DML’s Family cookbook project brings together food, stories

Everyone has some sort of culinary tradition. Be it the special angel food cake recipe Grandpa has every year for his birthday or the soup you eat whenever you get sick, many families have recipes reserved for specific occasions. Food is a kind of universal storyteller—a tool for sharing culture, family tradition or personal preference.

With that in mind, three students in the Department for Multicultural Life (DML) decided to assemble a cookbook representing some of the Macalester community’s food stories. Jinath Tasnim, Andjelka Radevic and Grace Zhu gathered around twenty recipes spanning a wide variety of dishes, from Apple Cake to Pea Soup. Interestingly, many of the recipes submitted were holiday foods and desserts.

The cookbook is part of the Xpressions series, the DML’s signature program focusing on art.

“Food isn’t necessarily a traditional art, but it is a form of expression,” Tasnim said. “And it’s storytelling in that regard.”

Everyone has stories associated with food, and Tasnim, Radevic and Zhu see sharing recipes as a way of sharing these memories.

“It’s a way to ask people to share without just saying ‘Tell me about yourself,’” Radevic said.

While paper copies of the cookbook are currently only available to those who submitted recipes, an online copy will be made available to the larger community soon. In the meantime, enjoy this preview of the good food to come!

Sample Recipe: Rita’s Amazing Apple Cake

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cup oil

3 eggs

3 cups flour

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla

3 cups apples (peeled, cored and chopped. add lemon juice to prevent browning)

1/4 cups raisins (optional)

1 cup walnuts (optional)


3 tbsp butter

3 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp milk or heavy cream

1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 F. Beat together sugar and oil. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture, 1/2 cup at a time.

Add vanilla, walnuts, and/or raisins to apples. Cut into batter. Spoon the batter into a greased, floured Bundt pan.

Bake at 325 for 75 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Top with glaze while still warm.

Melt all ingredients together in a medium saucepan (over medium heat) while cake cools.