Seniors – From Grandma's Kitchen – A Culinary Memory Book By Raymond Degg


by Raymond Degg

There are two things I remember most vividly from grandma's house: the little presents that always lay waiting for me under the coffee table in the den... and grandma's goulash. It's funny though, looking back on it. I can't ever seem to remember what those presents were, but boy do I remember the taste and smell of that goulash- all that aromatic tomato sauce, onion, and noodles.

I vividly remember the image of grandma preparing it in the kitchen. She'd have me chop things and set the table with her beautiful red linens and shiny silverware. To go with the goulash, she toasted pita bread in the oven, spread with butter and garlic salt. It was my job to watch as the pita turned brown and turn them over.

Along with my love for grandma's goulash, there was the love for grandma's green peas, grandma's cookies, and grandma's "fried mush". I know what you're thinking-- fried mush? Potato pancakes cooked on the skittle and covered in maple syrup. The stuff is to die for.

All these fond memories of grandma's cooking make me just want to kick myself for not having collected all her recipes. Not just recipes, but photographs too; all sorts of memorabilia that reminds me of those special meals.

Scrapbook-making is a hot hobby right now, and there are plenty of stores with all kinds of different books, pages, stickers, and stamps. I'm starting to think that the best way to preserve your recipes for your children and grandchildren, or the other way around, is to begin filling one of those books with all your culinary memories. Take pictures of wonderful meals with wonderful friends, and encapsulate them for posterity-recipes included! Make a photo album cookbook.

Write notes and tips alongside the recipes, if you can't keep a secret. Put stickers, photographs, magazine pictures, anything that brings back the experience of that wonderful food.

Every year for 4th of July my extended family goes up to the mountains to celebrate, and every year my uncle picks one morning to make his special pancakes. But these aren't your average pancakes, these are works of art. He makes pictures with the batter, spelling out people's names, drawing pictures, and sometimes creating whole landscapes of dough. One summer my special pancake was in the shape of a giraffe eating from a tree!

Each year these specially designed pancakes are photographed next to their proud recipient. All of those photographs are now in a book that expands with each year. When I flip through that book, I'm reminded of all the smiling faces, the taste of the buttery maple syrup, and most importantly, reminded of a culinary tradition that has brought me joy since childhood.


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