Friday, February 4, 2011

Family Recipe Friday: Recipes from Grandma

I've always loved to cook. Even as a child, I was always pestering someone to let me help. My daughter has inherited this passion for cooking as well. Not a day goes by that she's not asking me to let her help. While there are some things that she just can't do yet (after all, she's only 4), I try to let her help as much as I can.

As a child, I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandparents. Until I was 7, we lived nearby. More often than not, I could be found at their house. Even after we moved to another state, my sisters and I would still visit every chance we got. Summer and long school breaks were always spent with them.

Every year on the fourth of July, we would have a cookout. One year, Grandma made a cherry pie. It was the best pie I'd ever ate and I was positive that she had a secret ingredient that wasn't found in any other pie. So I asked.

She said she would show me so I sat down on one of the bar stools at the counter to watch. I was so excited that I was literally trembling in anticipation. The thought crossed my mind that maybe this recipe was something that had been passed down from her mother.

Imagine my surprise when she turned around to the cabinet, reached in and plopped a can of cherry pie filling on the counter. This was followed by reaching in the fridge for a store-bought package of pie crust. I kept waiting for her to add another ingredient to the counter. After all, the best pie I'd ever tasted surely had to have something more than a store-bought crust and pie filling. Apparently not.

I was disappointed, but because she was actually a good cook when she had time to cook, I figured that maybe pies just weren't her thing. We can't be perfect at everything. Even though I can cook in a variety of cuisines, there are certain things that elude me.

About a year after the pie incident, I asked Grandma about her cornbread. In the South, cornbread is a staple and every family has their own recipe. I've lost count of how many different varieties I've tried over the years.

When I asked her how to make her cornbread, she laughed. Looking back, she was probably reminded of me asking how to make her delicious cherry pie. She went to her cabinet again and out came the little blue box of Jiffy cornbread mix. I had to laugh. I have to admit, though, that I make my cornbread the same way. On a recent trip to my sister's house, I also found her cabinet stocked with the "family recipe."

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