CookServ Stock and Soup PotsLast month we asked you who in your family embodies the traditions of food and family—offering up a CookServ 12-inch Sauté Pan to our judges’ 50 favorite entries—and we had hundreds and hundreds of amazing entries. We heard about your mothers and your husbands. We read about traditional family recipes and the ways you make them your own. There were stories about Christmases, Seder dinners and Friday night tapas parties.

Sharing a meal is how we connect. At Nambé we’re about elevating that special moment at the dinner table. Each day this week, we’ve posted ten of the winning essays from our CookServ contest. All 50 winners have been notified by email (check those spam folders!), and have been invited to provide us with a video review of the new CookServ. We’ll share those with you in several weeks. Until then, enjoy reading the fifth and final set of winning essays.

Only my mother could be nominated for this contest. She is THE person in our family who upholds our Polish food traditions. From stuffed cabbage (galumpkis) to kielbasa she has made sure these traditions continue. Every year she and my dad would ‘discuss’ exactly which spices had to be added to the kielbasa. Then the meat had to sit 24 hours until we could stuff it in the casing. Yum. – Loreli

The heritage of food runs thick through all branches of my family tree. What makes us unique is that there is no one person that embodies the traditions, but each of us carries a piece of those traditions inside of us. Grandma Mert cooks for an army. Papa Jack taught us the patience to wait for excellent food. My dad taught me how to grill for perfect taste and professional appearance. My mom taught me how to bake the perfect cake, never satisfied with “good enough.” No single one of us can hold the tradition himself. We cook as family. – Brad M.

When I married my husband, we had both been previously widowed. He had children-I did not. So in the middle of my life, I had to learn to cook… for a family! I have fallen in love with cooking, and also with dinner time at home, almost every night, with all of us talking, laughing and savoring food and life. We are a true family, and I honestly believe much of our bonding and success has been because of food, which has created family rituals, traditions and closeness. – Carolyn A.

My entire family embraces cooking and family gatherings. Each member brings something different to the kitchen and the table. Our family dinners are often eclectic and never boring. We challenge each other to come up with the next “gotta have” dish and relish the time we spend together savoring each other’s creations. – Phil M.

I love cooking for our family for all “Traditional” family get togethers. Entertaining family and friends for all holidays and birthdays is special because eating brings us together!! Multi-generational eating is what keeps our family ‘glued together.’ – Linda B.

Family, Friends, Food, Fun…+ Fantastic = the five food groups! Or is that the five principles of life? We are a family of five who embrace weekend filled with family friends, the great outdoors and LOTS of cooking. Nothing brings a group of people closer together than a good cooked meal and a table filled with laughter, a recap of the day’s adventures, and great company. In a world that is becoming more fast paced, filled with quick fixes and fast food, a home cooked meal around a picnic table with closest friends and loving family reminds us of where we have come from and where we are going. Cheers to family, friends, good food, and unforgettable memories! – Erin

My mom is the embodiment of delicious food. She has been cooking for over 40+ years, keeping old, family traditions and recipes alive. When she makes potato pancakes, it is a nod to her grandparents. When she makes eggplant Parmesan and spaghetti & meatballs it’s a nod to her mother. Keeping these family recipes and traditions going make us a close family. It is how she shows her love to us, by making the most delicious food. The most important ingredient she uses is LOVE.

Every meal is no different than a holiday if you ask Jeff. He is my husband of 24 years and father of our two teenage boys. This morning he filled a pot with homemade vegetable soup, topped with freshly chopped basil for us; and sautéd bacon & poached eggs for the boys. For dinner he stuffed and baked eggplant; broiled steaks, and topped fresh bread with a tapenade made from leftover olives and artichokes. Family dinners may happen right after school or at 9:00, but he has made that time cherished every single day. – Athena K.

My mom embodies food and family traditions. After she married my father, they moved away from their families and across the USA. In order to keep their family traditions alive, she learned his family’s recipes and made them every holiday, just like his mother. She also made her own family’s recipes but created new recipes and traditions for my siblings and me. Many of the new traditions revolved around her delicious cooking which I try to replicate as I start my own family. Our traditional family get-togethers now revolve around meals where we savor delicious food and have meaningful conversations. – Jenny P.

My grandmother embodies food and family traditions. When I cook, I think of her. I see her hands cutting onions, peeling apples, shucking corn. I learned so much about cooking from her. Often times I wonder, how many hours has she spent in her life preparing meals for others? My grandmother is one of the only people that can whip up a gourmet feast in 10 minutes from nothing! She still cooks a fabulous Sunday dinner every week. – Erica H.