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Culinary favorites stir thoughts of family from Kentucky to India, China and beyond

Sujata Halarnkar, Alexis Wold, Linda Ishmael and Kaitlyn Hennacy
Collage by NPR

All Things We're Cooking is a series featuring kitchen gems from you, our readers and listeners, and the special stories behind them. We'll continue to share more of your recipes throughout the holidays.


Spicy fish curry dish is seasoned with childhood memories of India's Konkan region

Sujata Halarnkar / Collage by NPR
Collage by NPR

This recipe represents the ultimate comfort food — nothing fancy. It's been passed from generation to generation. If you can't handle the heat, try adding mango.

Read more about Aji's fish curry

A surprise breakfast ingredient pulls this quick taco meat recipe together

This recipe started in Arizona. Now, sisters Kirsten Ayles (left), in San Clemente, Calif., and Alexis Wold, in New York City, make it on opposite coasts. Right: A family photo of their grandparents' restaurant, Odd's Sombrero in Wickenburg, Ariz.
Alexis Wold / Collage by NPR
Collage by NPR

A young woman's family recipes transformed the menu at a restaurant in Arizona where she worked. Decades later, the business is gone but the owners' granddaughter still makes the taco filling today.

Read more about Odd's Sombrero Taco Meat

Lamb curry shakes up a traditional Christmas dinner. It started with a stay in Nigeria

Diane Richardson / Collage by NPR
Collage by NPR

A choice of toppings lets all of the relatives around the table make this meal their own. And it's OK to substitute chicken or tofu if lamb is not your thing.

Read more about Diane Richardson's lamb curry

This Kentucky ham recipe needs 24 hours of 'sleep' before it's ready to eat

Linda Ishmael / Collage by NPR
Collage by NPR

When Grandpa put on his raincoat, that meant it was time to move the ham off the stove, just one step in Grandma's slow-cook process for a salt-cured country ham.

Read more about Linda Ishmael's Old Kentucky Ham

These bamboo buns came from China with Grandma. First we forage, then we cook

Left: Bamboo buns. Right: Kaitlyn Hennacy's grandmother, Yuehua Zhang.
Kaitlyn Hennacy / Collage by NPR
Collage by NPR

No one picks more bamboo than Grandma Zhang, who "shows her love through cooking." Her work ethic and all of the dishes she makes are an inspiration to her family.

Read more about Kaitlyn Hennacy's bamboo buns



All Things We're Cooking is a series highlighting family recipes that have special meaning to you, our readers and listeners. Earlier this year, we asked you to share your most prized recipes and explain why these dishes evoke such fond family memories. Working in collaboration with NPR member stations, we received responses from across the country. We've been interviewing some contributors and will continue to share their stories through the holiday season. All recipes and photos were provided by NPR audience members.


Reporting by Wynne Davis, with Isabella Gomez Sarmiento and Maison Tran

Editing by Desiree F. Hicks and Pam Webster

Design and art direction by Daniel Wood, Emily Bogle, Kaz Fantone and Alyson Hurt

Development by Daniel Wood

Project management by Caroline Kelly

Social media engagement by Matt Adams

Audio versions of stories produced by Rose Friedman and Isabella Gomez Sarmiento, with assistance by Maison Tran

Additional editing by Gerry Holmes, Nicholas Charles and Neda Ulaby

NPR member stations collaboration by Franklyn Cater

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.