Welcome to Our Family Cookbook! by Tamara Toler Steinkamp
This is a family recipe website community of the Toler/Ligon and Vadeboncoeur/Hunt families created by siblings, Travis Toler and Tamara Toler Steinkamp. Truly, it’s been a labor of love. Thank you to my brother, Travis, without whom this website wouldn’t exist.
Coming from a large family of seven kids, there was always “an assignment” each of us kids had to do to help get dinner on the table. While we might have grumbled about having to set the table yet again, or tear up lettuce and cut up veggies AGAIN, little did we realize, we were in a sort of cooking boot camp. It was time that we got to spend with our mom and dad as they taught us the basics of and their love for cooking. I remember great dishes like Grandma Vadeboncoeur’s homemade noodles, mom’s fried chicken cooked in an iron skillet, and cabbage rolls cooked in a pressure cooker, or the Christmas that Dad cooked a goose outside on the Weber Grill with snow on the ground. Memories of late summer canning and preserving tomatoes from our garden, corn, peaches, and making homemade jelly. Then, enjoying the taste of peaches in a “Crazy Crust Peach Cobbler” bubbly and hot from the oven on a cold winter’s day, and remembering the hot summer day we canned those peaches.
There were many family birthday celebrations where grandparents would come and bring dessert like my favorite, Grandma Pearl Toler’s Texas Sheet Cake, or the famous Vadeboncoeur “Watergate Salad” made by one of our loving aunts, which was really, more of a dessert. Family gatherings meant great food around the table, or in our case, as avid campers, around a fire pit at a camp site. Dad’s infamous fish fry, which I still try to take advantage of today, making the 4 hour trek downstate to central Illinois to mom and dad’s campsite as many times as possible each summer to get my fill of blue gill.
Now, as adults, it is clear that these basics that our parents instilled in us have blossomed. As the only girl in the family (and the one that always seemed to be assigned to wash the dishes – because you know “that’s a girl job!”), I can honestly say that as “grown-ups” my brothers cook some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. They love taking a basic recipe and putting their “spin” on it. And, its not just my brothers. We all have some incredible cooks in our families with many recipes that date back to our grandparents and before. Helping to prepare meals and enjoying them around the family table is a tradition not many busy families get to enjoy today. With this website, my brother and I hope to keep cooking a family affair, to keep these recipes alive and available for everyone to enjoy…and to help you instill a love for cooking with your children and your children’s children.
So post away! Add your favorite recipes, memories and photos. Comment on others’ recipes, especially if it triggers a fond memory, and share it in the “comments” section that appears under the recipe. Upload old and new photos of family gatherings…don’t forget to clearly identify the people in the photo and how they are related to you, and we will post them on the family album page of this site. Let’s preserve our favorite family recipes and memories for all of us to enjoy now, and so future generations can have a “taste” of what it was like growing up with memories of great family times and great food! I can’t wait to read and try my hand at cooking all of your great recipes!!
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