R random recipes, respect and remembrance.

The posting for R is going to be a bit of a mish mash.

For me one of the most important aspects of learning about anyone’s history is respect; it isn’t our place as researchers to make judgements about how the folk that we are searching for lived their lives. We don’t have the benefit of living with the same circumstances that they experienced, even during our own lifetimes the world has changed dramatically, and we can’t begin to know what conditions led to their decision making.

This has been particularly evident whilst I’ve been researching names that are not related to my own family. Sometimes some very sensitive information crops up, and at some point a decision has to be made about how much to publish/share.

Most genealogy sites which provide online family trees keep living people ‘private’ to respect the privacy of those still living; for the same reason I avoid relating family stories here which might impact any living family members.

Respect for the living, respect for those who went before us and respect for those who will read the stories in the future should be foremost in the mind when we choose to learn about what happened in the past.

On a lighter note, how many families don’t have a few recipes passed down from an older generation?  One I’ve discussed before is the family Christmas cake, apparently belonging to Aunty Lillian – so far I haven’t tracked down quite who she was – I suspect probably an honourary aunt.

So here’s aunty Lillian’s offering (in imperial measurements – it was a long time ago!):

  • 1lb butter
  • 1lb sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 1lb 2oz plain flour & a pinch of salt
  • 2lb currants
  • ½lb sultanas
  • ¼lb ground almonds
  • 2oz split almonds
  • 2oz cherries
  • Brandy

No written instructions – just passed down by hand – cream the butter and sugar, add eggs then fold in the flour. Add the fruit and nuts, mixing in well, then add brandy. (no quantities given, just till it looks ‘right’!  I seem to remember quite a lot was used……

It appears that the most important thing was to prepare the baking tin properly – at least three layers of greaseproof lining, and five sheets of newspaper tied with string around the tin, then another five layers of newspaper on top of the tin when the mixture was spooned in.

Bake at Gas number 1 for at least 5 hours, until a test skewer comes out clean.

Feed the cooled cake with brandy every two or three weeks until Christmas.

I could add ‘Mary Mullen’s Niff Naff’, Joyce’s pan-cake and ‘Nanny’s potato cakes, but this post would be far too long……..

One more R – Remembrance.

Of course we want to remember those who are dear to us, and everyone has their own way of remembering. Family photographs are a good way of remembering loved ones, but sometimes we don’t have a photograph or prefer other things to help us remember. Family mementos are precious to so many people and can give a real solace in difficult times.

Perhaps one of the most familiar aspects of Remembrance is the annual Remembrance day on the nearest Sunday to Armistice Day (11 November). This year, on the centenary of the end of World War 1, these will both be on the same day. Millions of souls will be remembered by millions of descendants, other family members, and complete strangers.





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