Family Heirloom Recipes From the Illinois State Fair

A Road Scholar Program by Catherine Lambrecht

Pound Cake Recipe Postcard rescaled

Jul 25, 2024


Glen Carbon Centennial Library
198 S Main St
Glen Carbon, IL 62034



Since 2009, Catherine 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. The recipe should have originated 50 years ago or earlier. 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.

Catherine will highlight the wonderful stories she has collected over the years as an expert culinary judge. Some examples include:

  • How a contestant wanted a judge to settle a long-held family argument about which is better: green or white asparagus soup?
  • A right of passage as young boy’s pet pig may be his breakfast
  • Dueling pasta salads from the church and community dinner circuit
  • An Italian-American family circling a cutting board mounded with polenta and meat sauce ready to dig in
  • A family of mushroom collectors preserve their old country traditions

If Catherine inspires you to document a family favorite recipe to share with loved ones, then she has accomplished her mission.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Betsye Stinson at

Learn more about Catherine Lambrecht, this program, and how to book it here.

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