Meg Jones loves making banana bread from her mother’s favorite recipe.

Ethelyn Major Nanfito wrote out the directions, creating a cherished heirloom on a 3-by-5-inch notecard. It’s been beat up with 45 years of use.

“Every time I see her handwriting, it brings back great memories of what a wonderful mother and cook she was,’’ Jones said. “Every day when we came home from school, there were always home-baked goodies waiting for us.’’

The bread is comfort food, she said.

“Put a pat of butter on it when it’s warm, and it melts in your mouth.’’

Denise Spelic also has a treasured banana bread recipe from her mom, Joann Pritchard of Spalding, Nebraska.

“Growing up on the farm, a big family and always baking in the kitchen, this is the one we used,’’ Spelic said. “Years later, it is still one of my kids’ favorites, and sometimes we even throw mini chocolate chips in it.’’

Mary Jochim said her mom baked with love, whether it was for her kids, the shut-ins she visited or the hundreds of hospital patients she prepared meals for each day.

“Vanilla. Cinnamon. Apples. Butterscotch. Chocolate chips. No one loves you like your Mother,’’ Jochim said. “I like to think her baking reminded others of their mother’s love as well.”

So, for Mother’s Day, we share some of their favorite recipes and memories. Most are from moms, but a few are from friends and just as treasured.

* * * 

Pecan Pie

Pecan pie

A pecan pie recipe from Margaret Cernin and Margaret Ann Fouts.

These are the original handwritten recipes: Grandma Cernin's is at the top and Mom's is the one on the bottom. I find it fascinating that the second generation of the recipe changes ever so slightly. Without these originals, we would have no link to the past. As you can see, it is from Laverne, a neighbor of Grandma Cernin in Dardanelle, Arkansas; the date is circa 1953. You may wonder why so many of the recipes that we enjoy use pecans. In the case of these Arkansas recipes, pecans were plentiful on the grounds of the church the family attended. his is still the best pecan pie recipe around.− Cathi Fouts


Pastry for one bottom crust

3 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter (melted)

1 cup dark corn syrup

1 cup pecan halves

Place pastry crust in 9-inch pie tin; crimp edge.

With electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, salt, butter and corn syrup. Mix in pecans. Pour into pie tin.

Bake in oven at 375 F for 40-50 minutes (until set or pastry is brown).

Pie can be served with whipping cream or ice cream.

Margaret Ann Fouts from mother Margaret Cernin

* * *

Chicken Artichoke Kapama

Mary Mitchell recipe

Mary Mitchell's recipe for Chicken Artichoke Kapama.

“As someone who loves to cook, it is a treasure to have a hand-written recipe from my Yiayia. It’s a lasting reminder of many cherished, homemade family meals with my grandparents and our Greek heritage. I love that making this recipe for my friends can open up conversation about my family history that might not have occurred otherwise,'' − Emily Mitchelll 

Serves 4 to 6

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons oil

3 pounds chicken, cut up

2 large onions, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

½ pound mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup chicken stock

¼ cup dry white wine

15-ounce can artichoke hearts

Melt butter and oil and brown chicken. Add onions and continue cooking chicken. Remove chicken and onions and place in a 2-quart casserole dish.

Sauté mushrooms in butter and oil left in pan. Add butter if needed. Mix flour with 2 tablespoons chicken stock. Add remaining stock and wine. Pour over mushrooms; cook until thickened.

Place drained artichokes over chicken and onions, cover with mushroom sauce and bake at 350 F for 40 to 45 minutes.

Emily Mitchell from her grandmother Mary Mitchell

* * *

Banana Bread

Banana bread

A banana bread recipe from Meg Jones. Her mother Ethelyn Major Nanfito wrote out the recipe after receiving it from her sister, Pat Winstrom.

½ cup margarine (1 stick)

1 cup sugar

3 beaten eggs

3 bananas (four if small)

2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon soda

Mix together margarine, sugar, eggs and bananas. Then add flour, salt and soda. Pour into a greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 F for at least 40 minutes. Test center with toothpick for doneness.

Meg Jones from mother Ethelyn Major Nanfit. The recipe was from her sister, Pat Winstrom.

* * *

My Nana’s Gnochi

Gnochi recipe

A gnochi recipe from Cheryl Wild Goodrich's Nana, Angelina Romeo Sparano.

She'd make regular spaghetti too. It's kind of like our thing, our own tradition − Cheryl Wild Goodrich

2 potatoes

1-2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

Peel potatoes and boil until fork tender. Drain and mash.

For each cup of mashed potatoes add 1 cup flour and mix with salt and a little water.

Knead until dough is well-mixed. Let rest 15 minutes. Divide dough and roll into round “snakelike” cylinders. Cut into ¾-inch-thick diagonals. Roll over tines of fork to mark each uniformly.

Cook in boiling salted water until rises to surface, then remove immediately from water with slotted spoon or drainer. Add any type of sauce and serve immediately.

Cheryl Wild Goodrich from Nana Angelina Romeo Sparano.

* * *

Inez’s Cabbage Salad (Coleslaw)

Cabbage salad

Inez's Cabbage Salad (coleslaw).

Fr. Paul Peter was the pastor of St. Cecelia's Cathedral during the 1970's. I was a guest for dinner at the rectory, and as was common, the pastor was able to have a live-in housekeeper.  Inez was a wonderful cook for the 6 to 8 priests that were in residence. One night for dinner we had a simple meal that included her cabbage salad.  I complimented her, telling her it was the first coleslaw that I liked. A few days later I got a message at the high school to stop at the rectory; she met me at the back door and had typed up the recipe. Mom has made this every summer since. − Scott Fouts

1 medium to large head of cabbage, shredded

1 green pepper, chopped

1 onion, grated (or finely chopped)

6 stuffed olives, sliced (optional)

½ cup white sugar


1 cup white vinegar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup salad oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Combine cabbage, pepper, onion and olives in a large bowl; cover with sugar and let stand while making the dressing.

Combine dressing ingredients in a saucepan; boil for three minutes. Pour dressing over cabbage while hot. Cover and refrigerate overnight or longer.

Will keep covered in the refrigerator for at least two weeks.

Scott Fouts from Inez Throener

* * *

Fruit Cocktail Torte


Darlene Ducey's recipe for Fruit Cocktail Torte.

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup sugar

2 cans fruit cocktail, well-drained

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup brown sugar

¾ cup walnuts

Mix eggs, sugar, fruit cocktail, flour, salt and soda together with a spoon.

Pour into an ungreased 9-by-13-inch pan.

Mix together brown sugar and walnuts for topping. Sprinkle over batter and bake at 325 F for 35 to 45 minutes.

Marjie Ducey from mom Darlene Ducey

* * *


2 quarts apple juice or cider

2 cups cranberry juice

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon aromatics bitter

2 sticks cinnamon

1 teaspoon whole all spice

1 small orange studded with whole cloves

1 cup rum (optional)

Put all ingredients in a crock pot. Cover and cook on high 1 hour. Turn down to low and cook 4 to 8 hours longer.

Cathi Fouts

Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.

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