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Column

Family recipes

I have always enjoyed cooking. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to help my mom or my grandmas in the kitchen. 

As I got older, I have used their recipes throughout my life but also experimented with new ones of my own. I now have recipes my family requests I make like my chili enchiladas and chicken a la king. 

When I was living on my own, I had full license to try anything new I thought sounded delicious. I’m no culinary genius so I didn’t try anything terribly difficult to make. Many revolved around different marinades I continue to change and experiment with. 

Since meeting my husband, Tim, my recipe book has increased. He’s open to try most new things I want to throw at him. He does have a few things he simply does not like, so I try not to force those on him. 

One thing he’s not a big fan of is soup, which just seems crazy to me. Chili he loves, but soup he can take it or leave it. He is willing to try my soup recipes on occasion. However my biggest cooking failure was with a soup, and Tim has yet to let me forget it. 

For a Superbowl party, I found this beer cheese soup recipe I thought would be a nice addition since the weather for Superbowl Sunday is generally cold. I followed the recipe to the letter except the kind of beer for which the recipe called. I am not a big fan of beer but I had a few cans in the fridge that were collecting the proverbial dust, so I decided to use those instead of the one specifically called for in the recipe. Big mistake. 

I tried to like that soup, but good grief it was gross. Tim didn’t even finish half of his bowl before asking for permission to dump it out. Others seemed not to notice or were too polite to say anything. I have yet to try another new soup recipe for Tim since that incident. 

Tim has also introduced some new recipes to me as well and by extension his family.

Having dinner at my in-laws has always made for some new and interesting meals. Some are just a different spin on the same thing. For instance, Tim’s mom’s chili is different than my mom’s chili. And Tim’s dad has his own chili recipe he makes from time to time. All called the same thing, taste different but are still good on their own. 

This past weekend, Tim and I were visiting his family for Sunday dinner. When I asked what Tim’s mom was making, she said it was something called Duck Hunter’s Special. I had no idea what it was, but apparently it is a family recipe. Her dad did a fair amount of duck hunting while he was alive and this dish was created for those duck hunting excursions. 

When I asked what was in it, Tim’s mom wouldn’t tell me and all Tim would say is there’s nothing in it you haven’t eaten before. I was a little leery but was willing to try it. When it was ready, I glanced in the pot and was immediately put at ease. What was in it? It was ground hamburger cooked with pork ‘n beans and spaghetti with meatballs — basically a hodgepodge casserole. I dipped myself a bowl and took a bite. I liked it, but I don’t think it will win any culinary awards. 

It was nice to be introduced to a family recipe. It makes me want to fix Tim my grandma’s beef stew recipe she always made for the deer hunters on opening weekend. If he likes the duck hunter dish, he’s sure to love the stew even if it is similar to soup. At least it will give me a chance to redeem myself for the beer cheese soup disaster.

Contact Pam Pratt at pampratt@newtondailynews.com

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