Heirloom Eats – 2018

by Brenda Shafer

Nothing’s more nostalgic than a home-cooked meal with family and friends gathered ‘round the table. Take a walk down memory lane with these local families who share their most-treasured recipes, passed down from generations before.
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– Joe Jumper | NorthShore

“Growing up, whenever my mom fried chicken, all my friends would want to come over, so she would always make more. When I make it now, I always use my great grandmother’s old frying pan, along with my grandmother’s lid.”

– Joe


Gan Gan’s Fried Chicken

  • 10-15 chicken tenders
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3-4 cups oil

Remove skin and fat from chicken. Soak chicken pieces in water for 24 hours (can be salt water). Remove from water, add salt and pepper, then dip in flour while wet. You can also use a plastic bag and shake the chicken and flour together. Add chicken to hot oil, cover, and reduce heat. When browned, turn over and cook till browned on the other side. If it needs to be crispier, remove cover.


(above) photos by Rich Smith

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Donna Lawrence | Ooltewah

with daughters, Ashley Stembridge and Anne Widener, and grandchildren, Jude, Alexis, William, and Bentley



“My grandmother, Mildred Fitch, gave me this family recipe over 30 years ago. She was a fabulous cook and made all her recipes from scratch. We went to her house every Sunday after church for dinner. Her banana nut bread was always one of my favorites. It literally melts in your mouth. Many years ago, I started making it and giving it to friends when they were sick. Then I thought it would make a perfect gift, so I began making it around the holidays and giving it as a small gift to teachers and friends. As the years have passed, my grandchildren are now taking part in the baking. They love delivering the bread around the holidays to widows, shut-ins, and grieving families. We have never changed the recipe. When I smell it baking in the oven, I can still imagine her in the kitchen with her apron on.”

– Donna


MaMaw’s Banana Nut Bread

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs (separate yolks from whites)
  • 6 Tbsp. buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups mashed bananas
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Cream shortening and sugar. Sift dry ingredients together, then combine with shortening and sugar. Alternate adding beaten egg yolks and buttermilk. Add vanilla, bananas, and pecans. Fold in beaten egg whites. Bake in 2 greased loaf pans at 325⁰ for 1 hour.

(above) photos by Rich Smith

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Jesse Goins | East Brainerd

with his wife, Andrea, and kids, Jake and Molly


“My mom worked hard – really hard. Yet, she always had a hot meal on the table for two boys that ate what I’m guessing was close to their body weight in food each day. Potatoes were a nightly staple. Mashed, baked, fried, and my personal favorite – scalloped. I got this recipe from her several years ago and was surprised at how easy it is. With the exception of a tweak or two from me, this is how mom made them, and they’re amazing. And they are not even remotely close to being healthy. This is comfort food.”

– Jesse


Mom’s Scalloped Potatoes

  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 16 oz. block of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste (I start with a tsp. of each and add as needed)
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
  • 10 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • Small onion, thinly sliced into rings using a mandolin

Preheat oven to 350⁰.  Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Pour in milk and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low. Add in cheese and stir to melt. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Taste cheese sauce and add more salt as needed. Put peeled potatoes and sliced onions in 9×13 pan. Pour cheese mixture over. Bake for 1 hour.

(above) photos by Terry Henson

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Margaret with her parents, Scott and Dorothy Phillips.

Margaret Sheehan | Cleveland


“My mom has made this appetizer every Christmas and other holidays for years. She got the recipe from the Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans in June 1968.”

– Margaret


Oyster Odette

  • 8 oz. container oysters
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 oz. fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Buttered cracker crumbs
  • Parsley for garnish

Wash and chop oysters. Cook shallot in butter, add flour, and brown. Add seasonings, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, oysters, and mushrooms. Cook 5 minutes over medium heat. Remove and add egg yolk. Put mixture in deep halves of oyster shells, cover with crumbs, and bake at 350⁰ for 15 minutes. Plate and garnish with parsley. Serves 6, as an appetizer.

(above) photos by Rich Smith

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Paula Palmer | Chattanooga


“I got this recipe from my mother. It was a staple for us growing up because it was my father’s favorite meal. Now it’s one of my husband’s favorites! I’ve learned to leave the meat in the fridge overnight so it has time to marinate. And, as a bonus, it makes great leftovers!”

– Paula


3 Meat Meatloaf

  • 1/2 lb. ground veal
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 lb. ground lean beef
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 1 medium onion, cooked in olive oil until translucent
  • 1 medium bell pepper, cooked in olive oil until soft
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 small can (15.25 oz) tomato sauce, can use Hunt’s meatloaf sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups Italian panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350⁰. Mix all ingredients except ketchup in a large bowl, then place in a large meatloaf pan that has a drain pan with it. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the middle reaches 160⁰. Thirty minutes in, top meatloaf with ketchup, so it will turn into a glaze.

(above) photos by Rich Smith

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Recipes, photos, and treasured items from granny.

“The Treasures”  | Lookout Valley

Sisters: Donna Wilson, Susan Hodnett, and Mary Wagner with Donna’s daughter Terri Hoff and her daughters, Maleah, Mallory, and Cassie


“My granny, Leeanna Biggs, made this skillet cake almost every other day. Growing up, we lived next door to her, so she had five of her grandchildren running in and out every day, devouring this cake. She never had to take it out of the skillet – we would just eat it right out of the pan. I remember her baking it in her wood-burning cook stove; we never could convince her to buy a new stove.”

– Susan


Granny’s Chocolate Skillet Cake

For cake:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

In a bowl, beat together sugar, shortening, and egg. Mix in milk, flour, and vanilla. Grease and flour iron skillet. Bake at 350⁰ for 20 minutes.

For icing:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 stick butter

In a saucepan, add ingredients, and bring to a boil. Then, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Use end of wooden spoon to poke holes in warm cake, and pour icing over top.

(above) photos by Karen Culp

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Mitch and Amy Holland | Northshore

with their girls, Miriam and Beatrice


“The recipe is from my wife’s grandmother. Amy wanted her book of handwritten recipes when she passed away. Her favorite memories of her grandmother revolve around many of those recipes, and she loves that she can still see her grandmother’s handwriting and taste her dishes after she is gone. This recipe is still in that book. I was introduced to it as a Mexican cornbread recipe that Amy’s mom was using, and we all liked it so much that we removed the jalapeños and use it for regular cornbread.” 

– Mitch


Grandma’s Cornbread

  • 1 cup self-rising cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour or bread flour
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 7 oz. can cream-style corn
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Mix together all ingredients, pour in 12-inch cast iron pan, and bake at 350⁰ for 25-28 minutes.

(above) photos by Rich Smith

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Shawn Ramseur | Signal Mountain

with husband, Frank, and children, Ava, Ella, Quinn, Harper, and Sophie


“My mom and I shared a love of learning new things, especially as it relates to food! My mother cultivated a beautiful garden that she created her dishes from daily, and she helped me build my own, much smaller, garden. Two and a half years ago, my mom had to set aside her love of cooking when she began to lose her battle with cancer. Toward the end of her life here, she made sure to pass down her legacy of crafting healthy organic dishes by giving my siblings and me her beloved kitchenware and recipes. Among others things, she gave me her sourdough starter, sourdough cookbook, Le Creuset French oven (which I use for the sourdough), along with notes of encouragement and a list of foods she loved to bake.”

– Shawn


Sourdough Bread

  • 3/4 cup sourdough starter, unfed
  • 1 1/4 cups distilled water
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt

In a large bowl, mix the sourdough starter with water, then add flour and salt. Mix until a consistent dough forms, either by hand or with a stand mixer. Cover the bowl with cling wrap, and let the dough rise overnight or for 8-10 hours. Turn the risen dough onto the kitchen counter, and form it into a ball, tucking the seams down. Prepare a sheet of parchment paper by sprinkling it with flour. (If you don’t have parchment, you can use a kitchen towel sprinkled with flour, but keep in mind that there is a much higher chance of your dough deflating now because it will stick to the towel.) Place the parchment paper on a baking sheet. Transfer the ball of dough onto the parchment paper, seam side down. Cover (I use a bowl) and let it rise another 2 hours.

About half an hour before your bread is done rising for the second time, preheat the oven to 500⁰, and place a heavy cast-iron or other oven-safe pot in the oven with the lid on. (I use a 3.2 quart dutch oven that is not enameled on the inside. Enameled is even better.) Once the dough has risen, carefully remove your heated pot from the oven. Quickly, in a smooth motion, turn the dough into the pot, so that the seam side now faces up. Put the lid back on the pot, and bake for 30 minutes. Take off the lid and continue baking the bread for another 20 minutes. The bread will split at the top and char a little, which adds more flavor. Remove to a rack to let cool for 30 minutes. Then remove bread from pot, and let it continue to cool a little before serving.

(above) photos by Rich Smith

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