My grandfather had his own stove-top specialty, fried bologna in a tortilla. That, or perhaps, cow tongue or menudo. I still love my grandfather, but his food holds NO special place in this girl’s heart! My grandma had her own thing going on in the kitchen and it often took place at 4 am. She worked her whole life in factories. Like…her WHOLE life. She’d be up before the sun to make macaroni or potato salad for her company potlucks.
My grandfather would often tease her about making Cajun food, which was a code for food that has been burnt!
Then, there is the other side of my family, my dad’s side. This grandma (Bobbie) was my Nana (as in banana) and boy did she love to cook in butter! I don’t remember actually seeing Nana cook, but I am always reminded of her when I smell butter on the stove. The more butter, the more it smells like Nana cooking. I guess she was like the Jewish Paula Deen.
I do, however, have many of my Great Grandma Ann’s recipes (thank you Auntie Debi!) If Nana was Paula Deen, Grandma Ann was like Julia Child. Not that Grandma Ann was a master chef, she was just nutty! (In a good way, of course!)
Between the two of them, we ate many buffets of yummy, Hannukah-esque food. Coffee cakes, challah, blintzes, kugel. Ahh, carbs and butter. Love.
I think keeping food tradition in families is just, so important. It creates a thread of family connection and memory that can’t be lost. With one grandma whipping up enchiladas and the other basting blintzes in butter, food planted a special place in my childhood heart. As an adult, it has planted itself everywhere else too. A homemade tortilla like Nana (rhymes with sauna) used to make is a trip back into her tiny kitchen, a place I’d give anything to visit again.
I hope to someday be a grandma with her own special dishes to feed the souls of my family. I wish I could write more, but next month is my 34th birthday and I just pictured myself as a grandma. Oy vey! Or, Dios mio! It depends on which grandma you ask.