A collection of recipes, photos, and anecdotes from the late 1800's to around 1970.

These favorite recipes have been shared, prepared, and written down through generations of family and friends, spreading from Copake, New York to towns near and far. In my little village, when a group of women gathered to knit, I’m sure lots of recipes were exchanged; many became our favorites. I’m assuming they were passed around from one family to another, creating a ripple affect until they traveled way beyond Columbia County.

The recipes created a melting pot, bringing many people together while sharing some “comfort” foods. In the kitchen is where the grounding takes place. A time to gather, share, remissness the days activities, and give thanks to the great earth that produces so much of our nutritional needs. A time to come together and bond, celebrate life, and enhance our taste buds with the flavors we combine in the dishes we prepare.


I grew up in Copake, N.Y. and now reside in Latham, N.Y. I am a free lance photographer, cartoonist, and author. COOK & CHATTER is in memory of my mother; however this book honors all women and is dedicated to women and men that just "love to cook." I started to enjoy this wonderful task when I was very young - standing beside my mother watching her and then being allowed to try it on my own. My joy grew more and more over the years. I now take pride in creating my own combinations and experimenting with new flours, alternative sugars, and fats. Then adding what I think will give it that extra zip different from others, yet healthy. It is a wonderful escape as well and when the house fills with delightful aroma there is nothing better. This venture was very different than anything I've done before. Having many friends participate, and all of us awaiting the final cookbook, was very exhilarating. I also have a cartoon series in a local paper. One of my five cats is the star, "DUMA." They have been an inspiration in many aspects of my life. And I have two cats that love feta cheese, avocado, goat cheese, and 2 % fage yogurt!

Nancy Fuller- Farmhouse Rules- Food Network

NANCY FULLER endorsed COOK & CHATTER, A Trip Down Memory Lane," and wrote the forward. How blessed I am! Thank you Nancy.

Nancy and I grew up together in the small country farm town of Copake, New York. I can still see us in her family farmhouse kitchen talking about our future dreams. That was many, many, years ago. Neither of us imagining where we are today. Possibly Nancy did. She certainly has the determination to live life to the fullest and reach for the stars. And now a "Star" herself. Her smile is contagious and put that together with her creative talent in the kitchen: you will be hooked. And heading to your kitchen to stir up one of her beautiful, appetizing rules. (Recipes were called rules, back in the day.) Make sure to watch her television show "Farmhouse Rules." And look for her cookbook with the same title. A pure delight.


A Portion Goes to:

HOPE in the BOAT, a breast cancer survivors’ dragon boating association in Latham, N.Y. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May, 2015. Not only is this a wonderful organization that helps women overcome the fear from their diagnosis, but also become athletes and feel good about themselves again. Paddling beyond breast cancer.



Fuller Farmer Web Store
Shaker Heritage Village Colonie NY
George's Shaker Shed  Colonie NY
Taste NY Taconic Parkway

The FARM STORE - Rt. 22 Millerton NY 

Pasiflora - Hillsdale NY

Oblong Books & Music -


Book House Stuyvesant Plaza Albany NY  (1 left)

Departure Albany International Airport

Love Apple Farm Ghent NY

Red  Lion Inn-Stockbridge, Mass.

Indian Ladder Farms


Grammy Nells's Hard Molasses Cookies.
Even people that don't like molasses like these cookies.


  BRIAN ALBERG As a chef I often look back to the foods that my mother and grandmother introduced me to when I was young, those foods that when you smell them instantly transport you back to a place in time. It’s those foods and family memories that shaped my culinary philosophy, and to this day, 30 years into my craft, fuel my inspiration to create. COOK & CHATTER, A Trip Down Memory Lane, provides that    of soul in a cookbook; whereas, one of just recipes and pictures does not. It’s the story telling around simple, well executed recipes that makes Jill Peck Vona’s book an interesting soulful read. It inspires me to want to try the recipes with my daughter and serve them to my friends.

I’ve been cooking since I was a young boy after the untimely loss of my Mother Pam. It’s been a pleasure to read and learn more of the past through this book. I look forward to exploring more of these old family recipes and plan to use them in the future in my professional and personal recipes. Cooking is one of the joys of my life, next to skiing (water and snow). I’m very excited to have “Cook & Chatter” in my book/recipe collection. Thank you Jill!

Executive Chef
A.S. Fine Foods
Rye Brook, New York


The STITCH & CHATTER GROUP- where many recipes started.....

READERS DIGEST REVIEW. February 4, 2017. Awards given in May. This is the preliminary entry and then reviews are e-mailed now in February. Book Review
Reviewed by Carla Trueheart for Readers' Favorite

Cook & Chatter: A Trip Down Memory Lane was an absolute delight to read. With a clear, simple theme of family, tradition, and wonderful food, this cookbook will remain close to my heart long after reading. The cookbook opens with a Foreword by Food Network’s Nancy Fuller, then goes on with notes about the recipes and traditions listed inside. From there, author Jill Peck Vona gives us helpful tips, such as placing water inside a measuring cup first so oil doesn’t stick, and continues with cute little stories about family and small-town living. The recipes are fun with no pressure — these are just family recipes to play around with and enjoy. Some of the included recipes are mouthwatering molasses recipes, cakes, pumpkin breads, pickles, blueberry muffins, an interesting recipe called Tomato Soup Cake, and Jell-O recipes that hearken back to the fifties and sixties era of baking and family get-togethers. Many of the recipes are handwritten, and there are pictures and cute little cooking quotes sprinkled here and there as well.

My family and I are huge fans of the Food Network and watch it continually, so I was excited to read the opening by Nancy Fuller. After that, I was really drawn into the theme of family life throughout Cook & Chatter: A Trip Down Memory Lane, and loved the recipes. As a vegetarian, I appreciated the Garden Burger recipe, though there certainly is a variety of all recipes here! I’m excited to try many of these, and hopefully will some day get the courage to make the Men’s Salad! There is a definite feel of family recipes, family love, and community — there’s even a one-hundred-year-old recipe included. Author Jill Peck Vona did a superb job collecting recipes, photos, and quotes and putting them together in a cohesive theme. I highly recommend the book to home cooks, bakers, and anyone interested in nostalgic recipes!

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2nd Edition: COOK & CHATTER a trip down memory lane- $35  (50  more pages plus s/h)

A collection of old recipes, old photos, old handwritten recipes from the late 1800's to 1970.  A portion going to HOPE IN THE BOAT women that paddle beyond the disease.

The $35 cover's s/h for x amount of books. Pay pal isn't figuring shipping. After I calculate number of books and shipping, most orders  will get a refund check.

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