International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

What's Your Favorite Grandma-Made-It Dish?

Grandma with ravioli

Image Creative Commons by Lorenzo G

Most of us have wonderful memories of dinner at grandma's. Something about those meals helped define who we are as human beings and where it is we come from. The mix of family and food prepared with an extra pinch of love solidified our ancestral bonds.

For me, growing up in the American Midwest, the essential dish was Granny noodles — fresh egg dumplings-slash-noodles that my grandmother made by hand for special occasions. She simmered them in a rich chicken broth, and we would ladle them over her buttery mashed potatoes. Or was it the baked beans that she dolled up with brown sugar, a dash of hickory smoke and slices of fatty bacon? Then again, maybe it was her pan-fried pork chops, thrown together for unexpected visitors and served with creamed corn. And what about any of her innumerable variations of the Jello salad?

As I got older, I realized maybe her noodles were a just a wee bit salty. The creamed corn was sometimes too sweet. And the Jello salads...well. But I still relish those memories.

The extended family was lucky to have my father, who took the time to sit down with Granny and take notes as she rattled off the recipes for all of our favorites. He had the recipes all printed and bound (after translating pinches to teaspoons and handfuls to cups) and made the cookbook a gift to the extended family in the mid-1980s.

Granny passed away just a few years after that, and I am so glad to have that cookbook. I keep all her recipes close at hand for big family dinners or for when I just need a little extra comfort in bad times.

We all have these grandma-made-it dishes. I'd like to know, what was on your plate when you ate at your grandmother's? What were your favorite dishes? Least favorite? Did you get the recipe, or is it lost forever?