Our most beloved reminiscences of Mom often involve sights, sounds and smells from the kitchen — flour-dusted rolling pins, simmering savory soups and lattice-crusted pies that soothed the soul with every piping-hot bite.When we asked readers to share their most treasured recipes from their mothers and grandmothers, we received a banquet of diverse dishes paired with sentimental stories, some of which had us reaching for a tissue.There was the banana nut bread submitted by Kathryn Thompson of Aledo, who kept her mom’s cooking utensils and serving dishes after she died of cancer. “Every time I use them, I feel close to her,” she wrote.A Hawaiian-inspired “cowboy” stew came from Darlene Smyth of Granbury, whose Hawaiian mother met her father, a member of the U.S. Navy, while working at Pearl Harbor.And sweetly written on a 3-by-5 index card came a 100-year-old recipe from Wendell Owen of Arlington for his grandmother’s tea cakes. Narrowing down recipes to feature from among the dozens submitted was difficult, but here we share six of them from readers who pay tribute to their mothers and grandmothers by carrying on their time-honored traditions in the kitchen.We hope they inspire you to recall, and maybe even re-create, cherished dishes from your family as well. Meyer baked beansJim Meyer, ArlingtonWhen Jim Meyer moved away from his Wisconsin hometown at 19, he yearned for his mom’s sweet baked beans. The bacon-covered dish originated from his great-grandmother on his dad’s side and requires homemade ketchup made from fresh tomatoes. “My mom sent me a bottle of ketchup so I could make the beans when I wanted,” says Meyer, who now lives in Arlington. His parents, Nancy and Richard Meyer, later followed him to Arlington after they retired. “She had to walk me through the recipe over a long-distance phone call, back when long-distance phone calls were kind of expensive.”Meyer fondly recalls childhood summer gatherings where the family baked beans, at the time made by his dad’s mom, Alvena Harper, and his mom, drew rave reviews from friends and neighbors. He says the scratch-made ketchup is the key ingredient, and the recipe has now spanned several generations. “My dad’s mom used to come over in the morning and she and my mom would make it. They would start with a bushel of tomatoes from my mom’s dad’s garden and the ketchup would be done by dinnertime,” Meyer says. “They are the best baked beans anywhere and come with great memories of the generations of mothers who cooked them in our family.” Pink soupLisa Lingenfelter, ArlingtonLisa Lingenfelter grew up in a West Texas farming community just steps from her “Grandmama” Nettie Charles’ house, which she would walk to for pink soup served in antique pink bowls.“As an adult, I realized it was just potato soup with some tomato juice added,” says Lingenfelter, who lives in Arlington. “But as a child I was certain this could not be created outside my Grandmama’s kitchen. It was soup that was pink. What little girl would not love that?”But pink took on a new meaning when Lingenfelter and her sister Renee Butler were diagnosed with breast cancer.“It took her life in 2012, but I am a survivor of two years,” Lingenfelter says. “When you are diagnosed with breast cancer, people start giving you pink things. I told everybody at the onset I don’t want a bunch of pink stuff. I don’t need a reminder that I have breast cancer. But one of the foods most comforting to me was something that was pink.“I think it was comforting because of the nostalgia and memories of my grandmother. It was also something that tasted good at a time when things often tasted metallic and unpleasant. It was a dish that always satisfied, even when my appetite was not normal.”Lingenfelter still has her grandmother’s pink bowls and handwritten pink soup recipe. She calls them her most treasured possessions. “Pink soup always evokes a sweet memory of my Grandmama in her kitchen.”Czech kolacheUlana Ludeke Ratley, Bedford Twice a month on Sundays, Ulana Ludeke Ratley would travel with her parents and siblings in the family station wagon from Burkburnett to her Czech grandparents’ farm near Seymour for dinner and homemade kolache. Ratley says that although most Texans say “kolaches,” kolache is the plural form, too. Her “Mamie,” Eula Kocurek, would serve the sweet pastries with farm-fresh milk for svacina, Czech for “afternoon snack.”“Eating kolache and listening to Mamie, Mother and my aunts speaking in Czech made the day special,” says Ratley, who lives in Bedford.Ratley’s mother, Joreen Ludeke, continued the kolache tradition by making batches for Easter church service and, today, in bulk to freeze and enjoy after a quick reheat in the microwave. Ratley now does the same and always uses a variety of fillings, although she admits to stopping in West for them every now and then.“Yes, I’ll eat other kolache,” she says, “but I always thought my grandmother’s were the best of all.”Roast salad Bonnie Frederick, Fort WorthSundays meant roast beef for Bonnie Frederick of Fort Worth, who jokes that her stomach has always associated religion with roast. Her 90-year-old mother, Kitty Frederick, would slow-cook a large roast simply seasoned with salt and pepper for Sunday dinners and stretch it for multiple meals during the week. “Mom always got big pieces of meat, planning for leftovers,” Frederick says. “The next day we might have roast with mushroom gravy, or maybe roast with Mexican seasonings to make tacos. When we got down to where there were only bits and pieces left, she would grind them up and make this salad. She didn’t use a recipe, but I decided we needed to put an amount to things.”Frederick appreciates her mom’s thriftiness and says she’ll often cook a whole roast with the sole intention of making this flavorful salad. “You can make it into a sandwich, but I really enjoy stuffing it into a tomato,” she says. “I think it has a really unique flavor and there are a lot of different textures. Plus it’s sentimental. My mom was, and is, a very good cook.”Peach cobblerBecky Peschell, North Richland Hills Becky Peschell of North Richland Hills remembers sitting around the kitchen table as a child cutting fresh peaches so her mom, Doris Rutland, could use them in her cobblers. Her mom learned how to make juicy cobblers from her grandmother, Bertha Williams, and would freeze extra peach slices so she’d always have some on hand. “I’ve never eaten her cobbler with canned peaches,” Peschell says, adding that she’s also never tasted a cobbler crust quite like her mom’s. Rolled very thin, it bakes up crispy.At 86, Rutland still makes her crusts from scratch, although “a little more slowly now, but just as faithfully and tenderly,” Peschell says. “This is hands down one of our favorite recipes that my mom makes. My daughter even had a big pan of it for her wedding reception.“I feel like the main component is the crust. I know it comes from love because she meticulously rolls the crust super thin and sprinkles it with sugar,” she says. “No store-bought crust can touch her crust.”Veranika with ham gravyJudson Harper, BurlesonJudson Harper cherishes his childhood recollections of traveling from Fort Worth to Oklahoma to visit his “Nana,” Amanda Kliever, who lived in a small German community. He especially loved visiting when she made veranika — cheese-filled German dumplings served with diced ham and cream gravy. “There was always flour going every direction when she was cooking,” the Burleson man says. “When my wife and I made this dish recently, we also had flour going everywhere and it brought back memories.”When Harper’s grandmother passed away, his mother, Alva Harper, began making the rich and decadent dish, which was his first meal request upon his return from Air Force active duty decades ago. Thanks to inspiration from his mother and grandmother, Harper loves spending time in the kitchen and re-creating the treasured family recipes he grew up with.“My mom was really serious about me learning how to cook. She said, ‘I’m not going to be here for the rest of your life to cook for you.’ She taught me the basics — how to make biscuits, how to clean and prepare chicken, and how to make bacon and eggs. Just simple stuff, and it did help me when I had my own apartment,” Harper says. “While I may never be as good of a cook as those who preceded me, I still love to cook.”
4 tablespoons cooked rice
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 pint frozen corn
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 medium potatoes, diced
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1. Place rice, onion, corn, celery and potatoes in a saucepan and add enough water to cover ingredients. Bring to boil for 5 minutes.
2. Lower heat and add milk and half-and-half, and simmer until potatoes are tender. Add baking soda and tomato juice and stir. Let simmer 15 minutes before serving.
Makes about 4 dozen
2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/2 tablespoon
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, softened, plus 1/2 stick, melted, plus more to grease pans
4 cups cake flour, plus more if needed
1 beaten egg yolk
1-2 cans cherry pie, apple pie or poppy seed filling, or other desired fillings (recipes follow)
Popsika for garnish (recipe follows)
1. Sprinkle yeast over 1/2 cup lukewarm water in a small bowl, then sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon sugar over the yeast. Let sit about 10 minutes until yeast begins to rise.
2. Meanwhile, pour 1/4 cup warm water and 1 cup warm milk into a large mixing bowl. Add remaining sugar, salt and 1 stick softened butter. Stir well to dissolve sugar and salt and to break up the butter.
3. Add 1/2 cup flour to make a soft batter. Stir in the yeast mixture then add the beaten egg yolk. Mix well.
4. Add remaining flour a little at a time to make a soft bread dough. Dough should not be sticky. Remove dough from mixing bowl and place on a floured bread board. Knead, adding more flour as needed so dough will not stick to hands. Place the rounded dough back into the large mixing bowl and let sit until it doubles in size, approximately an hour.
5. Punch the dough down in the middle, then form balls of dough about 1 inch in diameter. Knead each with your fingers until smooth. Set each ball one to two inches apart on a greased sheet pan.
6. Brush dough balls with melted butter, making sure to brush the sides. Let rise until balls double in size, about two hours.
7. Press down center of each dough ball, spreading apart with two fingers to create a well for the filling. Fill each with 1 teaspoon filling and sprinkle with popsika. Let rise about 30 minutes.
8. Bake in batches at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove pan and brush kolache with remaining melted butter.
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 cup flour
Combine all ingredients with your fingers until it resembles a coarse meal. You may also add chopped nuts, coconut or lemon zest if desired.
Each filling recipe makes enough for about 2-3 dozen kolache
1 cup ground poppy seeds
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1. Combine poppy seeds, sugar and flour.
2. In a small saucepan, add milk and butter and allow butter to melt over low heat. Add poppy-seed mixture to pan and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Cool.
1 16-ounce can peeled whole apricots
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1. Drain apricots and reserve 1/4 cup liquid.
2. Mix together apricots, sugar, flour and reserved apricot liquid in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cool.
1 cup frozen peaches
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick. Cool.
Cream cheese filling
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup golden raisins
Combine cream cheese, flour, egg yolk and sugar until smooth. Mix in raisins.
2 cups cooked roast beef, coarsely ground or finely chopped
1 hard-boiled egg, minced
1 rib celery, minced
2 tablespoons red or green onion, minced
1 tablespoon dill relish
2-ounce jar sliced pimentos, drained
1 teaspoon French’s yellow mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.
Meyer baked beans
Makes 12-15 servings
• 2 cups dried Great Northern beans
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1/2 cup Meyer’s homemade ketchup (recipe follows)
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons molasses
• 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
• 4-5 slices thick-cut smoked bacon
1. Place beans in large pot and cover with water about an inch over top of beans. Bring to a boil, add baking soda, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and rinse well.
2. Return beans to pot and cover with water about an inch over the top of the beans again. Add salt, pepper and onion and simmer for one hour.
3. Pour beans into ceramic bean pot and add homemade ketchup, sugar, molasses and dry mustard. Cover with a single layer of thick-cut smoked bacon. Bake at 425 degrees for two hours.
Meyer homemade ketchup
Makes 12 pints
4 green bell peppers, chopped
2-4 tablespoons water
5 large onions, chopped
3 gallons tomato juice
3 tablespoons black pepper
6 tablespoons dry mustard
3 teaspoons allspice
9 tablespoons salt
3 teaspoons cloves
3 pints white vinegar
9 cups sugar
1. Place peppers in a microwave-safe bowl with 1 to 2 tablespoons water and microwave for approximately 12 minutes. Repeat this step with the onions. Run peppers and onions through a stainless-steel Foley food mill or a food processor.
2. Add pepper and onion mixture to a large stock pot with remaining ingredients. Simmer until thickened, about five to six hours, skimming foamy residue off the top as needed.
3. Bottle or pour into Kerr-brand Mason jars with proper canning lids per canning instructions.
Makes 10-12 servings
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling atop crust
1 1/4 cups very cold butter, cut into pieces and divided
2 extra-large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup ice water
Peach filling (recipe follows)
2-3 dashes cinnamon
1. Combine flour, salt and sugar. Cut in 1 cup butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
2. Gradually add egg yolks and stir in enough ice water until mixture comes together. Form a disc and place in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
3. When properly chilled, roll out half of dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured board or between two sheets of plastic wrap. Roll out to fit into a 13-by-9-inch pan, allowing 2 inches of overhang for crimping crust.
4. Pour peach mixture into the crust-lined pan. Dot mixture with remaining 1/4 cup of butter pieces and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon.
5. Roll out remaining dough and place over peaches. Crimp edges of bottom pie crust and top pie crust together. Sprinkle top of crust with sugar and more cinnamon. Cut a few slits in the crust and bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the pie is bubbling.
2 cups sugar, plus 3/4 cup
4 cups water
4 cups sliced fresh peaches (may use frozen)
1/4 cup flour
1. In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups sugar and the water until sugar is dissolved. Place sliced peaches into the sugar-water mixture.
2. In a separate bowl, stir together flour and remaining sugar. Add to peach mixture and stir well.
Veranika with ham gravy
2 cups dry cottage cheese (see note)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons sweet cream or half-and-half
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup whole milk
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups diced ham
1 1/2 pints whipping cream
1. To make veranika, combine cottage cheese, pepper, egg yolk, sweet cream or half-and-half and 1 teaspoon salt and set aside.
2. Combine milk, flour, eggs and remaining salt to form dough. Spread dough on a lightly floured board and roll out very thin. Using a large cookie cutter or cup, cut out circles and top each with 1 tablespoon cheese mixture. Fold over and press edges to seal.
3. Boil veranika for 5 to 8 minutes or until they rise to top of water and begin to brown. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
4. Fry diced ham until browned. Add whipping cream to pan and stir. Serve over veranika, with dinner rolls if desired.
Note: Dry cottage cheese can be found in the dairy section at Central Market. Regular cottage cheese, drained, may be used.