Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Seeing My Cousins and Sharing Recipes

My sis Sheryl and I ventured out to North Jersey (as we call it out here) over the weekend to spend time with our dear cousins, sisters Anne and Jennifer. We reconnected a couple years ago after a long absence. It is a funny thing when you get older, you realize that those cousins you hung with in your childhood years are almost the only family left and hopefully ... and if you are lucky, you reconnect with them or stay connected with them.

If getting older has taught me anything, this is not always the case with friends and families. I live in a very special world where I am very lucky that my family loves each other and loves getting together. I know of plenty of dear friends which this does not happen. It is sad but something that I have come to accept. I cannot impress the close relationships of my family on others. Some families, unfortunately, will just not be that close. As an adult, I have come to accept that I cannot influence my friends in that regard. I look on it with sadness, but I accept it and don't judge.

So this past Sunday that we spent together was certainly a trip down memory lane. Anne, Jennifer, Sheryl, and I spent a wonderful afternoon laughing as well as bickering over details of memories as close siblings do. Our cousins understand the dynamics between Marc, Adam, and Sheryl and we understand the dynamics between Anne and Jennifer. Whether they are observing us or we are observing them, it is always an interesting show. I believe the best seats in the house are Anne's hubby Jeff and Jen's hubby Joe!  Unfortunately my brother Adam was not able to make it but Adam, if your ears were burning ... let's just say you deserved it! :)

One of the shining moments of the visit was seeing how much my adorable little cousin Jessica, who is eight, enjoyed the gifts I brought her.  I gave her two large sticker books. One was decorating cupcakes and the other was decorating headshots with different jewelry and nails. SO HAPPY I got a cool gift for once for one of the youngest members of my family! 

I used this time for swapping family recipes with Anne and Jennifer. I was hoping for their grandmother's recipe for angel food cake (my Aunt Emmy). I just loved that cake and Aunt Emmy made it each time we came to visit back in the 70's. Anne and Jennifer confirmed that unfortunately, the recipe was never handed down. I was sad over it. A recipe lost. It has happened to my side of the family as well. We don't have official family recipes for potato pancakes or gefilte fish but we know our Nana made them. It is sad. A part of our family history is lost.

My readers, use this as a lesson to pass down recipes to your other family members. We lost the angel food cake recipe but I gained others from Anne and Jennifer. Their mother was our dear cousin Jean. As I sit here writing, I remember her great hugs and kisses and it brings a smile to my face. Her sister was Aunt Harriet. I remember enjoying cousin Jean's brisket recipe, but her daughters Anne and Jennifer said that Aunt Harriet's was better! So I have that which I will eventually share with you, along with my mother's.

I also was able to get Anne's family potato pancake (latke) recipe, cousin Jean's noodle kugel recipe (different from Nana's!), cousin Jean's chocolate cake recipe, a family Challah bread recipe, and Anne's recipe for Hamantachen (a triangle shaped cookie served traditionally at the Jewish holiday of Purim). I have my work cut out for me with this cooking project!

I consider myself lucky for several reasons. I was able to get some great family recipes as well as the history behind them from my dear cousins. Love them those gals. Also, family time is just so precious. There are only a few older family members left in my mother's families:  the Linns and the Newmans. It makes it all the more important that we children (now in our 40's) carry on the traditions and history of our families.

Don't forget this my friends! I know it doesn't happen with every family but if possible, renew and strengthen those family bonds. Those traditions need to be passed on to your children and your younger cousins, maybe in the form of family recipes. Kids like my cousin Jessica, and my niece and nephew Johnny and Angelica will wonder one day where they came from and we need to be able to pass on the family history and traditions to them.

My only regret was that I didn't get cousin Jean's macaroni and cheese recipe before I left. Hello Anne and Jennifer, help a cousin out here!?


  1. Marc,
    You could write a Cook Book of your family Recipes and write the history of each in the book as well. That way it could be handed down to the children in the family.
    Also don't forget to ask questions about the family history and where it begin. We all need to know our family's history.

  2. Marc,
    I wrote comment 2 days ago but somehow it didn't post. Thanks for the mention...Don't believe I've ever been in a blog! I would gladly give you my Mac & Cheese recipe. It is not Emmy's, Jennifer has Emmy's.
    Regarding "lost" recipes, back in the old times, pre computers when great grandparents were cooking they often didn't write them down. They just sort of knew them in their heads, a pinch of this and a handful of that. I know that's how my grandma did it.
    My mother/Cousin Jean as much as she loved large family gatherings was not always a great chef. We (her rotten kids) often called her a Sahara Cook...everything dry like the desert!!!
    Love ya and let's get together soon!

  3. I completely agree shouts families & the sadness it brings to have friends that don't experience the connections like our families have. And I'm glad to include you in that category of my own life =)