There is a running joke in my family about a recipe. Well, two recipes.
My late grandfather, Bert “Pops” Maas, grilled the world’s best flank steak. And my grandmother, Charlotte “Grammy” Maas, makes the best barbecue marinade/sauce this side of the Mississippi. And when you put that sauce on that flank steak all your BBQ dreams came true.
So when the family would get together for a cookout, everyone would be itching to get their hands on as much of that sauced up meat as possible.
But because of my grandparents idiosyncrasies, it could take hours before dinner hit the table.
Pops would refuse to start heating the charcoal grill until Grammy had begun marinating the meat. And Grammy would refuse to make her sauce to marinate the flank steak in until the grill was hot.
This resulted in all of the grandchildren becoming messengers, going between the kitchen and the backyard relaying different variations of, “As soon as you’re ready,” to each party.
Even when you were a little kid, this particular game got old as fast as you got hungry. But when everything was finally done and we all sat down to eat, you would swear you had never tasted anything better.
I was thinking about this anecdote as I was filing in the pages of the kikki.K recipe organizer, a present that I got for Christmas. It didn’t occur to me to start with my family’s foods when transferring recipes into it. And when I ran out of the amount of inserts it came with (note to self to buy more ASAP) I was sad to realize neither the flank steak recipe, nor the marinade, was in there.
Why had I forgotten them? Well not so much forgotten them, but decided they weren’t a priority. They could wait, but apparently my variation of Alton Brown’s chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe couldn’t.
Grammy’s peach pie, sweet potato casserole, clam dip and cheese balls. Pops’ pizza burgers and meatloaf. My dad’s Game Day meatballs and weenies. My aunt’s gravy. All missing.
Sure, I can get more inserts and put them in. And I will. But the point is I feel bad I didn’t make room for them at the beginning. The recipes that matter most should have been the first ones I wrote down. And the ones that matter most should be the ones I love because they are associated with the people I love.
My grandfather passed away almost 5 years ago and I miss him every day. I have his flank steak recipe, given to me by Grammy when I requested it after his death.
But you know what? I have never made it. I don’t know if anyone has since he passed away.
But I’m going to now. Because I’ve decided that the significance of a family recipe is not to be taken lightly.
If we focused on those foods then we might appreciate our food more. We might appreciate each other more when we sit down to share a meal. And we might be more inspired to create our own recipes, so that one day we will live on in the meals that we shared with our loved ones.
Excuse me while I go feel all the feels.2