Family History Through Food


feature image by @melskitchencafe

Nothing goes together quite like food and family. Traditions, moments, loved ones, memories, seasons and more can be remembered through tasting a dish your Great Grandma would make every Thanksgiving or a breakfast dish your dad would make every Saturday morning. Family history whether written, spoken, recorded or tasted can be tangible through food—no better way to cement memories and build bridges than through something that we must do day in and day out! Whether that be around a small counter top or a large dining room table we know that daily nourishment can mean a lot more than just filling up our stomachs.

Today we are featuring some amazing food bloggers who are sharing some of their favorite family recipes, not only because they taste wonderful, but because of the special memories they hold for each of them. Read on to find out why they love these recipes and the memories and goodness each recipe holds for them. And lucky for us, the recipes are included!

JEN SATTLEY  @carlsbadcravings


Every Fall growing up, us 5 kids (and all the neighbors, family, friends and anyone else blessed enough to be a recipient of Mom’s pumpkin bread) would eagerly await the arrival of pumpkin cans lining grocery store shelves so mom could make her famous Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.  The house would fill with the magical Fall aroma of pumpkin and cinnamon and we knew it was going to be a magically delicious day.  But mom wouldn’t just make one loaf, but three beautiful Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread loafs.  We would devour as much as we were allowed and the rest would be gifted to neighbors and friends.  And then she would make more.  My very favorite memory of Fall.

This recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread is over 50 years old.  It comes from my mom’s brother’s elementary teacher who sent home homemade pumpkin bread and the recipe to all the children in his class.  With just a few adjustments by my mom over the years to make it perfect, this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread has stood the test of time against any other pumpkin bread recipe.  In my opinion, it is simply the best!  So get ready to be loved, adored and applauded for your “famous” supremely moist, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread riddled with chocolate chips, Fall spices and new memories to share.


C H O C O L A T E   C H I P   P U M P K I N   B R E A D


Bowl One

  • 6 eggs

  • 4 cups granulated sugar

  • 129 oz. can of pure pumpkin

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Bowl Two

  • 4 1/2 cups AP flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

  • 1 tablespoons baking powder

  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Add later:

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (or half chocolate chunks)


1  |  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2  |  Grease and flour three 8 1/2” x 4 ½” loaf pans or use a cooking spray with flour in it.

3  |  In a very large bowl, add eggs and gently whisk. Mix in sugar, pumpkin and oil.

4  |  In a separate large bowl, mix together all Bowl Two ingredients (don’t add chocolate chips).

5  |  Mix the Flour Mixture into the Pumpkin Mixture just until combined, being careful not to over-mix. Fold in chocolate chips. Evenly divide batter between 3 loaf pans.

6  |  Bake at 325 degrees F for 65 - 75 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let bread cool on wire rack for 10 minutes then remove bread from pans. Let bread cool completely on wire rack before slicing.

NOTE — Store bread in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Brooke Eliason  |  @femalefoodie


One of my favorite family recipes comes from my beautiful maternal grandmother, Sayo Black. Because of her Japanese heritage, we have called her "Grandma Japanese" since my siblings and I were young kids. We love her ability to cook and share parts of her asian culture and, although this fried rice recipe isn't an authentic Japanese dish, she has always been willing to prepare this family favorite throughout the years. She often makes double or triple batches of her fried rice for large family gatherings and jokingly comments "I'm cooking for an army"!

As a family, we have enjoyed this recipe on Christmas Eve, as a stand-alone meal, for leftovers (which we fought over relentlessly as children), or served inside an omelet for breakfast. I love that when I make this fried rice I am reminded of the great times I have shared with my Grandma Japanese as she thoughtfully chopped fresh vegetables, cooked each ingredient one at a time, and always let me have the first taste.


F R I E D   R I C E


  • 7 cups cooked sticky Japanese (pearl) rice, cooled completely (see tips below)

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (yellow or white)

  • 1/2 lb chopped ham (about 1-1/2 cups or two thick deli slices)

  • 2 cups cabbage, sliced thin

  • 4 tablespoons butter, separated

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • salt

  • pepper

  • soy sauce

  • 1/2 bunch green onions, chopped (white and green parts)


1  |  Using a large non stick pan, cook each of the vegetables, separately, in a small amount of oil and butter. I use about 1 teaspoon for each vegetable/meat. Salt and pepper each vegetable.

2  |  Transfer to a bowl or plate after the vegetables and meat have been cooked one at a time. It’s OK to let the vegetables and meat inter-mingle at this point.

3  |  After cooking all of the vegetables and meat, add about 2 tablespoons of butter to the Teflon pan. Over medium heat, add the cooked and cooled rice a little at a time, breaking apart clumps with two wooden spoons until the rice is evenly distributed in the pan, and the butter is mixed in well.

4  |  Add all of the vegetables and meat to the rice. Toss lightly in pan. Season again with fresh ground pepper.

5  |  Add the soy sauce, a little at a time. We don’t like to drown the rice in soy sauce, so I only use about 2-3 tablespoons to 7 cups of rice. Taste, add salt and more pepper, if desired.

6  |  After heated through, add fresh chopped green onions. Turn the heat off. If you continue to leave the heat on, your beautiful fried rice will end up as gummy rice.

- Make sure the rice is cooked and cooled completely before starting to make fried rice. It is best to make the rice the day before. If you use hot rice when making fried rice, your dish will turn out to be a sticky, gluey mess.
- Make sure to use Japanese, or pearl rice, which is short and plump, not a long grain rice.
- When “mixing” the rice and other ingredients together, do not stir this like it’s a cake batter—toss the ingredients, like you would a salad.

Becky  |  The Vintage Mixer


I grew up on homemade hot cocoa. Every year my mom would get out the biggest bowl that she owned and we would dump in a few simple ingredients. Then, she'd let my sister and I have turns with a giant whisk, stirring, while also creating a little cloud of cocoa around us. Once it was made all we needed was a cup of hot water and we could mix this in for a quick treat. Also, on occasion, more frequently than I'd like to admit, we would just sneak straight bites of the powdery cocoa mix, only to be found out by our coughing and laughing.

Last year, I created my own hot cocoa mix recipe so that year after year I could replicate this sweet memory with my kids. We enjoy it with a big homemade marshmallow on top or just on its own, always with warm cosy feelings inside and gratitude for foods passed down from generations.

by becky / the vintage mixer

H O M E M A D E   H O T   C O C O A   M I X

I N G R E D I E N T S 

  • 8 oz. organic cacao, or unsweetened cocoa

  • 16 oz. organic powdered sugar

  • 16 oz. non-fat dry milk powder


1  |  Add all ingredients to a large bowl and use a whisk to combine. Transfer to a large jar to store. This will last a couple months in a dry, cool area.

2  |  To make hot cocoa: Add 1/2 to 1 cup of hot water* to 1/2 cup of hot cocoa mix. Whisk to combine.

NOTE — *You must use hot water to adequately melt the chocolate into a liquid. If servings kids, mix the cocoa with hot water then add an ice cube to cool it down.

Mel @melskitchencafe


I was very close to my paternal grandmother, Venice Walker, as a child, even though my family lived hundreds of miles away from where my grandmother lived (Rexburg, Idaho). Whenever she and my grandpa would come visit us in Texas or Oklahoma, she would inevitably plan an afternoon to make my dad his favorite treat on the whole planet: raisin filled cookies. I have to be honest, they are probably my LEAST favorite cookies ever (mostly because: where's the chocolate??) and you'll never find a recipe for them on my blog (sorry, grams), but my grandma would labor over these cookies! They took forever. A homemade sweet dough was made and rolled out and then cut into circles, creating a sandwich for the homemade raisin filling. Because I loved being around my calm, quiet, kind, always-listening grandma, I would immediately join her in the kitchen to help (bonus, she didn't have to worry about me snitching the dough or the filling because I didn't like the cookies!); I probably spent at least half my childhood making raisin filled cookies with my sweet grandma! And I loved every minute.

I can still remember from a very young age watching my grandma in the kitchen (hers or ours) making creamy peas and new potatoes, whole wheat bread, raisin filled cookies, or canning chili sauce. She was an unassuming, hardworking, resilient woman who quietly moved through life serving others and often showing her love to others by making and giving them her homemade food. Even more remarkable, my grandmother suffered from very poor health after she had a stroke when she was in her early 30's (with many small children of her own to care for). Standing for long periods of time was hard, and she often had debilitating back pain and would sit in the kitchen waiting for her bread to rise or her jars to finish canning while laying back in her plastic lawn chair with a rag over her eyes to block the light. But she never stopped cooking...and serving. And to this day, even though she is no longer here, I know without a doubt that my desire to share good food (and recipes!) with my loved ones (and strangers!) is because of the example my grandma set for me. It was nothing she sat down and taught me, nothing she directly said...just a cumulation of all the thousands of sweet moments I observed and remembered.

One of her most famous concoctions was her jarred chili sauce. It's not salsa. It's not spaghetti sauce. It's not jam. No, no! It's a zesty, spicy, sweet, chunky blend that is ridiculously delicious eaten over eggs (my favorite!) or yes, even with tortilla chips. The recipe has been oft-made, much-loved, and greatly cherished. Every year I make a batch of this chili sauce, even though I'm the only one in my immediate family right now who eats it, mostly because the process and smells and work and finished satisfaction remind me of my grandma, and those memories are precious and sweet to me.

by mel / @melskitchencafe

G R A N D M A   W A L K E R ' S   C H I L I   S A U C E


  • 8 quarts tomatoes, peeled

  • 6 large onions, ground

  • 3/4 quart vinegar

  • 3 cups sugar

  • 3 red peppers, ground

  • 1 teaspoon cloves

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon allspice

  • 2/3 tablespoon salt


1 |  Cook in microwave (I do it on the stove now).

2  |  Not written: Simmer sauce for an hour. Can in steam or water bath for 15 minutes.

compiled by
kim stoddard

copy by
The Vintage Mixer

Thank you to these women for sharing a little more of their family heart and these delicious recipes we can't wait to try! Now you can get sharing your own stories!

We love these resources offered by Family Search on how you can create or carry on your own food traditions and share those food stories! This article shares why it's so important and how food can pull families together, this site is full of resources to help you get started and this site helps you share those stories with others. Thank you to Family Search for all of these great resources and to these women for sharing a piece of their family with us!