Family recipes are great, especially if they’re not from my own. Having said that, my food-obsessed relatives are sure to disown me, so I’m going to explain myself in case my grandmother finds this while googling my name in search of my Twitter account.
I’ll never get tired of the foods of my childhood and will always have a Ratatouille moment each time I have Pinakbet. The thing is, I’ve had such dishes so many times already and would rather have something completely new. It’s like having that first awkward bite of sushi and thinking, “Where have you been all my life?” Thinking that wasabi was some sort of minty candy, my first memories of sushi actually involved shooting white nostril heat and gushing tears, but you know what I mean.
Regardless of cultural provenance, other people’s family recipes will always be appealing to me because it’s often a confluence of several good things:
- It will be easy to make
- It will be easy to like
- It will be affordable
Take this recipe for steamed lemon chicken, for instance. From Eileen Yin-fei Lo’s The Chinese Kitchen, my favorite thing about the book is the wide array of family recipes in addition to well-known regional Chinese classics. She points out that this specific preparation will not be found anywhere else, yet one look at the ingredient list and it seems instantly familiar and accessible.