At long last, I’m happy to show off my third cookbook, The Heritage Cookbook.
When I first started food blogging in 2010, I soon realized that traditional dishes — those that we have been cooking over many generations — are an important part of what makes humankind so unique. Not only are traditional recipes delicious, because they have been refined over many years, but they also connect us directly with our recent ancestors, who have demonstrated their love for us by filling our bellies with their beloved family meals. And finally, many traditional foods are also health-promoting, because many of them were first created in a time before industrial practices transformed our current food culture into something full of processed and refined ingredients.
When our second son joined the Crandall family in 2015, I came to another conclusion: that discovering my family heritage was important to me, and I wanted to know more about the genes I was passing on to my children. But as I started to learn about my family background, I couldn’t help but consider that there may be a connection with my individual heritage and the traditional foods that my recent ancestors ate. What if the foods that my great-great-grandparents ate affected the genes that I inherited from them?
With these ideas in mind, I spent the next four years researching and writing The Heritage Cookbook. This book investigates the connection between genetics and nutrition, and combines it all into a massive cookbook. The book will teach you how to discover your own ancestry through genealogy research and genetic testing, and then walk you through the cultural history of every major ethnic group in the world, so that you can learn some of the unique historical elements that influenced the cultures we recognize today. From there, I walk you through the history of every major food group, and provide examples of how the historical consumption of those foods may influence your health today.
That sounds like a lot of info to digest, and it is — this book is nearly 800 pages long! But even if you’re simply interested in delicious recipes, never fear: the book is also a compilation of over 300 traditional recipes from every corner of the globe. I spent years developing, testing, and photographing each of these recipes, and relied on a team of over 3,000 enthusiastic recipe testers to make sure we got every little thing just right. There are by far the best recipes I’ve ever developed.
From an ingredient perspective, you’ll find that this book is unlike my others. Because The Heritage Cookbook focuses on the historical foods enjoyed by specific ancestry groups, you will find some ingredients that are traditional but rarely found in my typical recipes, such as beans and corn. I also provide instructions for making traditional desserts and sourdough breads, items that I have usually avoided on my blog. Everything comes together nicely, and I provide a lot of discussion about the merits of these ingredients, and the historical context in which they were traditionally eaten. Additionally, every recipe has gluten-free instructions if you wish to avoid wheat products.
One of the neat things I did for the book was to distribute the recipes in the book roughly along the same lines of the ancestry group representation found in the current U.S. population. So you’ll find a cornucopia of new and refreshing dishes that have been enjoyed for hundreds, if not thousands of years. I also made it a point to source ingredients from resources that most people will have access to – so the ingredients are mostly found in your local grocery store, international market, or available on Amazon.
Additionally, collaboration and connection is an important part of this book, so if you’re on Facebook, I encourage you to join the Heritage Cookbook Facebook group, which has over 3,000 members. We’ll use this forum to share pictures, give feedback, and answer questions you may have while tinkering in the kitchen.
The book is available on many formats. There are three distinct digital copies, optimized for whatever device you want to use. The digital edition is in PDF format and can be used on any computer, tablet or phone; this is my preferred version because it is so versatile. I also created a Kindle edition which has adjustable font size for quick, easy access to the text while on the go, plus an Apple Books version if you prefer to stay in the Apple ecosystem. I designed all three of these editions myself, to make sure that each and every aspect is perfect. All digital editions are $9.99.
I really hope you enjoy this new book – it’s been a huge undertaking for these past four years, and I can’t believe it’s finally here. Please let me know if you have any questions!