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# Friday, July 20, 2007
Traditional Recipes: Burgoo, Anyone?
Posted by Diane

Our Family Tree Magazine coworker Kathy, who has deep roots across the Ohio River in Kentucky, is yawning from a weekend preparing burgoo for the family reunion cookoff she dreamed up.

Burgoo is a big thing around here, but somehow I hadn’t heard of it. It’s a thick stew that's traditional in Kentucky, especially at church festivals. (This 1900 postcard shows group burgoo preparation.) It's even served at the Kentucky Derby alongside mint juleps.



The ingredients list spans the barnyard, with beef, chicken and pork. Vegetables include potatoes, corn and five kinds of beans; pickling spices and hot sauce are among the seasonings. The chef can substitute freely and toss in pretty much anything on hand, though, then cook it for a day or so.

Kathy’s recipe originally made 75 gallons. She cut it down but still ended up with enough for most of the tri-state area (and several lucky coworkers).

She had to do some research to adapt measures and cooking methods to modern times. For example, the recipe called for a “number 10 can” each of ketchup and tomatoes. A Google search gave the equivalent: 6 lbs, 6oz (that’s a lot of Heinz).

Apparently Kathy’s relatives got really excited about the cookoff. One family spent all Saturday together, some out back roasting meat and others inside peeling potatoes. (That clan won a ladle and bragging rights.)

A little good-natured cooking competition can spice up a ho-hum family reunion and beef up the family history element. Need help gathering and preparing old recipes? The December 2004 Family Tree Magazine features an article all about that, and FamilyTreeMagazine.com offers an excerpt plus a handy old-fashioned-to-new-fashioned measurement conversion guide.

And if you just have to make burgoo right now, here are some recipes.


Family Reunions | Family Tree Magazine articles
Friday, July 20, 2007 3:01:53 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
Sunday, July 22, 2007 7:40:30 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
I have a Welcome Baking Powder Encyclopaedia (sic) of Cookery printed in 1890. My mother gave it to me years ago. It has terms, measurements, and ingredients in it I don't understand. Some recipes are very straightforward: "Roast Quail: Pluck and draw the birds, rub a little butter over them, tie a strip of bacon over the breasts, and set them in the oven for twenty or twenty-five minutes." Others seem so complicated I doubt they were ever used! However, having had some brief experience cooking on a wood stove in a primitive kitchen I can only say we don't give our ancestors enough credit for their cooking skills.
Monday, July 23, 2007 9:39:36 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
I agree! One of my favorite food history books is The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic Stories by Barbara M. Walker (Scholastic, out of print).

The description of making head cheese (from Wilder's first book, Little House in the Big Woods part of the pig-butchering process) is enthralling.
Diane
Comments are closed.