Food and family go hand-in-hand this time of year, and every meal has a story. We’ve gathered a few of our favorite recipes below from celebrated chefs who are telling their families’ stories through the food they love. These chefs have joined the Alzheimer’s Association initiative Around the Table, which features shared food experiences from the culinary community in order to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and its impact on families.
As you gather this holiday season, will you be baking a dish that has been passed down from generation to generation, or prepping a special recipe that has particular meaning to your family? How do you share the holiday spirit through your cooking? Make sure to tell us in the comments of this post!
Chef Art Smith gained fame as Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef, and two of his inspirations in the kitchen and in life were his grandmother and his mother, both who died of Alzheimer’s disease. Try your hand at this classic southern cornbread recipe attributed to Art's mom, Addie Mae Smith, and his grandmother, Georgia, and read more about Art’s passion for giving back
Classic Southern Cornbread
2 cups yellow or white cornmeal, preferably stoneground
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil, preferably sunflower, plus additional for the pan
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Generously oil a 9- to 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or a 9-inch cake pan) and place it on the rack. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Whisk the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl to combine. Make a well in the center. Whisk the buttermilk, eggs and oil in another bowl until the eggs are well combined. Pour into the well and stir just until the batter is moistened. Do not overbeat.
Remove the hot skillet from the oven and pour in the batter. Bake until the bread springs back when pressed in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand five minutes, then turn out onto a plate or serve directly from the skillet. See more variations of the recipe here.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Dates, Manchego and Almonds
Katie loves this easy salad recipe: “When you are using all of your racks in the oven and on the stovetop for your holiday cooking, this simple, clean salad is something you can make ahead of time without compromising any cooking space.” You can learn more about the influence of that Katie’s grandmother Dora, living with Alzheimer’s, has had on her life by reading Katie’s full story here
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
One 16-ounce bag shaved Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup diced manchego cheese
1/4 cup chopped almonds
In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and shallots. Let stand five minutes, so the acidity in the lemon juice can begin to break down the shallots. Whisk in the Dijon and honey until well combined. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Season aggressively with salt and add pepper to taste.
Add sprouts, dates, manchego and almonds and toss to coat. The salad can be dressed 15 to 20 minutes in advance if you like more tender Brussels sprouts.
Alzheimer’s has touched Madison Cowan’s life more than once. Both his father and father-in-law passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Read his story here
and learn about a holiday memory he covets featuring the recipe below:
Jean Bean’s 7-UP Pound Cake
3 cups unbleached cake flour, sifted
2 cups unrefined cane sugar
1 pound unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
6 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon extract
¾ cup 7-Up lemon soda, room temperature
Heat the oven to 375 F. Place the flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the remaining ingredients and blend with an electric hand mixer until smooth (begin slowly then increase to medium speed.) Do not overmix.
Butter and lightly dust a fluted cake tin or two to three loaf tins with flour. Carefully pour the mixture into the tins as to not pack tight and bake mid-oven for 1 hour 15 minutes or until golden brown and an inserted paring knife or cake tester comes out clean.
Keep the oven door closed and check doneness only after the first 50 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes and remove from tins. Serve simply with fresh seasonal berries and whipped cream.
The Holidays and Alzheimer’s
Around the Table