There is something nostalgic and comforting about grandma’s cooking and old family recipes that have been passed down for generations. Whether it be her famous sugar cookies with the perfect frosting, shepherd’s pie with that flaky crust that melts in your mouth, or her homemade chicken noodle soup that you crave any time you start to feel sick. Just the smell of your favorite recipe from Grandma can bring you back in time to when you were just a kid hanging out in the kitchen, hoping to get to lick the bowl. If you were lucky enough to get passed down yellowed notecards of your grandma’s script with your favorite family recipes, you know you have gold on your hands.
Updating Family Recipes
As stuff gets passed down, sometimes things get put in a drawer or box to sort through later. When you finally pull out the recipes and read through them you realize times have changed and some of your favorite family recipes may need a little updating. Making family recipes that are decades old can be timeless, but some ingredients your grandma used may not be around anymore. The recipe might even call for monosodium glutamate (MSG) which, we now all know is not healthy at all for you nor a necessary additive.
Luckily the internet is your best friend, and it is effortless to update recipes for all dietary preferences. Maybe you are trying to limit your sugar intake, or prefer to shy away from gluten, but those delicious sugar cookies are full of both. It is pretty simple to substitute all-purpose gluten-free flour for regular flour, just add about ½ teaspoon of xanthan gum if the gluten-free flour blend doesn’t already have it (this will help it all bind together and not fall apart as you take a bite of that sugar cookie).
Use coconut sugar instead of refined white sugar (your baked item might be a bit darker due to the coconut sugar, but it will taste practically the same). Skip the monosodium glutamate (MSG) as it won’t affect the outcome of your dish at all. You can easily use butter or coconut oil in place of shortening or vegetable oil for healthier fat alternatives. If you are stumped on how to update the recipe, just pop your question in Google to find the answer you are looking for! Have fun with it and play around with the recipe, guaranteed your Grandma made your favorite family recipes from memory and didn’t measure as much as you may think she did.
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Showcasing Grandma’s Recipes
Once you pull those mouth-watering, soft yet slightly crispy cookies out of the oven, instead of placing them on a paper plate or your everyday dishes. Pull out that vintage silver platter you were handed down or even the cake stand your mom gave you and you have yet to use. This is a great way to use those platters and bowls that have been passed down and are just collecting dust. Or use the mendelian your grandma gave you instead of the newer one you bought yourself last year. These are more ways to honor and preserve the timelessness of your family recipes and showcase your efforts.
It might not seem like a big deal, but small touches while recreating your family recipes will help bring the memories you have to life. Bring out the tea set from the back of your cupboard, and serve some tea in your vintage teacups along with the sugar cookies you are serving. Or throw a couple of doilies on the table, just like you used as a kid while at Grandma’s house.
Preserving Grandma’s recipes
It is so easy to pull up a recipe with the best reviews on the internet and make it with little thought. However, it is more meaningful and nostalgic to look at your grandma’s or even great grandma’s handwriting while you make one of your famous family recipes. If those yellowed index cards are shoved in the back of your cupboard or in a box in the garage, it is harder to keep the family traditions alive.
If you love the feeling you get when you pull out that old recipe card with your grandma’s handwriting, you can have it printed on a tea towel so you can see it every day. This would even make a great gift for all the family members who have the same affection as you do for that favorite family recipe. You could frame the recipe and have it at the entrance of your kitchen so whenever you are cooking grandma is right there with you as you make your family recipes.
Most of the family recipes that get passed down are on some kind of paper which over time can fade, get splattered with food, or torn. It is a good idea to make copies and even laminate them, in addition to scanning and uploading the family recipes so you have a virtual copy as well. Even if you know your favorite by heart, it is even better to be able to see it and bring you back in time to when things might have been a bit slower and savory that moment. Plus, one day you will want to pass it on to your children and or grandchildren as well.
No matter how you present your Grandma’s sugar cookies, they will still be as delicious as you remember. It’s more about keeping the family recipes alive all while creating new recipes, luckily you can do both at the same time. So, next time you are trying to figure out what to make for dinner or bake on a Sunday morning with the kiddos, pull out the old family recipes and go back in time as you move forward.
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