Our homes are filled with culinary memories

When the announcement came about Taste of Home’s Cooking School coming to Grand Junction — the event is set for Thursday evening — I began thinking about Taste of Home’s amazing popularity.

There are the magazines, the cookbooks and the cooking schools, which send culinary specialists over the United States to whip up easy, delicious recipes.

Wherever the school goes, there are packed audiences. Why? Well, here’s an explanation from Frances, a drafter, and Laurie, a nurse from Grand Junction, both of whom have been Taste of Home subscribers for years:

“They have recipes from real people that cook for real families who like to eat real food AND, they use ingredients I can find! They incorporate time saving steps while keeping the homemade taste.”

Thinking more about “homemade taste,” I began posing this question around town: “What are the tastes of your past and present homes? Memories and stories were shared?”

Some of the stories (see below) brought tears and laughter, making me realize there’s a deeper meaning to that question.

And I will even venture to say that some of your future tastes of home might just come from the Taste of Home recipes shared with those attending the Cooking School on Thursday evening. See you there!

NAME: JoCarole of Mesa.

TASTES OF HOME: Grandma Haxel’s Sunday scalloped potatoes; Grandma Peters’ butter cookies at Christmas; Grandpa Haxel’s secret coconut candy, the recipes for which have been handed down from generation to generation.

Thanks to JoCarole and her mother Brenda for sharing a not so secret recipe anymore. Pa’s Fresh Coconut Candy, (his mother’s recipe) was adapted by Brenda and can be found at GJSentinel.com.


NAME: Jill F. of Palisade.

TASTE OF HOME: I recently had married and for our first Christmas together we told my 5-year-old, she could have anything for Christmas Eve dinner she wanted. It had to be chili. She made place cards, set the table and helped with dinner.

Today, that little chili lover is a married, career woman in New York City and, yes, every Christmas Eve, the family tradition holds: chili, the trimmings and warm comforting memories.


NAME: Sheri P. of Grand Junction.

TASTES OF HOME: Mom’s chicken and homemade noodles. Sheri now makes the noodles with this time-saving hint: Instead of hand kneading the dough for 20 minutes, puts the dough in a bread making machine.

NAME: Cynthia S. of Eagle.

TASTES OF HOME: Coming home from school and smelling Mom’s homemade chili.

At Christmas, it’s popcorn balls and homemade caramels.

Thanksgivings were and are the best. Day after Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie for breakfast.


NAME: Juli A. of Palisade.

TASTES OF HOME: Grandmother’s house after school on Fridays when my aunt made bowls of rice pudding, Portuguese style. It was creamy, simmered for hours with orange peels, then dusted with cinnamon.

Oh, the aroma when you opened the door! The bowls were cooling on the table. I’d take a spoon, drag it along the bowl’s edge so it wouldn’t be noticed.

She caught me every time and said eating hot pudding would give me a stomachache. It never did.

I can’t make it like hers, but we have rice pudding for a holiday dessert.


NAME: Bill and Donna of Fruita.

TASTE OF HOME: They started this tradition long ago: After coming home from volunteering long hours at The Salvation Army on Christmas Eve, they order pizza for dinner and watch Christmas movies.


NAME: Mary Ann of Grand Junction.

TASTE OF HOME: In our Polish family everything pickled: eggs, pig’s feet, cabbage and on and on. (That’s not to say she loved it all, but they’re her memories.)



TASTE OF HOME: Mom’s Fudge, which was Grandma’s 80-year-old recipe.  As I stand at the stove, stirring continuously, I feel my mom is standing right there with me. I know my daughter will carry on the tradition.


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