The Inspiration for this Cookbook: Mary Ruth and her grand daughter Heather Hamilton

In January of 2010 I rediscovered a box of family jewels that had been stored away for years: scrumptious recipes handwritten on scrap pieces of paper and yellowed notecards like GRANDMA EDITH SMITH's LEMON PIE, MARY RUTH SMITH HAMILTON's BETTER THAN SEX CAKE (can you hear my mom laughing?) and LEANN WEBBER MORGAN's 7-UP JELLO. These were culinary treasures from family and dear friends that had not seen the light of day in years. I dusted off each weathered recipe, put them in a new acrylic box on my shelf of cookbooks, and began to re-create them, one by one, starting with my mom's EASY PEACH COBBLER. Delicious and a big hit with my own family!

About the same time as my grand culinary find, I was designing a quilt block which was to be added to a series of blocks that would become an heirloom quilt for my niece HEATHER HAMILTON (seen below on her wedding day with her dad and my brother - GARY DOUGLAS HAMILTON). Since the quilt was to be an heirloom, perhaps the collection of the recipes I just found could be an heirloom too! With so many of Heather's dad side of the family gone, how could these Hamilton/Smith/Greninger family members still be acknowledged and part of this wedding celebration? This inquiry was the genesis of this blog.

Out of deep affection for my niece and in memory of my mother (who passed when Heather was only 2 years old), I compiled these Heirloom Recipes (and a few "modern" ones too) -- passing them along from one woman to another -- with the intent of gifting Heather with a weighty cookbook at her wedding.

However, as I sifted through the recipes and invited others to join in by sending me their "fav" recipes via email, it became apparent that a traditional cookbook would not do:
- A tactile cookbook, like my box of recipes, might get worn out or lost over the years. So how could the recipes be accessible 24x7 and kept in pristine condition?
- Heather -- who helped me join Facebook a few years back, who texts me vs. calling, and who no longer uses email -- is of the "Internet Generation." How could a cookbook be more aligned with her generation?
- I wanted to add lots of photos, back story, memories, etc. and do it rather quickly without a lot of cost
- And others, not just women, wanted to contribute recipes such my husband BEN POWELL who had so much fun making cocktails with Heather, my son SKY HAMILTON TEXIER who has perfected a few recipes of his own, and even our animals contributed some FUNNY recipes (BTW, our cat, Rocky, is fascinated by laptops and has more than once sent off unsuspecting and garbled emails on my behalf.)

Then the perfect solution came to mind: an online cookbook ... an internet blog! So after much ado, here it is, a culinary heirloom for you Heather that represents the Hamilton side of your family - the heirloom recipes and the funny and new additions too.

As a self-proclaimed Foodie, I'll start by posting recipes and photos I've collected - and please send me your favorites as well. And yes, Heather, there will be recipes with chicken! (Note to Readers: In the late summer of 2008, Heather came to California to live with us for about 6 weeks. Well, after "one too many" times of eating tofu, she asked in the sweetest, most polite way "Aunt Mary when will we be eating chicken again?" We tease her about it to this day!) So lots of chicken recipes Heather! (We love you!)

My hope is that many relatives and friends of the Hamiltons will enjoy making these featured recipes as well as contribute to this online cookbook. Mom's dream was that her collection of recipes be shared -- "passed down and passed around" -- with family and friends. That's my wish too! Bon Appetit!

Mary Elizabeth Hamilton
Daughter of Clarance "Sam" and Mary Ruth Smith Hamilton; 2nd to last of 58 grandchildren of Frank and Eunice Ethel Hamilton and last of 13 grandchildren of Grady and Edith Greninger Smith of Diamond, Missouri
September 2010