I’m sure many of you have a collection of family recipes. I think our tastes are a blend of genetic, cultural, and regional factors – I know some of my favorite recipes have been added since we’ve moved ‘south’ to St Louis – flavors and tastes that I hadn’t been exposed to as a child. But have you stopped to recognize and document the stories behind the recipes? Who gave this recipe to you and how did they come across it? Was it something they grew up with or something they discovered? I was reminded of this as I asked my Aunt Linnea for her pecan pie recipe this morning. She is also a Southern transplant, so I’m thinking her recipe came from her time in South Carolina, not from her childhood in Minnesota. (I also have her chex mix recipe 🙂 )
I have my French Canadian great grandmother’s recipe for cream cake, which my mother remembers eating for her birthday. I’ve tried making it several times, but I think recipes that are generations older suffer because our ingredients are different now. The cake I made was dry, but maybe that’s just how it was? (or I just need to become a better baker – lol) My cousin asked for the recipe and has had it for her birthday too.
I have my neighbor’s cheese ball recipe, which she made for my husband every time we got together for dinner – he makes and eats it now in her memory. I have my mother’s recipes for peanut brittle, gingersnaps, and ham balls. I have my husband’s grandmother’s recipe for Danish æbleskiver, which we turn in the pan using HER mother’s steel knitting needles. I have a handwritten note from my Korean friend for ‘BBQ’ with differing ingredients for pork and beef. My mother-in-law has given me her recipes for bran muffins and her famous caramels. I remember making tomato soup in the hot summer with my best friend’s family and think of her when I make it now.
What recipes do you have in your collections that have come from family and friends? Do you know their stories and secrets? I certainly need to document my recipe box more carefully and deliberately!