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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Family Notes and Good Food

photo credit: timsackton via photopin cc
Last fall I had a crazy idea that I would make a family cookbook for my mother’s family.  Okay, to be honest, it stems from the fact that I couldn't locate a recipe that I really wanted to make.  I knew someone in the family had to have it if my dad couldn't find it in the kitchen.  Yes, you didn't read that wrong, my dad is the cook in our family not my mom.  Thankfully he found what I was looking for, but I now had a nagging desire to make the cookbook happen anyway.

I knew this was going to be a hard task.  First people had to submit the recipes and then I had to try and make them personal.  Nothing ever turns out the way you want but I still have high hopes that this will be an awesome family heirloom book.  Currently I am up to 25 submissions, which is not too shabby if I say so myself.

Best part is the couple handwritten notes cards that have been scanned in and sent to me.  Seeing my great aunts handwriting again brought out emotions I wasn’t expecting.  Just like when I was home over the holidays and my dad showed me his mother’s recipe card for raisin pie.  She had written it years ago and at first we both thought it was his handwriting.  Neither of us realized until then how much their handwriting was alike.  The pie was his dad’s favorite and grandma would make for every occasion, just for him.  Dad made it this year while we were home, and I have to admit, I liked it.  Very bad for you, but I liked it anyway.

Out of curiosity I Googled raisin pie to see what I could come up with. Intermingled in the results for rum raisin, apple/walnut/raisin, and rhubarb raisin pies were ones for my "traditional" raisin pie.  There was an interesting blog post on it about being a mourning pie for the Amish. Interesting to me as there is a large Amish and Mennonite population in the part of Indiana they lived.  Another one even had a video on how to make it!  Even more amazing to me was that they both are the exact same recipe that my grandmother had written down decades ago.

These searches lead me to think I needed to share my small family story too.  So, because I am all about sharing today, here is my grandfather Paul Combs’s favorite pie recipe.  Let me know if you try it, or if you have ever had it before, and what you think of  the traditional pie.  

image from
Raisin Pie Filling
2 C Raisins
2 C Water
1/2 C Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/8 tsp.  Salt
1 Tbsp. Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Butter
Pastry for 9 inch double crust

Boil raisins in 1 ¾ cups water for 5 minutes.  Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt with ¼ cup cold water.  Add to raisins, stirring until mixture boils.  Remove from fire.  Add butter and vinegar.  Pour into lined pie tin.  Cover top with pastry and bake 25 minutes in hot oven.

Note: She states a hot oven is about 375°F in a small side scribble  My dad makes it with a lattice top but you can make it with a solid top.  


  1. Sweet! Thanks for sharing and motivating me to work on one of these family cookbooks myself.

  2. You are welcome! Good luck on making the book too. :)