brisket on cutting block

From Aunt Sharon’s Kitchen: Memories of the Days We Left Behind


Do you ever walk somewhere and smell something that triggers a memory of a family member or an occasion that makes you smile? For me it most always is related to food.

I have many a food memory connected to a loved one. I can remember the smell of the peppermints that my Gram always had in her mouth when she smoked. She always had a stash in her pocket and handbag, too. I also connect holidays to the way the house smelled when my mother, grandmother, and aunt cooked. It forever elicits pleasant memories.

This meal brings up what happened during the Passover holidays. Because of the virus, we didn’t have our usual Seder get together. In fact, I never purchased one item to cook, but the morning of the first night, I woke up and felt sad that my house wasn’t going to smell like the holidays. So my husband, David, went out and picked up brisket and chicken to make soup (I had all the other ingredients here as I always have enough food to whip up something or another.) and I set about cooking the food that filled my house with the “family” smell of togetherness.

Then I got on the phone and told my son, grandson, and a family friend that holiday was on and that curbside pickup was available. I packed up their separate boxes and felt so much better.

I’m going to include my brisket recipe (just ingredients because I don’t measure ever) and hope you enjoy not only the food, but the memories it evokes.

10 lbs. of brisket (I trim almost all the fat off)
2 packs of McCormick brown gravy
1/2 cup ketchup or more
Add water to the gravy as well as red wine (maybe 5 cups total liquid). I season the meat with granulated garlic, salt, pepper, granulated onion and score the meat a few times.

In the bottom of a large pan, I cut up a large onion, carrots, and celery and put the meat on top of that. Pour gravy over, cover with aluminum, and cook at 350 degrees for at least 3-4 hours. Check the meat thermometer but the meat should be tender. So if it takes a little longer, that’s OK too. Enjoy!

“The taste, smell, and texture of food can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back memories not just of eating food itself but also of place and setting. Food is an effective trigger of deeper memories of feelings and emotions, internal states of the mind and body.” – The Harvard University Press


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