Answer by Sigalle Barness on Quora:
The recipe that holds the most meaning is a Tunisian dish passed down by my grandmother and mother.
As a child, I used to look up at them both as they made “Boulette” for our family dinners: A delicious blend of ground meats, spices and herbs spread out on our flour laden counter top. I remember the sizzle and occasional pop of these meatballs in the pan. The smell of tender meat amid washes of fresh parsley. The way my mother always gave me the first cooked one to try. These women were my heroes and I both literally and metaphorically looked up at them in wonder.
A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to learn how to make Boulette myself. I invited my grandmother and mother over for the weekend to teach me. Together we went to the market and playfully debated what ingredients worked best. I learned quite a few things that day: Mom loved using higher quality beef than my grandmother felt was actually necessary. Grandma preferred a very specific french bread for binding that my mother felt wasn’t as effective. Both stressed the importance of lots of parsley.
When we arrived back to my kitchen, I observed as each floated around the kitchen while emphasizing specific techniques. But that’s not all they shared. As they cooked they would reveal golden nuggets from their lives – some of my grandmother’s stories dating back to when she was a child in Tunisia. Having never heard them before, I was moved by their candidness to even the toughest of tales.
In that moment, although having physically surpassed them in height, I realized that I still looked up to them as my truest heroes.