Her response was: “You want me to make your mashed potato casserole?”
Um…yeah. My hip hurts, and I dread the thought of standing at the sink peeling ten pounds of potatoes and then standing at the counter mashing them. And for those of you thinking, “Hey, just sit on a stool”–really, that is harder on the back than standing is on the hip. Yes, I know I’m announcing geezerdom, but that’s just how it is this year and your turn is coming, so zip your lip.
But here’s my real point. At some point, someone (nephews Andrew and Brendan) designated my mashed potato casserole as Aunt Kathy’s special, classic, traditional, gotta-have-it-on-Thanksgiving dish. Shelley feels entrusted with the honor of making it this year, like I’m passing it along to the next generation.
It’s just mashed potatoes. It’s a recipe I found in Cooking Light a few years ago and tried because it was a way to have mashed potatoes prepared in advance of Turkey Day. They also happen to be low-fat and absolutely yummy. I quadrupled or quintupled the recipe to feed a crowd of forty and, ta-da, it’s now a family heirloom recipe.
Heirloom recipes are passed from one generation to the next… Oh.
You get heirloom recipes from people who are grandmothers… Oh.
But, heirloom recipes are really old and came over with the Pilgrims on the Mayflower or, according to an international student at our school, the Titanic. Well, maybe not so much. My mother’s heirloom recipe for Vienna Cake was one she started making from her Fanny Farmer’s Cookbook. My grandmother’s famous raisin bread recipe was clipped from the newspaper.
Heirloom recipes are also enshrouded with the mystique that no one can make them like the originator or the designated heir to the recipe. Furthermore, no one has permission to make them except the originator or the designated heir to the recipe. Some people protect their recipes because they want to be needed. Others like the honor of being recognized for excellence. For whatever reason, heirloom recipes are supposedly closely guarded family secrets.
Secret or not, eventually heirloom recipes get passed along, even if one has to steal the deceased cook’s recipe file. But I propose to you that the Number One reason for passing down an heirloom recipe is this: The cook is too daggone tired to do it!
Come back tomorrow for Kathy’s Heirloom Mashed Potato recipe.Kathy Harp – She can also be found at her personal blog Maywood Living. Are you receiving your free digital subscription to The Zone Magazine? If not, click here!