Solace Family Shares Recipes of Love
For many people, the smells and flavors of a favorite family recipe can instantly transport them back to memories shared with loved ones who have passed away, and simultaneously spark both grief and joy connected to that person. Some even leave recipes on tombstones or hold communal dinners that allow those who are grieving to gather together in the most universal of rituals, that is, eating while sharing stories about the people we’ve lost.
These recipes shared by the Solace Cremation community hold special memories of aunts, moms and grandmas, birthdays, summer picnics, holidays and family sleepovers. We invite you to try one of these or dust off one of your own family favorites and honor the people who have gone before us leaving us clues to the love they had and the tasty treats that can bring us back there to that time together.
Elizabeth Sizemore, Solace Sr. Director of Family Care
Many up here in the Pacific Northwest may not even know what chocolate gravy is. It’s a true Southern delicacy. And yes, it’s dessert for breakfast, but aren’t those the best breakfasts? This is best served with biscuits, but the options are endless: sponge cake, ice cream? You can flex the cocoa powder and sugar ratio to your liking.
My grandma would make chocolate gravy for me almost every time I would stay over at my grandparent’s place, which made the stay even more special. When I was young, this was frequent, but always a true treat. My grandpa loved this dish almost as much as I did, and when I was at their house he would often prod and ask if I wanted to stay, with breakfast as the end goal. My grandma always made this in an iron skillet and served it over hot homemade drop biscuits. When I get to have my nephews over, I make for them when I can.
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, and salt. Pour in the milk and whisk until all the lumps are gone. Place the pan over medium heat and cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly, until the gravy just begins to boil and then thickens. Once thick, remove from the heat stir in the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter has melted.
Sarah Barton, Solace Care Team
My grandma would make this for every event, not just for summer barbecues. Admittedly, she wasn’t the best cook, but this always had everyone sitting at the counter to talk and snack before any big meal.
15-ounce can black beans
1 can pinto beans
5-ounce can corn
6 diced Roma tomatoes
1/2 large sweet onion
3 diced avocados
1 bunch fresh cilantro
lime juice to taste
salt to taste
Wishbone Italian dressing
Debbie Carter, Solace CMO
My mom was a wonderful home cook, my memories are filled plates of ham and au gratin potatoes, thanksgiving turkey prepared in a brown paper bag, cheesy grits and fried chicken. She preferred the salty snack; I preferred the sweet — and she never let me down. It’s funny when people talk about their love of marionberry or key lime pie, I cringe. For me, like all desserts, pie should be chocolate based — my favorite was my mom’s chocolate meringue pie.
I requested it for birthdays, holidays and anytime I needed something to remind me that the world was full of love. It was a big ask because once the ingredients are on the stove, you cannot stop stirring, not for anything. I remember times when the phone would be ringing and my mom would yell for my dad or sister to take over the stirring — she couldn’t trust my brother or my attention to detail.
When I turned 35, my mom sent me flowers and asked the florist if she knew a good local baker. The florist asked her why and mom told her that she would like for me to have a chocolate meringue pie. The florist said it sounded delicious and said she’d make one for me. The florist hand-delivered the flowers and pie and told me that she couldn’t say no to my mother’s sweet southern accent and love for her little one (me).
My mom had had a stroke and wanted us to make sure that her kids had all of their favorite recipes captured before she left this earth. The first time I made it after she had died, I knew something wasn’t quite right with the Meringue. The recipe read, “Top with Meringue, using egg whites and 6T.” 6T, what? My brother, sister and I had to put our recipes together to sort it out. If you decide to make it, I suggest checking out some how to make meringue videos — there is a real art that isn’t captured in this recipe!
When I think of my mom, I think of this pie.
Mom’s Chocolate Pie
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 T. cocoa
6 T. flour
1 1/4 t. salt
1 large can Pet Brand milk
1/2 can water
3 eggs separated
1 T. butter
1 t. vanilla
1 9-inch baked pie crust
Mix dry ingredients. Ad Pet Brand milk and water. Add egg yokes (beaten). Cook until mixture thickens, stirring to avoid lumps. Cool. Add vanilla. Pour into baked pie crust.
Top with meringue, using egg whites, 6T. sugar, ¼ t. cream of tartar, ½ t. vanilla.
Brown in 350-degree oven.
Christine Cowan, General Manager, Urns
My mum Wendy made these cookies every week for us as a family – and she taught us how to make them when we were little.
Everyone knew where they were kept in the kitchen and would go directly to the cookie tin to grab one when they came over. My dad had one every night with a glass of milk.
They came on road trips and to family events, she was a nurse, so she often gave them to friends who were sick or for various charity events she worked on. They were always comforting, and they remind me of her kindness and love.
Mum’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup margarine – softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white four
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 ¾ cups oats
¼ cup wheat germ (combined with oats, makes 2 cups)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine wet and dry ingredients
Mix and spoon onto greased cookie sheet
Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees
Debi Dietz Crawford, Wife of Solace Cofounder Keith Crawford
Grandma Dietz wore cat-eye glasses and taught piano lessons for many years in addition to being an elementary school teacher.
On occasion, we would visit them in California where they lived on a Eucalyptus-lined street. The cookies would often be waiting for us when we arrived after the long drive.
Oatmeal Ice Box Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 cups quick oats
Mix and form in rolls. Cool in ice box, slice when cool.
Bake 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
Rebecca Roberts Galloway, Solace Blogger/Writer
My Aunt Linda would make these delicious dinner rolls every Thanksgiving that my mom’s side gathered at my grandmother’s house. I started making them again for my family during the pandemic. She was a large woman with a big heart who played honky tonk-style piano and filled the room with laughter, music and joy.
2 packages dry yeast
2 cups warm water (temp for maximum raise is on the yeast package)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
6 1/2 – 7 cups flour
1/4 cup shortening
Dissolve yeast in water. Add sugar, salt and about half the flour. Stir. Add egg and shortening. Gradually beat in the remaining flour until smooth.
At this point, you can knead and let rise into the shape of a loaf or rolls (if you want heavy rolls you just rise once, for lighter rolls, you can let it rise until doubled in size, then let it rise again into a loaf or rolls).
Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or longer for loaf.
We at Solace hope you are able to share and enjoy some tasty memories with those you love over the holiday season, both those who are still with us and those who have passed on. Feel free to share your memories and recipes in the comments of our social media accounts where you see this story posted.