butter and flour 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.  sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl.  Beat sugar, butter and oil in large bowl until well blended.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla extract.  Mix in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions each.  Mix in grated zucchini.  Sprinkle chocolate chips and walnuts on the bottom of the pan.  Pour batter on top of the chips and nuts.
  • Bake cake at 325 for about 50 minutes.  Cool cake in the pan.


  • About 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • Vanilla
  • Enough milk to achieve the consistency you like.

Posted 10 January 2015 by Lee R. Drew on Lineagekeeper’s Genealogy Blog