I’ve always subscribed to the notion that what separates a good cook from a not so good cook is their willingness to tweak recipes to put their own stamp on them. However, I sometimes get annoyed with celebrity chefs on television. I’ve watched them belittle the old classics, saying they’re too “old fashioned.” Or they’ll make a crass remark about it being the 21st century and not 1950s. Really? What a bunch of conceited, arrogant jerks!
What makes these recipes classic? The answer is simple. They taste great. That’s why they’ve been around for such a long time.
I’ll always remember my grandmother’s cooking. As far as my siblings and I were concerned, no one on the planet could cook better than Grandma. I also remember my sister-in-law bragging about writing down all of Grandma’s recipes. Those recipes are family heirlooms. Nothing makes us feel like Grandma is still with us more than enjoying her tapioca pudding or her chicken and dumplings.
I feel the same when I prepare my dad’s famous pinto beans. My father could hold his own in the kitchen. In fact, he could open the refrigerator, grab leftovers, and create an amazing dish without a recipe.
A family recipe collection can be a priceless legacy which can be easily copied and shared. You never need to worry about fighting with your siblings over who gets the recipe box. You won’t have to pay any estate tax on it either. That is, until the government figures out a way to do it.
So, here’s to my grandmother’s recipes, and our passing them down to our own grandchildren.