Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

About Heirloom Meals

The concept

There are many culinary artists who have not been professionally trained, but trained by their mothers, grandmothers, fathers, grandfathers or ancestors.

Heirloom Meals offers a multi-media culinary journey into the kitchens and gardens of anyone who has a treasured family recipe(s) with the goal of exploring our diverse culinary history and preserving our ancestors’ tried and true recipes and dining traditions.

In many ways the old ways of learning how to cook have been lost in the go-go world of our fast food nation. Our mission is to preserve the tradition of heritage foods/recipes by delving into the rich and diverse cultural food histories that make up the melting pot of the United States and paying tribute to the dying art of cooking from scratch.

We will only use local and in season ingredients. We will explore old wives tale leading to some of the great recipes and concoctions and explore the connection between food, farming, the earth, nutrition and family life.

Heirloom Meals is dedicated to my grandmother and my mother, my teachers. There wasn’t a day in my life growing up that a fresh home-cooked meals were absent. As a very young girl I would stand by my grandmother’s side and watch her make pasta from scratch, roll it out, cut it into ravioli, spaghetti etc, make manicotti crepes that are so light and fluffy you might think they were French crepes. When I grew up in the late 60’s and even the 70’s there was still a butcher shop where we would go for the freshest of meats and poultry (owned by my grandfather’s cousin, Johnny Pippi) My grandfather was a butcher at one time and before that he owned an apple farm in Claverack NY, which he lost during the Great Depression.

My point with all this is that they didn’t teach me per se – I observed, participated, listened and learned by being part of the process of cooking the family meal.

We will marry the cooking and recipe component with the serving of the meal – it will allow us to explore the world of traditions and heritage beyond just the food and will also have an element of interior design – we can look at people’s kitchen design; see how they navigate in their space and then experience setting the table and different tabletop styles etc.

Come join us on an adventure – one that puts a meal made from scratch with fresh in season ingredients, not processed back into our culinary vernacular.


About Carole Murko

Creator/Host/Executive Producer/Writer

A few years ago I took a workshop called Getting to Next.  The workshop is designed to reduce you to your core values.  At the heart of these values, we should find our passion.  I left the workshop with three core values:  1. I love to cook 2. I love to entertain. 3. I love my family.  I was not surprised.  However, I had two thoughts: 1. What on earth do I do to incorporate those three things, and 2. No wonder a career in financial services and real estate made me miserable.

The values followed me around like the bowl of Cream of Wheat from the 1970’s TV commercial.  I kept thinking….should I write a food memoir? No, who needs another Italian-American food memoir? Should I open a restaurant? No, it isn’t calling me.  Then one day, my husband and I were at a friend’s house for dinner and we noticed her table was set with her heirloom Austrian tableware on top of a beautiful antique cross-stitched linen table cloth. She served us a family recipe, goulash soup. I began to ask her about her heirlooms, her heritage, and the recipe.  Out came a 100+ year-old cookbook, written in German, annotated, stained, yellowed and loved. Right there, right then, Heirloom Meals was hatched!  I wanted to hear and tell her story, your story! I want you to call your relatives and get those treasured family recipes before it is too late. I want to feel and share the palpable emotional connection we have to a smell, an item or a memory about a meal, or a recipe, and cherish it like an heirloom. 

I am doing this by hosting a weekly radio show called Heirloom Meals Radio, a storytelling show to share treasured family recipes, stories, and tips…“savoring yesterday’s traditions today”, on a small NPR station. I appear monthly as a food expert and demo chef on Newschannel 13, Albany, NY’s NBC affiliate. I developed and hosted a 16-video series featuring diabetes-friendly heirloom recipes for Liberty Medical that launched on their website in November 2011.  And I executive produced and hosted Heirloom Meals’ Thanksgiving and Heirloom Meals’ Christmas, which aired nationally on PBS in November and December, respectively. I write for The Huffington Post, Zester Daily, Edible Berkshires, Berkshire Magazine and blog frequently. 

And if you must know, I have an AB in Economics and a minor in Art History from Smith College, a MA in International Economics from NYU and the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Prior to founding Heirloom Meals, I had a successful career on Wall Street and am still operating an interior design and decoration business.(www.boulderwoodgroup.com)



About the Site

The hand-drawn pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations seen in the margins of the site are by Barbara Smolover.

The logo and website design are by Belinda Darcey (Dolce Design) who also created the character version of Carole on the main Recipes page. The website was built using Expression Engine, with the help of Lea Alcantara (LeaLea Design).

The fonts used on the site are : Museo and Helvetica.