03 May 2016
In honor of the upcoming day that is Mother's Day, Carole has asked us to list 10 Favorite Foods My Mom Used to Make.
My first response when seeing this topic can be summarized below.
You see, my mother loved to eat, but hated to cook. I mean, really hated it. And on the rare occasions when something was actually really yummy, my father warned us to not praise it too effusively, "Because then we'll have it every goddamn night." Which was the truth. My dad, on the other hand, loved to cook, but did a lot of traveling for work, so usually only did the cooking on weekends and holidays. Of course, even though I like cooking, it can get really tedious when you have to think of *something* for more than yourself every single day!
One of the most famous family stories about my mother's cooking was the time she made a meatloaf from her dear friend's recipe. The dear friend's meatloaf was AMAZING. My mother followed the recipe exactly. Even the dog wouldn't eat it ...
But upon further reflection, I was able to think of the following that are things that I always fondly associate with my mom.
1. Coffee and toast. We drank tea as kids, but when you were sick, you got a cup of coffee with milk in it, and a piece of buttered toast which you were supposed to dunk into said coffee. It was the most perfect thing in the world, and I have never been able to replicate it.
2. Lemon meringue pie. Made once a year (summertime), from a mix, but with extra lemon juice. Delicious. I'm sure some of the deliciousness had to do with the once-a-year factor.
3. Butterscotch pie. Also once a year (fall), from a mix. See last two comments above.
4. Slaw for your hamburger from the grill in the summer. I know that iceberg lettuce (was there any other kind?), onions, pepper, and mayonnaise were involved, but I'm not sure what else. I always thought it was the way things were sliced that made it so good.
5. Christmas Cheeseball. Still made every year by me, and also now by a couple of my nieces. It's not hard (we are talking about my mother) but it's yummy and a must-have in order for it to be truly Christmastime.
6. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in the blue box. I seriously did not know you could make it any other way than from a box until I was an adult. And the "fancy" Kraft box stuff (I think it was called Deluxe) was horrible. I make killer mac and cheese now, but every once in a while when I'm on my own for dinner, I'll make myself a blue box dinner and I'm in heaven.
7. Christmas Kielbasa. She learned how to make this from my father's brother-in-law who was from Poland. Being my mother, she had to somehow make it sweet, so she cooked it in brown sugar. Only at Christmastime. And it's the only thing I miss as a vegetarian.
8. Beefaroni. Homemade, if you please, not from a can. We did have some class, you know.
9. Campbell's canned potato soup. She would add milk, diced onions, a big glob of butter, and lots of pepper. Again, not something I have been able to replicate to my satisfaction.
10. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I think this was just because she made them, as I'm sure they were simply white bread, strawberry preserves (most of the time) and Peter Pan peanut butter. No fancy ingredients, just about as basic as possible.
It's funny, my mom has been dead for more than 30 years, and I still think of her every single day, talk to her, miss her, and wish she was here to make some of these things. Mainly just so she would be here, you know? I hope if your mother is still around to drive you insane, you'll give her an extra kiss from me this coming Sunday.
And I hope you eat well, whether it's from a box or otherwise. ;-)