How many of us have vivid memories of certain dishes our mothers (aunts, grandmothers, etc.) made while we were growing up? And how many of us assume they will always be around and able to make those special dishes for us when we want them? If that is the case, and you still have the opportunity, do not waste any more time! Call, e-mail, snail mail, or better yet, visit and ask that special cook to share her recipes with you. GET THEM WRITTEN DOWN (electronic or hard copy is fine). Those recipes are part of your family heritage and should be preserved for future generations. And if you happen to be the one that gets asked to share, please do.
Ok, off my soapbox and on to the rest of the blog. I am so lucky to be related to some fantastic and inspirational women that also happen to be pretty darn good cooks. So in honor of Mother’s Day today’s entry will be a collection of some signature dishes from the mothers, grandmothers and aunts in my life. I LOVE YOU ALL! and miss those that are no longer with us.
Gram’s French Bread Hamburgers– Helene Lalanne – (my paternal great grandmother). Yes, that is the full name of the recipe. It is amusing to hear all of my family members, myself included, refer to them as “Gram’s”. As far as I know, no one else has another French Bread Hamburgers recipe that we would need to differentiate it. Probably just a sign of respect for our matriarch. These make a quick easy to prepare dinner with ingredients most people readily have on hand.
Enchiladas– Eleanor Vineys(my paternal grandmother) – Maybe this isn’t really her signature dish. I have a few others that I like better. But I couldn’t resist the irony of posting a French woman’s version of a Mexican classic on Cinco de Mayo. These are delicious, but a lot of work.
Potato Pancakes – Ruth Smith (my maternal grandmother) – As I have been told the story, this is the one that started Ma’am’s urge to write down the family recipes. She tried to duplicate it from memory and it didn’t come out well. She asked her mother who said she probably didn’t use enough baking powder. She hadn’t used any so she asked how much to use, “oh enough”. These aren’t the fried shredded potato pancakes you may be thinking about. Probably a more appropriate name would be Mashed Potato Pancakes.
Pate – Jeanne Marshall (my paternal great aunt) – Probably my favorite memory of pate will always be my sweet little cousin, Michelle, offering to be my “designated eater” and have my portion the Thanksgiving I was pregnant (liver is now one of those “forbidden” things for pregnant women). Oh, and when the recipe states “place a brick on top”, it literally means a brick you would get from your garden. It is the perfect size and weight to compress the pate while cooling.
Hot Artichoke Dip– Susan Yahng(my paternal aunt) An easy yet unique dip that your guests will love even if they aren’t fond of artichokes – you don’t even have to tell them the ingredients. Most holidays I fill up on this and chili cheese before the meal even begins.
Stuffed Cabbage– Isabelle Humaciu(my “other” mother) When I asked her for the recipe for a friend of mine she stated she had never written it down before because she always just made it from memory. And all of us in the family just assume she will be willing and able to make these for us forever. I pray she will, but at least now we have it written down.
Chili Cheese and Red Velvet Cake – Carleta Vineys (Ma’am, my mother, the founder of this site). She started this site she should get two recipes. The first is definately one of her signature dishes. We joke that she is not allowed at family gatherings unless she brings it. When I told some high school friends I was going to bring some to our mini-reunion lately, one of them said “Oh your Mom’s spicy cheese, I remember that”. I am adding the Red Velvet Cake recipe to show she was a woman ahead of her time. Everywhere I look these days it is red Velvet this and Red Velvet that. This recipe has been up here for years.
Wow! Looking at all of those recipes I am not only hungry but inspired to go cook. Lucky Matthew and Justin!
Happy Mother’s Day to ALL of the wonderful mothers in my life!