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Cooking across the generations - A deeper way to connect

As a little girl, l would marvel at my Nanna and Granny baking. They would flutter around the kitchen, grabbing ingredients and creating delicious concoctions that smelled divine and tasted even better. There never seemed to be a recipe around, they just seemed to know what to do instinctively. It almost seemed like magic when they turned a blob of gooey batter into a scrumptious cookie. Patiently, I would wait for the ding of the oven timer and run into the kitchen to be the first to sample the freshly-baked wares. That first bite was heaven, well pure joy, actually. I am sure you are all imagining your own moments like that right now as you are reading these words. A memory so ingrained in your mind and so precious.

Of course, as a child, you are not thinking, “hey, how did she do this? Did she learn this from her mother? Is this a recipe that has been in the family for years, or did she just make it up on the spot?” No, the only thing you cared about in that moment was, “can I have some more?”

Sharing cherished family recipes goes beyond just imparting cooking skills; it is a way of preserving and passing on cultural heritage, fostering a sense of connection, and creating lasting memories, something I have now created a business around because I feel it is that important. Here are some of the top reasons why sharing cherished family recipes is so important.

Preserving Cultural Heritage

Family recipes often carry cultural significance. They may represent a particular region, ethnicity, or tradition. Sharing these recipes helps preserve cultural heritage by passing down cooking techniques, ingredient combinations, and culinary traditions from one generation to the next. Sometimes it may not be the direct family member, but the spouse who takes the time to learn the techniques, much like my brother did with his mother-in-law when they spent the day together making biryani. His wife is forever grateful for that knowledge to have gone to someone in the family. 

Connecting Generations

Family recipes serve as a bridge between generations. When older family members share their favorite recipes or those passed down from their parents, they create a connection with younger generations. This connection fosters a sense of family identity and continuity. Now, it doesn’t need to be some complicated, time-consuming recipe. It can be as simple as a zebra cake (chocolate wafers and whip cream sandwiched together, and put in the fridge overnight). My Granny made this every Christmas and just the sight of it brings me pure joy…plus it’s delicious! I make it every time I am feeling homesick or just want to have my family close to my heart.

Creating Shared Memories

Cooking and sharing meals are communal activities that create lasting memories. Family recipes are often associated with special occasions, holidays, and family gatherings. Sharing these recipes means sharing the stories and memories that accompany them. My Granny was Scottish, but my Grandpa was Greek. There was a cookie that my Granny made every Christmas. It had ground almonds and she put ouzo in it, then each cookie was in the shape of a crescent and covered in powdered sugar. She was very adamant that these were from the old country and very ‘Greek’. So every year I make them, I always tell people these are my Granny’s Greek cookies. Well, if I had a nickel every time someone told me they were not Greek, I would be rich. Apparently, they are also near and dear to Italians, Germans, and Austrians, but to me they will always be Granny’s Greek Cookies.

Emotional Connection

Family recipes often evoke strong emotions and nostalgia. The smell, taste, and appearance of a dish can trigger memories and emotions associated with shared experiences, making the act of cooking and eating a deeply emotional and meaningful one. All three of the above examples do exactly that, whether it was my brother connecting to his wife’s culture through cooking with his mother-in-law, a basic two-ingredient, side-of-a-cookie-box recipe that still incites joy to this day, or a story that was created around a cookie that is actually shared by many cultures; they are an emotional connection creating beautiful lasting memories.

So, the next time you see a family member in the kitchen creating their signature dishes, grab your kids, get in there, ask questions and for gosh sakes, get the recipe! You may not be the one too keen on cooking, but guaranteed it will make an impression (unbeknownst to you) on someone in your family, and you will be so grateful to have the recipe live on within your family. It is such a powerful way to celebrate and preserve your unique family identity. Happy cooking, everyone!


Tanya is the Head Curator at Menagerie Parties & Cakes, handcrafting boutique party experiences through custom décor, engaging activities, and show-stopping sweets for people living full, productive lives wanting to celebrate life to its fullest. It’s a Party in a Box! For more information, call 403-890-4803, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit Feeling Social? Follow on Facebook and Instagram.


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