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Heritage Recipes

Updated on August 11, 2017
Virginia Allain profile image

Kansas - It's dear to the heart of Virginia Allain. She grew up there & loves the big skies, the prairies, the small towns, & history.

When I was growing up, we churned our own butter. It was great exercise for a little kid's arm.
When I was growing up, we churned our own butter. It was great exercise for a little kid's arm. | Source

Sharing Recipes from My Ancestors

We need to share the recipes from the battered recipe cards or those hand-written on scraps of paper. Future generations can enjoy a dessert or main dish prepared the way our ancestors made it.

Sometimes there are stories that go with the recipes. I wanted to preserve the recipe and stories. My mom wrote about the people and posted them on the Our Echo web site.

Here I link the recipe and story together. Sometimes the recipe is a little skimpy on directions as I'm sure grandma probably knew it by heart.

(Martin family butter churn)

A Recipe from My Grandmother - Ruth Vining McGhee

Ingredients for Potato Cakes

  • leftover mashed potatoes (a cup or more)
  • 2 farm fresh eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • iron skillet


  1. Beat the 2 eggs. Then mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Heat up an iron skillet on the stovetop. You can grease the skillet with a butter wrapper to use up the remnants of butter or margarine. Grandma used a dab of plain lard or bacon drippings to fry the small cakes. Of course, bacon drippings add to the flavor. It's OK to use a cooking spray instead, but it won't have the same flavor.
  3. Drop the mixture by the spoonful on the greased, hot, iron skillet. You can try it on a non-stick skillet with that spray stuff, but I don't know how it will turn out.
  4. Lower the heat and fry until brown on one side. Turn them over and brown the other side.
  5. My dad liked his with ketchup on them. Mom liked hers plain. Some people like them with a little sour cream.
  6. Peel an extra potato or two whenever having mashed potatoes, so some will be left for potato cakes.
5 stars from 1 rating of Potato Cakes

My Grandmother, Ruth (Vining) McGhee Feeding the Chickens

My Grandmother, Ruth (Vining) McGhee Feeding the Chickens
My Grandmother, Ruth (Vining) McGhee Feeding the Chickens

Background on This Heritage Recipe - and Ruth (Vining) McGhee

My mom's comment on this recipe, "One of my favorite recipes handed down from my frugal mother, who never let a bit of food go to waste, is potato cakes. Now my daughters and granddaughters make these too.

The eggs Mother used were from her own New Hampshire Red hens. This breed of chickens laid large, brown shelled eggs and Mother's chickens ranged on the open prairies of Greenwood county, Kansas where they ate grasshoppers, bugs and Bluestem grass. If you haven't experienced the joy of fresh farm country eggs you are in for the treat of your life. In the summer time the yolks will be a brilliant orange globe. No comparison to the store bought eggs that have been in cold storage for who knows for how long."

Save Your Recipes and Family Memories to Pass along to Your Children

I've created a page if you want to learn more about the life of my grandmother, Ruth Vining McGhee.

A Recipe from My Grandmother - Cora Joy Martin

Baked Pineapple Dessert - a 1950s dessert

My grandmother, Cora Joy Martin of Emporia, Kansas made this. My mom says everyone loved it and it was easy to make and so tasty.


Ingredients for Baked Pineapple Dessert

  • large can of crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 pound of rolled graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • cream


  1. Crush the graham crackers with a rolling pin. If you don't have a rolling pin, just run them through a blender to make coarse crumbs.
  2. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, the crushed pineapple, and the sugar together.
  3. Stir in the cream, adding just enough to make the whole mix pourable.
  4. Grease a 1 1/2 quart cassarole and put the mix into it.
  5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour.

Cora Joy Martin and family of Emporia, Kansas

Cora Joy Martin and family of Emporia, Kansas
Cora Joy Martin and family of Emporia, Kansas

Heritage Recipes from the Good Old Days

Recipes from Earlier Generations of Our Family

Corn Cob Jelly - This is the old fashioned way to make this jelly

This vintage recipe was passed down from my father's ancestor, Mary Black of Black Jack, Kansas. She was the granddaughter of the earliest doctor there, Moses O'Neil. The doctor's wife Eleanor (called Ellen) O'Neil was a sister to our great-grandmother, Elizabeth Jane (Rosebaugh) Kennedy. (wife of David Greacen Kennedy, my father's great grandfather).


Graphic from Zazzle: Jelly Jars Recipe Card by MouseCountry

It's amazing what you can turn into jelly.

Ingredients for Corn Cob Jelly

  • 12 red corn cobs
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 package Sure-Jell
  • Three pints of water


  1. To get corn cobs, you remove the dried corn from the cob. Boil the twelve red, clean corn cobs in three pints of water for half an hour. Mary Black would have boiled these on an old cast-iron stove, but you can use a regular stove.
  2. Strain the juice (and throw away the corn cobs). It makes 3 1/2 cups of corn cob juice.
  3. Use Domino or any sugar
  4. Add the 3 1/2 cups of sugar to the juice made from the corn cobs.
  5. Follow the directions on the Sure-Jell package. Mary Black would put wax on top to seal the jelly. If you're going to use it fairly soon, you can keep it in your refrigerator.

Historical Marker for Blackjack, Kansas

Historical Marker for Blackjack, Kansas
Historical Marker for Blackjack, Kansas

Video of Someone Trying the Corn Cob Jelly Recipe


© 2011 Virginia Allain

I Hope You Like to Cook

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    • Frischy profile image


      4 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I need to make these potato cakes for my daughter. I bet she would love them. It's her kind of thing! Thanks for sharing!

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      What a lovely idea to dig up those old recipes from Granny. Usually more healthy food too

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      This is so wonderful. I love the stories and pictures with the recipes. Great job.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @Othercatt: Just adjust the recipe by adding some bread crumbs if you feel the fresh potatoes are too soupy. You probably won't be able to tell that until you cook one and it spreads out too much in the pan. If so, just tell him it's a potato pancake.

    • Othercatt profile image


      5 years ago

      My husband is gonna love you to pieces! He's been telling me to make potato cakes but I've never had a recipe. I do have a quick question. Do the mashed potatoes have to be leftovers or can they be fresh? I know the consistency is different in leftover potatoes, that's why I ask.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I too love to read your family stories - thanks for sharing more from the family vault! :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I love to read your stories! What a wonderful way to share them! I have got to try that pineapple dessert--sounds good! Thank you for sharing your family memories with us. I'll have to show hubby, who grew up in Kansas with his parents and Granny.

    • Virginia Allain profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      @Ruthi: I glad you read my mother's story about her 1930s Thanksgiving. We collected all her stories into a book called My Flint Hills Childhood.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      What wonderful family recipes and stories you have shared of your family heritage. What a blessing of thanksgiving the "We Gave Thanks Prairie Style" family story was to read. Thank you for sharing. Oh yes, I will definitely try the Baked Pineapple Dessert recipe. And I might get brave and try that corn cob jelly one day too!

    • Showpup LM profile image

      Showpup LM 

      6 years ago

      What neat recipes! Corn cob jelly... who would have thunk?

    • Frischy profile image


      6 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I love old recipes, and I especially love that you have the family history to record with yours. Wonderful! I agree with your mother about the eggs. Lovely lens!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I have a whole blog about family recipes. Love, love, love the stories you've included with yours!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens. I love the old photos and the history. Blessed.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love your antique butter churn! This is so nice! I too keep old family recipes. I have the best secret recipe for a chocolate cake from my great grand-ma. It's important to pass these down to our kids, it's an heritage.

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 

      6 years ago from France

      Love this lens. So interesting. I agree that we should save and record these old recipes.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Wonderful recipes and photos. Thanks for sharing them!

    • traveller27 profile image


      6 years ago

      I love the vintage images/photos.


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