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Family Heirloom Recipes from the Illinois State Fair

The Museum and Bloomington Public Library are pleased to host Catherine Lambrecht, program director for the Highland Park Historical Society and Illinois Humanities Road Scholar, for a program that will explore heirloom recipes from throughout the Midwest and the stories behind them. This free, public program will be held on Saturday, March 25 at 2:00 p.m. in the Museum’s second floor courtroom and live-streamed via the Museum’s YouTube page. You can access the live-stream by clicking this link.

Since 2009, Lambrecht has judged Family Heirloom Recipes contests on behalf of Greater Midwest Foodways in Illinois, as well as Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Contestants would enter their best scratch family heirloom recipe suitable for a family or community dinner. Contestants would bring to the fair a prepared dish along with a history of who passed the recipe down to them.

This presentation offers an opportunity to follow the judging experience by providing the histories and recipes presented as submitted at the Illinois State Fair (2009-2019) with pictures of the food as presented at the fair. The foods were sometimes submitted simply in their transport container, or more elaborately on the family’s china with relevant props of family pictures, kitchen paraphernalia and their loved one’s handwritten recipe. Lambrecht’s program will highlight the wonderful stories she has collected over the years such as: dueling pasta salads; a boy's rite of passage as his pig may become his breakfast; a family of mushroom collectors' old county traditions, and more.

Catherine Lambrecht is a veteran of culinary competitions at the Lake County and Illinois State Fairs, a former University of Illinois Extension volunteer whose specialties were Master Food Preserver and Master Gardner, and a founder of Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance, Chicago Foodways Roundtable (sister organization to Culinary Historians of Chicago) and LTHforum.com, a Chicago culinary chat site.

Lambrecht is also program director for the Highland Park Historical Society and Illinois Mycological Association (Mushroom Club) and editor of Heirloom Recipes from the Illinois State Fair, A Bicentennial Project. For her, a day spent well is when she learns something new.

For more information about this program, please contact the Adult Services Department at Bloomington Public Library at 309-590-6168 or email reference@bloomingtonlibrary.org.

Illinois Humanities is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA)], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by speakers, program participants, or audiences do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH, Illinois Humanities, IACA, our partnering organizations, or our funders.

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