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Friday, April 20, 2012

Recipes From Mom

What recipes has your mom (or grandmom) passed down to you? In honor of Mother’s Day this year, we’re going to talk about recipes that have been handed down over the generations and we want yours.

For Here & Now senior producer Kathleen McKenna, it was her mother’s Irish soda bread recipe. Producer Emiko Tamagawa (our resident baker – you should try her brownies!) treasures her mom’s German apple cake recipe. And Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst says her daughters have actually shared some special recipes with her for the perfect Mother’s Day breakfast.

Kathy will join us to talk about “Recipes from Mom” in an upcoming show. And we want to hear from you! Send in your recipes and tell us why you cherish them. We’d also love to see snapshots of any hand written recipes, so go digging through those old Betty Crocker cookbooks or index files and see what you can find!

In the meantime, Kathy Gunst shares her Mother’s Day memories below.

Mother’s Day Memories

by Kathy Gunst

Mother’s Day Sunday meant the girls would rise “early”  — as little kids that often meant the crack of dawn, but as preteens and teenagers, alarm clocks were set for eleven so the meal they prepared for me just before noon could still officially be called “breakfast.”

Together with my husband John’s assistance, they would take over the kitchen, and claim it as their own for this one day. They would divide up the chores. One went outside and cut little blossoms off the just-flowering trees and placed them in a small, always wobbly vase. The other would whip the eggs and choose the filling for the omelets or the scramble. There was almost always smoked salmon, bagels, cream cheese and a fruit salad with the first real strawberries of the year, along with whatever other fruit happened to be in the kitchen.

I would lie in bed, supposedly luxuriating, surrounded by the Sunday paper. But the truth is I would lie there listening to the sounds of my family doing something for me. Often, almost every year in fact, there was fighting. Sometimes screaming, yelling fights. “No, Maya, you got to make the omelets last year. It’s my turn.” Or, “Emma, you did it all wrong. That’s not the right way to cut basil.”

Lying there year after year, May’s early birds chirping and the sun coming in through the bedroom windows, I was so touched by this simple ritual. I’m not sure my girls understood at that age what a loving touch it was when they sprinkled fresh garden chives and their fuzzy pink flowers on top of the white cream cheese? Or placed a strawberry and a slice of orange, cutting thin slits into the fruit so they would balance along the edge of the glass of orange juice. I never much cared what I ate for Mother’s Day breakfast. It was the sheer pleasure of watching and listening to my girls take over the kitchen and making it their own to create a meal that told me how grateful they are for all I do.

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  • Richard E Frizell

    My Mother, Kathleen Sarah Frizell
    When our mother passed in 1987 our eldest sister Gerry, took all of the old photos and assembled 9 albums of original and copied photos.  In the back of each album are two sections of recipes from mom’s and dad’s kitchen.I do consult them now and then but mostly, like mom, go from memory.  Many of the dishes I cook were never written down, such as candied yams, creamed chipped beef, pan fried chicken–salt pepper-flower.  All of these dishes prepared in the same large cast iron skillet that I use today.  Mom had a great knack for seasoning these skillets and gave many pre-seasoned frying pans as gifts.  One of the things mom could do in amazing fashion was bake pies.  All flavors and types.  We honor her each year with a pie baking contest held during our family Christmas gathering.  The award being “Grandma’s Rolling Pin” mounted on a plaque with brass nameplates of the winners.

    • Joanne Yinger

      Thanks for your story. Pie making is a talent that seems to pass on to only one sibling per generation. In mine, its my youngest sister. Her pies help us all recall our grandmother’s baking hands.

    • Flemenco

      Thank you for sharing your story.  I lost my mom 18 months ago.  I gave away many thing after clearing out her house, except one…her cookbook!  The pages are tattered, soiled with food stains, and some recipes written on “yellow pages” advertisement notepaper circa 1970 with my Dad’s business name on it.  Like your mother and family, many of the recipes I know from memory.  It is great to have them written down.  I too have the iron skillets, well used and seasoned, and this is what I use most of the time.   I have become the accidental genealogist on “ancestry”  and I have been posting these recipes with stories attached there.  Please post your recipe for creamed chipped beef — it sounds yummy!  Thank you for telling your story!  It made me cry. 

      • Areeeff

        Thank you for the kind words.  I am very sorry for the loss of your mother,  it is a hurt only consoled by time and the unimaginable alternative.  I am unsure of why I named the dishes I wrote of; for many years mom cooked for 12 people every day and mostly kept it simple.  I did not know most people had creamed chipped beef for breakfast until I was a young adult, around the same time I learned potatoes came in bags smaller than 50 pounds. 
        I get my dried beef fresh sliced from a local deli, I ask for “1/4 pound heavy, not too thin”.  I cut that into 1 inch slices and saute it gently in a stick of butter.  When properly frizzled, I stir in 4 or 5 tbsp. of flour making sure it is entirely mixed; then add 5 or 6 cups of milk.  I think the secret to good creamed beef is to not rush it.  Stirring often, I let in come to a soft simmer very slowly, then let it simmer and thicken for about 20 minutes.  I hope it turns out for you.

  • Liz

    My mother, who passed away in 2004, was  not known as a great cook. In fact, my brother says she didn’t cook vegetables — she sterilized them. My mother would arise on Thanksgiving to put the turkey in at the crack of dawn — and we didn’t eat til mid-afternoon, so that turkey was thoroughly cooked. However, one dish my mother made that I recall with fondness was called Chicken Siegfried. I don’t know the origin of the recipe, but I remember coming home at the holidays after my first year in college to the rich, comforting, familiar casserole. As an adult, I came to realize that the dish contained prodigious amounts of sodium and fat, in the form of canned “cream of” soups, pre-seasoned rice mix and lots of butter. But hey, it was a different time. (And I still don’t know who Siegfried is.)

  • Leslie Bush

    My mom is 72, stilling cooking wonderful dishes in the sixth
    kitchen of her adult life. This is the banana bread recipe she wrote out for me
    when I got married 25+ years ago. The clear, bold handwriting, the economy of
    instruction, the sequential grouping of ingredients typify mom’s style in
    baking and in life. As you see, the banana bread recipe has been well-loved
    over the years, but it’s nowhere near her most important kitchen gift. She
    showed me how to use a recipe as a guide, not a master. Her creative use of
    ingredients and constant tracking of the household inventory taught me not to
    waste foods, cycling items through original dishes, leftovers and – in a pinch
    – Cream of Dying Vegetable Soup.. And years of experience with the sounds,
    smells, and textures of baking mean that even when my mind doesn’t know, my
    hands, like hers, can always judge when the dough is kneaded and the bread is
    perfectly done.

  • Sabyler

    My mother was a wonderful cook.   She was one of two girls in my grandparent’s family.  My Aunt Nona learned to sew and did all the sewing and my mother did the cooking, making her the experienced one.  Even when they each had their own home, my Aunt would sew aprons and dresses for my mother. 
    I grew up in a family of 8, so my mother continued to have lots of experience in the kitchen, and everything was “made from scratch”.  There were/are many favorites that she passed down to our generation.  One is a dessert– “date pudding”.   Here is the easy to make recipe:
    1  1/2 cup chopped dates             1 cup sugar                                    1   1/2 cup flour
    1 cup boiling water                         pinch of salt                                   1/2 cup blk walnuts                  1 tsp. baking soda                              3 T. Butter                                        1 tsp vanilla 
     1 egg
    Mix baking soda into boiling water and pour over chopped dates.   In bowl, cream together sugar, soft butter and egg.  Add date mixture and vanilla and stir.  Add remaining ingredients and pour batter into 2 greased 8″ cake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes, until nicely browned and toothpick comes out clean.
    When cooled, cut into 1 inch squares and toss with whipped cream or cool whip.  Serves 10 to 12.
    This is so easy and you don’t need a mixer–just a stirring spoon.  Then it is easy to freeze and have ready for guests, plus you can vary the number of servings by just using one pan or both.                                                                                                                                                                   

    • Glennn Massachusetts

       Going to try this! thx from Boston

    • http://www.hotelsgrid.com/ Joe Dorn

       it came out fantastic, thanks for sharing

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