Preserving family recipes and then trying to replicate them isn’t easy. Sometimes that’s because Grandma never wrote anything down. Often, it’s because we didn’t or couldn’t spend the time to cook with her or ask how she makes the world’s best apple pie.
If you are lucky enough to have your grandparents still in your family’s life, don’t waste any more time. Use these 5 tips to document the recipes you want to preserve and pass on to the next generation.
Cook and write. If it’s possible, take the time to cook with your grandparents. While they are cooking, watch and write what they do. There’s a good chance that there won’t be a lot of measuring. They don’t need to measure because they know by look, feel and taste how things should be. Without being too much of a pain, ask them to stop while you measure that pinch or handful.
Get the story. Bring a recording device and interview them about the recipe. The story of how it came about might be even better than the dish itself. We are a nation of immigrants and so many favorite family recipes came from somewhere else. They are our histories. While you are asking questions about the origin of the recipe, ask the cook to share tips. This will help you re-create the recipe as closely as you can.
Archive recipe cards. If Grandma has a recipe box full of handwritten, splattered recipe cards, thank your lucky stars. These are as precious as the dishes that result from them. You will want to save them as long as you can, but you can also scan them in to your computer (front and back) and make a scrapbook (or cookbook) out of them to share with everyone in your family. Splotches and all.
Take photos. Bring your phone into the kitchen and takes lots of photos of the cook, the preparation process and the final dish. This will help you re-create the dish on your own. Selfies are good, too.
Host a family potluck. Invite everyone over and ask each family member to bring a dish from the grandparents’ recipe boxes. Make the grandparents the guests of honor and get their critiques on the food. (Tell them to take a day off!) How close did everyone get? Remember, the idea is to replicate the spirit of the dish. Truth is, an exact copy is not possible. Close is good enough.
The Sunday Supper tastemakers have been thinking about family food a lot this week as they gather recipes to celebrate National Grandparents Day, which is always the first Sunday after Labor Day. That’s today!
Join us at 7 p.m. ET tonight for what will surely be a nostalgic Twitter chat about the food our grandparents made. Follow the hashtag #SundaySupper. We are eager to hear your stories. To get your memories flowing, check out the day’s menu:
Sweets that are the Sweetest
- Buttermilk Pie by Feeding Big and more
- Chocolate Chip Banana Cake by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Chocolate Covered Cashews by Peanut Butter and Peppers
- German Applesauce by Magnolia Days
- Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie by The Freshman Cook
- Grandmas Raisin Bread by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Homemade Brotchen by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Irish Brack (fruit loaf) by Caroline’s Cooking
- Laura’s Old-Fashioned Prune Cake by Palatable Pastime
- Nana’s Million Dollar Cake by The Crumby Cupcake
- Nanny’s Tea Cakes by Whole Food | Real Families
- Nanny’s Raisin Filled Cookies by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Old Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pop Pop’s Peanut Butter Fudge by Runner’s Tales
- Pumpkin-filled Cream Puffs by Brunch with Joy
- Summer Peach Cake by Pies and Plots
- White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake by The Redhead Baker
Savory Meals with Special Memories
- Busia’s Barbecue Sauce by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Gram’s Cajun Rice Dressing by Food Lust People Love
- Grandma’s Greek Salad by FamFriendsFood
- Grandma’s Polish Meatballs by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Grannies Clam Dip by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
- Individual Breakfast Fritattas with Vegetables by Delaware Girl Eats
- Nunney’s Super Mac N Cheese by Momma’s Meals
- Portuguese Stove Top Pork Roast by Family Foodie
- Potatoes Stroganoff by Cookin’ Mimi
- Shepherd’s Pie Quebec Style (Pate Chinois) by Curious Cuisiniere
- Taco Pie by Food Done Light
- The Best Boiled Peanuts by 30A Eats
5 Tips for Preserving Family Recipes and a Grandparents Day Tribute by Sunday Supper
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.
Janet K. Keeler
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