Friday, March 11, 2016

Food for Thought: Family Recipes

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day
Corned beef and cabbage will be what's on the menu for many people next Thursday as they celebrate their Irish heritage.  It is one of the few days of the year that I make it too. Some of my family favorites hearken from our Irish American heritage.  Others from our Rhode Island roots such as clam cakes, not to be confused with crab cakes, more like a clam fritter.  Spiedies from our New York Binghamton roots might be on the menu too. A family favorite, however, that I don't make often is my Slovenian grandmother's halukis, known in some cultures as golabki, golumpkies, holubtsi,or golubtsy depending on which eastern European culture you hail from. In English, we call them cabbage rolls.  

I often see them on a menu at restaurants, especially Jewish delis, but I would never order them out. They aren't the same.  My family's twist is that it's a version of cabbage rolls made with sauerkraut and no tomatoes or tomato sauce at all. It's the kind of meal like lasagna which tastes even better the next day. It is also a labor intensive recipe much like the Puerto Rican dish, sanchoco, that I will be learning how to make with my friend Lisa next Friday.  My family would make halukis once a year for my dad's birthday.  After his death, we rarely made it.  In fact, when I do make it now, I invite my friends' over.  These are the friend whom I have diligently research would like it, as they must be cabbage lovers.  I can count them on my hands and it isn't either of the two people I live with.  That night they get peanut butter and jelly.  I do foresee that the time is right soon to have friends' over for halukis to share.  
What are your family favorites that you like to eat or make when you are all together?


  1. I love your tradition! What fun! My family never really did anything for St. Patrick's Day, so it always just passed by me. I still remember the first time I was invited to an Irish breakfast on the morning of the holiday. It made me want to research those traditions, even though I'm not Irish. I hope you have fun celebrating!

  2. Spahetti and meatballs and lobster!!!!!

  3. tuna casserole is a family favorite since my daughter was small. And my grandmother made knishes is a way I've never seen here in New York. I've tried to replicate them a few times, but haven't quite succeeded. I'd love to see your recipe for halukis. What I found online was either cabbage rolls with tomato sauce, or something that isn't a cabbage roll at all. Curious.

  4. Soda breads are my Irish go-to favorite. My mother-in-laws recipes come out a lot like scones in terms of weight and texture. My parents have corn beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's day, but I am not a corn beef fan. The family recipes we love and make again and again seem more holiday than heritage: dilly bread, southern corn, roasted roots, all of holiday tables.


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