Janet's Notebook
A Memory of Mom in Every Bite

Grandma Lu's Vanilla Anisette Christmas Cookies

It's funny how our memory works. Smell freshly cut grass and you may think of playing as a kid. Or going outside after a rainstorm on a hot day may remind you of a vacation taken years ago. Recipes also spark memories... Especially when they come from mom.

"This recipe has been passed down three generations now and I just recently was able to get this one - I've been wanting it for over 20 years," explains Stacey Exley (Keystone Heights, FL). "I have found other recipes very close to this one but nothing is as good as Mamaw’s."

Mamaw Soles Pecan Puffs are addictive! The brown sugar adds almost a buttery flavor to these cookies. You may want to hide them. Keep 'em on the kitchen counter and I think they'll disappear in an instant.

While Nancy A.'s Grandma Lu's Vanilla Anisette Christmas Cookies are a Christmas cookie, they're so good I'd serve them all year long. These gems are not overly sweet and have a subtle anisette flavor. Plus, there's a lovely story behind them.

"Growing up in an Italian family, our kitchen was always filled with family, food, and fun, but during the holidays it was simply magical," shares Nancy. "The kitchen was filled with incredible aromas and every inch of space was filled with spectacular desserts, but my favorite cookies were my grandmother's vanilla anisette which I would help her make every year."

Nancy goes on to say, "to this day I make her cookies, carry on the traditional and transform my kitchen into that very special magical place I always loved as a child."

The Test Kitchen smelled amazing while these were baking so I see why Nancy loves to bake these at the holidays. I had a hard time waiting for them to cool so I could ice them... they smelled that good.

"This is one of my favorites from my sweet mom," says Matthew Peterson (San Antonio, TX) of his Nana's Pasta Fagiole Soup. "If you're down or not feeling well this soup will cure what ails you."

Matthew's mom knew how to make soup! This recipe is warm, delicious and full of flavor. I love the tip on having the pasta on the side so it doesn't get soggy. The seasoning amount in the dish is just perfect - the tomato base, Italian seasoning and the pepper flakes for a kick. I wouldn't wait until cooler weather to try this yummy soup.

Chili sauce is an underused condiment, in my mind, and I think Marvin Beachler's (Cathedral City, CA) Gram's Chili Sauce recipe should be a staple in everyone's fridge.

"My grandmother made this chili sauce whenever she was about to run out," reminisces Marvin. "To the family, it was golden to receive a very small jar as a gift."

I kept going back for just "one more taste" so I can see why Marvin was always excited to get a jar.

The nutmeg, ginger, and curry spices are prevalent but not overwhelming. Apple cider vinegar adds a bit of tang. This sauce is not spicy so if you're looking for a kick add a bit more tabasco. It's delicious!

Have a favorite recipe handed down from mom? Make sure to post it! We'd like to wish all you mom's out there a very happy Mother's Day. Happy Pinching!

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Rose Mary Mogan - May 12, 2017
As a kid usually mama always made Meat Loaf for Sunday Dinner. We always looked forward to Sunday Meals with Meat Loaf after church, with Mashed Potatoes and some type of vegetable usually from the garden MAMA'S SOUTHERN MEAT LOAF , My nephew never liked meat loaf until my sister made this one, now it is his favorite, and I am sure you will like it too. There were 13 of us, so mama always made a lot, and to this day I cook the same way, although there are just the two of us, but it never goes to waste.
Andy Anderson ! - May 9, 2017
Not mum but my grandma...

I love the memories.

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