The Healing Powers of My Grandma’s Macaroni Salad

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that’s meaningful to them and their loved ones.

It’s just a bowl of noodles. A stockpot, in my case, because I don’t have the basketb…

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that's meaningful to them and their loved ones.


It’s just a bowl of noodles. A stockpot, in my case, because I don’t have the basketball-sized Tupperware bowl my grandma uses, but it’s still just a bowl of noodles, coated with the most stereotypically American of ingredients—Miracle Whip, mayo, a little pickle relish. It’s a bowl of noodles, but now it’s something more. It’s my deliverance, my emancipation from heartbreak.

Read More >>

Hushpuppies That Quiet My Homesickness

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that’s meaningful to them and their loved ones.

My mother, Melissa, wasn’t much of a cook. But she loved making a quick spaghetti wit…

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that's meaningful to them and their loved ones.


My mother, Melissa, wasn’t much of a cook. But she loved making a quick spaghetti with ground beef, bell peppers, and mushrooms. Or a lasagna that was basically the same thing assembled in a different way. Nobody complained.

Read More >>

How a Single Mom Conquered Dinner, One Pound of Hamburger at a Time

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that’s meaningful to them and their loved ones.

Some people grow up with moms whose love language is flaky pastry or fragrant spice. …

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that's meaningful to them and their loved ones.


Some people grow up with moms whose love language is flaky pastry or fragrant spice. Moms who say “I love you” by serving up heaping bowls of delicious food. My mom’s love language was the actual phrase “I love you.” She uttered these words frequently and generously. She spoke them, sang them, and wrote them. When it came to cooking, though, she kind of phoned it in. If recipe boxes had titles, my mom’s might be something like: "What Can’t You Do With Hamburger Meat?"

Read More >>

In My 40th Year, I Finally Made Pita Bread

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that’s meaningful to them and their loved ones.

I reach for my favorite apron, the light blue one with the thin red and white stripes…

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that's meaningful to them and their loved ones.


I reach for my favorite apron, the light blue one with the thin red and white stripes, worn soft from decades of cooking. I tie the strings around my waist, first to the back and then the front, securing them with a bow. It molds to my body like a second skin, the way a favorite threadbare T-shirt might.

Read More >>

Why It’s So Hard to Recreate Your Grandma’s Chicken

The worst thing I ever baked was my grandmother’s banana bread. I was 20 and a fairly good, though not entirely confident, baker. I followed the recipe—a handwritten script with a list of ingredients and two or three sentences of instructions—but the b…

The worst thing I ever baked was my grandmother’s banana bread. I was 20 and a fairly good, though not entirely confident, baker. I followed the recipe—a handwritten script with a list of ingredients and two or three sentences of instructions—but the bread came out rock hard. Had I misread her handwriting? Were my ingredients different from hers? To this day, I don’t know what I did wrong.

Whether it's indecipherable handwriting or insufficient instruction, family recipes can often be difficult to recreate. Add the pressure of making something that's imbued with history and meaning, and even the most assured cook is bound to feel less confident. Some of these come from cookbooks, dog-eared and stained from use; others have been passed down in the kitchen, with the guiding hand of another family member; and many have been carried on in memory alone.

Read More >>

The Pandolce That Won Back Christmas

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that’s meaningful to them and their loved ones.

“Buono!” exclaimed Fernanda, breaking off a golden corner of my first, freshly baked …

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that's meaningful to them and their loved ones.


Buono!” exclaimed Fernanda, breaking off a golden corner of my first, freshly baked pandolce, a traditional holiday cake from Liguria, the Italian Riviera. She examined the crisp, cookie-like surface and tender interior of the dessert, as the sweet aroma of toasted anise and candied orange filled the kitchen. “This is good. Actually good!”

Read More >>

Pizza Fritte Brings Me Home, 3000 Miles Away

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that’s meaningful to them and their loved ones.

Growing up, every Sunday when church let out, we drove straight to my grandparents’ h…

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that's meaningful to them and their loved ones.


Growing up, every Sunday when church let out, we drove straight to my grandparents’ house. Even with the door closed, you could hear them from the driveway—a crowd of family, friends, neighbors, and the occasional priest or nun gathered in the kitchen. The adults sat around the table or leaned against the butcher block island, laughing with their mouths full; the kids ran in and out of the room playing games. The table would be strewn with Italian food: sausage rolls and meatballs soaking in the sauce my grandmother made that morning; bread, still warm from the bakery down the street; and homemade sausage-in-oil (more on this later), sliced paper thin. My grandfather would invariably be at the stove wearing a grin as big as the giant cast-iron skillet in front of him, a shimmering lake of hot olive oil inside. On the counter, a half dozen balls of pizza dough sprinkled with flour, and a plate layered thick with paper towels.

Read More >>

How Baba’s Surprise Pastries Kept Our Family Together

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that’s meaningful to them and their loved ones.

The packages began arriving in early April, a few weeks after the pandemic confined m…

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that's meaningful to them and their loved ones.


The packages began arriving in early April, a few weeks after the pandemic confined my father to his home. The first box contained sambusac, Iraqi pastries filled, variably, with chickpea paste, salted cheese, or a mix of nuts, sugar, and cinnamon. The next box carried kubbot, deep-fried Iraqi dumplings with ground meat, cumin, cardamom, and pine nuts. After that came jars of quince jam and Tupperwares of stuffed grape leaves, which we shared with our neighbors. The fifth box—this time at my son’s request—delivered gaurag, a crunchy Iraqi flatbread, packaged in enough Bubble Wrap to survive the flight from Los Angeles to the Bronx intact. It did.

Read More >>

How I Became the Keeper of My Mother-in-Law’s Spinach Rice Recipe

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that’s meaningful to them and their loved ones.

I started a pandemic kitchen notebook in April 2020, three weeks into California’s fi…

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that's meaningful to them and their loved ones.


I started a pandemic kitchen notebook in April 2020, three weeks into California’s first lockdown. “What We Ate in Covid Quarantine,” I wrote on the inaugural page, adding a jaunty swoosh under the title. Each day, I’d record our meals: cobbled-together leftover lunches, mother-son baking adventures, ambitious holiday projects, and obligatory sourdough experiments.

Read More >>

Mastering My Family’s Filipino Spring Rolls Was a Rite of Passage

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that’s meaningful to them and their loved ones. This week, in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, food stylist and recipe de…

Good food is worth a thousand words—sometimes more. In My Family Recipe, a writer shares the story of a single dish that's meaningful to them and their loved ones. This week, in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, food stylist and recipe developer Amelia Rampe remembers her favorite Filipino dish, lumpia.

Growing up, an important skill for me was learning how to make lumpia (Filipino spring rolls). But what is lumpia, anyway? They’re a Filipino version of spring rolls made with lumpia wrappers and typically filled with ground pork, carrots and onions, cabbage, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. The mixture is either sautéed in a skillet for a pre-cook or simply scooped into neat balls of uncooked meat. A few tablespoons of the mixture are added to each wrapper before each one is tucked and rolled neatly. Once all the rolls are formed, they’re pan-fried until crispy and hot. Learning how to make the filling, filling the wrappers just so, and folding them without causing them to break is no easy task. I had to get through the most basic tasks before I could graduate to the assembly stage. 

Read More >>