Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Food History

Specifically, family history.

I give you Exhibit A:
The family "Corn Casserole" recipe, from my mom's side of the family. Looking at it, I'm not sure if it's my mother's writing, my grandmother's, or possibly my aunt's. (All their writing looks similar.)

When my mother died, I got all her recipe boxes. It was about five years before I could bear to open them. When I did, I found that all the recipes, everything, were in alphabetical order. Even in the box of "recipes to try". I stood in my kitchen and cried, because it was so totally Mom. Who the hell alphabetizes their recipes, within each little category? No one by my ADHD, organization fanatic mother. (Yes, I inherited/learned the skill. No, I do not use it much.)

Anyway. The recipe. It's in MY recipe box, now, because I've used it once before. I pulled it out today to gather up the ingredients for tomorrow, REALLY looked at it, and burst out "#@#%*!! Mom, it doesn't even have salt and pepper!"

That's the other thing about that branch of the family.

They're German (big shock in this area), and came into the country through Cleveland, back in the huge immigration waves, around 1910. They were peasants, and cooked that way. No spices, no garlic, rarely onions. Anything beyond salt and pepper was exotic. Wait, no, my mother did make me cinnamon toast. Her coffee cake had walnuts and cinnamon-sugar in it. That's it. My grandmother was a hell of a cook, but there wasn't seasoning in ANYTHING.

My brother learned to cook in the Marines, from a member of his team who was a Cajun. I learned to cook from my grandmothers, but proceeded to watch cooking shows a whole lot. Plus a very good friend of mine is of Italian heritage and (rightly) believes that roasted garlic is the food of the gods. I remember my brother and I cooking dinner once, in my mom's kitchen. She stood and marveled as my brother and I threw in spices, garlic, and other stuff. She could never get over how my brother and I cooked. Roasted garlic chicken (stuff chicken with heads of garlic; roast) blew her mind.

Tomorrow's family corn casserole? I'm adding a jalapeno.
Sauteed in bacon grease.


In another food related moment, today the husbeast went out to run some errands. One of them was to pick up some medication for me. He came home and handed me a bag containing drugs and Nutty Bars.

Because that's how we roll.


Anonymous said...

My mom died last year and the Christmas before I asked her for her crank meat grinder as it was so useful. "I'm still using it," she said. Today I made her Cranberry was always made with the meat grinder. Cut an orange in to quarters (skin and all) and put it throught the grinder. Then a package of fresh cranberries, and about a cup of walnuts. After the grinding mix in about a 1/4-1/2 cup of sugar. Done. I used my blender, very fiddle-y. I've got to talk to my dad about getting my hands on that meat grinder. :)

Wendy @ Celiacs in the House said...

Your post reminds me of my inheritance of my family recipes and the spattered, stained slips of paper I still have and use, tho gluten free now. I had to laugh about your mother's recipe boxes because that is what my German, northern Ohio mother-in-law left when she passed a decade ago. So organized and tidy and alphabetized. Her German grandfather left an oak file box with alphabetized index cards detailing their entire financial lives from debts to investments to the cost of the new refrigerator in the 1930s to the roof repairs.

Bells said...

such a precious thing to have - all that heritage and memory!

Jalapeno in bacon grease just about blows my mind. How freaking good is that?

Barbara said...

Mmm, bacon grease is the only way to fry. We had corn puddding too, no jalapenos tho. Maybe next time. Anonymous, my Mom made "crabnerry" sauce in the grinder too, but the grinder's long gone or I'd send it to you. I use the Kitchen Aid grinder attachment.

Patty said...

What does alphabetizing recipes have to do with being ADHD? That's a pretty cool article about cooking throughout family history. Also, one question if I may, what do you think about pineapples on pizza?