People have had many things passed down to them by their matriarchs (or patriarchs), including their grandmother’s cast iron blintzes pans, which they inherited from their mother and are well over 100 years old. On Saturdays, it might be that your daughters and your mother have had the honor and joy of making blintzes in your magic pans seasoned with love and memories from one generation to the next. You are transported back to when your Nana or Lulu made them for a brief moment. If only those pans could talk! Oh, the tales they could tell. Family recipes are things one truly treasures, along with their cultural ties. Like those brass candlesticks your great-grandmother brought from Italy to America, these foods are slight vestiges of that former life.

Gems from Another Time: Family Recipe Collections

There is much information about food, class, and ’60s entertainment, and class packed into the language of a straightforward recipe. But, to some, most important are the memories it revives. For those of you who are in the reminiscing mood and trying to look for Generations Of Good Food, then this is the article for you. Happy reading and eating!

Lukshen Kugel. This luscious and light noodle kugel has been passed on from one generation. This recipe might be handed down to your mother, who specialized in healthy cooking because a family member died young of a cardiac-related illness. Kugel bears little resemblance to the rich, sweet noodle kugels of your youth, which call for a dry stick of butter, and a tub of sour cream, topped by handfuls of crunchy cornflakes. It is neither savory nor overly sweet. This version is much lighter than the conventional one and spicier because of the added nutmeg and cardamom.

Recipe/Directions to Remember:

1½ 12-ozs. packages of Dutch egg whole wheat (if possible) noodles 

2½ 16-ozs. containers of low-fat or nonfat cottage cheese (ricotta can make an alternative if cottage cheese is not available)

4 eggs (make it five if cottage cheese looks parched; egg whites can also be an alternative)

1 (or 2) tablespoons of butter

2 (or 3) cored, peeled, and chopped apples, coated with cinnamon or sugar mixture

1 cup yellow raisins

A splash of vanilla extract

Cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg (only when desired, about ½ teaspoon each)

Wheat germ (You can also use other healthy, crunchy cereal)

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1) Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.

2) Lightly grease a 9 X 13-inch baking pan with oil or butter.

3) Parboil noodles for about three minutes. Rinse and drain. Put noodles aside. While they cool, mix in one tablespoon of butter to melt.

4) In a large bowl, mix all other ingredients. Add noodles to the mixture. Pour mixture into pan. Sprinkle brown sugar and wheat germ, and brown sugar. Cover with foil.

5) Bake for about 45 minutes. Uncover and broil (on low if possible) until crispy, about 10 minutes. (Observe to make sure kugel does not burn.)

Nana’s Salad. Picture this: in your Nana’s elegant pen is one recipe, recorded on a torn piece of stationery called simply “Salad.”  

Recipe/Directions to Remember:

Serve on a wooden tray or flat tray.

[Water]Cress with all stems removed. Think bed. Skinny slices of red onion.

Make long slices of very ripe avocado, which has been well soused with garlicky French dressing so that dressing drips down the cress.

Sprinkle with dill.

Lulu’s Butter Cookies. By baking these cookies, imagine that you might come to know your grandfather like you never did when he was alive. With their teaspoons and level cups, you will find revealing clues in these recipes. You will bake the cookies, dust them generously with powdered sugar the way your Lulu always did, and serve them to your now-grown daughters. This is a piece of never-to-be-forgotten family history. 

Recipe/Directions to Remember:

1/2 lb. butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Spread. Bake 25 minutes at 300 degrees

(Grand) Mum’s Cookies. These cookies are tiny savory rings made with yeast and lard and studded with coarse ground black pepper and fennel seeds. You will find how delicious they are with a glass of red wine. And you might not resist having to retest it.  

Recipe/Directions to Remember:

2-1/2 lbs. flour

2 tsp. dry yeast (add 1 tsp. warm water and sugar)

1 lb. lard

1 tbsp. salt mixed in 1/2 cup water

4 heaping tbsp. coarse black pepper

1 tbsp. fennel seed

2 cups lukewarm water

Mix the flour, pepper, and fennel seeds. Dissolve yeast (and sugar) in lukewarm water. Stir in flour mixture. Melt lard (warm) and add to the mixture — then add all to the mixture with the cups of water a bit at a time. Have a bowl of warm water nearby, and as you knead the dough, wet your hands. Work 10-15 minutes. Cover and put out drafts (Mom put hers in the oven or covered on a chair.) Let rise for 3 hours. Roll in a strip about 8 inches and as fat as the 2nd finger. Cut into small rings. Seal. Bake for 20 minutes in a 400-degree oven. 

Finding these family recipe collections is more potent than unearthing a cherished piece of clothing with the lingering scent of old perfume or a photo album. It lets you peek into your forebears’ everyday life and participate in writing your family’s history.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Skip to content