It’s funny how closely our family’s memories are tied to the food we share. I clearly remember picking fresh peaches and plums from my family’s fruit trees and helping my Mom make home-made jelly. I still enjoy making jelly or jams (specifically Satsuma jelly from a few trees in Louisiana!) and smelling those familiar smells always brings me right back to my childhood.
I was blessed to grow up surrounded by incredible cooks. I gained my own knowledge of cooking and baking from some special women in my life, including my Great Aunt Marie, Grandma Peggy, and my mom. Traditions are important to the Brumbaugh family, and I’m fortunate that we discovered a great way to preserve these family-favorite recipes in a meaningful way.
My sweet Great Aunt Marie would always write letters to me, including special family recipes or stories. She had a way with words that seemed to come alive on each page. She had written a recipe book for me when I was in high-school that compiled the best recipes that had been in our family for years. Aunt Marie sent it to me with a request that I continue to add to it over the years. And so I did.
Sadly, my Great Aunt Marie is no longer with us. I am so lucky to have her handwritten words and memories preserved, and I cherish this recipe diary now more than ever. Her recipes are often followed by a short story or other commentaries that give a little background or ties a specific memory to each dish. Below you will find a recipe for “Grandmammy’s Tea Cakes.” (I love her commentary about using a Garrett snuff glass to cut the tea cakes!)
As the years have gone by, my own recipes in the diary are kept side by side with those from my sweet Great Aunt. Recently, as I was flipping through the book, I noticed this ice cream recipe of my Grandma’s that I included years ago. I love my brief story at the end (in addition to the misspelling of several words!).
I wanted to share this little treasure in case it inspires anyone else to start their own recipe diary. It can be a way to keep loved ones close to us, and ever-present at family get-togethers for years and years. I’m so thankful to my sweet Great Aunt Marie for starting this tradition that I hope to pass along to future Brumbaughs.