Honestly, it's one of the things I love about my kitchen. When I was a kid, my grandparents had a huge kitchen. At all get-togethers we would congregate around the big table in that kitchen. I remember watching my mother and grandparents moving around in the various family kitchens, working to warm or cook enough food for all holiday guests. Food interactions didn't stop there, whenever my paternal grandparents would come for a visit they would always bring a pink bundt cake that my Nonna had made just for our family. Years later, as an adult, I was searching for a cake recipe and realized that my mother had some of Nonna's cookbooks filled with handwritten heirlooms - what a treasure! My grandmother had clipped recipes and wrote corrections or amendments herself. It's accurate to say that a lot of my family's interactions revolve around food.
My own interactions with food and kitchen culture continue. I love feeding people. I like making good food and good desserts. So many social interactions are based on food - just take a look at the kitchen appliance industry or the number of restaurants that you have near your home. I've got three great heirloom recipe stories:
1. One of my friends is married to a man who loves chow chow (something that I've never eaten). I was talking about chow chow to Katherine, my dear long-time teacher and friend, and she mentioned that she had a chow chow recipe. She said that she had her husband made the recipe themselves many years ago. Here is the story:
Katherine's husband returned from his grandfather's house with sacks full of green tomatoes. There was a front coming in, and her grandfather-in-law was worried the tomatoes would ruin. When Katherine wondered what the tomatoes were for, her husband announced that they were going to make chow chow. She said they were up until the wee hours of the morning making the chow chow together. And she said that this recipe made so MUCH chow chow that she had some left over several moves later. The Chow Chow recipe came into my possession in 2015, but this recipe has been around a lot longer than that.
2. My mother's brother and his wife are in town from out of state. They brought with them a special treat for us Texas people: Momma Cobb's Pear Relish. My cousin, Debbie, made and canned the pear relish based on Momma Cobb's recipe. I sat around the table, late Monday evening, as my mother and her sister made exclamations of delight over the pear relish (which I don't think I've ever eaten). I was just happy that it's an heirloom recipe that is still being made.
3. I went to a friends family reunion in April 2016 (I pretty much adore all family reunions, even if they aren't for my family...and for this reunion I had a short made that said "I'm not related to you."). One of the results from this reunion is a family recipe book. It contains older recipes that have been handed down in the family, as well as newer recipes.
What are some of your favorite family recipes?