Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Wednesday June 10, 2015

Heirloom Meals Recipe Project

Preserving your family food memories into a tangible legacy for future generations. 

  • Do you feel too busy to record and preserve your family’s stories and recipes?
  • Do you keep telling yourself “I’ll do this someday?”
  • Do you have that nagging feeling that if you keep waiting, these precious stories may never be captured?

Through the Heirloom Meals Recipe Project I will guide you in an easy and structured way, and give you the support and accountability necessary to bring your pens and your pots together to produce your heirloom family cookbook.

Because the reality is "someday" may never come!

Putting pen to paper and writing about family food memories is a lofty goal.  Many would rather do laundry than sit down and write.  A blank page is intimidating!
How many times have you looked at your recipe box/folder/binder you created OR the one you inherited, and longed to have them in one place to SHARE?
What about those recipes that aren’t written down – how do you preserve those intuitive concoctions that take you back to your childhood table?

The Heirloom Meals Recipe Project is an 8-week program designed to help you write your family food history, organize your recipes and result in YOUR Heirloom Meals Recipe Book.


Unlike most online options, our program and template has ample space for your narrative story, recipes, family photos and scans of stained recipe cards.  While recipes are wonderful, it’s the stories that give them their full flavor.

In the workshop, I will guide you through the process of writing your family food narrative, headnotes for your recipes, and collecting all the supporting photos that will result in a treasured book to share with your family. Think of me as your Edible Legacy Coach!

Each week, I will email you a workbook with writing prompts and other exercises.  We will have an hour-long live call.  We will have a private facebook page to build community, post our progress and share our stories.

The goal is to chronicle your family food history.  Your written story will emerge as a result of responding to the prompts. We will ultimately combine that with your recipes with headnotes, and photos, and build it into your very own hard copy Heirloom Family Cookbook.

The workshop is designed to produce an end-product.  It provides that accountability we all crave to keep a project like this on track, and to get finished!!

The Details

  • 8 Modules
  • Live one-hour coaching calls with replays 
  • Homework each week
  • Access to me via email
  • 2 – 15-minute one-on-one coaching calls
  • No fussing with designing content – just upload and leave the rest to us
  • Approximately 4 weeks after you send in your final materials, you will receive one, 72 page hardcover, color Heirloom Family Recipe Book and a PDF (If you have more than 72 pages, it will cost an additional $2 per page. Additional copies available at an additional fee based on you final page count. A 72-page book is approximately $60)
  • Each Class is Limited to 8 participants
  • Private Facebook community
  • Price $997 - payment plans offered!
  • Next class begins on November 24, 2015.   


Module One: Let’s start at the beginning

Module Two: A Sense of place

Module Three: The story is the thing

Module Four: It’s all about feelings

Module Five: It’s all about the food

Module Six: Concoctions into Recipes

Module Seven: Headnotes

Module Eight: Putting it all together

I can design a group or family class - call me at 413-298-0173 or e-mail me for details.



It has been said that because so much of our lives today are documented in technology that we chance to loose our history and stories in these devices.  Carole Murko has offered a gift of leading us through the writing of our families’ food history and memories so that they are not lost and can be passed down for generations to come.  She takes you on a beautiful, emotional, supportive and loved filled journey that is a gift unto itself.  With her warm and creative guidance you create together a memoir that you never realized was inside of you waiting to be shared with those you love.   This is a gift to give to yourself, to a friend, to family.  Everyone should experience this journey with Carole Murko. 

Debby Edwards, Chicago, IL


Carole takes you on a journey through all five of your senses as she guides you through the delicious and colorful food memories of your childhood and family. She taps you into the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the food and traditions that weave our family memories into the tapestry of our lives. She takes you on a journey that will leave your mouth watering and your heart swelling with the memories of your cherished family traditions and recipes. While doing this project, I had the unexpected pleasure of connecting my children to the grandparents and great grandparents they never met. We combed through family photos, old cookbooks and scribbled on index cards, while we shared memories about the people and events we’d almost forgotten. I loved doing this with my parents. We laughed, we cried! We shared our favorite memories and spend hours one night talking about holiday dinners and our favorite dishes. What a fantastical journey through our family memories. I was reminded of the simple pleasures and the power of creating a meal and sharing it with those you love. I was reminded how powerful it is to bring the people you love together to share a meal and a life-long experience. Thank you Carole for creating the Heirloom Cookbook project and giving my family a treasure to be shared for generations to come! This was such a freakin’ blast! I loved it! My family loved! Thank you for reminding me how much I loved my grandfather’s past fagioli. I hadn’t made it in years, and it was such a pleasure to taste it and feel the love of this cherished recipe come back to life.

Laura Rothschild, San Diego, CA


The Heirloom Meals Recipe Project has been amazing on so many levels.  Carole has organized the weekly sessions in such a way to get us thinking on a big scale about our memories, then working down to a personal, intimate portrait of individuals and their favorite recipes.  

From the outset, Carole encourages her participants to consider all the influences that made them the cook, the foodie, the teacher they are today - through reflections on our most beloved childhood food memories, the marvelous old kitchens of our grandmothers and mothers, the stories we share during the fellowship of family mealtime (or informal gatherings with friends), and the anecdotes about our most beloved recipes.  The process has reintroduced us to many 'old friends' in the kitchen (both beloved family recipes and new discoveries), sparked conversations with family about their memories of cooking together and sharing meals, and above all, produced a collection of favorite recipes and stories that will surely become our go-to book for our favorite recipes.  

Through this process, I've not only reconnected with many, many 'old friends' in my kitchen, I have also captured the stories that gently cocoon those friends, warming my heart throughout the years and bringing joy to so many gatherings.  I've also learned that it's great fun to write about food - not only critiques, but the back-story, the genesis, and the emotional connection.  And I'm fairly good at it!!  What an utter pleasure it's been to share this journey with women who have equally great stories to share, all the while encouraging each other, asking questions, and having more memories stirred up!

Amy Holich Moscaritolo, Northampton, MA


Under Carole Murko's thoughtful, sensitive guidance, I was able to complete a project I've been meaning to do since my Grandmother passed away in 1992: put together a family keepsake of cherished recipes that might otherwise have been lost, a unique and invaluable gift, that will last for generations.

Stephanie Ann Smith, Gainsville, FL


If you get the chance to do Heirloom Meals, do it!  You will not believe how much fun it is to recall all the loved ones of your past, journey back to your childhood recalling the foods you grew up loving, and interacting throughout the whole program with wonderful women experiencing the same process.  Carole has a joyful manner for introducing each step in the progression of the book development and a meaningful way of guiding you and your memory back to the tastes and all the senses of earlier times.  The book you will create will be a treasure for your children and grandchildren.

I am so grateful I have had the opportunity to make this journey with Carole.

Nona Thompson, Hallowell,Maine


Through Carole's prompts for memory and writing exercises, I realized the richness of the memories I hold around food and family! Tables and tableaux I had not thought about for years! The heirloom meals project wraps your family recipes with love and reminds you of what to hold dear. Ending up with a family cookbook is the treasure that results!

Laura Tiberi, Westerfield, OH

Sunday June 19, 2016

Summer Happenings

Carole is spending the Summer and Fall on Nantucket!

Join her for classes at the Nantucket Culinary Center.

Her next few classes are:

In a Pickle - Pickling is a great way to preserve the harvest. It is simple and provides for great sides and condiments. We’ll do a simple refrigerator method and one hot water bath.
The Heirloom Meals Recipe Project: Storytelling with a side of cooking

Have you ever just wished you asked your mom or grandmother for that special family recipe? Have you been talking about collecting your family recipes together in one place but never do it? Can you recall snippets of your family mealtime? How about your grandmother’s kitchen? The Heirloom Meals Recipe Project will bring your pens ad your pots together, combining writing prompts that will connect the participants immediately with the subject: who they are through the lens of their food memories and how food makes them feel. We will then move into the kitchen and Carole will demonstrate how to reverse engineer a family concoction into a recipe, write the recipe and then we will all eat together and share stories.

There’s Nothing a Homemade Cookie Can’t Solve

Aren’t cookies the ultimate comfort food? In this hands-on class, Carole will share three of her favorite family recipes. A perfect workshop for Mom’s and kids!

Check back here and the Nantucket Culinary Center for more of my classes!

In person Heirloom Meals Recipe Project:

If you are on Nantucket and want to write your food story and create your legacy cookbook. Email me or call me (413-329-5475). We are putting a class together!!

Sunday February 21, 2016

Upcoming Talks and Workshops

1. Carole will be offering her first-ever talk for Canyon Ranch Guests on Thursday, February 25th - an experiential hour of exploring food memories.

2. The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers - Carole is offering a writing workshop, cooking demo and lunch on Friday, March 18th, 10am - 1pm. $50. Please call Carole 413-329-5475 to reserve your space.

3. March 21st start date for the Heirloom Meals Recipe Project. Click here to reserve your spot


Saturday January 16, 2016

Carole's Cookbook Picks:
The Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen

The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation


Opening Mollie Katzen’s The Heart of the Plate, I scan over the first page, where an illustration scribbles in faux-handwritten text: “What pulls us into the kitchen?” Below, she gives suggestions like Motivation, Access, Attitude, Variety, and Time Management. All are possibilities when one enters this space -- Katzen understands and strives to communicate it in her book by emphasizing a message of inclusion, where everyone is welcome in the kitchen.

Kazen starts the book with a set of Vegetarian and Vegan Menus to ensure that a meatless meal can be satiating and satisfying. You can begin with Grilled Haloumi Cheese on watermelon slices, followed by a Mushroom Popover Pie, Mashed Broccoli on the side, and a Fruit-Studded Madeline Cake to finish. Another option is the Caramelized Onion Frittata with Artichoke Hearts, Zucchini, and Goat Cheese paired with a Grilled Bread and Kale Salad with Red Onions, Walnuts, and Figs. End the evening on a slightly-sweet note with the Brown Sugar-Roasted Rhubarb with Cinnamon-Toast Crumbs.

I, however, would center my perfect meal around the Crispy-Coated Eggplant Parmesan “Burgers”, whose Parmesan exterior evokes memories of the rich and comforting eggplant Parmesan of my youth. Dredged in lightly-beaten eggs and seasoned with thyme, oregano, or sage, these are a step-up on the classic in both flavor and form. Taking on the shape of a burger, the eggplant is given all the excitement appropriate for a simple, but celebratory, backyard barbeque.

The vegan menus are no more challenging to create than their dairy-accepting alternatives. Though the names are slightly more ethnic (Onion Pakoras dipped in Pomegranate-Lime Glaze, Mushroom Wonton Soup, and Muhammara -- a Turkish sauce akin to the Spanish Romesco), they still retain Katzen’s adherence to simplicity and accessibility. The Pan-Grilled Mushroom Slices require just a half-page explanation, cooking them simply in a pan of hot oil until golden, finishing with a sprinkling of salt. She also suggests using them as a bacon substitute, which can be done just by adding a little paprika to the mix. Use as a topping for any savory dish -- I’m thinking the Cajun-Style Tofu Burgers -- and you have a complete, delicious, and vegan meal.

With photos centering in upon the array of colors present in each recipe and illustrations to complement the vegetables’ natural vibrancy, The Heart of the Plate is a book laden with culinary and artistic inspiration. I could spend an afternoon with this on my couch, reading the recipes beginning to end, as easily as I could take this into the kitchen to conjure up a weeknight meal. Katzen ends her introduction beautifully, reminding us that as we use this book, we adapt the recipes, allowing them to become our own: “I hope and trust the food you prepare will reward you and the people around you with all the inspiration, delight, and nourishment you deserve.”

Saturday January 09, 2016

Carole's Cookbook Picks:
French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

French Women Don't Get Fat


We have an image of French women being perpetually stylish, perfectly-coiffed and svelte, wearing a petite boatneck tee paired with a cropped skinny-leg pant. What is the secret to maintaining such proportions, when American women can’t seem to succeed at any one of the many diets they take on? In French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano breaks through the French paradox, explaining that it is not a trendy refusal to eat carbs or a strict plan consisting of protein alone that amounts to a sustainable lifestyle. It is the continued practice of eating for pleasure, albeit in moderation, which allows French women to revel in life’s indulgences and enjoy a healthy physique.

Mireille’s own struggles with weight gain as a French teenager studying abroad in the United States revealed the central issues of hefty portion size and automatized eating as the blame for American women’s unhealthy relationship with food. To start the weight-loss process and initiate the track towards healthy behaviors, Mireille suggests her recipe for Magical Leek Soup, a broth made simply of boiling leeks in water which one drinks several times throughout the day for 48 hours. She relies on this soup for immediate results after particularly indulgent periods throughout the year.

Another trick is homemade yogurt, which Mireille loves including with breakfast or as a light snack or dessert. She praises the millions of bacteria in yogurt which promote healthy digestion and suggests pairing with a bit of honey, cinnamon, or fresh berries to make it more palatable than eating on its own. Mireille, however, prefers it plain, loving the tart, creamy combination that brings pleasure to every bite. She gives two recipes, one with a yogurt maker and one without. The latter involves just two ingredients, simply adding the heated milk to a starter, leaving the mixture to set in a warm place overnight, and refrigerating for another 8 hours before serving.

When you have overcome these slightly more challenging weeks, Mireille gives recipes that are truly indulgent in their flavor, though still adhering to the rule of manageable portion sizes. The Chocolate-Espresso Faux Soufflé retains its namesake’s style and flair, but is simpler in preparation so that you can serve it for entertaining without fear that the soufflé will fall. Relying on the intense flavors of dark chocolate and espresso alone, there is no need for added sugar, making this a surprisingly light and delectable treat.

Combining her not-so-strict eating plan with frequent but basic exercise (I’m not talking sweating it out on the treadmill!) gives her readers peace and freedom in their approach to leading a practical lifestyle. She uncovers the mystery behind the French woman’s build, making it clear that it is not luck but the occasional indulgences which bring them happiness and health.

Saturday January 02, 2016

Carole's Cookbook Picks:
Treme by Lolis Eric Elie

Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans


New Orleans is a strong and spirited mix of history, music, and food. It is a city about energy and flamboyance, always trying to give those who visit the best experience possible. In the introduction, Janette Desautel credits the infectious passion of the city’s chefs, bakers, and home cooks as the reason for her picking up the trade as well. Treme’s dedication is consistent with these feelings, explaining that the delicious food comes from the stories behind it and the people who want to keep this image of New Orleans as a culinary capital alive:

“To the cooks of New Orleans [...] who understood and taught us that red beans and rice is a taste of home, a sacramental dish, a statement of what is good and necessary about New Orleans, and a full-throated declaration about why rebuilding this city and its culture was and remains a matter of great urgency.”

Dreams of buttery brioche dance in my head when a bread basket gets passed around at dinner. Chef Susan Spicer’s Sweet Potato Brioche fulfills this request. Rich from six large eggs and a tender, chewy crumb from a purée of roasted sweet potato, rolls of this emerge from the oven in their bright and glistening glory. The artisan technique behind this recipe evokes the immense care New Orleans bakers give to their breads and sweets. They are patient with the dough, allowing it to rise in soft pillowy peaks for hours, knowing the final result will be worth the wait.

Though some recipes, like Momofuku’s Poached Eggs with Caviar or Le Bernardin’s Pounded Tuna with Foie Gras, give an idea of the culinary grandeur this city has reached, others revert back to the homestyle favorites, like Chef Frank Brightsen’s Banana Bread Pudding. Bread pudding is something you’ll find in every New Orleans restaurant, gussied up or dressed down, in all its eggy splendour. Brightsen prefaces the recipe by saying that “Bread pudding is the most traditional of New Orleans desserts. As French bread is served at most New Orleans meals, there is almost always leftover bread that turns stale. This is the perfect way to utilize that …”

A two-page spread is dedicated to “The Food of the Streets”, where Janette Desautel explains the cultural and economic importance of street vending for the city. For African-American women, both free and enslaved, it served as a financial opportunity. She also highlights Arthur “Mr. Okra” Robinson, who sold produce from his truck all throughout New Orleans, calling out the day’s pickings to potential customers. When his pick-up broke down, the city came together to raise money with benefits and donations that bought him a new truck and allowed him to continue to sell his produce -- a perfect example of how New Orleans supports and cares for one another. The street food scene holds Latin influence as well in the many taco trucks that frequent the city. With so many diverse options, finding something to eat, well-made and delicious, is never a challenge in the Crescent City.

Treme is a beautiful mix of recipes and their contributors’ voices, explaining what the foods mean to them and how they represent their image of New Orleans. Toni Bernette admittedly states that he is not a great cook, but that he hates bad food and “wouldn’t knowingly give you a recipe for it”. This sentiment results in a simple formula for Pecan Pancakes -- the perfect Sunday breakfast, spent outside on a warm New Orleans day.

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