Emily Lelandais is living in Paris, France.
But even in that glamorous place, she can’t help longing for her mother’s peanut butter bars back home in Michigan.
“In a sense, the bars are a comfort food and remind me of family and being home,” she said.
Like many other young adults away from home at the holidays, she obtained the recipe from her mother, Bryn Lynch of Traverse City. Peanut butter is scarce in Paris, but Lelandais has decided to splurge and whip up a batch.
“I always think of my mom and how she’d put the powdered sugar on the top of them before they’d completely cooled off and the sugar would just soak in instead of decoratively sitting on top,” she reminisced.
Lelandais has requested other family holiday recipes, too, including her grandma’s yeast rolls and spaghetti alla carbonara, their traditional Christmas Eve main dish.
“Since I haven’t been home to Michigan for Thanksgiving or Christmas in five years, I asked my mom for these recipes so that wherever I am, I can eat something from home around this time of year,” she said.
Lelandais also enjoys cooking for friends and sharing her family’s recipes. The spaghetti is perfect for large groups. She recalls trying to cook it for 15 guests one year and asking her mom, yet again, for help getting the recipe right.
This year she’s tackled cutout sugar cookies and they turned out better than expected, she said.
“I’m excited to have a batch of trees, bells and Santa Clauses ready for when my mom and sister come to visit for Christmas,” said Lelandais.
Lynch said that food has always been an important part of family celebrations and that they make the same recipes year after year.
“The spaghetti tradition started since we would celebrate with a couple of other families on our street and we were all going to Christmas Eve services and we needed something easy,” Lynch said.
Both Emily and her sister Alyson have called for the rolls recipe and Lynch said that her mom, at 87, is still making them. She turns the leftovers into cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning.
“We also make the Waldorf Astoria red velvet cake recipe on a regular basis for Christmas or sometimes birthdays,” added Lynch.
Katherine Baxter remembers when she was in college and called her favorite aunt for a baklava recipe.
“My aunt had married a man of Armenian descent and she had spent some time in Spain and when she cooked, her style was out of the ordinary,” said the Traverse City resident.
Her aunt happily gave her the recipe over the phone and then later gave Baxter a handwritten copy complete with her drawings of how to make the dessert, which Baxter still has today. She has been making it ever since for gatherings and during the holidays.
“Over the years, I’ve developed it into one of my signature dishes,” she said. When her sons were younger, they requested she make it for school functions and she eventually wound up showing her son Evan how to put together the sweet dessert made with layers of flaky phyllo dough.
Kathy Calcutt’s daughter, Carrie, recently asked for her mom’s traditional date pinwheel cookie recipe. That surprised the Traverse City mom, since her daughter doesn’t even like them very much.
“She asked for it when she and her friends were doing a cookie exchange,” Calcutt said. “It was my mother’s recipe and I still have her handwritten recipe card.”
The recipe calls for rolling out a sweet dough and spreading it with a mixture of cooked dates and pecans. Then it’s rolled up, refrigerated, sliced and baked.
Both Carrie and her sister, Abby, have also asked for their mom’s peanut butter blossoms recipe — a peanut butter cookie topped with a chocolate kiss, as well as her sugar cookie recipe.
This Christmas, Calcutt will likely be baking her cut-out sugar cookies in the rented Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment where she and her husband will stay while visiting their kids. Carrie and son Will both live in Brooklyn; Abby will head down from Boston.
Calcutt looks forward to stirring up some frosting with them and carrying on their family tradition.
Emily Lelandais is living in Paris, France.
Movie Capsules: 08/01/2014
New this week — Get on Up: A chronicle of James Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history. Rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use, some strong language and violent situations. (HOR)Continued ...
Night Life Calendar: 08/01/2014
What's happening after dark:Continued ...
TC's Scott reaches semifinals in Junior Am
Alex Scott raised his profile this week in the Michigan Junior Amateur at the Battle Creek Country Club. The 17-year-old Traverse City West senior reached the semifinals before falling to eventual champion and Oakland University recruit Jake Kneen 3 and 2.Continued ...
Editorial: Feds, VA have to find new way of operating
We’ve heard and seen it all before. But until Congress and the White House agree to a new way to provide medical care to the nation’s military veterans, there is little reason to think the latest deal — cooked up under the pressure of lawmakers itching to go on vacation — will serve us any better than the current broken system.Continued ...
Election Letters to the Editor: 08/01/2014
Common-sense approach; Walking the walk; Out of touch. (Plus more)Continued ...
'Film Fest Around World' gathers people for global experience
Chinese film lovers may nosh a 3 a.m. Beijing breakfast of steamed buns and rice porridge. Australian audiences may spread Vegemite across their morning toast.Continued ...
In Film Fest coverage: Walk of Fame step closer
Filmmaker Michael Moore's long-time dream for a Hollywood-style "Walk of Fame" in Traverse City is a step closer to becoming reality.Continued ...
Three square off in GT County board race
Longtime Grand Traverse County Commissioner Richard Thomas thinks voters largely are a disinterested group. They just don't want their taxes to go up, Thomas said.Continued ...
Primary election draws near
Lena Bellemore offered a piece of advice to voters about their ballots in next week's primary election.Continued ...
Postponing college to travel the world
Olympia Sanchez was set on attending a four-year college after she completed high school, but the recent Traverse City West Senior High School graduate is putting her plans aside in hopes of traveling the globe.Continued ...
UPDATE: Suspect Stapleton takes stand
An Elberta woman who's accused of trying to kill her autistic daughter sat alone on the witness stand during a hearing about what could be crucial evidence in her upcoming trial on an attempted murder charge.Continued ...
Benzie Bus seeks public input
Benzie Bus officials are inviting riders and non-riders alike to share their feedback on public transportation.Continued ...
Film Festival: A foreign word
Movie producer and distributor Ira Deutchman started the discussion panel titled, "Foreign Thursday: Not in America," with a caveat.Continued ...
Film Festival Schedule: 08/01/2014
What's happening Friday at the Traverse City Film Festival:Continued ...
The Record: 08/01/2014
Assumed names filed in Grand Traverse County:Continued ...
Building Permits: 08/01/2014
Building permits issued in Grand Traverse County:Continued ...
UPDATE: Elberta mother claims to not remember talking to authorities
An Elberta mother said she doesn't remember talking to authorities after an alleged attempt to kill her autistic daughter.Continued ...
Stapleton testifies in hearing
Kelli Stapleton took the stand today in a court hearing over whether statements she made after an alleged attempt to kill her autistic daughter could be used as evidence in her upcoming trial.Continued ...
Woman arrested after Leelanau crash
A Frankfort woman faces accusations she drunkenly crashed her vehicle into a utility pole and trees that lined a Leelanau County road.Continued ...
Authorities: Video shows man perjured himself
A Traverse City man faces felony perjury charges after authorities said he lied in court about drinking alcohol while on bond for a third-offense drunken driving charge.Continued ...
Candidates hope service can continue in state House
EDITOR'S NOTE: Ten people -- eight Republicans and two Democrats -- are vying to earn their party's nomination for the 104th District state House seat, which covers Grand Traverse County. The Aug. 5 primary will determine party finalists for the NoveContinued ...
School millage renewals on primary ballot
Voters will decide whether to renew the non-homestead operating millage for three area schools when they cast their ballots in August's primary election.Continued ...
Walking with the stars
Actress Susan Sarandon’s slender handprints — and comedian Patton Oswalt’s pudgier ones — are just a step away from becoming part of a Traverse City Film Festival “Walk of Fame” along a section of East Front Street sidewalk.Continued ...
Popcorn triggers Opera House evacuation
Hundreds of movie-goers who were settling into their seats at the City Opera House got a last-minute adrenaline rush when fire alarms inside the historic theater erupted into a chorus of chirping and squealing.Continued ...
Ticket-swap opens doors to sold out shows
You won't find ticket scalpers peddling passes in front of sold-out screenings at the Traverse City Film Festival.Continued ...
- Movie Capsules: 08/01/2014