#ThrowbackThursday: Inherited Recipes

By Sara Tantillo posted 12-01-2016 12:00 AM

by Sara Tantillo, Associate Director, Events & Outreach

This blog was originally published on December 1st, 2016. 

A few years ago, I wrote a blog for Family & Consumer Sciences (FCS) Day on my history with cooking and eating with my family. I included one of my favorite family recipes, for chicken soup, and mentioned a few other hand-me-downs from my dad’s family.  When I was thinking about what to write about this year, our social media theme day gave me some inspiration!

A few years ago, my father’s extended family, the L’Episcopos, had a family reunion.  Everyone was asked to contribute a favorite recipe—some were handed down for generations, and some were just ones they’d created at home! I pulled that family cookbook out this week, and took a look through to see if any were just perfect for FCS Day. Many were favorites that were created in the ‘50s—a lot of canned soup ingredients and shortcuts—and others were intricate and detailed Italian specialties! It was really interesting to see how recipes had been modified by family members—there are even two versions of one nonna’s recipe, submitted by sisters! After looking through the cookbook, I found a few recipes to tuck away for further use—one that was four pages long for a traditional lasagna—but nothing that really spoke to me for FCS Day! I was stumped.

When I went home for Thanksgiving, it hit me—my grandma’s stuffing! Her stuffing is a favorite of our family’s—though, since she passed away, it is generally only served in our home. Extended family holiday gatherings have involved trying new options—but for us, her recipe is the only stuffing worth eating. Since we are rarely home for the holiday, we’ve resorted to making stuffing at Christmas or with a roast chicken for special occasions—which is my plan for FCS Day! Check out AAFCS social media this Saturday for pictures and tales of my success or failure, as I’ve never made the recipe on my own before! This recipe is one that my dad prepares, as it comes from his mother, and the origin is murky—likely it was passed down from my grandmother’s mother, but we’re not sure. It involves sausage, celery, and of course bread—but I’ve been ordered not to share the details. Some recipes must be kept to the family!

At Thanksgiving, I mentioned this blog to my parents—and they suggested that I also talk about recipes passed in the other direction!  Last year, I was looking for the perfect recipe for a sausage, kale and bean soup—but I just couldn’t find one that seemed quite right. So, I took a look at several recipes we pinned to our FCS Day Pinterest board for ideas, and started experimenting. What I came up with ended up being pretty delicious! I’ve made it many times since then–including this past Monday–and have tweaked a few things, and I’m quite happy with it. At some point last year, my mom asked if I had any suggestions for what to do with kale, as she’d picked some up at the farmers’ market—and I sent along my recipe!  They’ve made it multiple times since then, and it’s been passed along to my sister as well! Hopefully this will become a recipe handed down to future generations of Tantillos—or perhaps through your family, as I’ve included the recipe below!

Of course, I also share my favorite cookbooks with my family—recently, my dad bought “Vij’s at Home” on my recommendation, a book that I received as a gift from my best friend! Cooking is never a solo experience—even if you’re cooking alone in your kitchen, your recipe selection or techniques have been influenced by your family, or friends, or the Food Network–or, of course, your FCS teacher! Even if you’re far from friends and family, cooking can still be a community experience—share your favorite recipes and techniques and chefs on social media and when visiting with family and friends and grow that community!

Let us know in the comments or on social media what you’ll be making for #FCSDay, and its origin! Did you find the recipe on our Pinterest board, or is it a staple in your kitchen? Is it passed down for generations, or did you pick it out of a cookbook you bought? We want to hear from you!

And remember: commit to “Dine In” on #FCSDay and you may win a prize! We’ll be giving away prizes all week leading up to December 3rd, and the day of! On the 3rd, make sure to tag your #FCSDay pictures on Facebook (public posts or on the AAFCS page), Twitter, and Instagram with #healthyfamselfie and #FCSDay to get in the running! Learn more about FCS Day at

Sara’s Sausage, Kale, and Bean Soup

1 medium onion, diced
4-5 cloves of garlic,  minced
3 sweet Italian sausages*
2 cups of kale, cut into ribbons.
1 can great Northern beans or cannellini beans
1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes
32 oz chicken broth (approximately–add water as necessary)
1 cup orecchiette or small shell pasta
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on your preference)

Saute the onions in a big soup pot in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. When they soften, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is soft.  Add the broth, beans, tomatoes, and herbs and let simmer.

Take the casings off the sausage and cook them in a separate pan, breaking them apart with a spoon.  Once they’re cooked, drain and add to the soup.

Simmer for 15 minutes after adding the sausage. Add kale and simmer for 10 minutes. If the soup seems thick, add 1 c. water or chicken broth. Once it has returned to a boil,  add pasta and cook til al dente. Serve with Italian or sourdough bread.

*You can also use hot Italian sausages–if you decide to do so, adjust the red pepper flakes accordingly.