This is the part two of the giveaway winner post. The five of us were so touched by the deeply moving food memories that we are devoting this post to your words, your food memories. Thank you for joining the conversation and helping us create a community. – Christina, Alexis, Amanda, Leslie & Sarah
Sally A: I have a recipe for something called Peanut Brittle Meringue Cake that my grandmother passed on to my mom and then to me. Except for the two layers of meringue, it’s not the healthiest of desserts (loads of whipped cream and peanut brittle) and my healthy eating kids don’t seem to want it on holidays. But for me, it means Christmas is here. It’s so yummy and sweet and sinful. It’s like an extra Christmas present — this one for your mouth!
Kim, Elias’ Mom: My food memory is that pretty much everything I loved and held dear in my heart as a child is not edible by my child-russian tea cakes (with nuts), butter cookies (dairy and egg), buckeyes (pretty much every ingredient) so I am looking forward to finding safe substitutions and creating new memories for him. My husband found a good, safe sugar cookie recipe and we have safe sprinkles so we are going to be decorating cookies this weekend.
The Cookbook Winner, Megan P: I often think of my father’s “Drew burgers.” Not because they were super amazing or anything, but that he let me help him make them. They were these huge football shaped meatballs, stuffed with onions, peppers, Parmesan cheese and seasonings. I got to mix the meat and egg together with my hands, which as a kid, I adored. They were broiled and served on a toasted, buttered English muffin with a sauce made from ketchup, mayo and relish. You couldn’t even bite through them, but try to nibble your way through the meal. I loved standing on the chair at the counter in his condo, wear his apron and joke around after a day of swimming in the pool.
Kyla: I remember growing up anything my dad cooked was called gobbly gook. At that point in my life he really only cooked one thing. I still to this day don’t know what it was, maybe stroganoff. He’s a much better cook now.
Meg F: I always remember my grandmother’s Christmas cookie recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation. I have never tasted a cookie like it in my life. In a blind taste test, I could pick it out in a minute. My first attempt was the first year we moved into our first home. It was quite a process and found out after getting up to my elbows in dough, that I didn’t have enough room to roll it out. I figured it out somehow, but unfortunately, that was 7 years ago. My aunt continues to make them each year to carry on my grandmother’s recipe (she died when I was 3) and I look forward to that first bite each year. I keep the recipe card in my recipe box and hope to one day pass it on to my son’s.
TZel: Making meatballs for my fiancé, the first meal that I ever made him.
Cheryl W: My most memorable food moment was when I was about 11. My family and I were at a wedding and one thing that was served was Corned Beef and Cabbage. It was my first experience ever tasting something so robust. I remember turning to my dad and saying that I was going to serve it at my wedding someday. He laughed at my child like food crush, but I held steady to that dream. Corned Beef and Cabbage was served at my wedding. I eat it often, but my husband despises it and hates to even smell it cooking. LOL
Kim: At this time of year my fondest food memories go back to my grandparents’ traditional Italian Christmas Eve—my grandmother, your typical Italian food pusher prepared the 7 fish dishes in amazing ways! When my grandmother could no longer host that event, my parents took over and for years hosted an open house that was in the spirit of the traditional 7 fishes but included tons of family, friends and neighbors—often we’d have over 100 people in and out over the course of the night and occasionally had to kick out stragglers into the early morning (you know, so Santa could come). Thanks for prompting me to think about this!
Jenn: My mom was very pregnant with me at Christmas time (I was born in the first week of January). She was shopping in the kitchen section of Macy’s when she smelled something delicious. There was a woman demonstrating a toaster oven by baking old fashion sugar cookies in it. My mom watched and waited and was treated to one of the best sugar cookies ever. She got the recipe and it has become a family favorite of ours. My daughter and I make them when ever we can. Recently we made a batch for her friday fun snack at school. I had Christmas music on and sampled one of the cookies, you know, to make sure it was ok to serve others . The minute I took a bite I was flooded with memories of baking these cookies every Christmas with my mom. I look forward to sharing more baking moments with my daughter.
Laura: There is one and only one dish that makes Christmas for me in our family – fruit salad. My grandmother made it for years and years and now my mother makes it. Believe me this is not your average fruit salad, it is oranges, bananas, cherries, walnuts, and pineapple coated in this marvelous sauce made of the fruit juices and whipped cream. My dad refers to it as “glop” but it is magic!
Laurie: One of my favorite memories is making my Great Grandmother’s carmel cake filling with my Mom when I was a kid. Great Grandma’s recipe is handwritten in an old journal full of recipes and stories from the late 1800′s and early 1900′s. While sometimes you have to make assumptions when making any of these recipes the bond to the women of my family is amazing, and this cookbook is precious to me.
Ann P: When Sarah and Josh were young, we always made cut out sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles. The cookie recipe was from an old Betty Crocker’s Cookbook. How fun it was to decorate them! Now, I make them by myself and have available when the kids and their families come for the holiday. I still use most of the same old cookie cutters that my Mom gave me. I have chosen the easier route of using canned frosting, but no one seems to mind and they all seem to disappear. Great memories!
Sarah’s response to Ann P, her mama: What are you talking about when we were young? We still made those cookies almost every Christmas. And yes, those cookies are everyone’s favorite. I make them now with the canned frosting and people go crazy for them. But yours are still the best. They are the highlight of our trip home. (You’d better get in the kitchen Mama! wink wink!)
Kris: Every Christmas Eve I make rouladen, potato dumplings, red cabbage and carrots. The same traditional German meal that my Oma made from my earliest memory until she passed. The combination of those foods cooking bring me back to her kitchen. Plus, every time I invite someone new to share the meal, it gets rave reviews. (Well, except the red cabbage; I usually get that all to myself)
Michael K: Great food memory? I would have to say thanksgiving at my grandparents when i was young. the 20 something of us family would get together around 3 tables and party away! Grandma would make this mixed jello desert with walnuts and fruit which was simply divine.
Maureen K: My fondness culinary holiday tradition includes our infamous Mom and daughter holiday cookie bake. My daughters and I bake 10-15 different types of cookies together while listening to our favorite holiday music. Some are quite different and we only make those for our annual holiday baking days, which makes us all want the very first taste out of the oven!
We bake up to 25 dozen and then we arrange them just so and package them up very fancy while including a different theme each year. Our deliveries begin the week prior to Christmas, doing a few deliveries each day. When my children were younger, we would bring along their musical instruments and surprise each friend who opened their door with a Christmas carol and then present them with their cookies.
We cherish this tradition each year…which is year 21 and counting! Our friends can’t wait to receive their special home-baked goodies too!
Patricia: I remember when I was very young and my grandmothers aunt would make italian cookies. I can remember watching her roll the dough and pressing it, cutting it, baking it and finally at the end my job was to sprinkle the cookies with the confectionary sugar. It was such a time-consuming baking experience but the cookies were the best mouth-watering cookies ever. Our family loved them and she was the only one to ever make them unfortunately the tradition has no continued.
Jillian: Before I met my husband, I had never tried Japanese food. For our second date, he asked me to meet at a Sushi restaurant. I liked him, and wanted to keep seeing him, so I said yes, and I was shocked at how much sushi I tried and most of all, how much I liked it. Who knew that seaweed salad could taste so good? Venturing out of my food comfort zone has always been good for me.
Aliza E: My gram’s cranberry jello mold looked like one of those bizarro scary weight watchers recipe cards from the 70s. It was sweet, glistening, jiggly heaven. I think it had sherbet in it. And cranberries. Awhile ago I was interested in replicating it and found The Jello Mold Mistress of Brooklyn’s Blog. She does insane things with jello. I ended up making a margarita jello butterfly mold instead. It was special. It also got everyone pretty drunk.
Coco1101: I don’t know what to tell you all…
Should I speak about sitting on a high stool at 4 or 5 or 6 and saying “they’re bubbling now” to tell everyone it was time to turn the pancakes over? I spent my childhood on that stool; funny I was interested in cooking at such a young age…
Should I let you know about the smells coming from my Mom’s kitchen? It smelled like heaven in our house when Mom was cooking up a roast, a party, a holiday or just cooking up a storm. I learned so much of my food skills from my own Mom… I only hope and pray she knows how I feel about loving her so much now that she is in Heaven?
Maybe I should say I’m married to the kindest, gentlest, warmest and loving french chef in the world… the type of chef every cook always wants to work for, forever. Can I tell you all that I have learned about food and cooking over the past 30 some-odd years, there isn’t enough space to tell you all about the wonderful, kind, gentle chef I married and who is my soul-mate…
Nah, I think I’ll tell you about the thousands I spent on cooking lessons when I lived in NYC, my home before Texas became where we settled so long ago…
Thanks again for sharing your stories…let’s get this community to grow in 2011!