As a small child, I would watch my grandmother flow through the kitchen effortlessly, filling the house with delectable, mouth-watering aromas. Beaming with delight, she would concoct dishes that her grandmother’s grandmother used to make. She was confident (no measuring spoons or cups), always kneading and chopping with patience and care. When I would ask her what made her food so delicious, she would simply reply, “Love, dear. Lots of love.” I never did determine the exact measurements of the ingredients (everything was in pinches and dashes), but those time-honored meals are indelibly etched in my memory. And every time I have meat loaf or pecan pie, I can’t help but think of my grandmother and those lovely moments we shared in her kitchen.

Luckily, the women of the Junior League of North Harris County have captured those enduring recipes of grandma’s kitchen in Texas Ties, a celebration of inherited family recipes. Sprinkled with personal recollections and inspirational vignettes of family, food, and tradition, the cookbook emphasizes the power food has to connect us with our loved ones. Each recipe (there are more than 350 that have been triple tested) has been carefully selected from more than 1,200 submissions by members and friends of the Junior League of North Harris County, and they all evoke memories of special people, places, and events—whether it be Sunday brunch with a circle of friends or a holiday feast with the entire family.

The book is divided into seven sections with appetizing offerings that blend Southern favorites with international fare, from Texas Beef Brisket and German Apple Pie to Cajun Barbecued Shrimp and Orange Caramel Flan. Texas Ties also features a special “Comfort Foods” section, presenting such classics as Down Home Meat Loaf, Authentic Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chicken Pot Pie With Cheese Dumplings, and Pork Chops With Apple Walnut Stuffing—just like grandma used to make.