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 November 29, 2015

Ms Murky Mondays:
Who Needs More Stuff?

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday encouraging us to buy a myriad of things from shoes and cashmere sweaters to household items, I sit and wonder, do we really need all this stuff?

I’ll confess, I have amassed my fair share of stuff. I am a clothes horse for sure; I love trinkets, fine china and vintage collectibles. Oh and shoes!!!

Last summer, I helped my parents move which provided the impetus for a massive decluttering project. My stuff was clogging up the works! I needed to take stock. I donated bags and bags and bags of clothing, shoes, trinkets and redundant kitchen items to local charities. And boy did it feel good!!

What I began to realize that life isn’t about stuff, it is about moments!

Moments around food and family.

As you know, it has become my life’s work to chronicle such moments. In a recent NY Times article by Kim Severson, titled “A Mother’s Cookbook Shares More than Recipes,” Kim expresses, “The worn pages of a cookbook have a unique ability to drill into a place where food memory mixes with love and loss.” Oh, how true that is.

As I hold my Nana’s worn recipe notes, her handwriting alone brings me to my childhood kitchen. Who knew Nana’ recipe box and bags stuffed with magazine and newspaper clippings would become my most treasured possessions. These pages, as Kim Severson so aptly reminded me, bring me love, a pang of nostalgia and rich memories.

So as I whittle my stuff down to what matters and try to become less of a victim of Madison Avenue, I find myself thinking of a Dr. Suess Quote:

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.”

Our memories are our heirlooms, forever. May you enter the holiday season open to turning moments into memories, especially in the kitchen.




Registration for the January 11th start of the Heirloom Meals Recipe Project is OPEN!!

Saturday November 28, 2015

Carole's Cookbook Picks:
Soul Food Love Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams

Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family


Soul Food Love honors the kitchens of four generations of black, southern women. However, the present kitchens of Alice Randall and her daughter Caroline recognize the unhealthy lifestyles that stemmed from their relatives’ calorie-laden recipes. They have chosen to stray from fat-heavy, overly-creamy dishes and lighten them while simultaneously preserving their traditional techniques. The introduction makes clear that this is not a book concept built by blaming past recipes, but rather one which chooses to honor their stories and update them to incorporate these foods to a healthier, more vibrant way of life.

Randall prefaces the Warm Onion and Rosemary Salad with a description of her childhood dining table, a massive piece of furniture that sat eighteen, enough for the gatherings they would host on Sundays after church. The meals were composed of no-fuss recipes that could be served easily at room temperature. This reliance on cold mains and side dishes created a craving for the warmth of wrapping her hands around a steaming bowl, aiding her in its comfort. With only three ingredients plus a sprinkling of salt, this salad is nothing more than bringing out the flavor of a plump and gleaming onion, blistering its skin to give it a charred, smoky glory. A caramelized beauty.

The Moorish Pizza combines the easy preparation of flatbread with the appeal of Mediterranean-inspired appetizers. It combines the creamy textures and familiar flavors of hummus and baba ghanoush (whose recipes the book also includes), layering them atop pita. Finish with parsley for color, some coriander and a drizzle of olive oil, and you have a dish that can be taken from starter to main, delicious, comforting, and only seemingly-indulgent.

There is a section for what they call “Crowns”, dome-shaped dishes given an elaborate presentation to celebrate the cherished guests they serve. For her Cauliflower Crown, Randall reflects upon her time spent in New Orleans, where she first tried whole roasted cauliflower, mesmerized by its buttery-golden appeal. Her version omits the whipped cheese, wine, or sugar the original boasts, but with just a few tablespoons of olive oil and the earthy bite of rosemary, this is enough to satisfy a crowd.

For me, thoughts of the south begin and end with Sweet Potato Pie. I know that with this comes the addition of heavy amounts of butter and sugar, but Randall relies upon the natural creaminess of the potatoes and the warmth of a few spices to create a lighter alternative. She holds onto the pecans though, because some traditions need to be retained.

Brown sugar, cream, and of course butter -- these are the central ingredients which have come to define southern cooking. Randall respects this, but understands that they can sometimes be done without (or at least done with a little less). Mother and daughter know that the past is adaptable, but that the future should always contain at least half a cup.

Sunday November 22, 2015

Heirloom Meals Thanksgiving Recipes

Happy Thanksgiving and Thank you for watching Heirloom Meals Thanksgiving PBS show. Here are all the links to the recipes from the show:

Jo’s Manicotti

Loring Barnes’ Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash

Loring Barnes' Baked Chocolate Pudding

Jill Gernon’s Green Bean Casserole

Ellie Markovitch’s Cheese Bread

Cooper Boone’s Turkey

Cooper Boone’s Cornbread Stuffing

Chadwick Boyd’s Pumpkin Pie

Looking for a great Holiday Gift? Give the gift of LEGACY. Check out the Heirloom Meals Recipe Project.

Saturday November 21, 2015

Carole's Cookbook Picks:
The Bread Exchange by Malin Elmlid

The Bread Exchange: Tales and Recipes from a Journey of Baking and Bartering


When we think of things traveling across the world, reaching every possible destination, we imagine people, ideas, or political movements, but rarely a sourdough starter. The Bread Exchange founder, Malin Elmlid, uses her book of the same title to suggest that food has just as profound, just as far-reaching effects, as all of these. She shows that anything, a story, a recipe, an experience, can be a proper trade for bread. This gives value to all of our pasts and all of our lives. Food is the great equalizer, putting us on the same level, saying that someone’s joy is not more well-deserved than another’s or that someone’s loss cannot be more devastating than your own. We each have histories to offer, our own take on bread that differentiates but connects us all.

Malin’s love of bread grew from an absence of it, as she followed along with her fashion industry co-workers in refusing carbs to maintain the proper physique for their job. Throughout all of this, Malin suppressed her love of a good crust and tender interior by committing herself only to what she considered “good” bread -- well-made, with time, love, patience, and care. As she traveled for work, seeking out cities’ best bread became a passion, an obsession. But when she discovered a deficiency of it in her own city of Berlin, she got to baking herself and giving it away to friends and friends of friends, forging connections and building a network around bread.

The Bread Exchange is more than a recipe book; it is a bread baker's bible, with Malin preaching that: “Good bread is nothing more than flour, water, salt and dedication. It takes time, but the joy and pride you will get from eating and serving your own bread is incredible.” Malin starts with in-depth instructions for how to make your own bread, organizing these tips under headlines like “Making a Starter”, “Fermentation”, and “Tasting”. She proceeds from here with descriptions of and the recipes from each of her trips. Her Berlin section includes a Fig Confit offered up by her friend Anna Küfner, who wanted Malin’s bread as a part of a gallery opening she was catering. She names it “the ideal accompaniment” for a strong goat cheese or a pungent blue.

Stockholm features photos from a boat deck picnic spent with friends on the open, glistening water. An overflowing plate of Crayfish from Smaland dominates the center of the table. Sweetened with a little sugar and flavored by paprika, dill, and the heft of two lagers, this makes the perfect communal dish for loved ones to share.

When Malin comes stateside to California, her traveling seems to take a more leisurely pace, set back in tempo by Sourdough Pancakes from a former venture capitalist, Vegan Banana Bread, and Kale Salad. Pictures of water creeping up on the beaches’ smooth sand confirms the slow-living mentality of this part of the world.

Pages of photographs share the countless journeys Malin has taken, the people she has met in dozens of cities, and always a crusty loaf, boule, or unbaked dough scattered about the mix. The book ends with brief profiles of all the recipe contributors. With different approaches to greeting the camera and different gifts to share, these people, by Malin’s guidance, have created a curated cookbook like no other. It is the product of what we all have to give of ourselves; it is a gift. Just like bread.


“... as anyone who has made an exchange will tell you, it is a wonderful feeling to trade something you’ve made or done that is good enough to share.”

Friday November 20, 2015

Food Memory Lane

Recipes without stories are like pasta without sauce - bland, unremarkable, and generally, not memorable. If you are like me, most of my family's recipes are special because of the memories I associate with them. They are time capsules, or triggers that take me back to a place and time.

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season around the corner, I begin to crave my Nana's manicotti. (Because, you know, Italian-American's eschew turkey in favor of PASTA.) Or, perhaps, our Sweet Italian Sausage and Bread Stuffing. My stomach is growling with the thought of such delights. The smells and flavors are woven into my DNA. Just the thought of these two dishes conjures up visions of my Nana cooking, and all the holiday family gatherings of my youth.

Is there anything other than food that connects us so powerfully to our roots? Such food memories ground me. They give me perspective; a sense of belonging. I belong to a clan - a family with tentacles of relatives and friends. As you know, capturing these memories has become my life’s work.

Finally Wrote My Own Heirloom Cookbook
The journey of collecting my family recipes and stories was emotional and healing. It allowed me to reconnect with my roots and value my life as seen through the lens of memory and food. To touch and feel the pages with my Nana’s and Mom’s writing, and put together our story through recipes and photos is an unparalleled gift that I can share with my loved ones and for posterity.

Helping You Write Yours
I created the Heirloom Meals Recipe Project to make the journey of writing your family food narrative and collecting your recipes and photos, fun, interactive and productive. The objective of the live, 8-week “done-with-you” workshop, is to produce a gorgeous four-color hardbound book - you heirloom family cookbook - your legacy.

Would you like to walk down food memory lane with me and create your very own heirloom recipe book? The next workshop begins on November 24th - only a few spot left!

WIth Delicious Memories,



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