Home is a difficult word to define. Its meaning ebbs and flows between people. But it’s impossible to deny that food centers us, grounds entire cultures, and creates families in places you might never expect.
Like most consumers, I’ve been actively seeking out ways to make at-home cooking an experience, and embracing heritage cooking has helped me from within the confines of my home. My salvation came in the form of my grandmother’s battered Swedish cookbook, offering up a challenge and a link to those who had come before me. Who knew how well I could make cardamom bread?
Heritage cooking is not exactly new, but it’s becoming more and more prominent as consumers look to traditional recipes for comfort. It’s the embracing of a culture through food, particularly of dishes passed down from generation to generation.
As humans, we have an innate drive to find comfort in our food. I think this drive comes from a deeper place, though, one looking for connection in a world that became—seemingly overnight—unmoored.
Although most of us are still limiting our travel plans, we’re traveling back to where we grew up or where our ancestors laid the table before us—setting foot on hallowed ground by picking up a knife and chopping up vegetables.
For the buy-side, you may see the effects of heritage cooking on your staple categories. Many of the recipes are tried and true, made with old-fashioned ingredients—think potatoes, leeks, onions, and carrots—and a whole lot of love.
I’d love to see retailers asking shoppers in their community which recipes have been in their family for generations. Could there be unforeseen cross-merchandising opportunities in our grandmothers’ cookbooks?
Perhaps that’s a dream for another time. For now, I’ll be traveling back to Stockholm, Sweden, via the culinary express.