This revised 16-story e-book collection
by Karen Pierce Gonzalez
celebrates the magic of food:
                                                  = infidelity corralled by biscotti
                                                  = heart melting rose petal jam
                                                  = and more.

Preserving Your Family Food Lore

How many culinary wizards are in your family? Regardless of whether or not they were gourmet chefs, the people in your family who were responsible for cooking and serving your favorite – or not favorite- foods make for wonderful food stories. These are the tales you want to share with others. So why not turn your remembrances of Aunt Rose, Grandpa Joe or your mother in the kitchen or at the grill into the stuff of food lore. These culinary kings, queens and paupers had a way with food that is for one reason or another unforgettable and preserving them can be as simple as spreading jam on bread.

Food lore is a category of folklore which refers to the traditional beliefs, myths, tales, and practices of a people (folk) that is shared in an informal manner (word of mouth, blog posts, etc.). Your food lore - funny, happy, sad - tells others about special people, places and events in your life.

For example, my cousin Douglas wrote a humorous food tale about the summer his dad brought home an ice cream machine. In the 1940’s this old fashioned hand cranked apparatus was the highlight of their family summer where, living in the north San Francisco Bay Area with its mild Mediterranean climate, outdoor dinners were commonplace.

The ice cream machine became more of a summer highlight for Uncle Bob than it was Douglas. In fact, my uncle’s explorations of various foods as ice cream flavors soon left the boy uninterested in ice cream of any kind. What kid doesn’t love the creamy texture and rich taste of vanilla, strawberries and/or chocolate, right? But surplus zucchini from the summer garden ice cream?

Douglas’ food lore captured Uncle Bob’s curious creativity. I myself would have never tried summer vegetables ice cream, but it was wonderful to read about my cousin’s experience. And Douglas really liked capturing this story so that his children and grandchildren could read something about Uncle Bob whom they never met.

So, if you’ve got a food story about how someone made the perfect (or worst) lemonade or sweet potato pie, take a few minutes to write down what you recall. You can include an optional recipe. But, remember, accuracy isn’t always the point of a food tale.

My Aunt Pearl measures ingredients with her hand. “A palm full of ground meat and a pinch of salt,” is how she determines how much of what goes into her delicious keftikas (meat patties). And she learned from her mother, an immigrant from Rhodes, who learned from her mother who didn’t use measuring spoons.

Events make for wonderful food lore, too. The boyfriend of a woman who loved to bake placed an engagement ring inside a bag of flour he picked up for her on his way home from work. It wasn’t until she got ready to bake a cake that she discovered his ‘proposal’. Now that’s a food tale worth telling again and again.

Celebrate the food lore moments of your life by writing them down or by recording them as a pod cast or video. Start with notes about a family reunion, wedding, beach picnic or campfire meal then expand them into sentences or paragraphs. In no time at all you will have chronicled your unique family culinary moments for all time. And, who knows, you may inspire others to experiment with their food ways – or at least discourage them from making homemade zucchini ice cream.

Karen Pierce Gonzalez is the author of Black Pepper Visions: Original Folk Tales & Stories You Can eat, Family Folktales: What Are Yours? and the workbook Family Folktales: Write Your Own Family Stories. She is a member of the Western States Folklore Society and has facilitated numerous  writing workshops.  An award-winning writer, her work has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, WE Magazine for Women, Big Blend Magazine and others.  Visit her at folkheartpressblog.blogspot.com or folk@folkheartpress.com.

About the Author
Karen Pierce Gonzalez has written

  • Family Folktales: Write Your Own Family Stories
  • Family Folktales: What Are Yours?
  • Are You Ready to Generate the Media Visibility You Want?
  • Winter Lore #1, #2, #3
Editor, LOVE: Potions, Lotions & Lore

  • Pushcart Prize nomination
  • Editors' Choice, Farmhouse Magazine 
She is a member of the Western States Folklore Society and has 20+ years experience as a journalist, freelance writer and columnist (San Francisco Chronicle, Patch.com, etc.). Big Blend Magazine's "Queen of Folklore", her credits also include facilitating writing workshops and being CEO of Karen Pierce Gonzalez Public Relations, a pr firm that promotes clients who inspire and improve the lives of others.   

What Others Are Saying
“A delightful collection of folktales that will surprise, entertain and inspire readers to “dig in” and take that second helping into the next chapter. Beautifully written with vivid imagery of times past. A lovely gift for the foodie on your list or for your own kitchen library. Well done!”    
- Jennifer Melnick Carota, Just Keep the Dish

Articles, Interviews, Reviews 
 E-book  (Paperback out of print)

Black Pepper Visions:
Original Food Stories You Can Eat (revised)
By Karen Pierce Gonzalez

Black pepper swirls that absorb anger, tortillas that mend broken-hearts, and sundried cookies that encircle a cheating spouse (again) are only three of 16 fast-paced stories in Black Pepper Visions: Original Food Stories You Can Eat (revised).  This 2016 eBook  (FolkHeart Press #978-0-9983938-0-3), written by Karen Pierce Gonzalez, captures the magic of food through a range of original folktales and contemporary stories, food lore and personalized recipes.

“Complete with its culinary wizardry and fascinating historical roots that literally span centuries and continents, food lore about how we grow, prepare, and eat our food allows us to creatively preserve important cultural traditions and beliefs. And these are what sustain and protect us,” said Gonzalez, a folklorist, journalist and author of several books including Family Folktales: What Are Yours? (FolkHeart Press).  

Karen Pierce Gonzalez is an award-winning fiction and nonfiction writer.  Her other books include Family Folktales: What Are Yours?  and Family Folktales: Write Your Own Family Stories.

She has been interested in folktales and folklore for more than two decades and has facilitated writing classes and workshops for more than fifteen years. Her writing credits include nomination for the Pushcart Prize and awards from Farmhouse Magazine, National League of American Pen Women, California Writers Association. Her work has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, North Bay Biz Journal, Australian Trade Community Journal, Verde, Sonoma Mandala, and Zahir Tales as well as other magazines and newspapers.

Established in 2007, FolkHeart Press books also include Moose Mash and Other Stories, Three Months: A Caregiving Journey from Heartbreak to Healing and Spanish Cuisine One Region at a Time: Catalonia. 

Black Pepper Visions: Original Food Stories You Can Eat (revised) is available for $4.99 at Folkheartpress.com, Amazon and Smashwords. Details: blackpeppervisions.com