Red lentil soup and recipes to remember you by

One christmas I unwrapped a gift from my mother-in-law. It was a small recipe box with a few index cards filled with recipes: best baked ham, homemade pasta, the secret family recipe to jam-jams. It is an incredibly touching gift. Inside are a stack of blank recipe cards, an invitation for me to fill in my own family recipes.

There are a mix of recipes- when I first started I’d write out any meal I made that tasted good and could be done inexpensively preferably under 30 minutes. Sometimes I would make something so often like a red lentil soup, and one day I would make it amazing and write down the exact proportions so I could remember what I did.

Inside I’ve got recipes from magazines that my husband and I have cooked together and that worn-out food stained printout for Ramsay’s spaghetti lobster brings me right back to the nights we made it, why we made it, the people we’ve cooked it for. Inside the box there are also my inventions, and the types of recipes that make me go- -oooh when can we make THAT again! there’s a recipe for the first-ever creme brulee I ever made. It’s a box of memories i hope i can pass on one day.

I think you remember your family with food. My family and I are still trying to master the piirakka the way my grandmother made them and each year we get to remember her by trying again. We don’t have her exact recipe- even if we did I’m not sure we could make it exactly the same way and to be honest it is more fun trying. My aunt has perfected the rice. My cousin can shape the dough like no other. My uncle makes the best mustika piirakka in the world. My dad and I quite possibly make grandma role over in her grave by adding sweet potato, or risotto or goat cheese. All of us have bits and pieces that can bring the recipe together.

Five years ago- one grandson started filming his 91 year old great grandma. It turned into a youtube series “Cooking with Clara”- recipes she’s been making since the 1920’s. She is my favorite ‘celebrity chef’. She always cuts the ingredients right into the pot with her paring knife. She has stories about the depression, moonshine, and cooking for her family.

Watch more ‘Cooking with Clara’ here:Cooking With Clara

My cooking school chef said his favourite food was made by his grandmother; read most chef bios and they are almost always inspired by family. My rooted nutrition instructor wants her kids to remember her by the smell of ‘ginger bug’ in the kitchen.

Keep sharing your stories with marked up cookbooks, videos. food blogs. Cook with your family. Pass on cooking traditions through the generations. Inspire. Make memories. Enjoy!

(p.s. I promised my dad if I ever made reference to my lentil soup again on my blog I’d finally post the recipe. It lasts several days in the fridge, freezes well, and leftovers are really good if you mix in some rice and fry them into red lentil patties. Here it is from my recipe box. Enjoy!)

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