July 25, 2024


Than a Food Fitter

Shaker site hosting food event, cookbook launch on Saturday

3 min read

COLONIE —The Shaker Heritage Society will host a fundraiser called Shaker Your Plate from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at its heritage site that will feature local food, drink and the launch of a new cookbook by the Shaker organization.

Called “Heritage Cooking,” it features family recipes and stories from people from around the Capital Region and other Shaker heritage locations, as well as historical anecdotes about Shaker food and cooking practices. The book was edited by food journalist Deanna Fox, whose stories appear frequently in the Times Union.

Among the Capital Region residents contributing stories and recipes to “Heritage Cooking” are food writer and grains expert Amy Halloran, Jinah Kim of Sunhee’s Farm & Kitchen in Troy, Amy Koren-Roth of Taste of Troy food tours, Carli McCoy of Cafe Capriccio in Albany, Louis McManus of Vischer Ferry General Store in Vischer Ferry, Ric Orlando of Flavor Maker Spices and Yono Purnomo of Yono’s restaurant in Albany.

Fox said some of her favorite recipes in “Heritage Cooking” are Ellen’s Famous Steak, which she describes as a “true hallmark of Midwest cooking, served with a side of instant ramen,” as well as Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage, Shaker Pineapple Cake and Lancaster Leftover Lamb Hot Pot. Especially close to Fox’s heart is Suki’s Macaroni Salad, named after Fox’s mother.

In writing about the mac salad for the Times Union, Fox said, “Classic macaroni salad is my mother’s version. This is perhaps her signature dish, one she can make blindfolded and is requested for every family get-together and camping trip in warmer months. Salad olives are green Spanish olives that are packed with slivers of pimento, but plain green olives are good in this recipe, as well. Macaroni salad is an anytime snack that kids and adults both willingly scoop for themselves, and a batch goes quickly.”

Asked about editing “Shaker Heritage,” Fox said via email: “One of the best avenues for maintaining culture and our social histories is through food. Food is something we all can relate to, but it is often one of the least documented and recorded accounts of how we conduct our lives. Many of us have the gustatory memory of a family member’s prize-winning chili, pasta sauce or cake but little more than chicken-scratched notes on a piece of scrap paper with imprecise measurements to recreate the recipe for ourselves. Preserving food heritage is vital to understanding who we are, where we come from and what we ate to fuel us. The goal of this book was to collect and curate family recipes that represent the cultural make-up of the Capital Region, and I think we achieved that goal. Just like a treasured family recipe, this book was a labor of love for all that were involved, and it is a true joy to have this compilation of local food history bound together in physical form.”

Tickets for the Shaker Your Plate fundraiser are $30, available at the door or for online purchase. The book costs $19.95 and may be ordered online or purchased at the event.

During Shaker Your Plate, Fox will moderate a panel discussion on the importance of food in maintaining history and heritage.

The Shaker Heritage Society is a nonprofit organization that oversees the Watervliet Shaker National Historic District, site of America’s first Shaker settlement.

The address is 5 Meeting House Road in Latham, adjacent to the Albany International Airport and off Heritage Lane.

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