Tag Archives: recipe

Brownie Recipe

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9×13 baking pan

  1. Melt two sticks of unsalted butter and 4 squares of unsweetened chocolate together in a pan on the lowest heat.
  2. Combine 4 eggs and 2 cups of sugar in a big bowl by hand and add 1 teaspoon of real vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  3. Pour the melted chocolate and butter mixture in with the sugar and eggs. Stir to combine.
  4. Slowly add 1 cup of flour s little bit at a time until you see no flour
  5. Pour batter in baking pan.

Bake 16 minutes at 350. Turn heat down to 325 and bake the rest of the way.

Cool and slice into squares


Context: The informant received this recipe orally from her mother. Her grandmother never let her mother in the kitchen when she was growing up, but it was the one thing she learned to bake. Everyone loved these brownies and wanted the recipe. It was the informant’s mother’s ‘go to’ when her parents had company.

Interpretation: This recipe is geared towards people who are not well-versed in the kitchen. It is an example of how recipes can empower people. Despite the informant’s mother’s lack of skill, she was able to impress the people around her and provide a delicious gift. This recipe also connects the informant to her mother, who is now deceased. By making this recipe, the informant is able to pass on her mother’s memory.


Recipe for Matzoh Brie


– Matzoh bread

– Eggs

– Salt & Pepper



D.F. – “Some people do it differently, but my family – you start with one board of matzoh per egg, so – if you have two boards of matzah, that’s two eggs, and a bowl of warm water uh:

– First you need to crack the matzoh boards to reasonable sizes

– And then soak them in the water; wait until it’s, like, not super soft, but you could see some mush there.

– Then drain it from the water, make sure there’s no water left, and then:

– Go mix your eggs (usually while the matzah is soaking), put some salt and pepper in there

– And then, you pour the egg on top of the drained matzoh,

– Mix it within the drained matzoh, prep your stove,

– YOU CAN scramble it or have it pancake style, (my grandpa likes it pancake style, but I’m not about that life, I like it scrambled.

– You must wait for the matzah brie to fully cook.

– I hate it when the brie is like eggy and not cooked, it’s disgusting, so wait until it is fully cooked.

– When it’s done, serve it however, but make sure you have some good jam.  I’m a big blueberry jam person, but you do you.


This is a good way for this person, D.F., to get in touch with her own culture.  Her being Jewish has always been a huge part of her identity, and she externalizes that identity whenever she can.  If that means preparing this dish, along with others she likes, as often as she can, then that is how she portrays herself to the world.

I found this very interesting, because; while my family on my father’s side is jewish, I had never heard of this recipe before this person’s interview.  The ingredients in the dish remind me of my own family, and the times I spent with them during the holidays, but that combination of ‘foods’ was totally foreign to me.  So, n0w that I’ve heard about it, I feel almost as if I’m more encouraged to explore my own identity, and ask the people I’m close with how they portray themselves to others, including me.


Mince and Tatties


I conducted this interview over the phone, the subject was born and raised in Scotland before moving to England, Canada, the United States, then to Northern Ireland, and, finally, back to the United States. I knew she continued to practice certain traditions which were heavily present in her childhood and wanted to ask her more about them.



Subject: Every birthday in our house we always make mince and potatoes, or mince and tatties like we called them when I was a kid.

Interviewer: What does that consist of?

Subject: Well the way we do it is we ground beef, you know, mince beef, and then mashed potatoes and there you go! [Laughs] Sometimes we add vegetables like carrots or peas to go with it which really adds to the flavor.

Interviewer: And why has it become a birthday celebration?

Subject: I’m not sure, I mean we had it all the time growing up, but when we came to America we had it less and it became more of a birthday thing, so that’s just what we do every year now.



Upon further research, I’ve found that there is no set recipe or form of cooking this dish, it consists in many variations. There are concerns that British people are no longer eating traditional dishes, but mince and tatties remains the exception as it is extremely popular in Scotland. A survey done in 2009 found that it was the most popular Scottish dish, with a third of respondents saying that they eat it once a week.

In 2006 the European Union introduced new regulations on how meat could be processed, threatening the existence of mince and tatties, resulting in the Scottish National Party leader announcing, “They can take our lives but they will never take our freedom to make mince and tatties!”

It seems that it became a popular dish due to its ability to be canned and fed to a large number of school children.


Lewis, Susan. “Recipes for Reconnection: Older People’s Perspectives on the Mediating Role of Food in Contemporary Urban Society.” ANTHROPOLOGICAL NOTEBOOKS 12, 2006.

Family Christmas Recipe

While talking to my friend Clayton, I asked if he had any specific meals that he looked forward to on any holidays or occasions with his family. His response was about a meal that he has every year on Christmas eve.

Clayton elaborated on this and said that, “On Christmas every year we do something called the ‘Feast of the Seven Fishes’ in Italy it is known as ‘The Vigil’. My grandparents came from Bologna, Italy. My grandparents home-make the seven seafood dishes every year and it is a similar recipe that their grandparents in Italy did every year on Christmas eve. It is one of my favorite meals, especially cause we only do this once a year, and this recipe has stayed similar across multiple generations”

 Background Info: Clayton is from Manhattan Beach, CA, but his grandparents are originally from Italy, and then moved to the states. Clayton knows of this traditional dish because he has been having this meal ever since he can remember on Christmas eve.

Context: Clayton told me about this tradition when I was talking to him before our class started, this was the first thing that he thought about when I asked him a question about if he had any traditional meals in his family.

Analysis: I had never heard about this type of meal, I have other friends who have roots in Italy and I asked them if they had heard of this and they said that they have. I guess it is a very common thing across many parts of central Italy. I think this is very interesting and reminded me of meals that I have on Hanukkah.

Panchamrutham Recipe

  1. The main piece: Panchamrutham Recipe

“I make panchamrutham for puja [Hindu prayer]. It’s a sacred offering for God. So panch means 5, amrutham means nectar [in Sanskrit]. Five different things put together to make this nectar. So you put cow’s milk, yogurt, sugar, honey, clarified butter or ghee, and this is supposed to be the sacred offering to God.

“It is made in a silver bowl. And, uh, this is supposed to be…how do they say? Theertham. God’s deity…you pour this panchamrutham over God’s deity, then pour it back into the silver bowl. Like you take a plate, put a small deity of God, then pour this panchamrutham. Then you pour it back in the bowl, and it becomes the…the sacred nectar for us. And you do it for special occasions. Special pujas. You don’t just do it every day. So for us, coconut water is sacred, and this is even more sacred.

“You have to take shower in the morning, and then make it. And usually, you don’t eat any meals before the puja. After the prayer, you have this panchamrutham first, before you break the fast.”

  1. Background information about the performance from the informant: why do they know or like this piece? Where/who did they learn it from? What does it mean to them? Context of the performance?

“I learned it from my mother? Everyone does it for prayer.”

  1. Finally, your thoughts about the piece

This recipe requires very much attention to specific details, and the informant was keen on mentioning that it is not an everyday recipe—it is only for very special pujas, or Hindu prayer sessions. The high specificity of preparations for making Panchamrutham show how important it is in the Hindu religion—it literally symbolizes the nectar of God. All of the preparations, therefore, are symbolic attempts to purify oneself as much as possible before creating something that will come into contact with God. The name itself shows that Panchamrutham is not a fancy recipe found in a cookbook—it has been passed down for thousands of years, and is known for being composed of five simple materials that have been prevalent in Indian cooking for all those years.

  1. Informant Details

The informant is a middle-aged Indian-American female. She was born in India and grew up with her two sisters in a small town near a holy river in Andhra Pradesh, the Godavari River. After moving to the United States and raising her children there, she enjoyed reminiscing on her childhood in India and sharing stories of it with her children, so that they could see the differences in their upbringings and learn about their Indian heritage.

Matzo Ball Soup Recipe

The informant is my film partner (referred to as MR) who has a Jewish mother and was raised Jewish. This is the recipe his Jewish grandmother has passed down for Matzo Ball Soup. He said his grandmother was living in Florida before she passed, despite having lived most of her life in New Jersey in a primarily Jewish community. He says, Matzo Ball Soup is a Jewish dish served at Passover.

Ingredients (taken down from a handwritten note in the recipe book):

  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup “schmaltz” rendered chicken fat or coconut oil
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice

MR: “While the recipe is written down, my grandmother has it memorized and tells me the directions by heart. I can’t make it by heart, but I know the directions she has told me several times while I watch her in the kitchen.”

The informant then looks at the recipe to remind himself of the steps.

MR: She told me to put the eggs, schmaltz, chicken stock, matzo, ginger, nutmeg, and parsley in a large bowl. And then add in the salt and Allspice. Mix a little with a spoon, and cover and then place in the refrigerator overnight.

I remember her holding up a deep brown pan and saying to put the matzo balls in a pan with salted water in order to boil. With wet hands— they have to be wet— take some of the mix and mold it into the size of a golf ball. Put them in boiling water and leave it for about 40 minutes. Then you put them in the soup, that’s it!”

I think this recipe is mainly interesting because it is recalled by heart by his grandmother. This shows how ingrained in the culture Matzo Ball Soup is. For his family and many Jewish families, Matzo Ball soup is a form of folklore in the sense that it is passed down through generations and verbally spoken and memorized. It is sacred in the sense that it commemorates a religious celebration (Passover).

Swedish/Norwegian Meatballs Recipe

I asked my mom for any recipes that have been passed down/recipes that she did not learn from a book, but learned from others. She emailed me the following recipe, which was my grandma’s (her mom’s). Photos of my grandma’s original typed meatball recipe index card are attached. Now, my mom makes this recipe every year for Christmas Eve. The recipe also includes how to make a gravy. My grandma had Norwegian parents, but this recipe is labeled as Swedish with the Swedish word for meatballs, köttbullar, and Sweden and Norway are rivals, so I asked my mom about this discrepancy, as my grandma is no longer alive. AH is my mom, the informant, and PH is myself.

PH: Do you know where grandma learned this recipe?

AH: Her mother! Martha Hovda Haugen. From the farm [my great grandma, Martha, grew up on a farm], but I doubt they had veal??

PH: Do you know why they would have a Swedish recipe?

AH: Well they call them Swedish meatballs, but since they [my family] were Norwegian, they [the meatballs] are really Norwegian!!

PH: The word köttbullar is Swedish, though

AH: Grandma mom [my mom sometimes calls my grandma, her mom “Grandma mom”] typed it! Grandma [my grandma, her mother] never learned Norwegian because her parents would speak it when they didn’t want the girls [their daughters, my grandma and her sister] to understand. Kjøttboller is more Norsk. [My mom speaks Norwegian]

PH: Do you know why the Swedish word would be typed on the recipe or why it would say Swedish?

AH: Because people always call them “Swedish meatballs,” even if they are Norwegian. I use breadcrumbs and cream and onion, which is much simpler than that typed version, which I think is probably what mom and grandma Haugen realled used for everyday purposes. Also nutmeg.
Serves 8, from Arline Haugen Hales’s recipe box
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground veal
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs (GF)
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon butter
• Combine beef, veal and onion
• Add water to crumbs
• Add crumbs, egg, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and pepper to meat mixture
• Mix well, shaped into 40 balls (about the size of a walnut)
• Dredge in flour (or arrowroot)
• Melt butter in large frying pan, add meat balls and brown on all sides
• Cover and cook slowly 20 minutes
• Remove balls from pan
To make gravy:
• stir remaining flour into drippings and loosen particles from edge of pan
• Add water, milk, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
• Cook, stirring constantly until thickenedScreen Shot 2018-04-26 at 1.22.54 PM Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 1.23.25 PM

Grandma Pat’s Shortbread Recipe

I asked my mom for any recipes that have been passed down/recipes that she did not learn from a book, but learned from others. She emailed me the following recipe, which is my paternal grandma’s recipe. My grandma is from Old Kilpatrick, Scotland (she moved to Canada, and eventually the United States, in her 20s), and shortbread is a Scottish specialty. I don’t like shortbread unless my grandma has made it, and anyone I know who has tried her shortbread says it’s the best they’ve ever had. Ironically, my grandma is absolutely terrible at making any other food, and she always has been; shortbread is her one dish. I was there when my grandma taught it to the two of us, going along as she went. She didn’t have the recipe written down and couldn’t write it down from memory, as she goes through the motions automatically. Although I collected this from my mom, she collected it from my grandma, so here is her information:

Nationality: Scottish
Primary Language: English
Other language(s):
Age: At the time of collection, 87
Occupation: Homemaker
Residence: Old Kilpatrick, Scotland, UK
Performance Date: December 14, 2015

The following recipe is what my mom wrote down from that experience, on December 14, 2015.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
Knead sugar and butter together with hands.
Add flour, continue kneading.
Press into cookie sheet with your knuckles. Make fork marks on top.
Bake @360 degrees F, 40-45 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
Cut immediately into fingers, okay to leave in pan (important to cut quickly!).
Sprinkle sugar on top!
Learned from Aunt Mary who sponsored her to come to Canada/Denver, 1952.

Christmas Cinnamon Rolls


In Tucson, Arizona, a family passes down the tradition of making a very specific recipe on Christmas. This recipe has been passed down for so many generations, the actual author of the recipe is unknown. The source has said that it traces back to their Mennonite and Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors. The recipe was given to the daughters and daughters-in-law of each generation as a rite of passage for becoming the official “woman of the household”. Every Christmas morning, those with the recipe would cook these cinnamon rolls for the entire family and those celebrating the holiday with them.


Unfortunately, when asked to record the recipe for documentation, my source refused to even let me see it. The secrecy behind this recipe is extremely important to the family and is viewed as a way of creating a bond between the women of the family and a true acceptance into the family. Me seeing this would be devaluing its importance.


I think this is a really unique coming of age tradition. Not only is it a way of cementing blood relatives as officially women, but it’s also a creative way of welcoming those who have married into the family. Because of this, I completely understand my source’s hesitance in letting me see the actual recipe.

The Best Banana Bread

  1. The main piece: The Best Banana Bread Recipe

Banana Bread

  1. Background information about the performance from the informant: why do they know or like this piece? Where/who did they learn it from? What does it mean to them? Etc.

“Basically, I have a sweet tooth, and, uh, my wife really loves me, and she knows I love banana bread. She meets a lot of people in her office, because she’s a physician. Even though she doesn’t like me to be eating desserts, one of her patients is a good cook, especially in baking, and when she found out she had a banana bread recipe from her mother, my sweet wife asked her for a copy.

“The patient gave my wife a printed banana bread recipe, and we never made a copy of that. Now, we’ve had it for 20 years, and it has all kinds of flour and oil stained on it. Whenever there’s a special event, like Father’s Day, we pull it out. In every bite, I smell my love for her!

  1. Finally, your thoughts about the piece

This piece of folklore is interesting because it combines a recipe with a physical artifact, used over and over and passed from person to person. The oil and flour stains on the photographed recipe show the great use it has been put to. The recipe has almost become a folk object, because instead of ever looking at a photo or copy of the recipe, the informant’s family must pull out this exact object when baking banana bread.

  1. Informant Details

The informant is a middle-aged Indian-American male, who grew up in an urban setting in India with three siblings. While he moved to the United States over 30 years ago from India, many of his family members still live there, and he enjoys maintaining his links with them through his heritage and Hindu religion.