My Family Recipe Takes to the Airwaves

In collaboration with Heritage Radio Network, we're bringing the much beloved column to the airwaves.

October 15, 2021
Photo by Tim McSweeney

For over three years now, the My Family Recipe series has invited writers to share their family’s most treasured dishes, bringing to life the histories, people, and emotions behind them. 87 recipes later, we’re turning its pages to a new chapter: the My Family Recipe podcast. In partnership with food radio station Heritage Radio Network, we're bringing your most-loved family recipes to the airwaves. The Sunday sauce one writer watched his mother make 900 times—but never wrote down. The butterscotch pie recipe a grandma carried with her through the war. And the hearty Polish soup with healing powers. All retold, with some histories expanded, others amplified by your comments, and some cooked live.

Of course, with family recipes, it’s never just about the dish (as much as we love recreating this lemon meringue pie). The dishes become symbolic of emotions, like grief and hope as Lisa Ruland explores in her essay on a very special chocolate cake; markers of cultural identity as Jenny Dorsey discovers when she contends with owning a wok for the first time at age 28; and tangible homages to people, like the staff of Chez Panisse that figured into Fanny Singer’s magical, unconventional childhood. They help us explore our layered histories, reveal much about the world we live in—and celebrate our shared and complex humanity.

We look forward to exploring all of that and more with the My Family Recipe podcast. We’ve taken everything you loved about this series—and given each writer the space to expand the storytelling. In episodes to come, we take trips into the home kitchens of writers, have cook-alongs, and get family members to join in. Want (many) more Grandpa Bernie stories? (Same.) We got you!

Ultimately, this is a podcast that, we hope, celebrates the importance of family histories and rituals and the simple pleasures of home cooking. With the challenges that the past year and a half have thrown at us, it’s something we’ve gained a new appreciation for. And as we head into the holiday season, what could be worth celebrating more than that?

To celebrate the launch, we’ve rounded up the first three episodes, along with their recipes—we can’t wait to share the rest. Make yourself some extra-buttery cheesy bread, find a cozy spot, and settle in for a listen.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss an episode. And if you enjoy it, don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.

Photo by Todd Estrin

Episode 1: A Chocolate Cake That Celebrates Mothers—Lost & Found

"But loss has a funny way of rearranging your priorities, your brain, and your life. One day, we were newlyweds. And then, just like that, he was dead. His death did not make sense or even seem real. I remember thinking that he could not be dead, because I’d already bought the ingredients for his “Welcome Home from Mount Rainier!” dinner: pasta with meatballs and a big salad. Worse still, the park service could not find or recover his body. He was just...gone."Lisa Ruland

Episode 2: I’m Chinese, but It Took Me 28 Years to Buy My First Wok

"My mother hands me a shimmery dress she calls “the Cinderella dress”; my father calls me his sweetest baby and I’m delighted. They tell me that this is my new life. I want to be American, to start over. I vie for their attention like a new student in class. It’s almost cruel how quickly I forget about my grandparents who raised me all those years my parents were gone. This new life in America exhausts my grandparents, I can see that. They don’t speak the language and don’t have any friends—they only have me."Jenny Dorsey

Photo by Brigitte Lacombe

Episode 3: The Pizza of My Unconventional, Incredible Childhood

"Sometimes Michele would hoist me up by the armpits to look at the progress of the pizzas but also to “get a suntan,” so that I could go back to my “mamma” and tell her I’d taken a trip to Hawaii. When I was still too small to see over the counter, he’d invert a large plastic tub—the sort used for dough—and hold my hand to help me climb up."Fanny Singer

A Sneak Peek of What's to Come

You can find My Family Recipe (the podcast!) wherever you listen. And, in the meantime, we're taking requests! Do you have a family recipe you'd be willing to share with us, on air? Email it to us at [email protected].
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Arati Menon

Written by: Arati Menon

Arati grew up hanging off the petticoat-tails of three generations of Indian matriarchs who used food to speak their language of love—and she finds herself instinctually following suit. Life has taken her all across the world, but she carries with her a menagerie of inherited home and kitchen objects that serve as her anchor. Formerly at GQ and Architectural Digest, she's now based in Brooklyn.

1 Comment

Sarah H. October 24, 2021
Is it possible to submit essays for My Family Recipe?