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PRgal

Family, Food and Cultural Traditions

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Does your family pass down recipes?  Or do you create your own traditions (i.e. bastardize foods from your heritage to suit your palate)?  Do you think your ancestors will turn in their graves? Check and check on the last two for me - haha...I'm SURE my ancestors (and older living family members, if they check my social media) would freak out at my cheddar mooncakes!  I've been told that I should just learn how to cook Chinese food.  Yeah, but that's not going to be a family recipe!  That would be like cooking something you learned from watching the Barefoot Contessa and saying it's YOUR stuff (rather than Ina's).  What are recipes you've received from your relatives (I have exactly ZERO - my Poh Poh (maternal grandmother) didn't know how to cook and though she cooked our meals, when I was growing up, they were rather...basic/boring)?  Do you keep them or do you make changes?

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I've got notebooks of family recipes going back 4 generations, 5 if I include myself. On my mama's side, one from my great great grandmother, one from my great grandmother,  2 from both grandmother's, and several thick ones from my mama, I also have her collection of collected cookbooks, 15 boxes worth, not counting my own additions. 

It's interesting to see which recipes passed down they thought important to include. One grandmother hated honey, my great grandfather kept bees as a hobby and it was always on the table. The are one or two family "honey" recipes in her book, while her mother had several more.

I've created my own notebook of family recipes adding those of aunts and uncles, my cousins, my sister in law from Thailand, close family friends.

I've found it's important to include historical notes for each recipe as the women in my family did. It's just as important as writing down the recipe and who originated it. 

I still make my Basque uncle's macaroni and lamb that was a staple for his sheepherders. I first had it sitting around a campfire with the herders after a long day of "helping" with the sheep as a tiny little kid. I always requested it when we visited and after my mom roasted a leg of lamb. My niece who loves it too will have that story among others.

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48 minutes ago, Giselle said:

I've got notebooks of family recipes going back 4 generations, 5 if I include myself. On my mama's side, one from my great great grandmother, one from my great grandmother,  2 from both grandmother's, and several thick ones from my mama, I also have her collection of collected cookbooks, 15 boxes worth, not counting my own additions. 

It's interesting to see which recipes passed down they thought important to include. One grandmother hated honey, my great grandfather kept bees as a hobby and it was always on the table. The are one or two family "honey" recipes in her book, while her mother had several more.

I've created my own notebook of family recipes adding those of aunts and uncles, my cousins, my sister in law from Thailand, close family friends.

I've found it's important to include historical notes for each recipe as the women in my family did. It's just as important as writing down the recipe and who originated it. 

I still make my Basque uncle's macaroni and lamb that was a staple for his sheepherders. I first had it sitting around a campfire with the herders after a long day of "helping" with the sheep as a tiny little kid. I always requested it when we visited and after my mom roasted a leg of lamb. My niece who loves it too will have that story among others.

Macaroni and lamb?  That sounds interesting.  Is it like a bolognese sauce?  

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Chicken and rice. It's chicken, rice and onions. No mushrooms or cream of anything soup or other vegetables to muck it up. You brown the rice and onions in butter first, then put them in a baking pan and pour a cup (I think) of boiling bouillon (or water, but bouillon tastes better) over it. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika (I may also use garlic powder) and place them on top of the rice. Do not use boneless chicken. Then cover and bake for an hour at 350. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more. The best part is the rice. The chicken is just there and is OK, but I could eat all the rice in the pan if I could get to it before anyone else.

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6 minutes ago, PRgal said:

Macaroni and lamb?  That sounds interesting.  Is it like a bolognese sauce?  

No.   

They would use up everything, It's very simple and frugal. Cut up roasted meat supplemented with fresh tender meat if need be. Season it and brown it off well. Saute some diced onion. Use leftover lamb gravy and lamb or beef stock to make a loose but thickish gravy (it shouldn't be watery). Parboil macaroni add to the "gravy" and cook till macaroni is tender. It should not be soupy.

The herders would add the herbs they had on hand sometimes thyme, sometimes rosemary, sometimes sage or something else. 

That, a kind of ratatouille, pinto beans and real sheepherders bread with the lid rings and basting points indented in the crust & baked in a Dutch oven with coals... It takes me back.

I've made it with other pasta, added fresh mushrooms & fancied it up for a party. It's all good but I love the simple original best.

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We keep quite a few family recipes around.  We make my great grandma's pierogis every Christmas, along with her cabbage rolls, and we haven't really messed with the recipe, other than getting the onions in the potato filling a little more carmelized than my mom used to make it.  We have all of her old pickle recipes, we still use those, too.  Sweet crock pickles and spicy Russian dill pickles.  

I also make my great aunt's toffee every Christmas, no tweaking necessary.  

On the other side of my family, we still make my grandma's potato soup, but I don't think anyone has ever written it down, we all just know it.  

My mom makes the world's best deviled eggs.  The secret ingredient is Miracle Whip.  Not lying.  SO GOOD.

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On 2/13/2019 at 6:38 PM, auntlada said:

Chicken and rice. It's chicken, rice and onions. No mushrooms or cream of anything soup or other vegetables to muck it up. You brown the rice and onions in butter first, then put them in a baking pan and pour a cup (I think) of boiling bouillon (or water, but bouillon tastes better) over it. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika (I may also use garlic powder) and place them on top of the rice. Do not use boneless chicken. Then cover and bake for an hour at 350. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more. The best part is the rice. The chicken is just there and is OK, but I could eat all the rice in the pan if I could get to it before anyone else.

Don't you usually need double the amount of liquid to cook rice?  Or at least 1.5?  And is the chicken raw or cooked when you put it in?

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My family had a pretzel bagel recipe, but nobody knows exactly what it was anymore :(. I've just heard stories from my dad side about how his grandmother made homemade bagels.  I'm hoping some day someone will find it in a box or something.

The only food choice that probably causes my grandfather to turn over is when I put mayo on my roast-beef sandwich, which I only do when I can't find mustard. I however,would never think about putting it on something like pastrami.

Edited by blueray

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In the 70s one of my father’s great aunts compiled a huge family cookbook from all the branches (my parents had just married so there are some of her family recipes in there). The family was concentrated in four states: Minnesota, Missouri, Texas and Washington, so there is quite a mix of dishes. Some are dated (oleo is mentioned in some) but many are quite delicious. 

When I have taken to updating one or two when I through parties and many are quite the hit. 

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4 hours ago, PRgal said:

Don't you usually need double the amount of liquid to cook rice?  Or at least 1.5?  And is the chicken raw or cooked when you put it in?

This is why I never cook even recipes I know from memory. It's 3 cups of boiling water or broth (I use bouillon made from granules). The chicken is raw when you put it in, but you bake the whole thing for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

A number of years ago, my uncle compiled a family cookbook with recipes from all through the family, including a number of people I don't know. My grandfather had 7 (I think, could be 8 ) brothers and sisters, so there are lots of people I don't know. It has some good recipes, including my grandmother's fresh apple cake and an aunt's meatloaf recipe that made my husband realize he doesn't hate meatloaf.

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I recently bought a Jello and Cool Whip cookbook at Half Price Books, and the clerk, who was much younger than me, said she thought her family was the only one who ever used lime jello in a recipe -- a salad made with pineapple and marshmallows. I laughed and said I grew up eating a similar one, but with cottage cheese added. Plus all kinds of varieties -- orange-pineapple, cherry, etc. I think it's a southern summer thing, especially if you have family get-togethers or church potlucks.

I have a cousin who always brings a version of this to family gatherings.  Depending on the flavor of Jell-O she uses, it's called either 'that fluffy pink stuff' or 'that fluffy green stuff'.  It's pretty tasty. 

Edited by BooksRule

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On 2/16/2019 at 9:51 PM, forumfish said:

I recently bought a Jello and Cool Whip cookbook at Half Price Books, and the clerk, who was much younger than me, said she thought her family was the only one who ever used lime jello in a recipe -- a salad made with pineapple and marshmallows. I laughed and said I grew up eating a similar one, but with cottage cheese added. Plus all kinds of varieties -- orange-pineapple, cherry, etc. I think it's a southern summer thing, especially if you have family get-togethers or church potlucks.

We had the same but added cream cheese. 😊

Shredded carrots and pineapple went into lemon jello

Raspberry jello also had applesauce in it like out favorite cafeteria.

Pistachio pudding always meant Watergate salad.

She also make a pineapple cream cheese to pipe on top of each jello serving.

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