About Grits & Grapeleaves

Truth be told, I am writing this blog for myself because of my paranoia that I won’t be able to ask my dad to show me how to make his Thanksgiving turkey gravy one day (don’t worry it doesn’t end there or this would be a very short blog). It’s not “entirely” about the turkey gravy recipe, it’s about remembering how my dad (and mom) love to cook and how they want to teach me and share it all with me. My parents are such wonderful amazing people and it is important for me to know as much about them before and after they were parents – so that one day, when I am forced to recall memories of them I will also be able to pull up the recipe or the story so I won’t forget.

I grew up on food and story. We always sat down at the dinner table and ate together, even if it meant waiting an extra hour and a half for my dad to get home from work. Dinner always began with my mom or dad telling my sister and I how the food was made – be it a reduction sauce, marinating, combining spices or boasting about the fabulous meal that was created from the scraps and leftovers in the refrigerator. It was always delicious (still is), even when my parents were going through hard financial times – we never knew . Our friends would be so excited to have dinner with us, especially on those special occasions when my dad made his rack of lamb.

So, while I’ve got the chance I am going to document as much of it as I can so that one day I don’t have to regret that I didn’t get my father’s Thanksgiving gravy recipe, but that I can simply reference this journal and recall the time when he shared it with me (for the 15th time) and the memory of how we created it together. And when I’m sick or my baby is sick, I can remember how my mom made me the American version of the Greek Avgolemeno soup (the Greek version of chicken soup). Almost six weeks ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and that experience solidified my need to start Grits & Grapeleaves – no excuses.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey as I document a generation (or two) through food and story. – Liberty

Why the name Grits & Grapeleaves?
Well, my father is Greek and my mother is a southern belle from Talladega, Alabama. They made everything from grits to grapeleaves when we were growing up. A few years ago, I decided to start documenting my parents stories pre-children (before me and my sister were born). I felt it was the best way to document how wonderful it was growing up in our household – built on storytelling and eating. I grew up where food defined family gatherings and momentous occasions. Over the course of the last few years I uncommitted to recording random sessions with my parents about their adulthood and started jotting down classic recipes from my childhood. It wasn’t until this year, when I gave birth to my own little one that I realized how important Grits & Grapeleaves was for me. One day, I hope my son can understand the loving family he came from, the joy of family and the parents he chose to share his life with.

Photograph by Jen Walsh Photography