Favorite Foods - Precious Memories

Author: TAPS

Winter and the holiday season bring thoughts of foods that offer warmth, comfort, and remind us of cherished times with family, friends, and loved ones. Survivors recently shared some of their loved ones’ favorite dishes. These may inspire you – or make you hungry. Grab a fork and dive into these culinary delights! 


Samantha’s angel cheese pieAngel Cheese Pie, photo courtesy of Samantha Herter.


Samantha Herter, Surviving Sister of SSgt. Noah Herter-Leffler, U.S. Army

Noah loved cheesecake. He called it cheese pie. We have started a tradition of making delectable and sinful variations of this to celebrate his birthday. 


Susan Hubbert, Surviving Mother of SN Brandon Hubbert, U.S. Coast Guard

My son just loved his momma’s cooking. But if I had to pick, I would say my Christmas dinner. He loved to pick off the top parts of the ham. We would always have to tell him to leave some for dinner and he really loved the gravy that was made from the broth. 


Westy Gilbert, Surviving Spouse of Lt. William Gilbert, U.S. Navy

William loved spaghetti with clams in a red sauce. When we were stationed in Italy, our landlord would make it and she taught me how to make it. I have the best memories when I make that dish now. 


Laura Monk, Surviving Spouse of Spc. Austin Monk, U.S. Army

Austin loved his momma’s chicken enchilada casserole. It was so good and I loved making it for him. During his cancer treatment, his appetite always wavered so when he was able to eat, we took advantage of it by making his favorite dishes. 


Laura Kovatch, Surviving Daughter of Lt. Col.  James A. Fife, U.S. Army, Retired

My dad adored Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and corn on the cob! Apple pie was his favorite dessert and it had to have Vermont sharp cheddar cheese melted on top. Dad always said “apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze.” 


potato dumplings stuffed with bacon and leeksPotato Dumplings Stuffed with Bacon and Leeks, photo courtesy of Claudia O’Meara.


Claudia O’Meara, Surviving Mother of Airman Damien Allison, U.S. Air Force

Damien loved potato dumplings stuffed with bacon and leeks. He loved to cook himself and he was a great cook! We miss him every day.


Laura Bernal, Surviving Mother of LCpl. Nathaniel Bernal Sosa, U.S. Marine Corps, Veteran

Nathan was a foodie and loved to cook. The one food that was special to us both are peanut butter cookies. They weren’t his favorite but they are mine. He’d often ask me to bake some. Many times, I’d receive a random text stating – “Madre, cookies.” I would reply, “On their way.” I baked them fresh when he was in town. Now, I include peanut butter cookies in new and recurring family traditions or I share them at potluck events simply to remember the love and honor his life. 


Ken and Meghan making German peasant bread
Ken and Meghan making German Peasant Bread, photo courtesy of Debbie Hobson Bird.

Debbie Hobson Bird, Surviving Spouse of Sgt. Kenneth Hobson, II, U.S. Army
Ken loved to make German peasant bread. He learned to make it while on a cultural exchange with a German family when he was stationed there in the early 90s. In this photo, he is making it with our daughter, Meghan, on our counter in Nairobi, Kenya (1998).


Essie James, Surviving Mother of Pvt. Tysheena L. James, U.S. Army

Tysheena was a complete foodie. There are many Thanksgiving dishes she loved. I believe my stuffed shells were her favorite. Not a traditional Thanksgiving dish, but she enjoyed it and also helped prepare it with me. I use boxed large shells, sharp, mild, and ricotta cheese with eggs and parsley flakes for the stuffing. For the sauce, I use 2 to 3 jars of Prego or Ragu garden sauce and ground beef with Italian sausage. I bake it for 45 minutes and sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Simple but delicious. 

The difference is who makes it. I cook with love, so my seasoning and preparations are done with extreme love and the outcome is always perfect. I brag about my cooking because I always get great compliments and my family is always happy! Tysheena always enjoyed the holidays. It was her favorite time of the year.

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Do you have a favorite recipe/food that your loved one enjoyed or that brings you comfort? We invite you to share with us. Send an email, along with a brief background on the dish, recipe and/or photo to editor@taps.org.