Sunday, June 5, 2011

On Family Recipes

I speak in praise of family foods. Not just the things that appear once a year on holidays, but the things that you think of when you are far from home. The things you crave when you've eaten restaurant food for a week straight. The chicken-and-dumpling soup (made with the leftover chicken carcass, of course), the new potatoes and peas, the Sunday morning waffles, the raisin snack cake. That thing that no one seems to understand the deliciousness of outside your family. There are things you don't want to admit to for fear of snobbish judgment: things with cream of chicken soup or Velveeta or prunes or potato chip topping.

You take them for granted. Your parents or grandparents make them, so you don't need to. There may be better recipes; recipes that are either more elaborate or easier, but not quite the same. But grandmas don't last forever, and neither do moms. The food that reminds you of them will be lost.

***

*If your parents and grandparents are still alive, get those recipes soon. Today would be ideal.

*If you have children or grandchildren, write down your recipes and get them each a copy.

*Answer: What foods remind you of home? What were the foods you ate most as a child?

24 comments:

nali said...

Yorkshire Pudding
Hamburger Gravy
Tuna Fish Gravy served on toast
Frikkadillars
Soft-boiled egg on toast with warm milk
ham and beans

Jana said...

It is as if I have deja vu...

Sara said...

I'm lucky, my mom wrote down all the favorite family recipes on cards when I was in college! A great resource. Some favorites:

lasagna
Texas sheet cake
blueberry buckle
key lime pie

Jana said...

Aw, what a great mom!

Miss Kagashi said...

Home for me is a bowl full of shredded cheddar (accented over-so slightly with mom's potato and ham soup), raspberry jam made with fruits picked from the bushes behind our house, hot tea and ginger snaps, apple cake (with glaze!), and Dad's firehouse lasagna which contains everything but the kitchen sink.

Miss Kagashi said...

I'm also very lucky that all of my late grandma's recipes were strictly cataloged after her death. At a certain point in every child in my family's life, we receive copies of them in our very own book (with some blanks to start recipes of our own). My sisters and cousins got theirs at the bridal showers... I'm waiting on mine... which is ironic since I cook more than all of them put together.

Jana said...

Those sound extremely fantastic. When you see the tiny boxlets of raspberries for multiple dollars at the grocery store, do you cry a little inside? I do.

Snaps for your family! Everyone should do this.

Emz said...

Hi there, just a quick one to say what a great blog, really enjoying reading it!
Things that remind me of my childhood have to be a proper sunday lunch with Yorkshire puddings, my mum's lasagne and eggy bread. They always make me feel better no matter how bad the day seems to be!

Elly said...

The bread my mum bakes, with butter and marmite
Lentil stew (which my family calls 'sludge'!)
Shortbread and apple pie
Rice with bits in (not 'risotto' - as not made with carnaroli rice, pancetta etc)
Sunday roast dinner

I can replicate most of these fairly well.

Jana said...

Emz- I love Yorkshire pudding. Eggy bread is french toast, yes? Also tasty times.

Elly- "rice with bits in" sounds like a very comfortable dish.

melissa said...

my mom's mom - piroshki, one of two indications her German family lived in Russia for several generations (the other being beets in her vegetable soup). Comfort food. Also her mom's homemade marshmallows, a yearly tradition.

my dad's mom - Bisquick biscuits with mayhaw jelly, and "Mexican chicken" - some sort of creamy chicken casserole with crunched up Doritos mixed in. My favorite casserole bar none.

my mom - sour cream chicken enchiladas, jello with bananas, and fried round steak with Kraft Dinner. mmh.

Jana said...

I had to look up what a mayhaw was. :D I would happily eat at your house.

Roger said...

From the homestead days in Alaska. Ground mooseburger, smoked salmon, whipped lowbush cranberries picked where the forest fires went, blueberries picked in the Talkeetna mountains, raspberries that grew in old rotted logs. Wilted lettuce salad.Wild duck and geese. Fresh clams and crab.

Jana said...

Fond memories of road-killed moose meat...

Nonna Beach said...

So true...I;m glad I have a few recipes from my Mom and Nana and my Hubs Mom and grandma too !

Nothing fancy during my growing up years but these 4 meals I loved that my Mom made:

Baked Mac and Cheese with tomatoes with bread croutons soaked in butter on top ( we would always fight over the croutons )

Meat Loaf with tomato sauce on top

Scalloped potatoes with stewed tomatoes

Spaghetti and meat sauce

Wow, we sure ate a lot of tomatoes !!!

Jana said...

I'll bet you had a garden, didn't you?

Nonna Beach said...

Yes, my parents worked hard in the yard and garden and it was awesome having fresh produce gowing up...it was a valuable legacy from all our parents and grandparents and now our kids have gardens too and are teaching their kids to garden !!!

Jackie said...

I've been a huge chicken noodle soup-aholic for most of my life, so when my mom learned how to make it from scratch I was ecstatic. It's my favorite meal she makes! She's visiting for my birthday, and I requested her homemade chicken noodle soup for birthday dinner. She's offered on several occassions to give me the recipe, but for some reason, I don't think it will tatste as good unless she makes it.

I also love banana pudding! Story goes that when I was a baby and meeting the whole family for the first time I wouldn't let anyone hold me. Then, one day my grandfather fed me some banana pudding and we instantly became pals. I've loved banana pudding ever since =]

Jana said...

There is no comparison between homemade chicken noodle soup and canned. It is so very delicious.

Jenn G said...

Love this post and all the comments! Was just wishing someone had written down my Great-Grandmother Cinderella's (yes, that was her real name) recipes.

What reminds me of home? Beef stew cooked in a pressure cooker, served with amazing homemade mashed potatoes with loads of butter and salt. Chocolate Coconut cake, Caramel Cake, pickled anything from the garden. Fresh butter beans, fresh corn, sweet potato pie. Coconut cream pie (my grandfather's favorite). Pecan pies with molasses. Sourdough rolls. Collards with vinegar...so good you could eat them cold out of the fridge. Potato salads, chicken salads, deviled eggs...cucumbers in vinegar, tomatoes that were still warm from the summer outside. Sweet tea in endless supply. And those Little Debbie Raisin Cakes and cherry vanilla ice cream. It all makes me yearn for home (and gain 5 lbs just thinking about it!)

Jana said...

I hazard a guess you are from the south. ;) I love deviled eggs. So much. I always have to restrain myself from standing by the deviled egg platter and just downing them.

Sarah Rachelle said...

Peanut butter & Miracle Whip sandwiches. Not many people understand that one. But it's good. I think I'll go make myself one right now. :-)

Jana said...

Eh. I'd eat it. My husband would probably vomit, but I'd eat it.

Nancy said...

Mom loved the combination of sharp cheese and jam on sandwiches. It is actually tasty.