Saving and Sharing Recipes–Passing Along Traditions

Several years ago, I was talking to my Grandma and she was recounting a story from when she was a young girl and how she spent the summer helping out at her aunt and uncle’s restaurant in Shelbyville, TN. She told me they had a really delicious BBQ sauce, a family recipe that was kind of famous in the small town. When I asked her if she had that recipe written down somewhere, she said “Darnit, no! I wish I had it…”. I’m sure it was a good recipe and I’m not upset over it. To me, it’s just another reminder to get and pass along family recipes. My grandma died in 2013….I miss her. A. Lot. There are recipes and questions and conversations that I wish I had with with her, but, I didn’t…

I was reminded of the above conversation while in the process of assembling a few binders of recipes that belonged to my friend’s mother. They are mostly handwritten on index cards all organized specifically and separated by labeled divider cards in a few metal recipe boxes. My friend’s aunt got the idea to put them all together, glued onto paper and put into plastic sleeve covers– into a few binders so my friend would have them and use them and maybe, pass along to others. These index cards/recipes were well used–you can tell by the worn edges and stray stains on the cards. (Something that all good cooks and bakers do with their favorite recipes).

Several binders of recipes later…I am now on my last one, the big one, which is all baking recipes and will probably require a second large binder. I’ve been writing down a few coveted recipes along the way, so I can attempt to recreate these recipes for pumpkin pie, biscuits and pecan-coconut cake, hoping that they will be as good as her mom’s (but, I’m sure my versions will pale in comparison). I am glad my friend is letting me put these recipes together in one place for her. I know she will use them and they will have a place on the shelf in her kitchen.

My point is….get those recipes from your mom, dad, grandma, aunt, uncle, whoever. Ask questions, write stuff down and pass them along to people you love. Continue to make those recipes and share them with people. Even though our loved ones are gone, the recipes and the flood of food memories will keep them around, forever.


Today would have been my Grandpa’s 87th birthday. He died last November a week before Thanksgiving from complications from congestive heart failure. He was WWII vet, former minor league baseball player for the Tigers (right field), active member of his local VFW, told the best stories, had a good sense of humor, strong work ethic, provided for his family and my Grandma and, he loved cookies, well, sweets in general. For his b-day and other times during the year my mom would bake him some sort of cookies and mail them to him. I also sent him some cookies from time to time. Sometimes he’d share them with Grandma, sometimes not. He was funny that way. She used to tell me that he’d go get the mail and then she’d ask him if there was anything special. He’d be evasive and eventually tell her that “Barb sent me some cookies.” She and I would have a good laugh about that. I always sent him funny birthday cards, which he always appreciated and saved. I wish mom and I could have baked him cookies one last time.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa.