Comeback Versions of Old Family Recipes

by | Apr 14, 2022 | Featured Article | 0 comments

Several traditional family recipes are now making a comeback featuring modern twists and additional ingredients.

Traditional and old family recipes will never grow old. They will always have a special place in our hearts and our palates. They are a part of our childhood and the special moments in our lives. These old family recipes are always present for every family gathering, every milestone, and every celebratory moment. But as we navigate through life, we are introduced to new dishes, foreign cuisines, and modern bites that go along with our busy and always-on-the-go lifestyle. Generations of Good Food, a cookbook by Eleanor Gaccetta, features traditional family recipes, including main dishes, baked recipes (bread, cakes, pies, etc.), and pastries (Tiger Butter Fudge, Lemon Ricotta Cookies, and candies). Many of these dishes are several generations old and are now finding their way into modern cookbooks.

One of the main reasons a dish can stay relevant even decades after its introduction is its capacity to evolve and produce modern versions. Today, we will present five samples of traditional dishes that are now making a comeback because of their modern features.

Dutch Apple Pie

The earliest Dutch Apple Pie recipe is from a cookbook dated 1514. The dish is baked in Dutch, featuring a crumbly topping with many spices. It differs from the traditional apple pie, whose top layer is made from pie crust. The old method includes removing the top pie crust partway through baking and pressing the baked pie filling through a sieve. The pie is stirred with a wooden spoon before adding cream and baking it to dry.

Modern Version: Today’s classic Dutch Apple Pie versions vary in toppings and other ingredients. Some use lemon juice, chopped walnuts, salted caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream, nutmeg, and various spices.

Chicken-Parmesan Pot Pie

Not too many people know that Chicken-Parmesan Pot Pie has a long and rich history. The dish originated from Greece instead of Italy, as most people assume. However, the Romans added the famous top crust, transforming the dish into a pie.

Modern Version: Italian and New York chefs radically developed the modern versions of Chicken-Parmesan Hot Pie. The modern versions do not include the goopy white sauce. It’s savory, featuring chicken stock, herbs, and wine. It is also easier to prepare. Compared to the traditional recipe, modern Chicken-Parmesan Pot Pies are flavorful and do not rely mainly on starch but instead experiment with new ingredients such as Neufchatel cheese, basil, dry white wine, and mushrooms.

Mac’ N Cheese with Bacon and Peas

Baked macaroni and cheese is the mother of the famous American recipe we now know as Mac’ N Cheese with Bacon and Peas. The original recipe has evolved into many variations since the 15th century. Aside from the main ingredients of macaroni, cheese, bacon, and peas, what changed are the add-in and the sauce.

Modern Version: Modern versions of Mac’ N Cheese with Bacon and Peas feature different kinds of sauce; some add cracker crumbs, shrimps, tuna, turkey instead of shredded chicken, and ground beef. Other versions featured sour cream Scallions and guacamole. Taco cheese and mac is also a popular variety.

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

The dish became popular in the middle of the 20th century. The main ingredients include spaghetti, hard cheese, eggs, and salt-cured pork, called pancetta. In the early days, hard cheese is Pecorino Romano, Parmagiano-Reggiano, or both.

Modern Version:  Today’s Carbonara Spaghetti is usually found in fast-food restaurants, and a variety of sauces are readily available. Some modern or popular variations of Spaghetti Alla Carbonara include Collard Green Carbonara, Pasta Carbonara Florentine, Pasta Carbonara Frittata, and Linguine Carbonara.

Chocolate Chips

The Chocolate Chip Cookie is perhaps the most famous pastry. It has been around since 1938. American chefs Ruth Graves Wakefield and Sue Brides introduced the recipe by adding Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate bar into thin butterscotch cookies.  

Modern Version: Today’s chocolate chip cookies come in several variations, including vanilla-flavored dough, the inclusion of macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and chewy versions.  

Eleanor Gaccetta is the author of two books, One Caregiver’s Journey and Generations of Good Food. The latter is composed of nearly 200 recipes that Eleanor Gaccetta has encountered over the years. Many of these recipes are traditional family recipes. To learn more about Gaccetta and her books, you may purchase a copy or visit her website today.



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