The comforting memories of favorite family foods

Today is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 88.  She passed away earlier this year, and to pause and remember her today – and my dad – I’m spending the day with some family.

It’s funny the things that we inherit from our parents and funnier yet the things that we don’t. My brothers got the lion’s share of the musical talent in the family. They’re both incredible musicians and singers – never took formal lessons but both of them can pick up any instrument and play it. I’m a passable singer, but my mom was an amazing soloist.

My passion for cooking and entertaining actually came to me via my maternal grandmother. It kinda ‘skipped’ over my mom. My Aunt Delphine got it, but when it came to cooking my mom was more of a what-takes-the-least-amount-of-time-and-makes-a-huge-amount-of-it-so-I-don’t-have-to-do-this-every-night kind of woman. I know. Many of you are thinking “soul sister”.  When she cooked, it was in large volumes. Every Christmas she’d make a huge Pyrex pan of EZ fudge, a huge pan of magic bars, she’d quadruple the Betty Crocker recipes for snowballs (Russian tea cakes) and sugar cookies. She’d make 5 pounds of divinity.

And the funny part was, except for my Aunt Ruth who visited from California, we never really had any company at Christmastime – she just made all of that for our family to eat! How I made it to 18 not weighing 300 remains a mystery.

Anyway, she definitely had some key dishes that our family remembers as favorites and, in her honor and memory, I’m sharing one today: my mom’s potato soup. I think it was one of my dad’s favorites. I’ve made only a few tweaks to the recipe to make it my own.  It’s a comforting thing to know we can still honor our mother and our father even after they’re gone. And what better way to do that than with a food memory.

Do you have a favorite food memory from your childhood? Can a certain smell catapult you back in time to your mom’s or your grandmother’s kitchen? I’d love to hear about it; please share it below in the comments section.

As the fall thermometer continues to dip, my mom’s potato soup is the perfect, simple meal. Easy, delicious, and the recipe can fill up a family. Double it and you’ve got easy food for company. Like, say, a neighbor or someone. 😉


Mom's Potato Soup

Mom’s Potato Soup


  • 6 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces (I prefer Fletchers)
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2-1/2 lbs. red potatoes, peeled and chopped in 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1-2  32 oz. cartons chicken stock (I prefer Swanson)
  • 3 tbs. butter
  • 1 cup half-n-half
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Fresh black pepper


Add the bacon to a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat and cook until crisp and fat is rendered.  Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent.  Add diced red potatoes to the same pot and pour in enough chicken stock to cover potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are al dente (this will happen fast).

When potatoes are done, remove about 1 cup of the liquid.  Add butter, half-n-half, corn, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes until piping hot.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste, grab some cornbread and go for it.



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2 Responses to The comforting memories of favorite family foods

  1. Loren C says:

    So fun to think about family, food and connection. So sorry about your dear mom Becky! My grandma Cile always made “jubilee jumble” cookies and served milk in metallic pink and blue glasses. Grandma Mabel always had to have her afternoon coffee and pastry.

    • BHenchman says:

      What wonderful memories! Thank you for shering with me. These memories are so extra special as we enter the holiday season, a time when family means so much.

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