I always like the idea of things being passed down through generations. I have a ring my mom got from my grandfather (on my dad's side). It is unique and so pretty. I wear it all the time, but I don't think the "passing down" of this ring was anything momentous. I am pretty sure my dad's dad just gave it to my mom as a gift a long time ago, maybe before I was born. At some point I found it in her drawer and basically just took it since I know she does not wear rings.
I like old-looking jewelry and even sometimes furniture. There is something comforting about items that look like they have been through a lot. This certainly goes for old recipes as well. If something has been made so many times over the years by a certain number of people, it seems that by the time it gets to me it will be nearly perfect. People add their own touches to the recipe to make it better and better, and eventually there is nothing left to add. Of course there is something to be said about wanting to add your own touch to the list of changes.
I don't mention any of this because the following recipe is one that has been passed down to me. I mention this because it is a recipe with which I would like to start the pass-down process. I am sure there will be a lot of traditional recipes I will want to pass along, but I tend to put more importance on foods that say something about where my family comes from. Kafta (also sometimes spelled "kofta") is a traditional Lebanese dish. I ate a lot of Lebanese food (including kafta) growing up, but it was always bought prepared. It is important to me to for future generations of my family to know a thing or two about their heritage, and one of the best ways to ensure that happens is through food. Kafta is so simple to make, but it is a very traditional Lebanese food (the same can be said for hummus) so it was a great start for me. It is something I think everyone can enjoy as well.
Kafta for the Ages
Makes 8 sausages
1 lb lean ground beef or ground lamb (I used beef because it was what I had, but I would like to try it both ways before sticking with one)
1 C chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 C freshly minced white onion
1 large egg
1/2 tsp Lebanese 7 spices*
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
* You can buy the 7 spices already made from most Middle Eastern grocery stores.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
Form into 8 sausages.
Put the sausages on the grill for about 15 minutes (until cooked to your preference)*
You can form the meat around wooden skewers if that makes it easier, but according to my dad, they should not be skewered.
*Traditionally, they should be slightly pink in the middle.
Serve with warm pita bread and hummus.
Please do not think I will be forgetting my mom's side of the family: the Puerto Ricans. I have such plans for them! There is a particular rice and beans dish my grandmother always makes for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas that I will be paying close attention to this year so any kind of posting on that will have to wait another few months. There is also the rum cake my Aunt Janet has perfected. I could go on.