Chow Town

Recipes tie generations together

As the person lucky enough to write the weekly “

Come Into My Kitchen

” column in the Kansas City Star’s Wednesday FOOD section, I have the privilege of being invited into many kitchens throughout the area.

And what I’ve learned over the course of nearly seven years, is that food is a universal language unto itself. A family recipe has the timbre to travel through time and a certain lilt that makes you lean in for a better listen.

So many memories are surrounded by food and — whether we recognize it at the time, or not at all — sometimes a person’s identity can be marked by a single recipe.

This was the case of Wilma Frank, a great-grandmother who passed away at the dawn of a new millennium on January 1, 2000, but happened to be in spirit with us when her daughter (Wilmagene Noonan), granddaughter (Alicia Snead) and great-granddaughter (Elizabeth Starr), all gathered around Frank’s Coffee Cake and swapped stories.

I want to be like Wilma when I grow up — to be able to have my children’s, children’s children tuck in under my table and raise a toast to me when I’m gone. And, maybe, if I’m lucky, they will raid my recipe drawer and have a story or two to share.

Read about the delicious dynasty that started with a humble coffee cake in

this week’s Come Into My Kitchen


Mary G. Pepitone is a freelance writer who lives in Leawood. She also writes the nationally syndicated home column and the much beloved Star column weekly Come Into My Kitchen featuring home cooks and their recipes.