JAY — When you think of good old southern cooking, perhaps memories of your grandparents or great grandparents spring to your mind and you wish you had a specific recipe from them.
The community of Jay's historical society decided they didn't want to let any of the old recipes of their ancestry go to waste of came up with an idea for a fundraiser a few years ago that is still making money today.
In 2011, the society decided to compile a cookbook derived of recipes donated by the community from their ancestry. Inside the approximately 200 page cookbook are recipes for making beverages, seafood, desserts, candy, and even a recipe from the early 1900s for making chicken and dumplings, including giving detailed instructions on how to slaughter the chicken.
"Many folks in the community contributed to the collection of recipes," said Jay Historical Society President Matt Dobson. "People contributed old recipes from grandmothers and great grandmothers who had passed down family recipes through the centuries."
The cook book, called "Taste & Tales of the Great Pine Level," served as a fundraiser to support the Jay Museum. According to Dobson, at the time of its publication, over $20,000 was made and the society was able to install a new HVAC system in the museum. Dobson said the name of the book was selected to reflect the history of the town.
"Before Jay was established as a town in 1902, the area was known as Pine Level, so there’s a bit of history in the name too," he said.
After the fundraiser, the popularity of the book continued and the society continued to sell it and utilize the profits for community projects. Dobson said the society is currently working toward constructing a replica of an old homestead on property adjacent to the museum.
"It will be an extension of the museum and an educational tool for the community and visitors about life in the Jay area during the late 1800s," Dobson said.
The book is available for purchase on Amazon.com.