Anyone else not inherit any recipes? Grow up with a culinary and historical void where other people had comfort food and family histories?
I remember growing up and seeing family recipes everywhere; all my friends families had them! From polish cabbage rolls and Acadian met pies to Tartatin and Tea Biscuits! Recipes passed down from generation to generation.
They’re all over pop culture. Every sitcom or romcom had them so why didn’t my family have any?
I always felt really ripped off and disconnected from the womxn who came before me. My mom baked occasionally, but working full time and having 6 kids didn’t leave much leisure time. On top of being time poor her mother had died when she was very young and therefor she never had a chance to be handed down family knowledge.The memories I have of baking with my mom mostly involve reading recipes of ta bag of chocolate chips, porridge oats, or jar of peanut butter.
My auntie, my dads sister, baked almost constantly! She was amazing at it, but being a plus sized womxn in a family of fat-shamers there was always a tinge of sadness when we’d bake together. I think having been raised by a feeder incapable of showing genuine affection(my paternal grandmother is mean af) really took it’s tole. Complicated emotions and family trauma aside(lol not really you can’t escape them)… the vast majority of her recipes came from cookbooks… many of which with titles like ‘Eat, Drink, and be Skinny’. Family are wild like that, inheritiing generation trauma and having it layered like a fudge cake between new traumas! It’s no wonder I have a warped relationship with food, my body, and self image.
I remember being told about how great a baker my great Grandmother was, but where those recipes ended up I never knew.
The only source of anything resembling ‘family recipes’ in my life is a now greatly contested cookbook from the 1920’s. I say greatly contested because after my parents divorce the both claimed it belonged to them. My father claims it belonged to the aforementioned great grandmother, and my mother claims it belonged to her mother. I don’t believe either of them to be honest and I don’t really care who it belonged to as long as I can be sure I’ll be the one to inherit it… fingers crossed.
Last year I had my brother photograph a few of the recipes and email them to me. Molasses cookies and gingerbread to be specific. I think I’m the only one in the family ever to have used the book. It lives on a back shelf and gathers dust and that breaks my heart a little. I’ve made maybe a dozen recipes I’ve found in it’s 500+ pages which is barely scratching the surface. Having been written in the 1920’s much of them need updating or substitutions as they can be a bit dated and heavy on the LARD.
Contested Cookbooks aside I never really felt like I had inherited recipes. There’s no box of tattered slips of paper, with flowery hand writing from matriarchs past, stained with butter and egg, that I can finger through in times of need. I ‘d say I’m pinning for a romantic ideal… but I’ve seen them! They exist! In the kitchen cupboards of friends and chosen family, guarded and cared for and catalogued meticulously for generations to come.
It’s is just another way in which I feel unconnected to my past. I’ve always felt as if no one before me existed, not really, they were all just made up, there’s no proof they existed… even in my childhood these existential thoughts plagued me. Would I be forgotten or erased because of lack of care? Would no one guard my memory or care for what I left behind? I was a melancholy child for sure. We all live in a simulation anyway so whatever. Long live the matrix.
I don’t plan to have children, not biological ones anyway, but regardless I want to leave a collection of recipes behind. Foods I’ve poured love and time into to taste test and to master. I don’t want my tomb stone to read; Made Great Cookies… but I want it to be known that I did, in fact, make great cookies. So having picked up a pack of Nestle* chocolate chips from the isle of ‘American Specialty Food'(having thrown my better judgment and moral convictions aside for a taste of nostalgia) I got to baking.
I decided to try out a recipe from TASTY that did not disappoint. The recipe will need a few small tweeks, a bit more salt I think, and it might just go into the recipe log I’ve started to keep for future generations…
What’s your ideal chocolate chip cookie? Is it chewy and gooey or crispy and crunchy? Milk or dark chocolate chip?
Where did you get the recipe? Family? Friends? A cookbook? The internet? Did you make it up?
Best served with milk or coffee?
Since I’ve been trying to cut out as much dairy as possible from my diet I enjoyed my cookies with coconut milk and I’ve got to say it was a perfect pairing!
*Nestle is a thoroughly evil company from stealing water to forced labour and much much more. I go out of my way to ensure I’m not giving them money or supporting them, but this time I caved, just once, because we can’t all be perfect all the time.