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Family Heirloom Recipes from the Illinois State Fair

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Program Description

Family Heirloom Recipes from the Illinois State Fair

Since 2009, Catherine Lambrecht has judged Family Heirloom Recipe contests on behalf of Greater Midwest Foodways in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Join Lambrecht as she highlights the stories she has collected as an expert culinary judge through histories and recipes presented at the Illinois State Fair from 2009 to 2019. Contestants would submit their best scratch family heirloom recipe (at least 50 years old) suitable for a family or community dinner. They would then bring the prepared dish, along with a history of who passed the recipe down to them, to the contest. Foods were submitted in their transport containers, or more elaborately on the family’s china, along with relevant props including family pictures, kitchen paraphernalia, and the contestants' loved one’s handwritten recipe. All recipes would be provided as presented to preserve their historical integrity.

You'll hear about 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.

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, and, a Chicago culinary chat site.

This program is presented in partnership with the McLean County Museum of History. Attend this program in person in the Museum’s second floor courtroom and/or watch it live-streamed through the Museum’s YouTube channel at McLean County Museum of History - YouTube.


lllinois 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.