If you were lucky enough to grow up with grandparents, you know how special they are. They sneak you cookies before dinner and spoil you on your birthday. Sometimes they are brash and spirited, sometimes they are pensive and wise, whatever your grandparent is like, they are worth celebrating.
National Grandparents Day was started by housewife and grandmother to 40 children Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade in efforts to boost elderly moral and champion the cause of the lonely older community. The campaign fought for recognition of these special folks and was nationally recognized by former President Jimmy Carter in 1978 when he declared that the first Sunday after Labor Day would be acknowledged as Grandparents Day. Since then families and communities have celebrated their elderly kin by showing their love and appreciation.
Celebrating a grandparent should be about more than a card and a macaroni necklace (though both are strongly encouraged). It is about spending time with someone who laid the groundwork of your life, someone whose memories and stories are worth preserving — especially those signature dishes that have been in your family for decades.
There are plenty of ways to preserve those heirlooms while making time for either your grandparent or your children’s grandparents. Here are some ideas:
Spend Time in the Kitchen
It seems obvious, but the best way to learn how to make nana’s cheesecake recipe is to actually do it with her. Spending time together is not only great for bonding, but it also helps preserve and make new memories all at once!
Make a Recipe Scrapbook
If you grandparent loved the kitchen but can’t stand behind the stove, try sitting down and making your own recipe scrapbook. Have your grandparent write down everything they can remember about their favorite recipes and spend the day putting it together. You’ll get to spend time with your family’s own personal kitchen hero and create a family heirloom.
Have a Dinner Party
The next best thing to making food is eating it! Spend the day cooking up all of your grandparent’s most favorite (and famous) recipes. Host a sit-down dinner and encourage grandparents to talk about the origins of the dishes you’re enjoying. Kids will get a kick out of listening to the stories as much as the grandparents will love telling them.