What a Crock!: Recipes handed down for generations change with times _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Use a slow cooker to prepare Eggplant Parmesan.

A new year is always time to re-evaluate or reinvent something. Why not start with recipes. Much like our clothes, if we haven’t used them in so many years, perhaps it’s time to toss them. However, you may want to rethink ways of cooking them.

I am a cookbook hoarder. Several are from my mother and my grandmother, leftover from times when cooking was markedly different than it is today. I like to look through the old cookbooks just to see the changes from the 1930s to now.

Would I make most of the recipes? In all honesty, probably not.

Too much lard and too lengthy for me. I also realized that, over time, I have found my own cooking voice. That doesn’t mean that I don’t carry the old traditions with me; it just means that we, as a family, have our own.

There are recipes that have been around for a very long time. I saw Eggplant Parmesan in lots of the old books. Cooks did not have the slow cooker in those days, nor did they have the convenience sauces that are so, well, convenient, today. The sauces then were lovingly stirred over several hours as the flavors merged and simmered.

The slow cooker still carries that tradition without the stirring part.

As we welcome a new daughter-in-law into our family, she and my son will develop their own traditions as they merge recipes from their respective families and adapt. And, that’s as it should be.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at juliekay6122@gmail.com.