Recipes from the Family Table
By Breanna Sharpe

“Some of the most important conversations I’ve ever had
occurred at my family’s dinner table.”
– Bob Ehrlich

I sometimes hear people complain that their parents might be embarrassing, or that their grandparents call too much.  Aunts, uncles and cousins are also not safe from a slew of problems.  Whenever I hear these things I can’t help but think how wonderful it is that our family is close.  Although I bet my mother wishes I called just a little bit less, I have never had a time where I have not found support and love when I needed it. 

When I look back on all my favourite moments with our family one thing almost always comes to mind; meals. We eat a lot!  I’ve never seen my Granddad eat less then three courses at breakfast time. I think everyone gained at least five pounds from Nan and Granddad’s anniversary weekend. Whenever we gather together we find time to eat. 

A meal is universally considered an important part of a day.  It gives us sustenance, helps us survive and, most importantly, can be shared with others.  A family meal provides the opportunity to share your life with the people you care about.

When putting together our family cookbook I looked for recipes that originated in our family or have become family favourites.  I also included recipes from friends who have touched our lives. When I make the recipes I enjoy the memory of our family gatherings.

Recall a favourite recipe that connects you to your family roots or has a special meaning in your life journey? Tell us about it in the “Leave a Reply”  below. Please share the recipe if you wish! 

In making our family cookbook, the biggest challenge was filling out the sections that weren’t dessert! Here is one dessert recipe. I hope you enjoy it.

Harriet Miller’s Queen Elizabeth Cake

  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • ¼ cup Shortening
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 ½ Flour
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ cup Walnuts (optional)


  • 5 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cream
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup coconut

Cake Directions:

  • Combine dates, boiling water and baking soda; let cool.
  • Add shortening, white sugar, egg, vanilla, walnuts, flour, salt and baking powder.
  • Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes.

Icing Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients for icing.
  • Cook for 2 minutes.
  • While cake is hot, pour icing over it and return to oven to brown.