Family cultures and traditions often center around food, whether it’s getting together for a holiday or celebrating events like a wedding or graduation. Even if some of us dread seeing Uncle Lou or cousin Sally, the thought of enjoying Grandma’s pie or Mom’s turkey is enough to get us excited to visit family. In an attempt to replicate family recipes at home (and keep the recipes alive for the next generation), I asked my mom for some of her recipes. Turns out, they’re in her head. So I did the next best thing: I took video of her making one of my favorite things: Greek yogurt.
My mom is originally from Cyprus, a tiny island right below Turkey surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is also close to the Middle East; Lebanon and Syria are neighbors. I mention this only because in addition to traditional Cypriot dishes, her meals are influenced by these neighboring countries.
I’m not sure how she came up with how to make her Greek yogurt recipe but it’s super easy and delicious. Even better, it contains just two ingredients.Part of the reason I wanted to videotape my mother making her version of Greek yogurt is because I’ll always have it and I can share it with my kids. It’s a great way to honor traditions while preserving them for the next generation.
I’ve also thought of starting my own culinary traditions and because I love to travel so much, and enjoy the cuisine from the places I travel, I often do what Judy Antell, Vegetarian TravelingMom does: buy the cookbook from places I’ve visited. I have cookbooks on Lowcountry cooking from our trip to Charleston, South Carolina, and one on Wisconsin supper clubs. It’s fun to be able to skim through the cookbooks and remember what we ate during our travels and maybe even try our hand at making them at home.
How do you preserve family recipes? Do you have tattered up index cards with recipes or have you created a family cookbook? I’m seriously thinking of creating a whole video series featuring my mom and her dishes. She has so many of them that I love and want to share with my kids as they get older. I’m not sure she’ll be patient enough with me ~ she moves at lightening speed when she’s cooking.
In the meantime, I have her step by step directions on how to make Greek yogurt. It’s a start.