What’s Food Got to do With Family?

One table, 4 generations of skilled cooks
One table, 4 generations of skilled cooks

One of my favorite topics to write about when I’m doing a family remembrance, is Food.  Almost any significant life event that’s already occurred (or will eventually) within any sect of my family ends up revolving around the table.  We feast at weddings, on birthdays and anniversaries (of anyone or anything), even after funerals.

Holidays are a traditional food-centric “thing” for us. Picnics and barbecues are the celebration of eating–for the sake of celebrating eating.

Across my family, each generation, and each cook reigns supreme over one item or another. And, depending on the “current relations and temperaments” at any given time, some of these recipes will be passed down the generational line, others will be lifted only to the “Great Cookbook in the Sky” for retirement.

Some cooks are/were generous with the sharing of secret methods and gastronomical magic–others are down-right stingy. Why? I couldn’t tell you, I’d probably be poisoned at the next big “occasion.” Some of these recipe withholding food fights can smolder for years…slowly escalating to a boil…just like a perfect stew or trick for frying up a perfect batch of peppers and onions…

For years my Dad harped at my Mom about the way her “peppers and onions” tasted different from the peppers and onions that his Mom made.

Maybe this was because my Mother’s Mom never made “peppers and onions.” That faction of the fam didn’t really believe in those two vegetables as foods suitable for cooking.

“Call Mom and ask her before you cook these next time,” was the proclamation I recall hearing after every “peppers and onions” incident. In fairness, I think my mom did call her Mother-in-law, once, about “peppers and onions.” I also think she got the complete stonewall treatment. Because she (Grandma) wasn’t a huge fan of her (my Mom)–follow?

Well, followed or not, take my advice and stay clear of the middle

When my own husband experienced the famed and authentic “peppers and onions” at Grandma’s one day, he gave Grams a hug, a little peck on the cheek, and the next thing you know, he was cooking up those “peppers and onions” the same way my Dad remembered them as a kid.

In our family, it’s all about how you approach the Bear. Some people are just better about laying the honey on nice and thick when it counts

So throw whoever you can into that ring of wild beasts (the women who cook and tightly guard their “special secrets.”). See if they can schmooze a little and find a way to preserve the best ones. I still want Aunt Helen’s potato salad recipe, but at least I’m privy to the family sugar cookies.

They are to-die-for–especially if you let loose a single crumb of the secret recipe!

And check this out–My hubby actually turned over the peppers and onions secret!

Hmmm. Glad he wrote that down..

 

 

Author: Mom

I am a writer who just happens to love family trees. As the self proclaimed Family Historian and Writer in Residence at my house, I blog to others about family history writing. When I first began this journey, everyone was bored silly with my "family tree stuff." Once I started writing the stories down, everyone willingly joined in. Now the whole family pretty much participates! Imagine that ! Follow along, and you can gain a little family appreciation for all your hard nosed genealogical research while learning a little something about the craft of writing too.

27 thoughts on “What’s Food Got to do With Family?”

  1. Oh, food is so much a part of our family’s lives. We try to make homemade food every night, which is sometimes tough but so worth it. 🙂 My husband is the chef of the family and he does so well for Dorian in getting her to love a variety of food early on. Food is one of the things that brings us all together, at least for a bit, on a daily basis. Great post. 🙂

    I know that you have a large following and that you have more than likely been nominated before, but I nominated you for the Versatile Bloggers Award. I love your blog so much, and I wanted to include you. Thank you so much for your inspirational words and memory centered blog.

    https://dorianshand.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/i-am-versatile-i-am-versatile-the-versatile-bloggers-award/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dorian,
      Darling little Sweetie–Blog Mom is honored and blushing with pride. I have to decline the lovely award because my writing work schedule is nearly unmanageable as it is. I don’t think I could be a good steward of such an honor. ♡
      Your mission, should be to convince Mama to turn your year-one blog pages into a printed book, and to do the same with each successive year. You have no idea what this can mean to you in your teen years, as you graduate college, or start your own beautiful family ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh no worries! In our minds, you are given it anyway. I never care if a person that I nominate does an entry as there is little time (it was hard to do the one that I did due to time)- I just want to show how much some blogs mean to me. As for the books, that would be a beautiful thing to do. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My growing up experiences with my mom’s cooking were…, interesting. A mixture of northern/southern cooking. She’s from Maine. She moved here over 55 years ago. We ate grits with sugar, milk and butter, while all my cousins ate them with red eye gravy, or soft fried eggs and a lot of salt and pepper. Some used ketchup.

    There’s one thing my mom fixes that I love and it’s a recipe I keep saying I need to learn how to make, cause once she’s gone, no one “down heah” will remember it – or care to eat it most likely. It’s creton which is like a meat pate. This is one of her northern dishes. She made it all the time when I was growing up. It’s French Canadian (mainly out of Quebec) I think, which makes sense b/c my grandfather was French Canadian and moved to Maine sometime in his childhood I believe.

    So. There here we were, in the south, growing up amongst cotton and corn fields, with a love of grits, collards and hushpuppies, oh, and the occasional snack of creton. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Holy cow, I’ve never heard of “creton” except to call someone a “cretin.” I wonder if the slur cretin is less about bile counts and more akin to being “chopped liver?”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. No mean cooks in the family. Just don’t ask when they were busy cooking for the crowd, otherwise you’d get told to sit at the table while paper and pen were found and you’d go home with more than one recipe, usually with explicit instructions such as mix cookie dough with your hands, the warmth will make the cookies tender and more flavorful, or you might find yourself in the midst of making the recipe you asked for, just so you’d know how it was done the right way.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Nice article, Kassie! Food is an important part of my family’s traditions, too. Especially on Mom’s side of the family. Even if it’s not a holiday, there’s always a smorgasbord to choose from, even though that side of the family isn’t very big. *lol*

    Having a mother and grandmothers that loved to cook rubbed off on me, too. I have a number of recipes for dinners, desserts, etc. that have been passed down through generations. It’s neat to be able to make them on your own and know you’re keeping part of your family’s essence alive that way. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. No food fights or recipe hoarders, no. The meals themselves are fairly calm, but stepping into my mother’s kitchen when we’re preparing a holiday meal is like stepping into a hurricane. *lol*

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Loved this post. And how cool is that recipe?! My mom made Swedish pastry for Christmas. Oh, that almond smell as it baked! When she passed I inherited her handwritten recipes for scones. Lots and lots of recipes for scones! Who knew she loves them so much?! After she passed my daughter who was in the midst of deep grief pulled out a scone recipe and baked up a tearful batch. I know her nana was with her that day, guiding her with all the love in her heart.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Sounds like family gatherings were amazing in your family!! I actually don’t recall many recipes that I would want to keep, strangely enough. My Grandma made amazing foods, but I only recall the traumatic ones!! “Junk” was something I HAD to eat and “LIKE IT!”. Nasty stuff at the time…
    Thanks for your fun post! I love the Thomas Jefferson recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vicki, I forgot to mention the one “Aunt”–everyone has one–whose food all kids (and most adults) avoided like the plague! Think of Aunt Bethany’s Meow Mix laced Jello mold in the movie Christmas Vacation! Whew!

      Liked by 1 person

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