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The Recipe

My mother never kept a recipe book.  Her recipes were generally hand written notes that were stained with food, and then folded and stashed in a bowl in her kitchen.  She rarely went by a recipe anyway.  And a measuring cup?  Forget it.  Measuring cups were simply something used for a beverage when all the regular glasses were dirty.

As I became an adult, this drove me crazy, because I wanted to have some of the family recipes for my Hope Chest.  Or Hopeless, as my mother deemed it, since I put off marrying until my late 30’s.

My grandmother suffered with the same recipe affliction.  She would write a recipe down only when pressed.  And the measurements were guesswork.

As was her handwriting.  The recipes were written out in pencil, and she generally never followed the logical left to right, top to bottom method of writing.

When my mother died, and I had to go through her belongings, I painstakingly sifted through every bowl in her kitchen, searching for beloved recipes.  I found 3, two handwritten by my Nanny, in pencil.  And another recipe for my Grandpa’s homemade tamales.  I knew immediately that my Pa’s recipe came from his old Underwood typewriter, as it would completely poke holes in all of the O’s.

This is my Nanny’s Fudge Pie recipe, and also one for Chocolate Pie.  We were not big on health food when I was growing up, as I recall.

I have a far different method of documenting recipes for my family.  Everything that I trot out to the dinner table, that receives a thumbs up, gets entered in the computer.  It is then printed out, placed in a plastic sleeve, and stored and a very LARGE 3 ring binder.

It is my dream that some day my children will ask for it, AND WHOEVER CAN LIFT THE THING WINS.  For their own hopeless chest.

There was one recipe that I have mourned the loss of after my mother died.  She made an amazing Corn Bread concoction that contained beef, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, and who knows what else.  She cooked it in a 9 x 12 glass pan.  I could not find this recipe in her kitchen anywhere.  I don’t think it was a family recipe, because no one in the family remembered it, and she didn’t begin making it until I was an adult.

I’ve searched Cooks.com and Allrecipes.com, but haven’t found anything that really looks right.  If you all have a Jalapeno Corn Bread recipe that kind of sounds like what I described, could you please send it to me?  I have high hopes of making it for an upcoming baby shower for a friend.  A friend, btw, who has triplet daughters that are Emme’s age, and a son that is Cailey’s age.  She got rid of EVERYTHING baby related, and then found out she’s pregnant.  And she’s thrilled.

This will be a wonderful celebration, and my girlfriend (Jensen’s future MIL) is throwing the brunch baby shower.  If I can’t find a recipe, I may ask for recommendations for a brunch dish.  I did offer to bring Mimosas, but I don’t think we can justify ALL THE ALCOHOL at a baby shower.  Before lunch.  Pity.

Anyhoo, if you have a Jalapeno Cornbread Recipe (that contains meat and cheese), please let me know.

20 Responses to The Recipe

  • Sadly, I do not have the recipe you are requesting.

    However, I’m totally with you on the recipes that can be handled. Mine are also typed into the computer, printed off on cards and used regularly.

    All 4 of my boys have already put dibs on the recipe cards to be recieved as soon as they get a kitchen to use.


  • My recipes get printed out from allrecipes.com and taped to the inside of the kitchen cabinet.

    The other day a friend of mine was working on her recipe binders. She has a different one for each category (main dishes, sides, desserts etc). I may have to go this route if we ever move!

  • I DO hope that you find it! We are going to have such fun eating it.

  • Even though you do not have a lot of recipes from your family, you do have her handwritting and that is a lost art these days. Have you seen the way people write now??? Really, it’s terrible! I remember in school we HAD to practice our writting (dating myself here) but people my age have beautiful handwritting at least. Sorry, don’t make a corn bread thingy that you talked about but have fun at the party. I remember when we were done having kids, I was told to “KEEP AT LEAST 1 BABY THING OR YOU WILL SORRY!” Ok so I kept the baby pram. It worked, never had another kid.

  • It’s like you have a window into my life! My mom has recipes from her mom and my dad’s mom including ones written just like yours – one on a deposit slip! Splotches from use, too.

    I also have been collecting on the computer and printing off and putting into protector sheets into binders. I have two. One of family favorites for which I need to get a bigger one since I’ve been copying from Mom’s collection. The other is what I call my progression book. It has recipes that I’ve been working with and potential variations until I find the “perfect” version as well as ones I really want to try but haven’t had time yet.

    I’ve been trying to get my mom to share her experience and secrets before Alzheimer’s gets them. It’s been a great interaction, though frustrating at times when she realizes she’s forgotten and can’t remember. What’s worse is when she’s put the recipe somewhere safe – never to be seen again!!!

    Thanks for your blog. It is a bright spot and you write well. Bless you!!

  • Don’t know if you tried searching Google like this:

    Cornbread with beef, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, 9×12 glass

    But here’s one that sounds different than most of the offerings:

    Mom’s Mexican Cornbread

    “This cornbread is filled with ground beef, cream-style corn, cheese, and jalapeno peppers. ”
    1 pound ground beef
    1 cup cornmeal
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 cup milk 1 egg
    1 onion, chopped
    1 (14.5 ounce) can cream-style corn
    1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
    2 jalapeno peppers, chopped

    1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a 9X12 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
    2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat; cook the ground beef in the skillet until no longer pink. Set aside.
    3. In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, salt, and baking soda. Mix in milk, egg, onion, corn, Cheddar cheese, and jalapeno pepper. Stir in browned beef. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
    4. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 1 hour.

  • Our grandmothers must have been related. Sorry I cannot offer a corn bread jalapeno recipe. Jalapenos are not my friends, but I do hope that the world wide interwebbies will come through on your behalf.

  • Oh, I feel your pain. When I first moved out I would call my mom and ask how long to cook something, “until it’s done” was the standard answer. Used to drive me crazy. Her favorite recipes? Written down but with just the ingredients not the amounts! Of course you can’t trust written amounts either. My grandmother made ambrosia that was to die for. After she died my aunt tried making it according to granny’s recipe, it never tasted the same. I know full well my granny added extra this, more of that and just didn’t write it down! I keep telling myself I need to write down my recipes for my kids but haven’t done it yet. I envy those of you who are organized 🙂
    Good luck with the recipe. If you find one that turns out good share it here please. It sounds wonderful!

  • My nanny didn’t have any of her recipes written down either. Even if she did I don’t think it would taste like hers, she just did everything better. Great post!

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  • I like your recipe book idea! Not that I cook all that often, but if I DID start to cook, I would run right out and get myself a binder. Question: how do you deem a meal a thumbs up?? I know you have 3 kids like I do. What if 2 like it and 1 doesn’t? Or what if 1 kid and hubby doesn’t like it? How do you rate it a success. If everyone had to like the recipe, I’m pretty sure I could get away with a 1/8 inch binder 😉

  • I have a similar recipe that uses green chillies instead of jalepenos (although you could substitute them – it would just be a lot hotter). This was a very popular recipe in Texas and New Mexico 20 or 30 years ago so there are probably many variations on it.

    Anyway, here is the recipe http://bit.ly/id3KOj

  • My grandmother never used a recipe either…or at least, I’ve never seen her use one! My mom always made favorites…which didn’t need recipes.
    I’ve recently put all of our family’s favorite recipes from allrecipes.com into a binder w plastic sleeves also. Hope you find your cornbread recipe!

  • Ooooooh, Dee, I have a humdinger called Jalapeno Meat Cornbread. It is more of a casserole than a cornbread, but I will dig it out and post it on here when I get home tonight! Hope it is like your mom’s.

  • Okay, here’s the promised recipe:
    1 cup cornmeal
    1 cup milk
    2 beaten eggs
    3/4 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp soda
    1/2 cup bacon drippings (or oil)
    17 oz. can cream style corn
    1 lb ground beef
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 lb grated cheddar cheese
    5 mild jalapenos, chopped
    Combine cornmeal, milk, eggs, salt, soda, corn and bacon drippings. Mix well and set aside. Brown ground beef and drain well. Dust 9×12 casserole dish with cornmeal and pour in half of batter. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and then beef on top of cheese. Next spread chopped onions and then jalapenos. Top with remaining batter and bake at 350 for about 50 minutes until brown.

  • There’s something about our mother’s or granny’s recipes, it always have that certain warmth in it even before you served it to your loved ones. I remember my youngest daughter Maggie, at three years old, she’s always call any pie I bake Nana’s Pie. Be it apple pie, egg pie, chocolate pie…for her it’s always Nana’s pie. I don’t mind really, we all love Nana, and it always brings smile whenever she go dancing around the kitchen while singing how Nana’s Pie is the best. 🙂

  • when you put your cornbread recipe together – make sure you share with us what you ended up “throwing together”. I’m quite curious now – and always looking for a new, yummy recipe that the family will eat!

  • I used to make this Pampered Chef recipe in college for study groups. It was super easy and a big hit. It doesn’t sound exactly like what you described, but throw some meat and jalapenos on there and you are in for a treat!