Storied Dishes
What Our Family Recipes Tell Us About Who We Are and Where We've Been
by Linda Murray Berzok, Editor
November 2010, 176pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38167-6
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38168-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Throughout history and across world cultures, women have traditionally been the keepers and transmitters of oral tradition, such as the teaching of cherished food preparation techniques—or rituals, in some cases—by family elders to the next generation. The personal stories that lie behind these time-honored recipes provide a clear view into each culture’s identity.

We are what we eat—not just physiologically, but culturally. This collection of cross-cultural, generational essays, and accompanying recipes shows the profound importance of food dishes within American women's lives.

For people of every ethnicity, food provides much more than mere fuel for the body—it contains an invisible component that ties families and generations together with the continuity of shared experience. And for the women who are entrusted with the responsibility of keeping that priceless cultural thread intact, family recipes embody tradition, bridge generation gaps, and erase age differences.

This book is organized around 50 short essays and recipes presented by women from multicultural backgrounds and dissimilar walks of life. The chapters depict the paths of these individuals in their lives and the details of how they acquired their precious family recipes. The stories document how women universally use inherited family recipes to remember and memorialize key women in their lives and to aid and measure their own growth and development. Included are reminiscences of an Egyptian aunt, a poor mother from Australia, a Katrina-flooded New Orleans family, Turkish relations, Chinese mothers, and Indian grandmothers.


  • Over 40 contributors, including well-known food writers, food historians, scholars, chefs, editors, and other professionals, representing the spectrum of cultural backgrounds and experiences of American women
  • Presents original, never before published works
  • Showcases personal photos of contributors, stained and tattered recipes, unique foods, and women who originated dishes
  • Introduction describes the involving story of the editor's initial inspiration and the scope of book
Linda Murray Berzok is a widely published food writer and historian who holds a master's degree in food studies. Her published works include Greenwood's American Indian Food. To learn more about Berzok, visit


"More seductive than the actual dishes are the very personal anecdotes, filled with laughter and some sadness. Learn about the four great truths of cookie baking, reassemble post-Katrina lives via the reconstruction of a cake recipe, and remember offal sandwiches, the not-so-great tangible memory of times when food and money were scarce. A book to treasure."—Booklist, February 15, 2011

"This is a volume that can be picked up and consumed in small bites. Skipping and skimming is just as satisfying as reading from beginning to end, making this an engaging book to turn to on a lazy afternoon or just for inspiration."—The Autsin Chronicle, May 27, 2011
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