Remember the taste of Grandma's beef stew or fresh-baked rolls? You might like a bowl of stew and a fresh roll right now but don't have the recipe.
In this age of instant breakfast foods and frozen dinners, old family recipes often get lost and forgotten. The secret of Grandma's stew or other flavor-filled soup has been cast aside for dehydrated soup mix.
It's not always easy to obtain a recipe from an old-fashioned cook. Many do not use cookbooks or recipe cards. They have their favorite recipes memorized.
The best way to get a recipe might be to work alongside grandma - taking notes as she demonstrates how to make her specialty. Before she adds an ingredient, be sure to take a moment to measure the amount. Ask questions and write down the answers.
It's a good idea to try out the recipe (on your own) to be sure to have the correct information and get the results you were hoping for. It may take more than one attempt to duplicate the recipe.
Grandmothers aren't the only ones to approach when searching for those special recipes. Your mother, an aunt, other family members ... even a neighbor, may have a recipe you would like to have. Don't hesitate to ask. Most will be happy to share their recipes. I've been doing it for more than 10 years in this column.
Old recipes scribbled on cards or scraps of paper have been found in old cookbooks - some are from my grandmothers, Lucy and Lydia. I especially enjoy the notations and comments written next to a recipe. I want to preserve these unique recipes as they conjure memories of friends and family who enriched our lives just by being there for us.
If I've brought up this subject in the past, it's only because I feel it's so important to preserve some family history; especially those memories that evolved in the heart of the home - the kitchen.
Consider putting your recipes (especially family favorites) in a notebook, with amounts and methods clearly explained. Your efforts will be treasured in years to come.
Delicious way to serve leftover ham
GRANDMA'S VEGETABLE CHOWDER
3 cups diced peeled potatoes
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup coarsely grated carrots
2 celery ribs, diced
4 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
3 cups water
2 cups frozen broccoli cuts, thawed
3/4 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup cubed fully cooked ham
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a soup kettle, combine potatoes, onion, carrots, celery, bouillon and water. Simmer for about 20 min; adding the broccoli shortly before the other vegetables are tender. In a saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour. Cook and stir over med. heat for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add to vegetable mixture with the ham; simmer 10 min. Stir in cheese just until melted. Yield: 3 qts.
Notes: May substitute fresh broccoli florets (2-1/2 cups) for frozen broccoli. Add the fresh broccoli at the beginning of cooking time. I use L.B. Jamison's chicken flavored soup base in place of the granules. Also use a combination of butter and margarine to equal 3/4 cup.
From years gone by
1 qt. canned tomatoes
1 tsp. baking soda
Salt and pepper
In a 3 qt. saucepan bring tomatoes to a boil. Add baking soda. While still foamy, add milk to desired thickness.Season to taste.
Notes: 2% milk works fine. I often add about 3 T. diced onion to the tomatoes and include just a bit of garlic powder when seasoning the soup.
The kids loved Aunt Rose's mini donuts
Separate a tube of refrigerator biscuits. With your thumb, poke a hole in center of each. Heat oil as needed in pan to 375. Fry biscuits till golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
Combine some sugar and cinnamon in a bag. Add donuts to bag and shake to coat. Enjoy while still warm.
Notes: I fry the biscuits in canola oil. Aunt Rose probably used melted lard.
One of my favorite ways to end a meal
GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE DESSERT
1 pkg. German Chocolate cake mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Richardson's caramel ice cream topping
3 Heath candy bars
8 oz. whipped topping
Prepare cake mix as pkg. directs. Bake in a 9x13 pan. Cool 10 minutes. Poke holes into cake using handle of wooden spoon or gently stab with a fork multiple times. Pour condensed milk slowly over cake and then the ice cream topping. Cool completely. Crush candy bars and add to whipped topping. Spread on top. Chill.
Food for thought: It may be true that a watched pot never boils, but the one you don't watch will sure mess up your stove.