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Secret Recipe

In today’s high-speed world, most of us are living life in the fast lane. Words that dominate our culture include examples like fast, rapid, automatic, and immediately. They all mean basically the same thing and as a society we demand things right now! It can be hard to dive deeper into things that might take a little longer. Things that do not immediately produce noticeable results.

Take eating, for example. We all have to eat, desserts are a favorite to a lot of people. But, you might be more likely to find those who prefer picking up a pie from the corner market than taking the time to bake one. It has been my experience that many, myself included, couldn’t tell you the first thing about how to bake a pie, or any other dessert.

It’s just faster to pick one up. Grandma might make an amazing cherry pie and we would never turn it down. But how did she do it? What’s the story behind baking a pie—the why—or even the knowledge of not just baking it but how she got that recipe in the first place?

Friends—the journey makes the adventure all the more enticing if you are willing to seek after it. It’s also more emotionally engaging.

Just like the post about receiving an actual letter, how it creates a deeper connection than ads or cards without depth. A homemade item will always pack a heavier punch. You might enjoy the grocery store pie just fine, but the pie that someone took the time to labor over—well that just hits a little harder, doesn’t it? Someone cared enough to go through the process and all that it entails.

Just like those words I mentioned above—fast, immediate, etc.—family folklore, genealogy, and family history are often used interchangeably. This is partly because a clear understanding of what each of these are, is not understood, at least not all that in depth.

But, even if they are referred to incorrectly, most people will understand a little about what is being said without an issue just based on context. So, do we need to be more clear on what they are and what they aren’t? What’s the difference, really? Over the next couple of weeks, let’s take a look at this concept together!

In ancestral research they are all about seeking information about ancestors, who they are, and what defines them. But they are distinct as well.

Genealogy focuses on historical dates, location, and verifiable events. When people hear this word they almost always think about family trees.

Family history, on the other hand, usually has people thinking about doctor’s offices and long packets of paper to fill out. Who had heart problems? Who was asthmatic?

Family folklore is a little bit more unique. This usually brings people to the concept of old wives tales and homemade remedies that older generations swear by.

While they are all unique, they are dependent on each other to a certain extent. Let’s take a look at the Grandma in the scenario with the pie.

Her genealogy has to do with when and where she was born, where she lived, and other historical dates. It’s the study of ancestors or descendants with a pedigree chart. How Grandma learned to cook, who taught her? What methods did they use to do it? The answers to these questions show the family history in this example. The family folklore however, focuses on how Grandma’s pie connected her with those around her. The memories that are made and remembered. The genealogy doesn’t mean much without the history and folklore to bring it alive.

This week, I encourage you to ask an individual from a previous generation about a favorite food or dessert. Ask them how it was served when they were a kid. Did it have to be special occasion? I’d love to hear from you. Tell me what kinds of answers you got, were you surprised? I challenge you to make something special for someone else this week, with intentionality. Don’t forget to share!

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