Monday, March 10, 2008


I got an email this afternoon from my friend Jennifer about an exciting new website she has launched with her friend and business partner Adriana. It's called PassedDown and it's your chance to share your favourite passed down recipe. This isn't just about the ingredients and cooking times. This is about sharing your favourite food stories. How did you get that recipe for peach cobbler? When did grandma let you in on her secret to apple pie? How did that recipe for cabbage rolls survive a cross-Atlantic journey on a steamer? Jennifer and Adriana want to know.

As I surfed PassedDown this afternoon, it occured to me that this is the perfect site to share with all my garden blogger friends. A spatula and shovel might seem very different on the surface but I found that the recipe site and garden blogs have a lot in common. Nobody, and I mean nobody, does the pass-along better than gardeners. How many of us have a pass-along or two or three? An extra plant a friend didn't have room for? A cutting you just had to have? A handful of seeds picked up at a seed exchange? Sharing our passed-down recipes seems like a natural extension of what comes naturally to a gardener.

We green thumbs have a special, sometimes even obsessive relationship, with our food. I was amused to learn that Jen is concerned that Canadian food chain Loblaws gets its garlic from China. She wonders whether it really needs to travel that far. Many of us gardeners aspire to get our garlic from our very own backyards. Growing our own food makes preparing it and enjoying it that much more special. I managed to grow some tomatoes last summer. And weren't they just the best tomatoes ever! It's got a lot to do with knowing where your food comes from. There's a parallel with passed down recipes: they are a part of our personal histories.

It's those personal histories that set this recipe site apart. Anyone can put together a list of ingredients and instructions. But when was the last time a recipe took you on a journey to another time and another place? Some of the stories are fascinating. I've been reading garden blogs for about a year now so I know all of you have wonderful stories to tell. I'm actually going to have to put out a challenge here: Anna at FlowerGardenGirl spins a tale like no other. I'll just bet you've got a few recipe stories to tell. How about it?

The site is clearly a celebration of food. More specifically, it is a celebration of food lovingly prepared. I love Christmas cookies. I love them all. But my mother's "shapas" are more than a cookie. They are an experience. They transport me in time to when I was kid: I can feel the grinder in my hands, I can see the walnuts crumbling into the bowl. I can feel the cool, buttery texture of the dough. I can literally see and smell the season. Christmas without "shapas" is just not Christmas. Do you have a food memory like this one? Well then, please share.

Congratulations Jennifer and Adriana on your website.


Jennifer said...

Irena - thanks so much. We're really excited about I hope Anna does submit a story and a recipe to our site. And I hope you do too - I want to hear more about these "shapas"!

Anna said...

I don't think I've ever been honored in such a way. My great aunt is probably doing the watusi dance in her grave right now cause she didn't think I was paying attention to all her ramblings. I'll have to think on this a bit and will surely get back with you. It's not a matter of coming up with one---it's coming up with only one--lol. Thank you for the challenge.

Jeena said...

Hi owin

I have been following your food
blog for a while now as a silent
reader but have not commented
until now..all I can say is
"WOW your recipes look great",
and I want to cook them all :-)

I would like to get to know
you more, with your talent
for cooking then your going to
be a great friend to have.

Feel free to join our cooking
forum , you are very welcome
to join us.

Jeenas food recipe forum

You have such an amazing food
blog that I am sure our other
cooking members would love to know
more about it.

Thanks from
Jeena xx

Barbee' said...

Thank you for alerting us to the "new" web site PassedDown. Very interesting idea.

Anna said...

Ok--love your blog too but you already know that!! I submitted my story, they got back with me--I sent them photos---and it should be up soon. This was so sweet of you and I had fun doing the research and writing the story.

I picked you for my blog from the get go--cause your name was--My Roots Run Deep. Now how could I pass that up. I love Christmas too and I bet the two of us would talk about our family recipes forever. I enjoyed your story as well.

Owin & Irena said...

jeena, thanks for the recipe link, I'll check it out.

hi barbee, i think you are a first time visitor. thanks for popping by and please share a recipe.

glad you had fun with this anna, and thanks for the kind words about my blog. to many more happy postings


guild-rez said...

just a quick note..enjoy Canada Blooms..I returned home with over 100 pictures.
Cooking?? I love cooking and baking with recipes from Spain, Sweden, Germany, I have a story to tell?? Perhaps the one..

Owin & Irena said...

most excellent guild-rez....please share your recipe. I'm so excited about Canada Blooms. I'll see if I can top your 100 pictures.....and post them all. hahaha.