FAMILY TRADITIONS IN THE KITCHEN
By Holly T. Hansen
Holly T. Hansen, Founder of Family History Expos, discusses Family History and Traditions from the Kitchen, along with Dutch Oven Cooking and her Apple Cider Chicken Recipe, on Big Blend Radio.
I was surprised to learn that foods can hold clues to family history. Years ago, we did a study on dumplings. We learned that there were a variety of dumplings—from dough dropped into a pot of boiling chicken stew resulting in delicious chicken and dumplings, to pie dough stuffed with apples to make a tasty apple dumpling served with ice cream. What comes to your mind when you think of “dumplings?”
One of our favorite family traditions is Dutch oven cooking. We enjoy camping with family and friends in a variety of places. As young girls, my sister and I were taught by our mother how to bank a fire overnight and stir the coals to get a roaring fire in the morning.
She had Dad dig a hole in the dirt near the fire pit. Then we would line the pit with red-hot coals and place our Dutch oven meal on top of the hot coals. We would carefully shovel more coals on top of the heavy cast-iron lid and then cover the Dutch oven and hot coals with dirt. In the evening, after we returned from a day of hiking and enjoying the mountains around us, we would dig out the oven and brush off all the dirt and ash. Upon carefully removing the lid, we would find a steaming hot, delicious meal to eat.
Mom told us her mother taught her how to do this. We are now teaching our children and grandchildren to do this. Hot coals from a fire cook much slower than the charcoal briquets you can purchase at the store, but the results are the same
Here is one of our favorite family recipes using charcoal briquets:
Apple Cider Chicken
2 cups flour
Salt and pepper
3 lbs. of boneless chicken cut into 2-inch cubes
1 lb. bacon
8 large potatoes cubed
6 carrots sliced
1 large onion diced
½ gallon apple cider
Mix a good portion of pepper and enough salt to flavor flour. Place in bag. Shake until chicken is well coated.
Cook bacon until crispy (reserve enough uncooked bacon to line bottom of Dutch oven.)
Brown coated chicken in bacon drippings.
Line bottom of 14-inch Dutch oven with reserved fresh bacon.
Layer remaining ingredients in this order: Chicken, potatoes, carrots, onions; repeat.
Pour enough apple cider in Dutch oven to where you can just see but not cover top layer.
Put lid on Dutch oven.
Place 15 hot charcoal briquets under Dutch oven and about 16 on top. Cook for one hour.
Sprinkle with bacon crumbles and serve hot.
After done, sprinkle grated cheese and bacon crumbles on individual servings.
Use your favorite soda (such as Mountain Dew or orange soda) for a different flavor.
We have to cook this every time we go camping. If you bake it in a conventional oven in a nice stone pan, it also works out well.
Ask your Mom about favorite family recipes. Are there any that have been passed down from one generation to the next?
Holly T. Hansen aka “Miss Holly GenTeacher,” is the President and Founder of Family History Expos, Inc, and as an author, lecturer, editor, and publisher, has been instrumental in helping thousands understand the principles, strategies, and sources they can use to trace their roots in today’s ever-changing technological environment. She is the mastermind behind more than 50 Family History Expos held across the United States, and is dedicated to helping individuals and families, one-on-one, with their personal research needs. Currently, she is involved creating podcasts, webinars, and video presentations to help people move forward in their family history endeavors from the comforts of home.