Hello Again!

Here’s a dark secret about the blog: When I started it, I just wanted to write. The tricky part was, I needed a topic I liked to write about a lot.

Genealogy was the perfect choice. Writing has always been a way for me to work out knotty problems, and what’s knottier than your typical genealogy puzzler? Plus, if I wrote about my genealogy I wouldn’t necessarily have to talk about genealogy so much, and my family would like me better.

In the past several months I haven’t lacked for genealogy to write and think about. But a lot of it has been just … percolating. I took the genealogical research course through Boston University last fall, which was an incredible experience that gave me lots of new ways to think about research. Accordingly, I’ve been busier than ever with genealogy, for myself and for others. If you could see my desk, which I’m glad you can’t, you would see lots of torn-off bits of paper with scribbled topics, underlined a lot, with comments like “Yes! Write A Post!

Also, I noticed the family stumbling around with glazed-looking eyes, so I realized I was talking a lot about genealogy again.

So I’ve started heeding the scribbled comments, and I now have a neat and growing pile of posts. The pile of torn-off paper bits is slowly shrinking. As this has been happening, some new directions for what I do in this space have emerged.

• I’m officially giving up a links roundup. Obviously, I haven’t done one in a while. They were fun, but increasingly, the time spent compiling them felt more and more like time stolen from other things I’d enjoy doing more. Like:

• Heritage recipes. I want to write more about those. I am fascinated by the way cooking and stories about cooking reverberate in families. But I’m also fascinated by the practical challenges heritage recipes can present. For instance, one of my treasured cookbooks is The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook, with its wealth of wonderful family stories. And many of the recipes in the book are great examples of what we all face when confronted with great-grandma’s pinch-of-this, dash-of-that directions. This warms my heart, as a former food-section copy editor who checked recipes for a living. So once in a while I’ll be trying out fuzzy recipes and figuring out how to adapt them to modern cooking practices.

• Another writing challenge: Family history profiles. I’m still experimenting with ways to package the research I’ve done so that non-genealogists will honestly like to read it. Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy writing properly numbered and cited essays. But one of the absorbing aspects of writing is flexing it in different ways, using different colors and textures. So there will be some of that, from my little ancestral-history collection.

• I expect to be having more fun with genealogy blogging memes, too. They are such great writing prompts. And when it boils down to it, I really like to write. Maybe that’s a retro thing to say.

But as my kids will tell you, I just have no shame that way.

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2 Comments on “Hello Again!”

  1. HF says:

    Really looking forward to the recipes! I’m sure you’ve read The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken by Laura Schenone? Also, something that related to the 8th grade curriculum and visit to NYC’s Tenement Museum, 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement. And bring on the memes! We recently unearthed my Aunt Anna’s hand-written recipes — and there are two different recipes for chocolate balls so my sisters and I plan to do some investigative cooking to see which is the one we all loved so much!

    • LOVED the Lost Ravioli Recipes. I almost got a pasta attachment for my KitchenAid, but then we started remodeling the kitchen and I put all kitchen gadgets on hold for a while. I have to check out the 97 Orchard book, sounds great. Coming soon: a recipe called Panne Cotto, with an essay on what poor families did with stale bread.


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