As I sit here sifting through stacks of my Grandmother + Great Grandmother's handwritten recipe cards I think of all the years of thought, learning, trial and error, and love that went into each card.
I try to recreate recipes from the cards, some I've never had before and for all intents and purposes they turn out just fine. But what I don't know is if they really turn out the way that they are suppose to. I don't know the tips + tricks behind them and for me, spending time IN the kitchen with my Mom and Grandmother was the only true way for me to know the secrets BEHIND their recipes.
How Grandma perfected the tart flavor behind her Key Lime Pie and knowing that she hand-picked each key lime off the tree in her yard in Florida made all the difference. How Mom gets her Chicken and Dumpling broth so creamy that it truly melts in your mouth, after trying over and over to make this one for my own children I think I've finally gotten the hang of this favorite winter dish.
When I sit and think of how much I love to cook and bake, of the time I spend in the kitchen and around our family dinner table I still come to realize as I sift through these hand-written recipes that I still have so many holes in my kitchen skills.
I'm not talking about those Pinterest-worthy, ingredient laden, fancy recipes that we all love to pin. I'm talking about the basic recipes of a Southern kitchen. The ones that we grew up eating, made-from-scratch the way Grandma used to make them. If we don’t learn the fundamentals, the secrets and the subtle differences between a dash, a splash and a pinch, we will never be able to recreate a recipe in quite the same way as the dishes we grew up enjoying during our childhood. These heirloom(ed) recipes will be lost forever, along with the stories behind them.
I'm a hands-on learner so I have decided to create a big challenge for myself - a Southern Kitchen Bucket List, if you will. Getting back to the basics and tackling the simple things that I feel I should know how to master in my own kitchen, keeping these made-from-scratch secrets alive for yet another generation. I'm starting now because I know as the holidays grow closer and I try making some of my holiday favorites, I'll realize I have even more holes to learn. I'll be tackling some of these on my own, some from my family recipes, and some with the help of some of the best folks out there who are known for their craft. Take a peek ....
A Southern Kitchen Bucket List
Macaroni + Cheese
Chicken + Dumplings
Low Country Boil
I'd love to challenge you to tackle these along with me at #heirloomed. Let me know if I'm missing anything and I'll continue to add to the list. I've already knocked out a few (hyperlinked above) so you can start there.
And, I challenge you to also pull out a few of your favorite family recipe card and get in the kitchen with your Mom or Grandma and have them TEACH you to make them, by hand and step-by-step.
Here we go - off to tackle the Southern skills, can't wait to share. #HEIRLOOMED
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