Saturday, July 23, 2011


By Julie Rahm

We all have favorite recipes. And, most of our favorite recipes have been in our families for generations. Some family recipes are guarded secrets. Family recipes are traded and given like a valuable commodity. A high watermark of friendship is when your friend gives you her grandmother’s favorite recipe. Everyone has a grandmother recipe for this or that.

When I was younger, attendance at my grandparent’s Sunday dinner was a required event. Grandma’s pot roast was the usual dish. I have always enjoyed my grandmother’s pot roast recipe. Her roast was always cooked with the ends cut off. Consequently, following Grandma’s example, I always cut off the ends before cooking any roast. One evening, with Grandma’s recipe roast (without ends) on our table, John asked why I always cut off the ends. I gave the obvious answer, “Grandma did it.” I realized my answer was unsatisfying. So, the next day I asked my mother why grandma cut the ends off the roasts. My mother answered, “So it would fit in her small pot.” True! I had been blindly cutting the ends off the roasts most of my adult life! John won’t let me live it down. But the good news is; I have stopped the legacy and ensured our daughters know they don’t have cut off the ends!

In our home, another favorite recipe is Nana Rahm’s Chicken Squares. These Chicken Squares are my husband’s favorite. Really, the recipe is not that great. (Sorry Nana!) Even though the recipe is mediocre, my husband likes it above all others. I was slow to understand. I thought perhaps I had the recipe wrong. Then finally, I realized why these (average at best) Chicken Squares are the most requested meal in our household. It was so simple. The taste of the chicken squares returns John to his childhood and his adoring grandmother. Before he was a teen, John spent storybook summers with his grandparents in the Pocono Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania. The Chicken Squares flood his mind with those summer memories of lakes and bikes. We are all familiar with the magic of family recipes. The tastes return us to a sanctuary of memories. The familiar food provides medicine for the soul and bonds us to the past. The recipes are tangible ties to our family that has come and gone. Our literal taste of the past helps ease our concerns for the future. There is no mindset medicine stronger than your Grandmother’s favorite recipe. It is nearly impossible to be grumpy when you’re eating food the way your Grandmother fixed it. Comfort food can be a great way to turn your day around and improve your mindset. For Nana Rahm’s Chicken Square recipe, e-mail me at Let me know how you liked them.

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