I have to tell you first that my mother was not particularly fond of cooking. She didn’t drink alcohol, but often said that if she ever took up drinking, it would be at 5:00 pm when she had to cook dinner.
Another thing about my mother – she didn’t really like meat. She wasn’t a vegetarian, and she sort of liked pork, but she wasn’t into any kind of meat dish that required finesse. Beef stew or braised chuck roast? Okay. Steak or pork chops? No! My dad referred to her pork chops as “pork chips”. I think you get the picture. No pork that she cooked would EVER give you trichinosis! (I’ll mention here that my dad was also a really good cook and he did the steaks.)
A story about my mother cooking steak. I bought some nice steaks at my local market, and planned to cook them for dinner. That day, things came up, and I wouldn’t be home in time to prepare dinner. My daughter was about 13 at the time, and my mother was living with us, so I told dear daughter that grandma would cook dinner. No! she said. “Grandma will ruin the steak.” Grandma promised not to ruin the steak but, alas . . . Daughter reported by phone that the steak “left skid marks on the plate”. Oh my.
Now for some nice stories. When I was a little, mom made nice cookies for me and my friends – snickerdoodles were so good. A favorite dessert at that time was some kind of cake, with a warm pudding sauce – lemon or vanilla were popular – poured over top. Yum. She also made really good bread.
Since she always had a garden, we had fresh vegetables in the summer, and canned and frozen veg from the garden in the winter. One of the things that I remember her making (don’t laugh) was fried potatoes and beets. It was really delicious. Then there were home canned preserves and jellies – peach, apple, cherry, raspberry, strawberry and apricot are just some that I remember. Bread and butter pickles, and chili sauce. Yum!
Potato salad – excellent. Baked beans – great. Then there was the angel food/strawberry cake that she made me for my birthday every year (even into my 40’s!)
She made great pies. Her lemon meringue was to die for, and my dad’s favorite. I also loved the apple crisp and her spiced applesauce cake with penuche frosting made with freshly made applesauce. Can’t be beat.
I learned a lot from mom and, although her cooking wasn’t her strongest talent, she had many more that made up for it.
What foods did your mom (or grandma) make that you remember?