Kitchen Comfort:

Cooking inspired by the Greatest Generation

As soon as the coronavirus pandemic had us sheltering at home, I began thinking how people in our country have endured terrible difficulties before — and survived the hardships imposed. Throughout the last century, our parents and grandparents (and their parents) survived world wars, the Great Depression, rationing, and the polio epidemic. Times were scary and tough then; it’s up to us to learn from their survivor spirit now.

Pondering that, I began plowing through my grandmothers’ tattered cookbooks, as well as numerous recipe boxes, packed with yellowed, fraying clippings and handwritten note cards. What a treasury of simple recipes that sustained them and their families during those hard years. And while I revel in the wealth of comfort to be mined there, I realize that the recipes need tweaks to suit today’s palates. They made do with what they had; cooks of their times used few spices and even fewer dried herbs then, but we have so much more available to us now. Making easy adjustments, I shared this with my friend and editor, Erin Booke, at The Dallas Morning News, and began writing my Kitchen Comfort series for the DMN food section in April.

The point: Those who weathered those difficult times long ago inspire us now. Their reassuring food gives us hope. Breaking bread with those you love is powerful, and I believe that as we cook and eat together with more awareness, we can find we’ll make it to the other side of our challenges, too. Here’s where this kind of cooking has led….


My two grandmothers loved cooking, and the gifts they left me were some of their favorite recipes. My grandmother Pauline Naylor (my dad’s mom) left