My previous munchie post was well received and made me reminisce about the first things I ever cooked, especially when I was living on my own. My family did not make extravagant meals and we tended to stick to a few basics and rotated through. I rarely saw my mother use a recipe and there was definitely no Pinterest inspiring her to try new things. Regardless there were a few things my mother made that I couldn’t live without and still can’t. After I moved out, I’d start to crave something and ask my mom for the recipe. Those conversations went one of three ways.
The first way was what a lot of people discover about some of their favorite baked goods, it’s on the back of the box. This is how this traumatic event played out for me. I had been craving chocolate chip cookies for awhile. I wanted to try something new and decided I was going to make chocolate chip cookies. I knew my family had a good homemade recipe for cookies. I called my mom and asked for my grandma’s cookie recipe. She replied back, “what cookie recipe?” I thought to myself, are you serious, what do you mean what recipe? I held in all my thoughts and replied simply, ” The chocolate chip cookie one. They always turn out perfect like store bought but I don’t want store bought, I want to make them fresh.” ” oh it’s on the back of the bag of chocolate chips. ” “No, the one where they come out just a little raised and gooey in the center.” ” Yeah it’s on the bag of chocolate chips.” I was crushed. I felt I was going to get some time honoured tradition where it’s handed down to the first born daughter in every family. I was in denial at first and figured my mom was just confused. I tried the recipe to prove her wrong. I was ready to call her as soon as they came out of the oven and tell her she’s wrong. They came out perfect. I figured they probably taste just like the store bought, nope they were just how I remembered them. I didn’t know if I was more upset that I felt like my family cookie recipe was a fraud or if I was annoyed my mom was right. However, I was able to move on and enjoy my cookies and forget about the betrayal.
The second type of recipe I’d get from my mom was the, “a little of this.” Any true cook has those recipes where they just put a little of this and a little of that and know by smell, look and taste if they got it right. Well this is not a concept I enjoy. Frankly, it drives me insane. I’ve been cooking for awhile, I always use a recipe. That’s why it always turned out perfect, cause I followed directions. People always complimented my cooking, I said I just followed the recipe.
Every holiday my mom made these amazing beans. We always brought them to events, they were always a hit and I loved them. I loved them cold, I loved them hot. I loved them in a pot, I loved them a lot. One holiday I said, “you’ll have to give me the recipe some day.” Again I was thinking this was some guarded family secret, more guarded than the Bush baked beans recipe. She replied with of course and started rattling off ingredients. I stopped her and went and grabbed a pen. I said the ingredients I knew, she filed in the blanks. Then I asked, okay so how much of each? She replied with bunches, one or two depending on size and a little of each of those. I looked at her like she was crazy. How on earth would I know how to duplicate the beans without exact measurements. I asked for further clarification, after a large amount of prying I finally got her to give me a few measurements to work with. However, after the first time I made them I never followed the recipe again. I did add a little more of that and a little less of that. Every time I make them they are a little different but no matter what they are always amazing. That recipe taught me to try it with other things I made. Now my favorite thing to do is read reviews of what other people did when they made the item. I can always find great fixes and ways to improve a recipe. I also tend to change things up now and again depending on what I have handy. It’s always a blast to discover your experiment actually turns out. It always makes me feel like a real cook. Their best recipes are always memorized.
Finally, on rare occasions when I ask my mom for a recipe she actually has to find it. Now those are the best recipes. Those are the ones handed down, have been tried over and over and are absolute perfection. They are always fairly simple recipes but they are by far the best recipes. One of my favorite things to eat was always banana bread. My grandma made the best banana bread. One day I had some bananas that were getting old, I thought I should make my grandma’s banana bread. I called my mom to ask for the recipe. I was waiting to be directed to the back of a package, or told just a few random ingredients to make it but she shocked me. She couldn’t find it the last time she was going to make it. I called my grandma, she replied with she needed to look for it. I called my uncle, he kept track of everything. He wasn’t sure what he did with it. I was shocked! No one knew where this treasured family recipe was and I wanted to make banana bread. As I was waiting for someone to call back with my recipe, my boyfriend decided that banana bread sounded good and used my bananas and made some. I was thrilled to come home to the smell of banana bread. I asked where he got the recipe since I was still on the hunt for mine. He replied that he used the one on the bag of flour. I thought to myself here are my dreams of a huge family secret recipe about to come crashing down. As I took my first bite, it wasn’t how I remembered it. It was good but not as good as grandma’s.
After waiting and asking a lot, I finally got my recipe, Grandma’s banana bread. I talked it up a lot. I was worried it wouldn’t be as good as I remembered, but when I finally finished it and the whole house smelled like banana bread, I realized it was worth the wait. It was moist and soft and the perfect ratio of banana. It was absolutely amazing and better than I remembered. I was immediately transported back to when my grandma made her banana bread, I was so happy. Then I waited to see his reaction when he tried it. We’d grown up with different banana breads in our lives, we’d been trying other recipes, none that were my banana bread though. Would he feel the same or would we be a house divided that had to make two different banana breads. Luckily he loved it and we’ve always used the same recipe. So what better way than share my favorite family recipe. You may say it’s common or on the back of some box, but this will always be my grandma’s recipe, the one that took time to find. The one that no one else compares to. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, the recipe is located here:
Also if I do make something and show pictures but don’t post a recipe, it’s more than likely because it looked way better than it tasted. I’m also not going to share recipes unless they are worth sharing. Every calorie consumed on food that doesn’t taste good, is a calorie wasted. I always want to enjoy my food and I do not eat anything because I need to eat. I have to enjoy it. Therefore, I’m never going to recommend any food unless it’s worth that extra gym time or pound. You can only eat so much and I love food and I am going to ensure everything I eat is worth it.