Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Legacy of Family Recipes

My grandmother was an incredible cook. She would get up at five o’clock every morning to make fresh bread, always had homemade sugar cookies or caramel rolls ready for guests, brought her coveted lefse to church gatherings and picnics, and made the best barbecued ribs I’ve ever had. Ever. But one of the dishes my three brothers and I enjoyed most was Grandma’s fish balls. She would take a can of King Oscar’s fish balls, make an incredibly delicious creamy gravy, boil some red potatoes, and serve it all piping hot. Yes, it was a stereotypical Scandinavian plate of food—three shades of white—but it was so simple and satisfying. Most importantly, it was cooked with love by Grandma.

Grandma passed away nearly 15 years ago, but her food legacy lives on. We try to recreate some of her specialties (they’re never as good as hers), we marvel at how she was able to cook so well for so many people in such a tiny farmhouse kitchen, and we reflect on how special she made us all feel through the food she so lovingly cooked and served.

This is a busier-than-normal time for my family, and as I toss frozen pizzas in the oven and run into the sandwich shop to pick up dinner on the go, my appreciation for Grandma—and the time she invested in making delicious food for her family—continues to grow. I think we have a few hours free this Sunday. Maybe I’ll dig out Grandma’s fish ball recipe and do some cooking with my boys.

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