Family Food Traditions — What Are Yours?
As part of our November Recipepalooza, some Tillamook staff members are sharing some of their favorite family recipes. Visit our blog throughout the month for some pretty awesome recipes (I’ve had a sneak peek and think they’re worth coming back for)! Here’s one from me:
For as long as I can remember, growing up, we had a holiday tradition of making one of the most amazing (term used loosely) stews (term used loosely) imaginable. This tradition came from my mom’s side of the family and it was one of those traditions that wouldn’t succumb to its inevitable death quietly. Space is limited in this blog, but here are the ingredients of this ‘stew’: half and half, Tillamook Butter, oysters. Not joking – THOSE were the ingredients. Of course we used Tillamook Butter in this recipe, but even the divine taste and texture of Tillamook couldn’t save this, otherwise odd, recipe.
Now, thankfully, my mother is an amazing cook. So when the complaining got loud enough (eventually her own family’s complaints were joined by another family’s) she made some changes to the recipe. Now our family tradition of Oyster Stew is really that…a stew. We still use Tillamook Butter, but spruce it up a bit with bacon, carrots, celery, potatoes and spices.
1 tablespoon Tillamook Butter
¾ lb bacon, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups yellow onions, finely chopped
1-2 leeks, sliced thin
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 cup carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
6 bay leaves
¾ cup bleached all-purpose flour
8 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2-3 cups)
1-2 cups half and half
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped fresh
50 shucked oysters with 1 cup oyster liquor
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
dash of sherry
Fry the bacon in a large stockpot until slightly crisp. Add onion, leeks celery, carrots, corn, cayenne, salt, bay leaves and cook until veggies are tender (approximately 10 minutes). Add flour and stir to blend. Cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and simmer until they are fork tender (about 15 minutes). Add half and half, butter and parsley and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add oysters with their liquor, Tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer until the edges of the oysters curl, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook the oysters. Remove the bay leaves and serve stew hot with a dash of sherry and a warm baguette (with Tillamook Butter, of course) on the side!
As our friends at the University of Oregon say, “…Tradition eats turkey on Thanksgiving. Tradition never changes. Champions do.” On one hand, every family has a recipe tradition that will always exist because it is too good not to! On the other hand, every family has a recipe that needs a champion to change it.
Tell us about your best, or maybe worst, family recipes – we can’t wait to hear why you have them as a tradition!
Image: Flickr/flickr4jazz (Creative Commons)