Country Kitchen: Memories of Mom's Recipes

Country Kitchen: Memories of Mom's Recipes

By Mary Emma Allen

Most of us have memories of recipes Mother made as we were growing up. These will reflect various eras of cooking in different parts of the country. However, they evoke memories and often are the basis of the cooking we do.

What about a Mom's Memories Get-Together where you share recipes and memorabilia, stories and kitchen tips that were part of those early years? This can be an occasion for friends or family, can involve an afternoon tea, brunch, or evening gathering. This eventually may evolve into a dinner party or reunion when everyone brings a dish from days ago.

The era of your childhood will determine the invitations, table decorations, memory exhibit, and recipes. You may have ladies of approximately the same generation or from a variety of years.


You may simply invite guests to your Memories Get-Together by phone or e-mail. However, it might be fun to create invitations around the theme. Scrapbooking techniques and stamping might come into play when designing them.

*Skillet Invitation - One idea could involve cutting out a skillet shape from colored paper, then adding decorative touches around the edge and handle, and including the information in the center, with calligraphy or stick-on letters.

*Cookbook Shape - Cut this out with a decorative edge, loop a ribbon through as binding, and write by hand or with stickers the invitation information.

*Other shapes, such as cookie cutters, slow cookers, a cookie jar or potholders are other ideas for invitations.

Vintage Table Cloths

You often can find vintage (40s and 50s) colorful table cloths to use for your meal. Cloth napkins and placemats of the era also would be attractive.

Or you might make placemats, cutting out pieces of colorful paper and covering them with contact paper, as you did as a child. You might find some that you used at Mother's table.

Table Accessories

Centerpieces could involve flowers, a bowl of artificial fruit (so popular on my mother-in-law's dining sideboard), or kitchen utensils in a colorful pitcher.

Look around for plates, soup bowls, cups and saucers. It's fun to mix and match these items that you collect from different eras. They can coordinate with your table coverings. Invite guests to share a piece of nostalgic dinnerware.

Creating a Memory Book

As a take-home gift and something fun to do at your gathering, present each guest with a small notebook. Then they can decorate each with scrapbooking items you have on hand. If time is limited, you might decorate the covers yourself beforehand.

Have each lady start jotting down memories and recipes. This is something she can continue at home. Title it "Memories of Mom's Recipes" or something similar.

While you're doing this, play background music of the various eras included at your get-together.

MOM'S CREAMED POTATOES - My mother served these for supper, along with baked ham and cole slaw, the evening before our wedding. Family had gathered at our Hudson River Valley farm home where the wedding would take place the following day. My mother-in-law recalled this dish for years after and asked me for the recipe.

This is a simple recipe Mother often served in my childhood, one she learned from her mother. I also submitted it to the cookbook compiled by the nursing home where Mother stayed during her last years.

Dice cooked, leftover potatoes into a frying pan or skillet, called a "spider" by my grandmother. Add some cream or whole milk, but do not cover the potatoes. If you use milk, add a few pieces of butter, homemade on Grandmother's farm.

Simmer, stirring often, but do not boil, until liquid is thick. (You can sprinkle a tablespoon of flour over the potatoes and stir in with the milk, to hasten thickening.) Add salt and pepper as desired.

Article (C) 2004 Mary Emma Allen

About the Author

Mary Emma Allen has been writing her "Cooking Column" for newspapers and online publications for 30 years and has compiled a family cookbook. SheÂ’s currently compiling a cookbook/story book, "Tales From a Country Kitchen." Visit her web site for more cooking articles. Contact her at

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