Thursday, October 28, 2010

If Cotton is the "Fabric of our Lives" Family Recipes Are Our Heart

Family dinners at my grandparents' house were special, and I know yours were, too.

My grandparents lived in a tiny white "crackerbox" house in the Buntyn-Normal neighborhood of Memphis, and even though it was only about 800 square feet, it never seemed small.

The kitchen and dining rooms seemed just right, even when my grandma has multiple casseroles in oven and pots, pans, and bowls all over the stove and countertops. Even when she added the extra leaves to the dining room table to accommodate out-of-town family.

My grandmother had several sets of dishes that she kept in a sideboard in the dining room. My favorite were a set of brown and white dishes with a Thanksgiving, or harvest, theme. She had purple and burgundy glassware to go with them. I wish I still had them. I don't know what happened to them after she passed away in 1983.

She always had a tablecloth on the table, and Wedgewood blue candles in silver candle holders. When I was old enough, she let me light the candles and then snuff them out with the snuffer at the end of the meal. I felt so special!

The food, of course, was amazing: succulent pork roast with savory tomato gravy ladled over mounds of rich, creamy mashed potatoes;  baked macaroni and cheese that managed to be crispy and creamy at the same time; sweet potatoes baked with tangy lemon slices and lots of brown sugar; crispy fried chicken; sweet, vinegary German potato salad, asparagus casserole with hard-boiled egg which I would not eat as a child but would love to try now.

My grandfather cooked, too, but differently. Navy bean soup, spaghetti, pork shoulder roasted to perfection in his backyard pit, and quail that he raised in pens also in the backyard.

Sadly, none of these recipes has survived. Nor were my cousin Lucille's masterful coconut and German chocolate cake recipes ever written down.

What we were thinking?

It's the same in Chicago Man's family--how would I love to have a slice of his grandmother's thick, homemade cherry cheesecake--but that recipe is lost as well.

Golden Delicious Legacies, a division of Golden Legacies, is dear to my heart. I want to assist others in p reserving their family's culinary heritage and the stories that go along with each recipe.

I love the whimsical name, Golden Delicious Legacies, that Chicago Man thought of, and I feel such passion and joy about helping others keep the essence of their family--their recipes--from being lost like ours are.

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