Family Recipes and Project STIR

Family Recipes and Project STIR

In my family, we don’t have a rich cooking heritage. I don’t really have memories of my grandma spending all day in the kitchen.

Instead, we have memories of travel and adventures. And eating memories- eating hibachi with my grandpa, visiting a fancy steakhouse with my grandparents in Chicago, lots of breakfasts at the diner on the lake with my parents.

We do eating well.  But cooking is not our forte. We did some cooking through the years, but overall, we don’t have family recipes that run deep.

I’m trying to change some of that. I love to cook and can’t wait to pass that love on to future generations someday.

A few things I remember cooking and eating a lot growing up include my mom’s porcupine meatballs and my German apple cake. And tons of my dad’s ribs. Since we had a house on the lake growing up, just about every holiday was spent out on our big back deck as dad cooked ribs. We ate almost every holiday meal from paper plates on that picnic table in the backyard.


One of dad’s secrets was to mix store-bought BBQ sauce with light beer.  Nothing fancy. It was usually Coors light mixed in a squeeze bottle. But it gave the sauce a tangy taste, and he said it helped tenderize the meat.

One thing we can’t seem to perfect is dad’s method of cooking.  He cooked the ribs low and slow (even on days we were hungry and wanted to eat ASAP). And he did what most grill masters warn against- opening and closing the grill often, and prodding and turning the meat a ton. But somehow it worked. The sauce got thick and sweet and the ribs got tender. But in the years since he’s stepped away from the grill due to Alzheimer’s, we can’t seem to get it quite right.

Which is where Project STIR comes in.

Project STIR is a heirloom recipe project. STIR stands for Storytelling Through International Recipes, and Sarah is seeking to travel the world and capture the essence of these recipes through film. Because there’s only so much a paper recipe can tell you.  A ton of the “recipe” is in the method and the way it’s made. She wants to capture these stories and the methods.


Me and Sarah (in the polka dots) with some friends at AWBU last year. Sorry your eyes are closed, Sarah! This was the best pic I had to prove we were friends in real life. 🙂

She’s launched a campaign to help fund this project, and I’m totally a supporter.  There are some neat gifts for supporting the project, too! I would love for you to support Project STIR because I would have loved to capture dad’s ribs before Alzheimer’s took hold. I think these stories are an essential part of history – both family histories and our cultural collective history.

Click here to visit the campaign page and give to Project STIR.  Sarah is a great friend and I know she will do a fantastic job telling these stories.


  1. Thanks for sharing your Project STIR story Brittney! And next time we’re in the same place we need to take a photo together. 🙂

  2. You are a rich story teller, look forward to reading more!

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