This is a guest post by Jocelyn Delk-Adams, author of “Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories” published by Agate Surrey.
Each recipe in my family is like a piece of fabric. When sewn together, they become a quilt of sorts, woven with a myriad of memories. The beginning thread of this quilt is my maternal grandmother, “Big Mama” Maggie Small. My earliest memories of my grandmother involve my family road tripping to Winona, Mississippi each year during the summers and holidays to visit her and my grandfather.
During those times, I was her apprentice in the kitchen. She, along with my mother and aunt supervised my involvement as they made magic happen from Big Mama’s old recipes, many of which evolved through the years. My main duty involved watching the cooking and baking process in extreme detail so I could duplicate the steps later.
My Big Mama Maggie loved sharing her recipes and techniques. I especially loved the stories behind the origins of them. With 13 other siblings, she was one of the youngest. During that time, her mother died so she really missed a lot of the moments in the kitchen that I fondly remember with her, my mother and aunt. I have always found her tales of inventing recipes in the kitchen when her siblings and father worked in the field very fascinating. One tale that really surprised me was her creation of her world famous biscuit recipe. She simply “made it up” is what she told me after burning rocks of flour dough over and over. She started tweaking one ingredient each time she tried them and began editing the baking time and temperature. It was through a lot of trial and error that her perfectly fluffy, light and flaky biscuits came to be. It became her duty to create the meals and ring the bell when supper was ready. Because of those roots, a slew of recipes, both sweet and savory, bore a collection that is continuing to pass through my family today.
The creation of my blog and now my cookbook Grandbaby Cakes is really an ode to that collection and a nod to the family and friends who have inspired me along the way including the name Grandbaby Cakes. My grandparents called me grandbaby and I was nicknamed babycakes by friends who knew me as an avid baker. While the recipes are not exact replicas of the originals, they have been given new life with different flavor combinations and ideas which I hope will appeal to a newer generation. I think what is most important about preserving our history is continuing to pay homage to the classics while experimenting with our own flavors.
Below are a few of my family favorites which you can expect to find in my upcoming book Grandbaby Cakes,
Follow more recipes from Grandbaby Cakes on Pinterest here.
What are some of the most memorable recipes that have been handed down in your family?