Spending time with our kids in the kitchen isn’t just something we like to do. It’s something we’re passionate about because it reinforces the values we want to pass on to our children - namely, the importance of family and family traditions.
During the summer, when the hectic pace of life and extracurricular activities slows just a bit, we make a concerted effort to spend even more time than usual cooking with our kids and sharing some of the old-fashioned, beloved family recipes our mother, grandmothers and great-grandmothers used to make.
Our friend Sarah Livingston shares our perspective on this. Recently, she and Tracey were talking about baking homemade pies as a summer activity, and we thought it would be a great subject for this month’s column.
Sarah Livingston has a special family recipe for Chocolate Pie that came from her husband Craig Livingston’s grandmother, “Mama Ruth” Jones.
Mama Ruth and her husband, Joseph “Joe” Jones, ran a cafe called Bellipani in Centreville, Miss., back in the 1950s and early 1960s. Among the many dishes for which it was known were its pies.
According to their daughter, Barbara Jones Livingston, “Mama Ruth” baked three or four pies every morning for the cafe. Sometimes, she even had to make extras for customers who had ordered a whole pie.
Chocolate, lemon and coconut were among the usual fare, though the chocolate was the most popular. It was made with a rich chocolate pudding in a homemade pie crust topped with a light, airy meringue.
Barbara Jones Livingston passed down the recipe to Sarah Livingston, who has generously shared it with us.
We recently spent a warm afternoon making Mama Ruth’s Chocolate Pie with Abigail Livingston, Mama Ruth’s great-granddaughter, and her friends Ang?le Fels and Sarah Marie Odom.
The seventh-grade girls had a blast learning a little bit about how things were done in the past, and they were proud of learning how to make a fourth-generation family recipe.
We also made two other delicious fruit pies using two of our favorite fresh, seasonal, summer fruits - peaches and cherries.
Truth be told, they’re not old family recipes. Our mom and paternal grandmother specialized in fall pies - apple, pumpkin and pecan.
So Tracey whipped up these two summer pie recipes to create her own family tradition. The Fresh Peach and Ginger Pie has a beautiful lattice topping, which is fun for kids to help make.
The Individual Fresh Cherry Pies are made with puff pastry dough and positively melt in your mouth!