Posts Tagged: root beer

The Roots of Food: Family Recipes and Stories

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Intro & food photos by Aryn Henning Nichols • Illustrations by Lauren Bonney
Originally published in the Summer 2016 Inspire(d)

Family recipes have roots – and stories. Inspire(d) gathered some of those recipes and their tales for an epic collection for summer fun. Join in as we cook our way through some great family history.

apple pieOne bite of a dish your grandma used to make shoots you through time, through a rolodex of memories…it practically plants roots from your toes into the very spot your ancestors first broke soil.

I spent the morning peeling potatoes, chopping onions and celery, and thinking of my own grandma. She passed away in 2008, but the memories of the small apartment where she lived when I knew her came flooding back.

Food is funny that way. It’s a connector. It brings so many of our senses to life…feeling the produce, chopping the vegetables, smelling the crust baking, and, finally, tasting. It’s a wonderful thing.

We love featuring food and recipes each summer. This year, we asked folks to share some of their family food memories. I start it off with my grandma’s potato salad. Spoiler alert: It was just as good as I remembered!

There’s so much great local produce available every summer from farmers right here in the Driftless Region – at Farmers Markets and through CSAs and co-ops and roadside stands…so take advantage of these wonderful resources. Cook on, and visit us at iloveinspired.com for more fun recipes and meals! You gotta eat, right? May as well eat right.

XOXO – Aryn

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Grandma Henning’s Potato Salad 

Underwood Marinade for Grilling 

Root Beer Pulled Pork and Carolina Coleslaw

Grandma’s Apple Pie

Piradzini “Piedogs”

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Root Beer Pulled Pork and Carolina Coleslaw

Root beer_Pork_Slaw_Top

Hail to Root Beer

Recipes & text by Jim McCaffrey • Photos by Aryn Henning Nichols
Illustrations by Lauren Bonney • Originally published in the Summer 2016 Inspire(d)

Root beer pork coleslaw illustrationsOne of my earliest memories is my dad coming home from work and bringing in a gallon glass jar of root beer that he had gotten filled at the local A&W. He would then proceed to make – for all us kids and friends that might be hanging out – the greatest root beer floats. This happened quite often. At the time we lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and life was a pretty simple.

Mom would spend her days in the garden or washing clothes or baking bread. Us kids would do our best to help her out. But the best event of the day was at the dinner table. There we shared laughs and giggles, pulled pranks on each other, and enjoyed root beer floats. Ah, living the dream.

Life continued on and, of course, circumstances change. Dad got a job as a rural mail carrier in Decorah and we moved. And, somehow, the root beer tradition didn’t follow along.

So, 20 years ago or so, I was perusing the internet and came across this recipe for root beer pulled pork. The pork was served as a sandwich and topped with Carolina Coleslaw. This is a coleslaw that is made with apple cider vinegar instead of mayonnaise. The two flavors of each recipe just instantly bond – it was a marriage made in heaven… or possibly North Carolina. Wow, it blew me away. So this has been in our family repertoire of recipes ever since.

It is a great summer staple and we probably served it four times last summer for our Saturday Summer Concert nights. A year ago, we held our first McCaffrey family reunion at the restaurant and the pulled pork and coleslaw was the star attraction. So much so that we have had numerous requests to bring it to the table again this year. Ok, ok, just twist my arm. These recipes are now part of our family’s traditional cherished jewels. We have shared them with family and friends for the last 20 years, and now we are sharing them with you!

Maybe throw in a couple of root floats for the kids and adults too… it wouldn’t hurt! Now that’s summer!

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Jim McCaffrey is a chef, author, and co-owner with his family of McCaffrey’s Dolce Vita restaurant and Twin Springs Bakery just outside Decorah. He is author of humorous cookbooks “Midwest Cornfusion” and “Mississippi Mirth”. He has been in the food industry in one way or another for more than 40 years.

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PRINT RECIPE HERE
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Carolina Coleslaw
(Look ma, no mayo!)

  • 1 large head of cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 med green pepper, chopped fine
  • 1 med red onion, chopped fine
  • 2 carrots, grated

Dressing:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

Mix all vegetables in a (very) large bowl. In a saucepan, combine dressing ingredients. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate until chilled. 8-10 servings. Great to top pulled pork.

Root Beer Pulled Pork

  • 1 2 1/2 to 3 lb pork butt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbl canola oil
  • 2 med onions, sliced thin
  • 1 cup root beer
  • 1 cup bottled chili sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups root beer
  • 8-10 hamburger buns

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Brown meat on all sides in the canola oil. Transfer meat to a 5-quart crockpot. Add onions, 1 cup root beer, and garlic. Cook 4-5 hours on high heat. Make sauce. Combine remaining root beer and chili sauce in a large sauce pan. Simmer and let cook down about 30 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board. Using 2 forks shred pork. Place in bowl and add cooked sauce. Mix well. Place a portion on a bun and top with Carolina slaw.

Read more Roots of Food: Family Recipes and Stories here!