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Worst meal at someone's home - Part 1


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My parents used to make "Chop Suey".  It came from a box I think and had what I called "chunks".  That word in my childhood meant pretty much any piece of cooked celery or peppers.  My dad was strict and we had to finish our meals.  I would swallow each chunk like a pill, washing it down with milk.  But it would take me so long that my milk would get warm and the whole thing was an extremely traumatic experience.

Then there was my mom's theory that anything could be cooked early and put on low "just to stay warm".  That didn't work so well for meat....

Grandma made "Chop Suey" too, with tough cubes of beef, celery, and pepper... must have been a standard recipe! It was my first exposure in life to "Chinese Food". I still really don't care for Chinese... not because I don't like authentic Chinese, but I can never get away from my mental association with Grandma's revolting "Chop Suey".

Edited by viva (log)

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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My parents used to make "Chop Suey".  It came from a box I think and had what I called "chunks".  That word in my childhood meant pretty much any piece of cooked celery or peppers.  My dad was strict and we had to finish our meals.  I would swallow each chunk like a pill, washing it down with milk.  But it would take me so long that my milk would get warm and the whole thing was an extremely traumatic experience.

Then there was my mom's theory that anything could be cooked early and put on low "just to stay warm".  That didn't work so well for meat....

Grandma made "Chop Suey" too, with tough cubes of beef, celery, and pepper... must have been a standard recipe! It was my first exposure in life to "Chinese Food". I still really don't care for Chinese... not because I don't like authentic Chinese, but I can never get away from my mental association with Grandma's revolting "Chop Suey".

Or it came out of a can? La Choy made--and still does, for all I know--a chop suey "kit," which had two cans of stuff--one with the meat'n'chunks, one with the crispy noodles for garnish. All mom had to supply was the rice. I think I'm remembering this right. Anyway, all I remember about the taste was salt! and tin! :blink: And we called the crispy noodles worms! (And, for the record, my mother now makes a delicious Asian style salad with them.)

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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I still really don't care for Chinese... not because I don't like authentic Chinese, but I can never get away from my mental association with Grandma's revolting "Chop Suey".

I'm the opposite. As I've previously posted, when I was a kid my mom made La Choy Chop Suey. It was sold as two cans (one on top of the other) of hideous glop, as far as I was concerned. I ate the dry crispy noodles but nothing else.

And yet, today I love all kinds of chinese food. Where you were driven away from it, I was driven towards finding the real deal and I haven't looked back.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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It may have been Chop Suey from a can! I remember the crispy noodles... and that was the only edible portion for me too. Not only did Grandma's Chop Suey set up a life-long aversion to Chinese, but also one for green bell peppers. I envy you, Toliver, for your ability to overcome the past :smile:

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Gah! La Choy Chop Suey! :blink::angry:

My childhood dinnertime nemesis. Bleargh. Thanks but no thanks to you all for bringing up that memory. I'm gagging a bit just thinking of it.

Thankfully, it hasn't stopped me from loving real (or even Americanized) Chinese, but I think it does have something to do with my extremely low tolerance for BAD Chinese food.

Nikki Hershberger

An oyster met an oyster

And they were oysters two.

Two oysters met two oysters

And they were oysters too.

Four oysters met a pint of milk

And they were oyster stew.

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Does anyone else remember the exsitance of La Choy fried rice in a can?? I think you added a can of water to fully hydrate it and we added some scrambled eggs too.

tracey

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La Choy made--and still does, for all I know--a chop suey "kit," which had two cans of stuff--one with the meat'n'chunks, one with the crispy noodles for garnish.

Since 1969 as I remember the kit contained the crisp veg. in the small can and the meat, hard cooked veg and sauce in the large. The noodles where sold in a seperate can and in a bag.

Living hard will take its toll...
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myriadin that description of the salmon pie and over cooked asparagus with margarine and potatoes au gratin sent shivers down my spine.  :sad:

Gave me shivers and more to remember it. Fortunately I was able to steam some young artichokes and eat them with tarragon vinegar mayo the night of my previous post. They helped me get through reliving the trauma. Gotta love steamer baskets.

Asparagus was nearly the only vegetable I "hated" as a child (the other was boiled canned spinach, served at my pre-school). Fortunately, I later felt compelled to re-try asparagus when it was served by a good friend, and it was delicious. To think I might have gone my whole life thinking boiled asparagus was the only way it was made! :shock:

I still hold a bit of a grudge against potatoes au gratin, but I do eat them.

I somehow doubt that I'll ever give salmon pie another chance.

(I won't go into detail about the time I got food poisoning from tainted fried clams [not cooked by my mother],...but I couldn't eat clams for two decades.)

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Dear La Choy,

Stop making stuff. You're bad people and what you do is wrong.

:biggrin:

Where do I sign the petition? (Though I blush to say I like the teensy little noodles, crispy and crunchy, on a salad with butter lettuce, paper-thin Vidalia, citrus vinaigrette, and mandarins straight from the can).

Just the product-which-shall-remain-nameless, with its little stuck-together tower containing bits in dark glue and bits in yellow glue, conjures "special" dinners at the table of my oh-so-talented-cook Mother, who occasionally would buy the chubby stack and serve it up with home-cooked Uncle Ben's.

Daddy would manfully scoop some of the stuff onto a huge plate of rice, and I would sort of drib and drab a bit of the "sauce" onto my portion of the little way-separate grains. We always had it with an iceberg salad with homemade pink dressing, slightly sweet and tangy with the juice from homemade lime pickles.

I have ONLY ONCE bought a can and served it for supper, in response to Chris' mentioning a couple of times his fond memories of having it at family dinners. His Mother, the Dearest Angel in the Mother-In-Law brigade, cooks three things well: Fried catfish, creamed corn, and those crinkly French Fries that come pre-cut and frozen.

And in his family of six, perhaps the allure was the scarcity of the portions divided amongst a family with three growing boys; the mythical hungry-an-hour-after-Chinese-food must have set in DURING the meal, making the fare all the more exotic and crave-able as the last bits were scraped from the bowl. That's the only thing I can think of.

So, a couple of years ago, I bought a pack. I dutifully opened, heated---mixed??do you put it all together? I forget. (Thankful smilie here)---and served.

And after a bite or two, we agreed that absence HAD, indeed made the heart grow fonder of a memory, a childhood experience, an IDEA, but not fond of the actuality.

I remember once WAY back when my children were young, and the city cousins were out at the farm for their usual Sunday afternoon visit. Glennie, the glamorous, gorgeous cousin, started to take her leave, mentioning that she was getting hungry and had supper to prepare for her husband at home.

We offered anything out of the pie safe, refrigerator or larder. "Oh, NO!!" she said. "I'm craving Chinese!" My envy button kicked into overtime, because she lived in TOWN, five minutes from the place that made the best food in the known world. They made the most wonderful fried rice in the history of the cuisine, and we always joked that if we ever became millionaires, we'd just build them a house on our farm, set them up a kitchen, and let them live at their leisure, on call to cook for us now and then.

She went on, "I've got a can of that GOOOOOOOD La Choy stuff---you just open it and stick it in the microwave," licking her Revlon-red lips. My thoughts of her elevated stature dwindled at that moment, never to return. All her gorgeous clothes and the exciting life she must lead, all the references to the country club and the golf course---all those went poof into a puddle of cornstarch-ridden, gluey La Choy oblivion.

And after they all left, despite our having lovely leftovers from our usual big Sunday after-church noon dinner, we all hopped in the car and drove the fifteen miles through those winding old country roads for some of the BEST Chinese in the history of the world. :wub:

Edited cause my heart wasn't in the right place.

Edited by racheld (log)
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Edited cause my heart wasn't in the right place.

Love it, Miz Rachel. Those La Choy kits were an occasional treat left for the babysitter to fix for our supper when I was a youngin', along with Jiffy Pop Popcorn (the MAGIC of that expanding foil chef's hat on the red eye of our old stove!). I think I knew even then that the chow mein was vile, but I never could resist cunning little food kits like their's and also the Chef Boyardee Pizza kit.

~ Lori in PA

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- Julia Child

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The worst meal at someone's home that I remember, happened when I was a kid. Its something I would eat and even possibly enjoy now.

My friend's mom served pb&j: apricot jam, whole wheat bread, and smooth unsweetened peanut butter. I found it completely inedible.

To that point, pb&j had consisted always of white bread, crunchy Skippy-style peanutbutter, and some kind of red/purple jam or jelly (I prefered grape jelly but my parents had a tendency to use raspberry or boysenberry jam).

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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The equivalent to La Choy for me were the cans of chop suey and chow mein put out by China Lily.

Back in the mid 70s, our band performed shows for a national grain elevator company called Federal grain. These were in conjunction with summer agricultural fairs. Every community that had a Federal Grain elevator, we played at it. The elevator agents always treated us royally, with BBQs, big spreads, etc. My most "memorable dinner" was in a small town in Saskatchewan.

This one particular agent's good wife was concerned that I, the lone Chinese female member of the band, would be missing "her kind of food". In my honour, she served Chinese food by China Lily.

Now, we all know that the vegetables are already well done before you open the can. Can you imagine what it would be like heated up then kept warm in the oven because our show ran late? The rest of the band members were not allowed to partake, just so I would get my fill. They could hardly eat their delicious homemade cabbage rolls, perogies, baked ham and turkey while trying to contain their laughter. I felt honoured, but I also felt sick. :blink:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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One of my roommates last year had an unspoken arrangement with me. I would cook a few nights during the week for both of us, and when her boyfriend came on the weekends, they would cook for me. One of the first meals they prepared involved Trader Joe's frozen pre-seasoned halibut filets. Now I am not in general a fan of frozen foods, but Trader Joe's often has items that aren't bad. However, when you take an inch-and-a-half thick piece of fish directly from the freezer, put it on a George Foreman grill, and cook it until the center is hot and cooked-through, problems can arise. I am not at all kidding when I say that the meat *squeaked* between my teeth. Ugh. I ate what I could and cleared the plates, but I couldn't bring myself to say anything. Their breakfast usually involved cooking scrambled eggs to death. I don't know about anyone else, but when I wake up hungover in the morning, burnt eggs are the absolute last thing I want to smell. While they did stay true to Trader Joe's, over the course of the year they did branch out and prepare their own things which were often good. And I'm happy to say that despite the halibut incident, we're still very good friends.

 

 

 

 

 

[Host's note:  To minimise the load on our servers, this topic has been split.  The discussion continues here.]

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