We just got back from a week in the Midwest at a family reunion (my family) which was a sheer delight. I got to catch up with cousins that I haven’t seen in ages, and in honor of my grandmother, the cook and matriarch of the family, we shared many a meal together.
It was fun to see how my grandma’s recipes had evolved overtime, and how the basics of her Midwestern cooking had translated into new family traditions. The one thing that was sorely missing were Grandma’s pies – oh how that woman could bake. I don’t think any of us wanted to beg the comparison of our attempts at mimicry to Grandma’s stellar baking skills.
We all, about 40 of us, arrived at different hours over the course of the day on Friday and said our hellos. But the moment the food hit the table the hugs became closer, the stories were told and retold, and the belly laughs resonated over the Lake of the Ozarks. Funny how food does that to family. A few secret recipes never fails to bring a family together.
My sister, the organizer, compiled a collection of all of Grandma’s recipes in a book aptly titled ‘Great Meal Mom,’ which was how my grandpa closed every meal. It’s heirlooms like this that are truly valuable, heirlooms that provide a way to reconnect with the past and help to build new memories for the future. As valuable as heirloom tomatoes seeds are to farmers, heirloom recipes are to me. Great meals, warm memories, and the love of a family. Amazing how all of that’s within a list of ingredients, isn’t it?