Made with love: Remembering Mother’s Day through food, traditions

Locals share their recipes and memories of food passed down through the generations in celebration of Mother’s Day.


Jodi Jenkins, of Woodstock, shares her great-grandmother-in-law’s famous applesauce cake. Jenkins said she and her husband purchased her home after Dorothy ‘Dot’ Williams’ death and feels her presence while in the kitchen baking.

“She used to make many of these cakes each year,” Jenkins said. “And she would sell them. Proceeds would go to her church, Laurel Hill Christian Church.”

Jenkins said her first experience with this cake was three years ago when she made it for a church auction. It sold for $75 dollars and she’s been making them since.

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup shortening

3 cups applesauce

1 box raisins

1 cup chopped nuts

4 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F (unless using a dark coated pan, then set it to 325 F). Combine flour, soda, salt, cloves,  cinnamon and set it aside. Mix eggs, sugar, shortening and applesauce. Add dry ingredients slowly and mix well. Stir in raisins and nuts – mixing well. Pour into a well-greased bunt pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the cake tester comes out clean.

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Patricia Reitz of Washington, D.C. shares her take on her mother’s stuffed peppers recipe.

6 large bell peppers, any color (prepared as directed below)

2 pounds ground beef (or ground turkey)

1 cup chopped onions

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (or diced tomatoes with their juice)

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

3 tablespoons A-1 steak sauce (or Worcestershire sauce)

1 cup water

1 cup long grain white rice

6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided (or any good melting cheese)

Preheat oven to 375 F.  To prepare peppers, cut tops off and reserve.

Clean inside of the peppers by removing seeds and ribs; place in an oven-safe pan or casserole dish. Mince the pepper tops; discard the inedible stems. In a large sauté pan, sauté minced pepper tops and onions in a little olive oil until translucent. Add ground beef, salt, and pepper; cook until beef is brown and cooked through, stirring occasionally to break up clumps. Drain beef if necessary and add the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, A-1, water, and rice; stir well to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover until rice is soft and has absorbed most of the liquid; about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in all but 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Spoon mixture into the prepared peppers (extra filling can be stuffed into the spaces between the peppers). Sprinkle remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese on top of peppers. Place on middle rack in oven and bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starts to turn bubbly and brown.

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Marty Moton, of Strasburg, shared her great-grandmother’s venison recipe.

Soak venison overnight in 2 parts milk to 1 part vinegar

Wipe down with bacon grease

Fry it in flour salt and pepper

Add a side of marinated mushrooms, wild asparagus, applesauce and potatoes with bread.

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Anne Body Earle, of Front Royal, shared her mother-in-law’s recipe. “We usually had it in the summers when we would visit her and Steve’s dad at the summer cottage in Michigan where there was a huge apple tree that produced ‘summer apples.’  It’s much better than apple pie, and the only crisp recipe my family will eat.”

4 cups apples, peeled and sliced (we like tart apples best)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup sifted flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 stick room temperature butter

With a pastry blender or a food processor, mix together sifted flour; 1/2 cup white sugar; 1/2 cup brown sugar; 1 stick room temperature butter.

Mix cinnamon with water.  Put apples in a buttered baking dish (about 9×9). Pour cinnamon water over the top.  Mix other ingredients for the topping.  Put on top of apples.  Bake at 350 F for at least 45 minutes until the top is brown and the apples bubbly. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

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Mary Catherine Tuckwiller, of Strasburg, shared her grandmother Charlotte Miller Funk’s famous barbecue recipe. Funk and her husband Bob owned and operated Bob’s Grocery on King Street from 1942-1977. Tuckwiller said her grandmother made her barbecue, spelled intentionally with a “q,” on weekends when she would visit. She served it on two slices of white bread cut in precise quadrants.

2 pounds hamburger

1 large onion

3 or 4 stalks celery

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups tomato paste

½ bottle ketchup

1 or two tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder

¼ cup sugar

Chop the onion and celery into a pan with a lid. Add enough water to cover and cook until tender. Add meat, so it is well mixed and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes



Kelly Vollmers, of Winchester, shared her grandmother’s clam recipe from a handwritten recipe book given to her as a wedding present. A notation on the recipe card says it’s “the best.”

2 dozen clams on the half shell, arrange in a shallow pan on a bed of rock salt

Line the pan with foil before adding salt

¼ cup of butter until creamy

Stir in 1 tablespoon minced parsley

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Dash of cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce

Dash of garlic powder and paprika

½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fine green pepper

Make butter mixture ahead and chill. Just before ready to serve put about a half-teaspoon butter mixture on each clam. Cut three slices of bacon into 1-inch pieces and put on butter mixture. Put under broiler until bacon is brown. This doesn’t take very long. The clams can be done ahead and covered with the butter mixture and bacon until ready to broil.



Daniel Kalber, formerly of South Dakota and now residing in Winchester, grew up in a home with lots of love but not a lot of money. “Most of our recipes are casseroles and bakes,” he said. “The recipes were used a ton when I was a kid and still things I love to make.”

Kalber’s great-grandmother started a recipe book, and every generation adds to it. Kalber said his mom, being the best cook she is, added the most. His South Dakota Casserole recipe has been in his family for four generations.

Cook 2 pounds of ground meat (hamburger/turkey/chicken) with 1 chopped onion

(Sometimes he adds green pepper.) Drain any grease off meat and add 2 small boxes of pasta (Creamette) rings, cooked and drained. Also, add two cans cream of corn and 1 can of cream of chicken soup (sometimes he adds one  can of cream of mushroom soup also.) Pour into butter casserole dish. Then top with breadcrumbs and butter.



Cindy Williams, of Stephens City, recently found a box full of old recipes that had been passed down from “many grandmas and great-great-grandmas.”

½ cup sourdough

1 cup water or milk

2 ½ cups flour

¾ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon butter

Mix sourdough, water or milk to 1 cup of flour in large bowl. Let stand overnight or all day at room temperature. When ready to make up biscuits, beat in 1 cup flour.

Combine salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and ½ cup of flour and sift over top of mixture. Mix together. Turn out on floured surface and knead.



Niki Wilson, of Winchester, was just recently gifted a family recipe book dating back generations. Not only does it contain recipes for family favorites but along the margins are short sentences from past generations sharing their stories of the first time they made the recipe.

½ cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

2 ½ cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Blend shortening, sugar, egg and milk together. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into other mixture. Roll out on floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutter. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 F for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned.

For sugar cookies, omit nutmeg and cinnamon. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.