Even the smallest contributions can have a major impact on a family’s legacy. Every one of us has at least one thing they can contribute. For me, it’s a cookbook.
Growing up, cooking wasn’t a priority. My mom never learned, so the bulk of meal preparation fell on my stepdad. I didn’t learn how to cook until I was nineteen years old and pregnant with my son. It concerned me that my child would miss out on the joys of a Sunday dinner like I did. This motivated me to learn how to cook.
In 2019, my mother-in-law passed away after a short battle with terminal cancer. It was also the year that I decided to be more intentional with my legacy by making small, consistent contributions to what she left behind.
My mother-in-law was an amazing matriarch who was deeply dedicated to maintaining a loving environment for her family. Her house was always ready to host anyone, and she never turned down an opportunity to help. She was the favorite of the family; everyone respected her for being open-minded, resourceful and the designated host for every gathering.
Being at the center of the family came with a level of responsibility that she carried with pride. During her battle with cancer, she was forced to relinquish that responsibility. After decades of being a doer, I could tell it wasn’t easy for her to delegate but I’m glad that she did. It was during this time that she began sharing her recipes, and I didn’t pass up the opportunity to write them down. I was working on my first book and had plans to include her recipes, but I never did.
After publishing my first book, I took time to build on this collection of recipes while reflecting on my own legacy. My mother-in-law’s life forced me to question what I could leave behind. But what did that entail? Did I need to build a massive business empire? Would it require me to have statues erected in my honor?
My mother-in-law spent her life providing her family with feelings that could be felt long after she departed. Even in her absence, we all felt her impact and, more often than not, those feelings are activated when we cook her food. Her food was her legacy. I wanted to build on that with a family cookbook.
My soon-to-release cookbook is an heirloom that I hope will be used to keep our family grounded, bonded and strong for generations to come. I hope this encourages others to become more intentional about the legacy they are leaving.
Below, I’ve included my mother-in-law’s Southern Roast recipe. It was the very last recipe she shared with us. I love to cook it every now and then for nostalgic purposes. It’s a Top 5 Sunday Dinner meal that will always keep her with us.
Marie’s Southern Roast
2 1/2 lb chuck roast
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 onion sliced
1/2 cup flour
4 oz water
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Montreal steak seasoning
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Use a knife to poke holes into the roast.
Evenly cover both sides in cream of mushroom soup, Worcestershire sauce, Montreal steak seasoning, salt and pepper. Add the onions and flour on top.
- Fill the very bottom of the pan with water. Cover and allow the roast to cook for 3 ½ hours.
- Mix the pan gravy well and serve over rice or with mashed potatoes.