Grandma’s food traditions

Familial food traditions are wonderful.  Here’s First Gen American’s Babci’s sauerkraut tradition.

My familial food traditions are pretty much 1950s Betty Crocker on one side and 1970s French cooking on the other (my dad took a lot of cooking classes when he was a single young man in a city famous for the quality of its chefs).

DH, on the other hand, has one of those wonderful grandmothers who makes things from scratch like nobody else makes.  They may have started in a cookbook or magazine but over the decades they have morphed into something unreproducible.

Of course, the family has tried very hard to reproduce these wonderful foods, the rolls, the jam, the noodles, and so on.

First they asked her to write the recipes down.  Of course the recipe didn’t end up tasting like hers.  Then an aunt decided to video tape her and measure every handful before DH’s grandmother threw them in.  This worked better.

A lot of conversation went like this, “What’s that brown powder you just tossed in without measuring?”  “Oh this?  Just a little nutmeg.”  “Nutmeg?  There’s no nutmeg in the recipe you wrote down.”  “Oh, it’s such a small amount it isn’t worth bothering with.”  And the aunt would add, “a pinch of nutmeg” to the recipe.  DH’s aunt has gotten pretty close on the cinnamon rolls (my favorite which I always request whenever we visit– Grandma DH sends a bag home with me and I am in glycemic coma heaven until they’re gone.)

Throughout our decade or so of marriage, DH has taken it upon himself to try to replicate the dinner rolls.  He’s used the original recipe, and more recently his aunt’s update.  He’s scoured Cook’s Illustrated and a food science textbook (On Food and Cooking) and the internet for hints on why they weren’t rising as high or were too big or too small or too buttery or not the right shade of brown.

The best thing about this process is that I have appreciated every single yummy mistake.  In fact, some of DH’s experiments have ended up yummier than the original to my inexperienced tastebuds, but not to DH’s more experienced ones.

DH wants the rolls to be just the same as his grandmother’s because they taste like love.

And maybe it’s not healthy for food to be equivalent to love, but I’m going to stuff myself silly today and if that’s not love, well, we can’t tell the difference enough to care.  Not today anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are your family food traditions?

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10 Responses to “Grandma’s food traditions”

  1. eemusings Says:

    Oh man I would love to be one of those grandmothers one day. The first I really experienced this was my ex’s grandmother’s chocolate fudge brownies. Nothing compares to them.

    My mum, bless her, wasn’t one of those outofthisworld cooks. And I don’t really have the cooking gene.

  2. First Gen American Says:

    I used to never like cookbooks, but then I found Cook’s Illustrated and the Bread Baker’s apprentice.

    I love how they explain the purpose of the ingredients and why you need both butter and shortening in a pie recipe (butter has better flavor, but shortening gives you the flakiness).

    I’m making a french bread that is a 3 day process for our bread today. I really hope it comes out as good as the effort I put in.

    Slow food rocks. Babci does not use recipes or measuring spoons or cups ever. Trying to learn something from her is impossible.

    Today is going to be great. Grandmas rock.

  3. First Gen American Says:

    Oh, so my tradition is to make everything from absolute scratch and must be fresh. No ready made pie crusts, no store bought bread, no pre packaged vegetables and no cans of cream of mushroom soup will be in any part of our meal. The slower the food the better. We will have the canned cranberry sauce cuz people like it but I willl also have the homemade stuff.

  4. My Thanksgiving Tradition First Gen American First Gen American.com Says:

    [...] was reading Nicole and Maggie’s site on their Thanksgiving tradition and I thought I would share my own [...]

  5. Molly On Money Says:

    My husband is standing over my shoulder telling me if DH really wants to get his ‘geek’ on he needs to get “How Baking Works” by Paula Figoni.
    I’m telling my husband to stop it and write his own damn comments!


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