We invited Marthaâ€™s Circle food bloggers to share their reflections on cooking and eating with their families, and the recipes inspired by their stories.
"My Grandma Wallin was a wonderful cook. A reluctant American, she never stopped eating and cooking like a Swede, despite living in the United States for the last 45-plus years of her life. Many of my memories of her are centered around food. Amazing ham for Christmas Eve dinner, rice pudding with a hidden almond for dessert. Swedish meatballs for Sunday dinners. Despite all these food memories, my strongest by far is of cardamom bread. ... "
"I grew up in the Basque Country between the green landscape of the Pyrenees and the cold Atlantic Ocean. A land of rolling hills, plenty of rain, wildflowers, and the softest grass that becomes a grazing feast for sheep when springtime rolls in.
"Nothing would make me happier as a child than to visit my uncle's sheep and watch the newborn lambs feed on their mothersâ€™ milk. 'Come sit next to me,' my uncle would say. "We are going to milk the sheep this morning to make 'mamia.' ... "
"It often seems like parenting is more of a learning and growing process for the parents than it is for the kids. One of many lessons I have learned as a mom is that as much as I want to be everything to all of my children itâ€™s just not possible. ... I stopped feeling guilty about how much time I spent in the kitchen over the stove and started to pull them into my passion for food and cooking. ... "
"My mother was not an exceptional baker. While we did often have home-baked goods, they were never anything elaborate.
"Slice and bake cookies and made-from-a-mix cakes were the norm. I never had any reason to question that, because to me they were as good as anything Iâ€™d ever had. ... "
"Strawberries hold a very dear place in our family. My grandmother Catherene had a strawberry patch. Really, more of a strawberry field. We all lived together, grandparents and sometimes cousins, and I have very fond memories of picking strawberries with my family to concoct into an endless array of delicious creations. The strawberry patch was a magical place where Iâ€™d sit for hours, picking, and of course eating one berry for every one that made it whole into the basket. ... "
"Mom and Dad were married nearly 45 years. After my father passed away in a car accident, my mother packed up her belongings from my childhood home into 15 medium-size boxes and moved them into our north Seattle home to live with me and my family. ... We often spend time with one another on the main living floor where we cook meals together almost daily.
"Growing up, mom never thought of herself as a great home cook. I disagree. She was creative, inventive, and flexible when she prepared her 'one pot'-style dinners. It is true, however, that she did not bake. In fact, baking scared her. ... "
"I started cooking when I moved away from home for college; the food there was terrible and since I had an inbuilt kitchen in my room, I figured I could at least try and salvage my hunger and save some money in the process. But I wouldnâ€™t be lying if I said that wasnâ€™t actually when I learned to cook.
"My mom didnâ€™t think much of having my sister and me learn to cook the real way. Sure, sheâ€™d often have us help her at dinner time by setting the table, making the salad, frying puris while she rolled them out splendidly, and, of course, doing the dreaded dishes once everyone was fed. There were days during holidays and weekends when I would spend time talking to her in the kitchen while she prepped meals. In the process, I often took note of how she added one ingredient after another, roasted spices in dry heat to bring out their aroma, and took special care to avoid any extra gravy while layering biryani. Little did I know that these special sessions we shared would one day be the basis of my career. ... "