Last week my column ran a wee bit long sharing all of your stories from your childhood dining hits and misses – at the hands of our mothers. This week we pick right back up with a few more tales:
Renee P. – She over cooked everything until it was dried out and tasteless! Except for her red sauce/pasta, which I still cook today with some upgrades.
Jodi F. – She made the best stuffed artichokes. My birthday favorite.
Kathy P. – My mom was saddled with a husband who could criticize every single meal she ever made, which played havoc with her confidence as a cook, as well as not having much in the way of money for groceries and only one day a week to go to the grocery store, since we only had one car. Despite that, she always made something good for dinner, EXCEPT her liver and onions, which was really, really overcooked! She loved it, but we ate a lot of sides that night and our requisite 2 bites that we had to eat of everything at every meal!
Tamara L. – Best.. Her fried chicken. Worst… Shit on a shingle.
Celeste D. – I grew up with a southern grandma. Everything was cooked in bacon grease. When I made green beans for the first time, after moving out, they didn’t taste right. I called up my grandma and asked what I did wrong, and she asked what brand I used and how much bacon fat I cooked them with. I said they were fresh and I just steamed them, and she said “that’s the problem”.
When I think of my grandma cooking, it’s biscuits and gravy, salt ham, and grape jelly. Oh and some crazy fruit salad with marshmallows, cool whip and maraschino cherries. I loved it as a kid.
I dated an Italian guy for awhile who had a mom who was a great cook. I think I stayed with him a little longer than I should just for those Sunday dinners.
Carmel F. – I was blessed (or cursed) to be raised by a mom who was an excellent cook. A Mexican-American, and the first-born of twelve, even as a child, her days revolved around food prep. Tortillas and refried beans from scratch were a constant with that many mouths to feed. Although as an adult she branched out in cuisine, she never learned how to not to cook for a crowd. Which came in handy with five kids. Mexican food wasn’t a staple, but we love her (now special occasion) chicken tacos and her cheese enchiladas with cottage cheese and green onions. She found a recipe in Playboy decades ago for “Green Sauce” for spaghetti: cream cheese, oil, margarine and tons of parsley. YUM! She made a different breakfast for us every morning; Thursday was always SOS, tuna or ground beef – still my favorite breakfast in the world. My dad, however, was the experimenter, using cream of asparagus instead of cream of mushroom for the SOS. I still have nightmares about that.
And one more from Scott E. – My Mom seemed to get zero genes from her Italian Mother, or was just a casualty of the times (frozen dinners and casseroles).
Fridays we had fish. It was then that I learned that fish were awful and disgusting and OMG she could not cook fish. Slimy and fishy tasting without fail. I was years into adulthood before I could manage to turn that aversion into what is now one of my favorite meals.
Julia Child to the rescue, however as, somehow, my Mom managed to learn how to cook Boeuf Bourguignon. It always filled the house with a wonderful aroma and I loved it.
The sad epilogue to that, however was that years later, after I had forgotten about the dish (she seemed to stop making it at one point, I don’t remember when), I saw the movie, “Julie & Julia” and rush out to make that movie’s signature dish. Sad because years later, the familiar flavor was actually a little disappointing when I realized it was “just” that dish from my childhood. Even though, at the time, I used to love it.
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com