I hope everyone is reconnecting with their family members during Christmas and New Year’s. I like to picture families, the world over, sitting around the table laughing and telling stories. I like to picture mothers lovingly encouraging their children (of all ages!) to eat their vegetables, fathers dishing out the advice father’s like to dish out, brothers and sisters reliving the things they put their parents through, and grandparents remembering Christmas magic from the past.
I love to cook – love, love, love it. So on holidays, my family always knows where to find me.. In the kitchen amongst pots, pans, flour, ham, corn, cakes, wooden spoons, etc. It’s always so cute – my cat Alexa is always nearby and there’s always a steady stream of traffic as different family members come through to sample both my conversation and food.
At one point, my oldest daughter Emily came through with her boyfriend (great, great kids). We talked about family recipes and food for about an hour. He’s part Italian, so he was telling me all about his mother’s lasagna. As I was putting together my Corn Pudding, part of me was craving lasagna.
I showed him cookbooks I was compiling for each of my girls – filled with my favorite recipes, tips, advice, warnings, etc. Thanks to all of my own recipes, a huge cookbook collection and my food blog, my girls will never run out of recipes or cooking knowledge.
Unfortunately, there will be a lot of family favorites that I can’t pass along. My mom and sister in law each died completely unexpectedly and my only living grandmother now has dementia. Each of them had favorite recipes I would LOVE to have in my collection, but I never put them there.
We tend to think our loved ones will be around forever, don’t we?
Here’s something I think would be a really great idea: Family’s should compile a Family Heirloom Cookbook and ask different loved ones to contribute each of their favorite recipes. Thanks to the internet, recipes can be e-mailed back and forth and copies can be made, so each family member can have his or her own copy.
You have no idea how happy I’d be to have my mom’s meatloaf (she was queen of meatloaf!), my mother-in-law’s Dump Cake, my father-in-law’s delicious baked fish, my sister-in-law’s spaghetti sauce, and my grandmother’s…well, everything! That woman could have taken on Bobby Flay in her day. She’d have had him on his knees begging for mercy, recipes, and seconds!
I’m going hunting this week for recipes I can still get my oven mitts on. Before she got a Cracker Barrrel within 10 minutes of her home, my aunt cooked a lot. So, I’m going to hit her up for some of her recipes. She recently made some Christmas Gingerbread Cookies (pictured above) that were so delicious I could have eaten the entire platter, myself. She’s a great, great cook/baker – she’s simply decided that it’s SO much easier to let Cracker Barrel do all the work – and clean-up!
I’m also going to contact family members a little further away – in distance and on the family tree. I plan on contacting another sister-in-law and begging, blackmailing or whatever it takes for her chicken and dumplings recipe. The woman weighs, like, 30 pounds soaking wet but cooks like a 240 pound southern lady.
How perfect would such a collection be for Christmas gifts next year? With all of the amazing Scrapbook kits on the market, they could be decorated beautifully and cherished forever.
As far as that goes, another great Christmas gift for 2009 would be a Family Memories Scrapbook – with or without recipes.
When it comes to talking early about Christmas and Christmas gifts, that may have just been a personal best.
Once again, I hope you’re having a beautiful Christmas season. Make every moment count double.