The Recipes Folks Rave About!
Below find a sampling of our Almanac readers’ best recipes—those favorite, passed-down recipes brought to family gatherings, potlucks, parties, and supper tables—the ones that keep folks coming back for more! We created this special cookbook for the big 225th anniversary year of The Old Farmer’s Almanac. If these recipes get your mouth watering, look inside ”Readers’ Best Recipes and the Stories Behind Them.”
Slow Cooker French Onion Soup
I developed this recipe by tinkering with four French onion soup recipes that I found in my cookbook collection, using as a base the ingredients and directions that occurred most often in the various recipes. I made it first for a church soup luncheon, then again for my elderly parents in Vermont, after my mother said that it was a favorite soup of hers and she hadn’t had it in a long time. The joy of watching her eat that bowl of soup is with me to this day. It’s not your usual French onion soup—there’s no gooey cheese broiled over top—but it’s a flavorful, easy recipe, made conveniently in a slow cooker. It’s a keeper!
Daphne Turner, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania
All my life, I thought that these were my mother’s meatballs. One afternoon, when I was actually making the recipe in front of her, she said, “Where did you learn how to make meatballs?” I said, “You taught me.” She replied no, that it was not her recipe. “I don’t put vegetables in, nor do I fry,” she said. “I bake my meatballs.” When I gave her a meatball out of the frying pan, she tasted it and said, “These are Grandma’s meatballs!”—and we laughed. Enjoy!
Jo Ann Gallo, Bloomsbury, New Jersey
Nana’s Funny Cake
My mother-in-law made this Pennsylvania Dutch recipe for years. She brought it to the family cabin whenever we spent weekends there together, and it has always been a family favorite! She shared the recipe with me when I got married, along with some of her other wonderful recipes. It continues to be a requested dessert.
Mary Lou Knauss, Duncannon, Pennsylvania
This was my Danish grandmother’s recipe. My mother made it for us often while we were growing up. It is a family favorite and requested often.
Lynne Kuhne, Sonora, California
Irish Soda Bread
This recipe comes from my Aunt Rita, from a very long time ago. She wrote at the bottom, “Nobody outside the family has this recipe. There are many variations but not the same. Even a baker from Ireland asked for it but he didn’t get it.” Coming from a very large Irish family, we have always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, with the Grey Corned Beef and cabbage and all the fixings to the Irish step dancing that would always take place in the home. I have made some adjustments to this recipe, but only to soaking the raisins in the Jameson!
Maureen Marino, Amherst, Massachusetts
Grace Costa's South Indian-Style Mac and Cheese
This recipe came from Grace Costa, my late mother-in-law. She was raised in Kerala in South India, commonly referred to as “the spice coast of India,” one of nine children of a Syrian Christian minister. Entertaining parishioners over meals was a way of life growing up. She became an incredibly accomplished woman, the first trained industrial nurse in all of India, but she always loved to cook. No family gathering, church event, or community event would be complete without a contribution from her kitchen. She cooked by taste and could salvage even the most terrifying culinary disaster with a few quick instructions.
John Pierce, Dublin, New Hampshire
Rocky Mountain Cuban Pork
Tampa Bay has a rich Cuban history, and Cuban cuisine was always on the menu at our house. Yellow rice and chicken (arroz con pollo), plantains (plantanos) fried in butter, and black beans and rice (frijoles negros con arroz) were weekly staples. However, my daughter’s favorite dish has always been Cuban pork, made with sour orange juice. We had sour orange trees growing in our yard, and we shared the fruit with family and friends, as they were difficult to find in local stores. When my daughter and her husband moved to Colorado, she missed the food that she grew up on in Florida. Since there was no way to get sour oranges in Colorado, she developed this recipe, which is almost identical in flavor to the original.
Barbara Vogel, Gibsonton, Florida
Low Country Chowder
My husband and I were raised near the coast and have always enjoyed Low Country boils. Almost always, there are a number of shrimp, some crab, some sausage, potatoes, and corn left over. These just don’t taste as good cold, and trying to heat crab and shrimp by themselves is, um, well, kinda unappetizing. I hated throwing away the leftovers, so I made this chowder, and it is very tasty! If using ingredients from a boil, there is nice flavor from the seafood boil seasoning as well. You can adjust the amount of soup and milk (or half-and-half) to accommodate the amount of leftover boil ingredients, seasoning to taste before serving.
Michele Holloway, Augusta, Georgia
Canederli in Brodo (Italian Dumplings in Broth)
My mother came from a small mountain town in northern Italy, and this was a favorite of hers. She married my father, who came from the same town and they had 10 children. So this was a hearty, inexpensive soup for her family! I went to visit my Italian relatives, and they are still making and eating this soup many years later.
Ann Hicks, Indianapolis, Indiana
Sticky Toffee Pudding With Butterscotch Sauce
I got this recipe about 15 years ago from a British woman in the Cotswolds of England. The “pudding” is actually a very moist sponge cake. In the oven, it looks like a watery mess, but this is what makes the moist, rich, and decadent sponge cake. It’s something different during the holidays or anytime—and it’s why my family goes on long walks after a big holiday feast!
Catherine Boeckmann, Indianapolis, Indiana