Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Not again, Mom!


Recommended Posts

My mother worked and my father stayed at home, so he did most of the cooking. He's a good cook, better than me, although unfortunately he's cooking more and more processed stuff these days. My mother rarely cooked except for company meals where she made a mean roast beef or baked ham.

I don't remember anything really bad except things that I personally couldn't stand such as liver, scrapple, or creamed chipped beef on toast. The sides were very often some rice or pasta mix. I liked the LaChoy chow mein, with sufficient soy sauce.

I liked the V-8 aspic too. Some salads were not that great... the waldorf salad, jello with apples and walnuts, canned fruit cocktail, canned pears with creamed cheese... when they discovered canned mandarin oranges and canned apricots that was a big improvement.

More recently my least favorite is green salad with expired bagged lettuce.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never ate real whipped cream until I was an adult. I thought Cool Whip was real whipped cream.

You whiners! If you had Cool Whip, you had it good.

We had "Dream Whip". It came in a freakin' box, fer cryin' out loud!

People have sought therapy for less... :hmmm:

oh yeah, mom did dream whip. It topped the pies that were made with those pie crust stick thingys. She INSISTES to this day that she can't make pie crust from scratch. Yet I know it was a ton of work getting those pie crust sticks to merge with the water enough to form any thing resembling pie crust dough. ugh.


Many parts of a pine tree are edible.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mom's Saturday night "special" was so repulsive that even describing it gives me the dry heaves. It was called "tuna wiggle" and involved a can of tuna packed in oil (undrained :shock: ), a can of cream of mushroom soup, and a can of peas all heated together and slopped over toasted white bread with some fried onions (canned of course) sprinkled over the top. This was always accompanied by canned fruit cocktail in heavy syrup. Oh, and Tang to wash it all down!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't remember my mother making anything too awful, or at least, if she ever did, we never had it more than once. My ex MIL, however, is another story.

I was 18 and had just gotten married and we lived with the in-laws in England. I already had an idea that she was a bad cook from before I moved in with her, but I only truly found out the horrors of her cooking once I became part of the household. I knew that most everything was either frozen or canned and I also knew that she served baked beans with every meal or at least 6 times a week. I like beans, but I didn't want to eat them every day and since there was only one bathroom in the house and there were 5 of us, well....I told her right away that I didn't eat beans.

If I had had more foresight, I would have made up a whole list of things that I didn't eat and saved myself a lot of anxiety. Usually each meal had chips (fries) which were okay, even though they were frozen, also, the obligatory can of beans and some meat substance, either sausages or beefburgers (also frozen, pre-shaped patties), made palatable by drowning them in HP sauce. So I usually got a larger helping of chips (great for my weight issues) and one small, overcooked sausage or beefburger. I covered everything in malt vinegar!

Even though we had an oven, she seemed to have an aversion to using it, so everything was microwaved. She once made me a special pizza since she knew I liked it. It consisted of dough she made herself from wheat flour (very strong tasting, dark brown in color), she shaped it into a small disc (had to fit on her microwave browning plate) and spread it with tomato paste (straight from the tube), sprinkled some oregano and garlic powder on top and then added some thick cut strips of swiss cheese (I think the logic here was that as long as the cheese was white, it was suitable for pizza). She put the entire thing in the microwave and cooked it for 5 minutes. Of course, the 'crust' didn't brown, just barely got cooked and hardened. Oh, it was awful!!!

By the second week I was wishing I hadn't said I hated beans, because they would have been better than some of the stuff I was subjected to on a regular basis.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

baseball sized "meatballs" of hamburger seasoned with garlic powder and pepper were wrapped in cabbage leaves and cooked for approximately 6 months in a "broth" made of tomato juice, water and sour salt (a mysterious product - all i remember about it is that the brand we used was called rokeach).

serve in large bowl - orangeish fatty liquid with grey meat inside fetid-smelling cabbage. dis-gusting.

You must be Polish. :wink:

BTW, Martha Stewart's mom does a great version of this...

"Give me 8 hours, 3 people, wine, conversation and natural ingredients and I'll give you one of the best nights in your life. Outside of this forum - there would be no takers."- Wine_Dad, egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Horrible Horrible split pea soup. ugh- she never used ham or the bone it was this green groul. We couldn't leave the table until it was eaten. (my father Loved it) needless to say it was salty from tears and there is nothing worse than stone cold salty split pea soup.

Other than that my mother was queen in the kitchen. with her limited budget and that huge garden and two freezers. I used to hate sleepovers at my friends homes because I thought they all ate crap compared to me. Everyone seemed to be eating something under campbells soup. I was known far and wide and wide as that "picky eater" at sleep overs. To this day I don't eat alot of stuff that needs what I call messing with, like pasta dishes, hamburger dishes , soups etc unless I make them, or my mother makes it. I've grown up into a "picky restaurant eater". And don't get me started on hygiene in kitchens other than mine. Commercial and otherwise. That wooden tasting spoon that goes back into the pot or bowl is my pet peeve. Then there's that rag that cleans off the plate before it's served.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

borshch tastes like my Baba's

My mother was second generation russian/canadian and made a huge canner or cabbage borsch about once a month. The fridge was stuffed with mason jars of this stuff and we would have to eat it for a week. I hated borsch week. Your statis a cook was based on how "good" your borsch was so it was sampled by everyone and comments were made about how better or different or whatever it was compared to last time.

When I left home my mother used to send me borsch in her "care package" and I finally learned to appreciated it when I was dirt poor and broke on my own. And to this day I look forward to her "care packages from home". And it's been 30 years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I quess i'm lucky I grew up Poor. Nothing came out of a can, everything was made from scratch. I never tasted cool whip or dream whip until i started cooking professionaly. The only soup that wasn't home made that was in the house was cream of tomato and liptons chicken noodle for those days my mom was too busy in her garden or canning or freezing things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mom and Dad, given time and energy, could be fairly decent cooks. At least they don't subscribe to the 'cooked to death veggies' line of thought...there was always good tasty stuff from the garden in summer...come to think of it, in winter, too.

However, they both work as teachers and it must have been quite a chore to get food on the table every night. When I was in elementary school, my dad the experimenter got very into the stir-fry concept. Which would have been great had he actually stuck with what worked...but he quickly took 'stir-fry' to mean 'throw random cupboard items into skillet; bind with available ingredients (more often than not, cream of whatever soup; ew); serve over rice'. When we had good stuff in the fridge/cupboard, this was fine. Some attempts, however, were awfully...strange. For awhile he was throwing cashews or almonds into everything.

This during a time when I was wary of foods TOUCHING each other on the plate, not to mention mixed together and mortared with cream of mushroom or cornstarch glop. I ate a lot of plain rice at dinnertime.

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's my mom's Spam Casserole recipe, which i haven't tried since i was a little kid but I remember really liking. I asked her for it recently, so I've included it with her notations. hit it mom!


Here's Spam recipe (don't try it with ham as it was not as good, just don't tell people it's spam).

one large can of spam

3 or 4 potatoes





Liptons' French onion soup (the mix in the envelop kind)

-check the expiration date on the spam before purchase!

-slice up (thin) spam and put on bottom of greased casserole

-peel and slice (thin) potatoes

-put one layer of potatoes on top of spam

-sprinkle with salt, pepper, flour, dot with butter

-small sprinkling of onion soup over layer

-put on another layer of potatoes, s&p, flour, butter

-repeat until all potatoes are used (about 3 or 4 layers)

-pour over milk - enough til you can see milk through top layer of potatoes

-cook 3/4's hour in 350 oven

-serve with green veggies

-don't complain if you don't like it.


I especially like the bit about checking the expiration date on the Spam, heh heh.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mother is an amazing cook. We grew up eating gourmet meals on a regular basis. Chinese was her specialty. Eventually she burnt out and the quality of dinner went down hill. "Stir Fry" became her specialty. The meat changed each meal, but the vegetables and seasoning were always the same. With lomein noodles on the side.

I couldn't eat Chinese for most of the '90's.

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mom effectively stopped cooking when I was around 5 or 6. I don't know why, maybe my dad was sick of her cooking or he lost a bet. I remember My father out in the snow grilling something on the BBQ - cheap cut of meat w/ lots of fat and gristle most likely - on New Year's Day. After that I cannot think of anything that she would cook. My Dad moved away for a few years while I was in college, coming home my mom would always have plenty of cold cuts for me and she'd order any food I wanted - I remember her cooking lemon breast chicken once or twice over 20 years. They weren't great. Funny thing is that in my family every male can outcook their spouse if necessary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was young, we lived for a time in Germany. We had a live-in cook. The cook made a warm, mashed-potato salad that I recall as being quite good. She first boiled the potatoes, mashed them and, while they were still hot, added to them some chopped sour pickles, onions, hard-cooked eggs, and her special home-made mayo. Seems like maybe there was some bacon in it as well. I don't recall exactly, other than that it was really good.

But my mom wasn't much of a cook. So when we got back to the US, she made a "quicky" version: instant mashed potatoes, pickle relish, Hellman's, onions, and the chopped eggs. Although I can't say I was ever really FOND of it, it was kind of one of those things that you get used to and kinda like on some level.

Hadn't had it in decades but one night several years ago, I was in a hurry and tried to replicate it. I don't know if I didn't get it "together" exactly as Mom did, or if my taste buds have changed, but boy was it awful.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Goulash? American Chop Suey? This sounds familiar...

My mother liked to cook meat dishes, she wasn't interested in fancy baking, and she didn't care for vegetables. In the vegetable rack were withered carrots and parsnips that could be tied in knots, forest-topped potatoes, and half-rotten onions, were not garbage but food.

They were just waiting till Friday night, when my Dad worked late and ate dinner at his shop, and then delivered medicine on his way home, stopping to change lightbulbs, open jar lids and other stuff for elderly customers on the way home.

On Thursday, she would ring the butcher with the week's meat order, including the Sunday roast. The first item to be used would be the "mince" (ground beef), which would be browned with the salvaged parts of the onions, and minimal amounts of chopped carrots, parsnips, and potatoes (there's an art to peeling wrinkled carrots...). Frozen peas, definitely. A LOT of water was added, and as far as I recall, the seasonings were salt and pepper. The "mixed herbs" packet may have been involvd, but the overall color was gray! Occasionally served with plain dumplings.

I think she must have felt guilty about spending money on the Sunday roast, because the only other hard-to-eat dish she made regularly was the Sunday night soup...it was a sad day for us when she bought a food processor, and learned that it would reduce almost any plant matter to a mass of watery fiber. Broccoli stems and asparagus stems were particularly open to abuse, until somebody accused her of accidentally adding the chopping board to the mix.

She loved to entertain though, and never stinted on ingredients, time, or quantity if guests were at the table.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"No Salt" was the most palatable of all the salt substitutes we were subjected to in the 80s. (Emphasis on most, it all being relative.) I don't remember who made it. It was pretty bad -- had a really bitter, almost chemical flavor.

My memory is of going the other way. At one point in the late 70s, my mom decided to go on a "no butter" kick and used to make us eat popcorn with the butter-flavored salt. Most disgusting stuff ever. Needless to say popcorn consumption in my house went way down (at least when mom was home).

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Create New...