When my daughter, Sarah, was growing up, she learned how to cook a few simple meals. Once she reached high school, our schedules didn’t always match, so she fended for herself sometimes.
It seemed to be something she enjoyed. She even experimented with cooking.
One time, when I invited a friend for dinner, she surprised us by making meatloaf. However, she thought if she split the meat mixture into two pans, it would make double the amount. Sarah couldn’t understand why she ended up with two pans of two-inch-high meatloaves. We explained to her why it didn’t work, and we all had a good chuckle. It was a fun learning experience for her.
Later, as a homemaker and mother to my grandson, she wanted to expand her Foodie experience and add more variety to her cooking. “I need some new recipes,” she said. “We’re rotating the same stuff.”
So I put my little pea brain to work and decided to gather a collection of family recipes. I contacted my siblings and my stepmother, requesting one or two of their favorite recipes. I asked them to send something she could prepare easily using fairly common ingredients.
No fancy stuff; just good home cooking in her own specialized cookbook.
I compiled the recipes in a binder I’d found in a mail-order catalog. Poppin’ Fresh (otherwise known as the Pillsbury Doughboy) graced the cover and insides of that 3-ring binder. Other Doughboy promotional items came with the binder and after slipping each typed recipe into a plastic sheet protector, I sent the package off to my little girl.
It was more of marriage gift than a wedding gift, but she was happy that she could provide new variety in the meals she cooked. More stuff to add to the rotation, you might say.
My beef stroganoff recipe was the first one I added to the collection. It was the recipe I used for the first meal I cooked for her father when we were dating. He loved it. Now, she makes it too.
My mom’s famous chocolate cake recipe went in as well. Mom called it “Mayonnaise Cake” and it was always chocolate. She made it when she wanted to bake a cake but was low on eggs. There was always Miracle Whip in the fridge so that was her way of substituting. I remember that cake being really moist. It was a winner.
Each family member who cooks has a specialty when it comes to cooking and baking. Mine are spaghetti sauce, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with a ‘secret’ ingredient, and wet burritos with all the elements made from scratch. Maybe someone in your family creates killer appetizers or a stew that keeps everyone warm and filled up on a cold winter day.
Sharing family recipes leaves a legacy to Foodies, and kitchen heritage is important. We form memories around eating with family and friends. For a long time, the potluck meal has been a way people find fellowship and form community. Eating together gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “comfort foods.”
Maybe you’d like to give the gift of food memories to a family member or friend. Do the research. Get creative with presentation. Then believe that your gift will bring fond memories with their every trip to the kitchen.