I have to admit that between working a day job full-time, writing full-time, and running Mom’s taxi service, I purchase dinner as often as I make it at home. OK, maybe more often than I make it at home. However, with the holidays approaching, I have big plans for getting back into the kitchen. I’ll be hosting Thanksgiving and have already purchased the turkey, red garnet yams for my mom’s candied yams recipe, and frozen yeast dough for some fresh-baked rolls.
As you think about the holidays, I image you can picture certain dishes that you grew up eating–dishes that you adopted into your own holiday repertoire because it was a tradition you wanted to continue. Perhaps you have recipes handed down from a grandmother or great-grandmother. What’s even more precious is having a recipe written in that loved one’s handwriting.
I have a recipe for zucchini bread that my grandma gave to me after my father died. I was only 16 when he passed away, and after I was married and had started setting up house on my own, my grandma sent me the recipe. Not only do I LOVE zucchini bread, but this recipe is written in my dad’s handwriting. He had given a copy to my mom’s mother, and my grandma had preserved it by wrapping the paper in plastic wrap. Today, I keep it tucked away in my recipe box. It only comes out on special occasions, but when I do pull it out, memories of my dad always come with it.
We owned a few acres growing up, and he and my mom tried to teach me how to garden. I’m afraid I never got past my dislike of pulling weeds to truly appreciate the skill. But I have vivid memories of the year we planted far too many squash plants. We had zucchini coming out of our ears. And many of them were the size of a small child and had to be carried cradled in our arms. We gave away bags of them to friends at church and to neighbors and still had more than we knew what to do with. We ate sautéed zucchini, fried zucchini, baked stuffed zucchini, and my favorite – zucchini bread. It’s amazing that I didn’t lose my taste for it, but I still love zucchini to this day.
Another heirloom recipe that I treasure is my grandma’s persimmon cookies. I’ve never heard of these anywhere else, but she would make them for me every time we came to visit, just because she knew I liked them. They were small drop cookies with persimmon moistening the batter much like pumpkin does in pumpkin bread. Add some sugar, cinnamon, and raisins and they became a delicious treat. I just saw persimmons in the grocery store this past Sunday, and I immediately thought of my grandma and those cookies.
- What heirloom recipes do you have that mean the most to you?
- Do you have any recipes handed down in a relative’s handwriting?
- Bake several large, red garnet yams (preferred over sweet potatoes, though both can be used)
- Once the yams have cooled, remove the skin and slice them lengthwise about 1/2 inch thick.
- Spread out in a single layer in a jelly roll pan or other large, rectangular baking dish. (I usually use at least 2-3 pans.)
- Sprinkle a generous amount of brown sugar over the yams. Dribble melted butter over the sugar until it all appears wet.
- Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes or until edges brown and sugar carmelizes.
- Serve warm with Thanksgiving turkey and fixin’s.
These chewy, sweet yams were my favorite every Thanksgiving as I grew up, and now when I see my own kids getting excited about them, I can’t help but smile. Enjoy!
Oh, and if you haven’t heard, I’m sponsoring a huge giveaway between now and Thanksgiving as a way to celebrate the launch of my new website.
All you have to do to enter is sign up for my newsletter. That’s it. And if you are already a subscriber, you’re already entered.
I’m giving away a pile of prizes that all tie in to my novels in some fun way.
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(Prize package can only be sent to US addresses.)