Brookhaven biz owner shares nostalgic secrets of family recipes!

photo: Heidi Harris

In an age when food is fast and easy to order from just about any restaurant, Ashley Schoenith is on a mission to get people back in the kitchen not just to eat, but to cook. And from scratch, no less. That goal stems from the love of nostalgia that inspired her to launch the Heirloomed company 18 years ago. In almost two decades of photographing aprons, candles, fabrics, cushions, wallpaper, mixing bowls and more, something edible often wound up in the shot. Part of it was styling, but another part was the Brookhaven mom’s fascination with food. “My brand is all about the nostalgia of yesteryear but making it current for today,” she says. “Growing up in Tallahassee, I spent a good deal of time in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother. We ate home-cooked meals all the time, and I grew up making pot roast and chocolate cake. I still have a penchant for baking and cooking, especially with timeless recipes everyone should know how to make.”

Schoenith has assembled 100 of those must-know recipes into The Heirloomed Cookbook, an intergenerational collection of dishes and drinks handed down from her and her husband’s families and updated for contemporary cooks.

“I’ve always wanted to do a book, and in the last year and a half, I really homed in on putting it together,” she says. “I wanted it to be a coffee table book for the kitchen island, for it to be beautiful and timeless. I think we captured that aesthetic.”

The full-color book is divided into traditional sections, from appetizers and entrees through desserts and cocktails. Each recipe is noteworthy for being a classic dish or a family favorite. Schoenith’s personal favorites, copied from stacks of old recipe cards she inherited, include a bourbon slush cocktail, strawberry shortcake and chocolate and caramel pecan turtles. Each entry comes with a little blurb that explains the backstory of why it was included, who created it and how to replicate it perfectly.

“My favorite thing is the story behind every recipe,” she says. “A lot of them came from my visiting Grandma, sitting and listening as she made something then having her write it down.”

One of Schoenith’s most vivid memories is centered on Grandma’s waffles and ice milk (a less expensive version of ice cream made with milk). “When I was young, I visited, and she’d make homemade waffles with ice milk, syrup and fresh fruit. It was the best dinner! She was the inspiration for my business; I started selling aprons from her kitchen table, and my brand was originally named Ice Milk Aprons.”

Working with photographer and long-time collaborator Heidi Harris, Schoenith recreated the recipes in her own kitchen. “My three kids loved shooting day. They’d come in asking, ‘What did you make?’ They spent a lot of time eating the food.” Not all the nostalgic creations made the cut, Schoenith admits. “Yeah, the frozen salad with marshmallows, pineapple and whipped cream—I left that out.”


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