Around the table, sharing recipes

Share your favorite family recipe with us

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Grandma B's chocolate chip cookies are addictive, thus the family name for the recipe - nicotine cookies.

At our house, the highlight of family gatherings happens around the kitchen table. It's where vacation plans are made, ideas, hopes and dreams are shared, conversations make you laugh until you cry and the table might even be picked up (feast included) and moved, or maybe that's just my crazy, lovable family. 

Whatever the case may be in your family, it's a safe bet that many of those treasured times around the table include favorite family recipes. Grandma's bread, Grandma P's peanut squares, Aunt Kay's salad, Aunt Val's dessert, maybe Uncle Greg's burger recipe  - recipes passed down through generations, recipes with stories of their own, recipes that carry on the memory of a loved one. 

What favorite recipes do you share around your table? What stories come with those recipes?

While we can find any recipe we want online, none come with the history and memories of favorite family recipes.

When my mother-in-law died unexpectedly nine years ago, many of the memories we shared after her death involved food. Cousins standing around the kitchen counter to dig into her taco dip. The smell of her freshly baked bread, made only the way she could make it. And the chocolate chip cookies. 

Oh, those cookies! Sweet, moist, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness, so much so that everyone found them addictive, eating one after the other. Thus the name, nicotine cookies. 

My sister-in-law printed out the recipe on cards so everyone in the family could have their own copy. Looking at the recipe, it's hard to say what makes it different from any of the other numerous chocolate chip cookie recipes - except the memories.

Going through family recipes can be a trip down memory lane or through someone's life. The best recipes are handwritten with personal notes.

Going through the recipes collected by my mother-in-law was a trip through her life. Some recipes had the name of the person who gave her the recipe. It was Karen's oatmeal cookies, nut mellow fudge from Helen, jelly from Delores, dumplings from Millie, and an unnamed recipe from Nancy with a note - very good.

Recipes marked her youngest son attending Milwaukee School of Engineering and the 1975 State Fair prize recipe for zucchini bread. One recipe written on a snowman shaped piece of paper had three ingredients listed - that's it. And the mysterious mashed potato candy recipe I haven't tried.

What tasty morsels are lurking in your pile of family recipes that you share around your table? What story or history comes with those recipes? We'd love to see the recipes and hear the stories. 

If you would like to share your favorite family recipe with our readers, along with the stories or memories connected to those recipes, email the recipe, story and a photo (if available), of the food or the person who created the recipe, to We will publish the recipes in upcoming issues of the Wisconsin State Farmer.

Grandma B's chocolate chip cookies (a.k.a. nicotine cookies)

1/2 C butter

1/2 C shortening

3/4 C sugar

3/4 C packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 Tsp vanilla

2 Tbl water

2-1/2 C flour

1 Tsp soda

1 Tsp salt

Chocolate chips


Mix well. Bake at 375 degrees for eight to 10 minutes.