Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Food of My Youth or Why I am So Well Versed in Nasty-Assed Recipes

Yesterday The New Girl wrote a post that I rather enjoyed about the foods of her youth and it got me to thinking too. It wasn't a meme (I hate memes) but was just a list she made up on her own, even if it was somewhat meme-ish in form. It reminded me of a recent conversation that I had with my cousin Fallon and my sister about "Poor People Food" in which we concluded that our mothers all along had been feeding us things that poor people could afford and we had been totally oblivious and had loved mostly everything they fed us. Now, as a result we have some odd quirks of the palette and find ourselves craving things which are out of the range of our healthy diets because they bring back good memories. I think everyone has these certain dishes that when we get sad or lonely or reminiscent we just have to have.

I eat very differently now than I did growing up. My parents do too and often we'll start feeling nostalgic and talk about things we used to eat and just crack up that we ever ate that badly. Even now there are things I eat regularly that are very different from what my parents eat. Mexican and Thai food for instance. My dad will eat a green curry, but my mom isn't real keen on Thai at all and she doesn't like Mexican at all. I could eat it every day. Give me a burrito or a bowl of pad thai and I'll be happy. I even eat the thai food that Americans generally don't like green papaya and sticky rice. I've only met one other person who likes sticky rice. Sticky rice and mango is good, people.

I also eat healthier than I did when I was growing up, but you know, it was a different time. People didn't know as much about healthy foods as they do now and better choices weren't as readily available. Plus, a lot of the time we were poor anyway. I think if I ate anywhere near the way I did during my childhood that I would have heart disease and adult onset diabetes, but luckily I don't think it did a lot of damage and throughout my childhood I was skinny as a rail anyway, so it didn't matter what I ate as long as I ate period.

I wanted to share some of my food memories with you in the form that The New Girl started because she came up with some good categories. I'm not really meme-ing or stealing her idea. I'm extending her idea. She's nice though so I'm guessing she won't care. You should extend it too. Because we all know I'm food/ kitten obsessed and if you have some stories about food and/or pictures of kittens on your sites then I'll be entertained for weeks and really this whole blogging this is just about entertaining me anyway, right? If only someone would come up with a blog about kittens AND food. I'd be in heaven. Heaven people. I'm easy to please in a way that brings to mind the mentally challenged (and I mean that in a nice way).

Meals That Were in Heavy Rotation: Baked Ziti. Once my dad went to Italy on business and brought back the most enormous wheel of parmesan cheese ever. It was the size of a truck tire and I have no clue how he got it out of Europe. We used that cheese for, I shit you not, two and a half solid years. So we had baked ziti a lot. When we got sick of that we had homemade french bread pizzas, which is now Husband's favorite thing that I make. We also had beef cubes on rice, hamburger and gravy (all it was was onions, oil, hamburger, flour and water) on rice (total poor people food), tuna cakes which were cans of tuna mixed with mayo, eggs, mustard onions and crackers and then fried in oil, hot dogs cut up into baked beans and baked, sloppy joes, meatloaf which I still don't like, Sprite Chicken (baked chicken with a can of Sprite poured over it while it bakes), Coca-Cola chicken (more of the same), plain baked chicken and finally in the summer if someone caught it we'd have fried fish or boiled crabs.

When My Mom was "Phoning that Shit in": Well, my mom was pretty good about not phoning shit in believe it or not. She made dinner pretty often and even though we endured a significant amount of chaos we always had family meals. If my dad was away or if we were tired we would have soup and sandwiches - bagels with tomatoes, salami and melted cheese dusted with garlic powder and Italian seasoning. I ate a lot of ramen and Kraft Mac and Cheese too. A big treat was a TV dinner. I like the fried chicken one with the mashed potatoes. My mom liked the turkey dinner one, which had a better dessert than the fried chicken one.

Popular Side Dishes: Lipton fettucine alfredo in the blue envelope, butter noodles from an envelope, Birds Eye frozen Spanish Rice (this stuff was great and they don't make it anymore. It had peas in it), sliced fried potatoes made in the frying pan, cole slaw (STILL), frozen candied sweet potatoes.

Foods My Mom Made When We Were Sick: Yeah ok, ha. She wasn't that type of mom I guess and she was sick more than we were anyway.

Memorable Mentions: homemade peach ice cream, angel food cake with strawberries, chicken and dumplings, fried squash with breadcrumbs not stinkin' corn flakes New Girl, tacos on extremely rare and special occasions, stuffed peppers, cherry lime rickeys, gingerbread.

Weird Snacks: Hmmm. I can't recall anything all that weird. I liked apples with peanutbutter a lot. I also used to make boil in bag rice for myself and eat it with cheese on it. Oh my God, I just thought of an abomination my mother used to make - Ham, Egg and Pickle. It's leftover ham ground up with boiled eggs and sweet pickles in a food mill and then bound with mayo. It's horrifying. My dad used to make an omelette that he invented that contained burned onions and green pepper, minced hot links, worcestershire sauce and muenster cheese. That was pretty good but I've never seen anything else like it.

Food We Had at Our Grandparents' House: This could be a post in and of itself. Memere Marie made a nice apple cake that I still like and sweet and sour mini meatballs. But then she made a lot of hamburger/ rice variations. My family was big on hamburger and rice it seems. Mommom Jewel made spaghetti sauce out of a powder that came from an envelope, as well as a similar chili and an eye roast that could wear down one's dental veneers after one bite. She also used to make a cole slaw in the blender, so it was a kind of cole slaw puree with vegetables out of a can and a bad salad that had a lot of minced green pepper and onions in it. She made the best desserts though - pistachio cake, peach cobbler, strawberry shortcake and sweet potato pie. She also made good chicken and dumplings, peas and dumplings and fried chicken but she didn't like making fried chicken "cuz the greeze splatters all over the durned stove." At both grandparents' houses we were often subjected to atrocities like oyster fritters and oyster stew which is like hot milk with hockers in it. I do not like oyster stew. Hamburger Helper made regular appearances. I swear hamburger must have been cheap when I was little. I bet I've eaten a total of 7900 ground cows in my lifetime.

What I Want My Mom To Make For Me Now (I added this category) - Chicken cutlets and mashed potatoes, rosemary roasted pork with roast potatoes and coleslaw with apples in it, fried tilapia, chili, tomato and goat cheese salad with macadamia nuts. Oh and chicken paprikash too.

Best Thing I Ate as a Child By Far (I also added this): A couple times when I was about six before my sister even existed my mom got a wild hair and made homemade crepes which left such a profound impression on me that I think of them often even now. The crepes were filled with vanilla ice cream, sliced bananas, chocolate syrup and walnuts in syrup (wet nuts, as we called them). Words can not describe readers. I should try to make this again and see if it's still as good as I remember.

What'd y'all eat? And to my mother, if you are reading this, I know I forgot something, so if you can think of anything else you remember that we had a lot, leave me a comment about it so I can remember too.


Anonymous said...

We could almost be from the same family. I'd like to add lots of cinnamon toast (butter and cinnamon sugar on sandwich bread) and cheese toast when the cupboards were bare. And pork chops. And canned sliced pineapple with shredded cheddar and a maraschino cherry on top (that was fancy!).

Jen said...

I'll second the hamburger and rice, we had that a lot growing up too.

A signature dish that my mom made special for my dad was baked rice and 'goop.' My mom would put rice and milk (maybe vanilla too) into a baking dish and bake it about 45 minutes. The goop was the best part. Powdered sugar, milk, and more vanilla extra. Pour the goop over the rice and that was the meal. Nothing else, just rice and goop.

My husband thinks its the weirdest thing in the world. I should really ask mom for the official recipe. Of course he's from Scandinavian ancestry where they eat lye soaked fish, so what the hell does he know anyway.

Anonymous said...

Many Americans enjoy sticky rice. In Hawaii we have a large population of Asian Americans who adore sticky rice and have given the sticky rice love to us Haoles and Hawaiians, too.

As for childhood favorites, I still have a thing for loco moco. It's a bowl of rice with a huge hamburger on top and a fried egg on top of that, and then a whole boatload of gravy on top of THAT. Talk about eating like an asshole.

Wide Lawns said...

Anonymous oh my god I think we are related. We had cinnamon toast ALL THE TIME and yes, cheese toast too. And what the hell is with southern people putting cheese and pineapple together? I've run into several variations on those ingredients hot and cold. We didn't have pork chops a lot but when we did they were shake and bake and the texture of a saddle.

Kore I had that hamburger egg rice in Hawaii!! Definitely eating like an asshole. I didn't like the gravy. I confess that husband and I made it at home a couple weeks ago, minus gravy. I love Hawaii. I want to go back. Didn't so much like the spam sushi though.

JDogg said...

You did have good passover food, if I remember correctly.

S. said...

I am a Mexican native, so I had a lot of Mexican food growing up. My mom was a SAHM all my life and I always had homemade meals waiting for me everyday after school. Ah, I miss those.

1. Sopa. This is just your regular noodle soup made with tomatoes and onions.
2. Mexican Rice. Red/orange rice as a side dish. My mom makes the best rice I've ever known.
3. Tortillas. The myth is true, Mexicans will eat everything with tortillas. My mom never got the hang of corn tortillas so those were bought, but flour tortillas were always homemade.
4. Beans! With cheese on top.
5. Salsa (A Mexican's main vegetable source.)

Famous items
1. Guisado. This can take many forms, usually some sort of beef or pork with potatoes and a chili sauce (chipotle, or green/red).
2. Mole
3. Tacos/burritos. Again, many forms as you can put almost everything in them.
4. Flautas con guacamole.
5. Green and Red Enchiladas. My favorites are the green ones with chicken bathed in mushroom cream.
6. Menudo
7. Pozole (I prefer pozole over menudo, really, but I like both).
8. Chicharrones en salsa verde.
9. Caldos (Chicken or beef or fish, or my favorite, tlalpeno, which is made with chicken and chipotle chiles.)

"Sick foods"
1.Caldos and then some more caldos. (Although a good pick-me-up is caldo de pescado, or the caldo de mariscada which has fish plus a lot of other fish-y things like octopus and oysters)
2.Jello, because it helps with dehydration from stomach illness.

My mom rarely made desserts, we don't have much of a sweet tooth. When we ate sweet things it was usually pan dulce (conchas, churros, empanadas) or homemade cakes like tres leches and volteado de pina (upside-down pineapple). Or jello (my mom has a recipe for jello made with milk which is very good, but I don't actually know it). I had a lot of jello growing up.

Anonymous said...

My family made a horrid concoction called Waldorf Salad- shredded carrots, raisins and mayo- YUK! I doubt anyone at the Waldorf ever ordered that.
I can top your pineapple dish- we had pineapple sandwiches, that's right, sandwiches. Canned pineapple on bread with mayo- after a while, it was like a dish rag. My Bama relatives also adored making pear salad- canned pears, dab of mayo in the middle with grated cheese on top- double YUK!
Mom once tried to make us think we were having baked ham by cooking sliced SPAM and putting a slice of canned pineapple on top. It was sad.
We did have cheese and cinnamon toast which I love to this day. My Aunt Shirley made these things called cheese/cracker and marshmallow things. A saltine with a 1/4 of a slice of pasteurized American cheese topped by a large marshamallow put under the broiler. We had those on cold days with hot chocolate. I must admit to making those for my children when they were small and they adored them. ( I secretly do, too)
Funny what we ate and survived while in poverty!!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the ever-popular "congealed salads" made with whatever flavor of Jell-O accompanied by what was in the pantry.
Ours was typically lime jell-o with shredded carrots and pineapple. During the holidays, we had one made with black cherry Jell-o, hot Coca-Cola, pecans, bing cherries, apples and crushed pineapple. I remember the first Thanksgiving with my Italian in-laws- I volunteered to bring that to go with the turkey. They just stared at it like "what the hell is that??" Their idea of Thanksgiving is lots of pasta followed by turkey with more pasta.

Anonymous said...

Bananas and rice. My dad used to make it all the time and I've never met anyone who has heard of it (or likes it for that matter). White rice (still hot), sliced bananas and milk. Yum!

Lis said...

My father makes the best grilled cheese in the world. I no longer eat traditional grilled cheese anywhere but his house because it is never right. I have no idea how he does it because he just tells me he uses regular bread (white) butter and American Cheese and yet something about it tastes different... man. I wish I was in Texas right now.

Unknown said...

I love sticky rice I worked with a lot of filipinos in MD and they introduced me to it.
My mom would make a big ole pot spaghetti with sauce and as leftovers we would have fried spaghetti sandwiches.
I miss:
hamburger gravy with mash tatters.
rice with sugar and cinnamon for breakfast
ham and bbq beans with tater salad
soft shell crabs for breakfast

now I'm hungry

Patti said...

Did you have fried bologna? That was my father's specialty. We would eat it with mac and cheese (not combined, cause that would be gross)

Anonymous said...

Yes I do read your blog quite often. Usually late at night when I can't sleep and really need a good laugh.

Here are a few of the dishes you loved most. You were crazy over king crab legs when you were 5. They had to have a baked potato included and if possible a piece of cheese cake. You also loved baked manicotti with sausage. Lasagna too! When you were 4 you loved soft roast beef unlike the one from grandma. I do agree you need teeth like a doberman to chew her beef. You loved waffles with ice cream or with syrup. You went through a stage where you loved reeses peanut butter cup sundaes at swensons. You were nuts over matzoh ball soup with chicken salad on pita bread. You loved stuffed peppers with angel hair pasta. Is it possible you're Italian? I can't believe you actually forgot vegetable beef soup. Both of you girls would beg for it, still to this day. If you are honest you will admit even way back when, we ate incredible tasting food. Even if it was white trash and we were without money there was barely a day I did not cook something yummy. Not much has changed over the years. When I think about coming home next month the first thing on my mind is to have a bbq and cook with everyone back home. This is what I miss most. Cooking brings families together. Sunday is usually our day to share with our friends. It's a good way to end the week. Oh goodness I forgot we went through a spell where I made shrimp scampi. Remember how Papa used to love that? Oh how I miss you!

Wide Lawns said...

Wow everyone my mom left a comment! It's like a celebrity commented! I'm so excited.

I can't believe I forgot some of those things. I didn't know I liked waffles that much. I still like them with peanutbutter and jelly once in a while.

And yes, as Fallon and I said, we had no earthly clue we were eating poor people food and thought everything was great. I think we ate really well actually. I mean, some of those meals would give me diarrhea now, but they'd probably still taste great.

Hey I made a vegetable beef soup a couple weeks ago and it's in the freezer.

To Drawer Queen, we totally had fried bologna. My mom had to cut a slit in it like a pac man so it wouldn't curl up into a little bowl of grease. We would eat it with melted white cheese on toast with yellow mustard. I remember it tasting really good, but wouldn't eat bologna now if you paid me.

Wide Lawns said...

Oh and yes the shrimp scampi, but I didn't like it then. I like it now though.

I remember fettucine alfredo with peas, ham and sun dried tomatoes. Maybe mushrooms too, but that was when I was older, like in high school. Yum. Heart attack waiting to happen.

We need to bring back some of our oldies.

Anonymous said...

How about "Fried potato" sandwiches? White bread, with ketchup (plus mustard for me),and thickly sliced fried potatoes (fried in Crisco no less).

And this is what happens when Texans marry Oklahomians and then move to California:

Pinto beans cooked in the pressure cooker with onions, bacon slices, and a ham hock

Fried potatoes / or mashed

Fried chicken

Fried squash or okra

Corn on the cob

corn bread

It sounds like such a wierd meal and somewhat unhealthy meal, but it was good.


nicrogers said...

We used to eat fried balogna sandwiches. Always on white bread with mayo. Ick! Peanut butter and banana sandwiches were good too. My son loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a slice of cheese. We started giving him that when he was really little because I could not get him to eat much protein and my mother swore he would not grow if I didn't do something quick.

Some of my favorites growing up were steamed crabs(we lived in MD). Or fried soft crab sandwiches. Yum! I have 4 doz soft crabs in my freezer right now. I should make them tomorrow.

We ate a lot italian and a lot of venison growing up. What I hated was when my parents would cook venison in mushroom and onion and wine gravy. It was just too rich. ANother thing I didnt care for were cod cakes. We couldnt afford crab cakes so mom made cod cakes. Ick.

the new girl said...

OOOH. My mom TOTALLY made that 'Ham Salad' stuff. She even had her own MEAT GRINDER. Ack.

If my mom was alive, I'd want her to make me an a lasagna, a salad and an apple pie.

Plus, how funny is it that when we were growing up, the 'diet plate' at the diner was a hamburger patty, without the bun and a scoop of cottage cheese with some tomatoes on the side?


Anonymous said...

I grew up in a second generation Polish/ straight off the boat English family and we were poor, too.

I remember:
porcupines-a rice, hamburger, tomato sauce conglomeration

"tuna" bake-canned tuna, mayo, croutons and shredded cheese all baked together

and City Chicken that was veal on a stick. Why it was on a stick I don't know. I also don't know if veal was cheaper 30+ years ago or not, but that was our poor food staples. Notice I didn't mention vegetables. It was always peas. My dad only ate peas, so that's the only vegetable I ever saw until I was old enough to cook dinner.

I didn't cross over the Mason-Dixon line for good until I married 14 years ago, but boy, talk about a change in food oddities! One of my neighbors tried on a regular basis to get me to eat squirrel stew WITH REAL SQUIRREL!

Oh, and Jen, I would love that recipe because my mom use to make it, too!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Kore!

Yep, sticky rice for my husband and me. We wierded out our Mainland families when the first appliance we bought for our apartment was a rice cooker. Before a coffee maker. They think we're insane.

Other comfort foods: manapua (especially char sui) or real ramen. When we're sick, rice and miso & wakame soup. I make a wicked dashi.

Childhood? Gulash was a staple (potatos, carrots, ground beef, all fried together with ketchup). Cinnamon toast and cheese toast. Yellow pea soup (Quebecian style). Stew. Chicken pot pie. We were really damn poor, and lived in the NorthEast. My father was Canadian-french, my mother Irish. So about what you'd expect, heh.

Anonymous said...

When I was growing up the main meal was hamburger steaks. I can't stand it now. We also had goulash a lot but we called it mulligan stew.

You should try www.bitchypoo.com
she does food and kitties. Loads of kitties.

Anonymous said...

Alas, I love Le Sueur baby peas with mashed potatoes. Can barely tolerate frozen peas. Hate fresh peas even if picked out of my own garden. I blame my mother who mostly fed us canned vegetables. At least the mashed potatoes were fresh.

One terrible thing my mother would let us eat on very rare occasions (and I think when we were totally broke during various phone company strikes): butter and sugar on white bread. In retrospect: ick. But I still remember how good it felt to have the sugar crunch between my teeth.

Whenever we were sick my mom would boil 7-Up in a saucepan, cool it, and then pour it into a special bottle to keep in the refrigerator for when we were thirsty.


Anonymous said...

Ok, the staples in my family:
Mom made swiss cheese sandwiches. Mayo on both sides, mustard on one with slices of swiss cheese. Nothing else.

Dad made "hamburgers, peas and rice" - always. We still mock him for it. Once my parents got divorced and he had to cook more his repetoire expanded to include spagetti sauce and then the next night he'd add a can of beans and call it chili. He once made us a sandwich with orange peels in it. Though I must give him credit that when I went through the stage of making up my own cookie recipes (like the albino chocolate chip cookies that would never turn brown, even when I baked them for an hour) my Dad ate all of my experiments.

Anonymous said...

I love sticky rice! And you're right that it goes well with mango.

Jeannie said...

all I can say is YUCK! My family was far from poor when I was growing up but my mother was thrifty. The only processed food my mom would buy was hotdogs. You think that people didn't know about healthy food choices but you are totally wrong. My mother most certainly knew and so did hers. (Longevity runs in her family) So my diet growing up was very very balanced. Not so diverse as there were not as many choices available but varied enough. My husband and I had very little money when our kids were growing up. I did not buy processed food either - I made everything from scratch because it was cheaper and better for us. As we became more prosperous, our diet suffered because we could afford the easy crap.

Fancy Schmancy said...

Roman Holiday, or what I like to call slop with Velveeta Cheese on top. Chicken ala king over rice or toast. La Choy pepper steak every Friday night and my mother would fry one big steak with a bone in it, and every week we took turns who got to chew the leftover meat and fat off the bone. Good times.

Lauren Winsor Stenmoe said...

Awesome post. Now you've got me all nostalgic for my grandma's Sunday dinners! I may have to invite myself over to help her cook something up from when I was a kid now. :) My family loves sticky rice too! We still eat it with everything and my grandma (she's a Japanese Hawaiian) calls any rice that isn't sticky "wrong".

Oh, and speaking of your want for kittens and food, Cake Wrecks had kind of a timely post today... it's a kitten singing about cake.

Anonymous said...

My mom would make this stuff called Tuna on Toast. It was drained canned tuna, cream of mushroom soup, onion and a lot of bell pepper. She mixed it all up and put it on a piece of bread, topped it with a slice of American cheese and broiled it until the cheese turned kinda brown. It was a totally nasty ass recipe.

JTN said...

Here are some of the staples in my house I wouldn't touch now if you paid me hard cash... I know when I die if I go to hell, these will be the only options on the buffet table...
Cut up toast with syrup on top for breakfast,
cucumber and lime jello salad,
corned beef hash with those cubed mixed veggies on top of english muffins,
Chicken ala king in those Pepperidge Farm puff pastries,
hamburger meat mixed with milk and lipton onion soup mix... spread it on hamburger buns and broil.

Anonymous said...

My mom was big on mashed potatoes, always real and not canned; with fried chicken, beef, meatloaf. When we were sick Campbell's chicken soup and seven up, my husbands mother gave him gatorade - which would have made me sick. My mom had a killer chocolate cake for every birthday, and sometimes that was the birthday present, we were poor. For snacks she'd put peanut butter and powdered sugar and milk between graham crackers. I can't eat it now because all the crackers are hydrogenated or contain high fructose corn syrup which is killing all of us -look it up. My grandparents were dead so no memories there. Friday nights were Appian way pizza out of a box with hamburger topping and yes hamburger was cheap, full of fat and gristle bits but it was better than nothing. My mom used to grind bologna, pickles, velveeta and mix with mayo and call it ham salad. We ate a lot of tuna fish, spaghetti. My stepfather, WWII liked fried spam, and turned meal time into his own private war hell were the stepkids were his enemy. I wish my mom was alive, I really miss her.

Holly said...

I know what you mean about eating better now because we just didn't know as much about what food does to you in the 70s and 80s. I think my family ate at Pizza Hut almost every week. Did you ever do Jiffy Pop?

Anonymous said...

Favorite poor people food - my grandmother's fried mush

Rich said...

My mother can bake desserts (most of the time) well. She however cannot cook. She seems to think she can. My sister and I both disagree on that one.
My mother makes all kinds of stuff to this day I will not eat.
She puts sugar in spaghetti sauce, to cut the acidity (which I have seen people do) but she puts too much. It makes for sweet spaghetti sauce. It makes me gag. She makes macaroni salad with spam, which I absolutely will not eat. I would starve before I eat spam.
Her attempt at spanish rice made me sick. I once got food poisoning from her deviled eggs (which are crunchy cause she misses bits of shell. My aunt says you can pick your teeth with my mothers deviled eggs.) She makes pork chops and puts water in the pan to keep them moist. So much water, I now refer to her pork chops as "Islands In The Stream". Thankfully my mother lives 2 hours away and I make it a point to never eat dinner at her house. Its funny, as if I ever cook at her house, I make stuff completely different than she does.
My former babysitter and now close friend (who pretty much raised me) is an excellent cook.
I have learned a lot from my aunt as well.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god I cannot believe a poster has mentioned jiffy pop! That was one of the biggest treats ever if you could manage not to burn the bottom. We would eat it anyway but we always burnt it. We were so dam poor when I was little so jiffy pop was a time we thought we were rich even for a just a moment. I long forgot that jiffy pop even existed. Thanks for reminding me. I have some fabulous memories you helped restore.

Anonymous said...

I tried to comment yesterday, but it wouldn't take. I'll try again.

Coming from an Italian family on both sides we ate lots of good Italian food. We frequently had pasta fagiole (pasta fazool)! It's cheap and good and my Dad still makes it for us occasionally.

My grandmother used to make a weird dish. It was a pie with spaghetti & onions & olives in it. As a kid I thought it was gross, but all the adults loved it.

I've been craving Kraft mac n cheese lately, but I know I won't buy it.

Here is a link to pictures of my adorable Cornish Rex kittens.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

We had pretty normal stuff as young kids. There was always meat, a veg and a starch. My mother usually fed us early and separately because my father was working late. Then she'd eat with him when he came home. Thank goodness because he liked things like liver and onions and bacon (bacon good, liver not good).

As we got older and could wait for our dinner, we had family meals. There were seven kids and my parents, so what ever it was, it had to stretch a long way.

Still, my mother didn't resort to commercial mixes very often, although she'd try them when they first came out to see if the family liked them. She prided herself on doing most things from scratch, and for occasionally pushing the envelope on our tastes.

One of my mother's favorite dishes was Coquille St. Jacques. She even had those large shells to serve it in. I learned to LOVE scallops like that. Hmhm white wine, cream sauce, scallops, onions.

As we got older, she became even more adventurous. Partly this was due to my father changing jobs and taking my mother out to eat at fancier restaurants. She would try to recreate some of the fabulous foods she had while traveling with my father.

Unfortunately, with so many people, there was always someone who had a strong aversion to one of the ingredients. A couple of my brothers would rather die than eat a mushroom, while I just can't seem to swallow a lima bean. But she did her best to prepare healthy and attractive meals, and that's what she did most of the time.

TwistedNoodle said...

We were poor growing up too but always were well fed. My dad was a veteran so back then we got once a month rations of canned chicken, butter, cheese (long 5 lb bricks),dried peas, beans and peanut butter.

My Gramma grew up in the depression and taught my mother how to cook and bake well. Most everything was from scratch. We ate a lot of ground beef from the butcher but on Sunday's we always had a good meal that was usually some type of roast with all the fixings. The only prepared foods we ate were cold cereal and that was a treat.

And I remember Jiffy Pop too! Does it even exist anymore?

We even had a milkman who delivered our milk and eggs. That milk was always the freshest tasting and coldest.

Anybody remember the milkman and the metal box that lived on the front porch?

Anonymous said...

Jiffy Pop does still exist and apparently you can buy it in mass quantities:


Anonymous said...

Leftover turkey chopped up, mixed with leftover gravy and all poured over leftover mashed taters. Yummy! I want to cook a turkey now just to have the leftovers.

Sick food: Soft boiled egg, slice of toast cut into tiny squares and all mushed up together. Oh, and 7-up.

Charlottex said...

My mom was from Brooklyn. When she married my dad, they moved to middle of nowhere Vermont. Being poor, thrifty, and always looking for a deal led my mom to be involved in 2 Co-ops. The real kind where friends get together with an old baby scale to measure out 20 punds of chocolate chips, flour, dried fruit and spices. i remember playing with a bunch of other kids while our moms figureed out who owed what. She also made friends with a farmer a mile away. She rocked the frezzer chest (same as Wide Lawns!) and it wouldn't be unusual to have meet ordered by half the cow or half the pig since it was way cheaper. We also ate a lot of mutton (grown up lamb).

One time I can home and went into the bathroom, sat down to do my thing and saw half of a pig sawed snout to tail in the bath tub frozen. yeah.

Anonymous said...

We had a lot of cinnamon sugar toast when I was a kid.

We ate peanut butter on pancakes with syrup. Sounds weird, but it is very good.

Hot chocolate with buttered toast to dunk

At my aunt's house, she made spanish rice - hamburger, rice, tomato juice and seasoning. It was my favorite meal at her house. She served it with jello made with applesauce and red hots. The kids all loved that dish.

My dad's poor man's hamburger casserole was hamburger, can of cream of mushroom, can of cream of cheddar and potatos or pasta. Very filling.

On Sunday's we had a big dinner in the afternoon then watched Wonderful World of Disney while eating popcorn and apples. Ah, memories.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother used to make me bread, butter and sugar sandwiches. It was just bread and butter with a tablespoon or so of sugar on it and folded over. It was unhealthy, but surprisingly delicious!

Speaking of hamburger... I remember eating it raw as a kid. Raw hot dogs too. The thought sickens me now. I can't even stand to see any pink in my meat!

Karen B. said...


South Dakota style, all cream of mushroom, all the time.

Yerba Buena said...

I love cinnamon toast to this day. Funny enough, I can't remember eating this kind of food. My family was - and is - fairly well-off, so that very likely has something to do with it, coupled with the fact that my father has always been an adventurous cook. I was always that weird kid who brought leftover shish kebab and couscous or a square of homemade spinach pie for lunch. My favorite trashy eat, though? Fake crab. I'm from Maryland and this would get me shot if anyone found out, but I love that stuff.

Anonymous said...

is fat candy that is right fat candy anyone else? fried beef fat fried in bacon grease served with a side of bbq sauce no

About Me

Blog Archive