Comfort Food ... all time favs
Mu Grandmother's cornbread, made with whole milk that verged on buttermilk and lard to coat the pan. It was always moist because it was baked in an aged full sphere on the bottom tin pan that was so used that it was black on the outside but smooth on the inside. My mother tossed "that old pan" when my Grandmother died. I'm still looking for the pan shape that helped keep the moisture level up.
A cup of cornmeal, a cup of flour, couple of tsp. of baking soda, pinch of salt, some sugar, a beaten egg, then add buttermilk until the moisture level is right. Then pour hot oil from the pan (now I use a cast iron skillet) into the mixture, then it all goes back in the pan, into a 400 oven for about 25 minutes.
My grandmother's Arkansas Barbq chicken, which wasn't really barbecued at all - just baked chicken with Arkansas BBQ sauce on it. But we would go down the street to her house for dinner and walk in and smell it and it was that sharp but sweet vinegar smell and the kitchen was warm and it was so good with a baked potato. Man, I miss her.
3 Tbsp. ketchup
3 Tbsp. Worcestercire Sauce
3 Tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
juice of ½ lemon
½ c. water
¼ c. vinegar
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
Arkansas BBQ Sauce
This recipe is almost identical to my grandmothers except hers also had an onion in it. I still remember the smell as well! My grandmother's rice pudding recipe~easy as anything to put together but difficult for me to get the right consistency...
1/2-3/4 c. cooked rice
1 can evaporated milk
1 can water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar
Mix rice and othe ingredients except for the nutmeg, pour into 4 qt. casserole dish and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake 350, one hour or until almost set.
This makes a very creamy rice pudding and I love it but for some reason ever since my grandmother died, I've had difficulty getting it to come out "perfect."
My mom had a recipe she called Company Chicken she got from an old Panhellenic Cookbook from 1967 or 1968. Wasn't anything super-special - a sauce of orange juice, wine, salt, pepper, tarragon, I think, and as per the era, includes a can of cream of mushroom soup. :-) It was "dressed up" with green grapes or canned mandarin oranges.
She always served it with Orange-Clove Rice...regular white rice simmered in orange juice, water, with a Tbsp. of dried minced onion, 1 cinnamon stick and 10 whole cloves dropped on top after bringing it to a boil and turning down to a simmer. (Cinnamon and cloves were removed after the rice was done.)
As I said - nothing special, but I *still* make Company Chicken and Orange-Clove Rice at least once a year.
Otherwise, it's always meatloaf and mashed potatoes on Christmas Eve night. That became a more recent tradition after my brother, sister and I would have to travel to Mom's and my stepfather's in central PA for Christmas. Mom started making meatloaf because it was a quick put-together meal after she knew when all of us would be arriving. Even after my stepfather passed away almost 10 years ago, if family gets together on Christmas Eve, it's gotta be meatloaf.
This may be sad, but Mac and Cheese. Made with 1/4 c. butter, 1/4 c. skim milk, and a blue and yellow box of nummyness.
My parents cooked often, making very odd things at times, but they were never that good at it. They never screwed up the mac and cheese (or the frozen pizza) and that's what I think of when I think comfort food.
My ultimate comfort food is my moms mac and cheese.... made with a basic white sauce, with a hint of mustard powder, and franks red hot sauce and always old cheddar and old nippy. My mother always used elbow macaroni and topped the whole thing with bread crumbs and butter and more orange cheddar!
Now a days I make this for my family about 2x a month, but I have taken to adding a small can of tomato sauce to replace the cream my mom used, to end up with a nice rose mac n cheese.
Grilled cheese and Campbell's Tomato Soup. I use better bread now (Mom used Wonderbread), but always butter the bread (real butter), put cheddar (she used American) and one other cheese inside, cover it while the first side grills then flip. Always cut it diagonally so I can dip it in the soup. The soup, by the way, is always the condensed and she always used whole milk, not water. When I make it now, I use 2%.
This meal is especially comforting to me because I remember making it for my older sister and dad when my mom was in the hospital after giving birth to my baby sister. I was 6.
It's funny, I made chicken and dumplings a few weeks ago because I was remembering them when I was a kid. Nothing fancy at all - Bisquick dumplings, stewed chicken, and carrots and onions in the broth. Well it wasn't as good as I remembered it. Now if my kids liked them and didn't think the dumplings were totally gross, I might make them more but for now, I think they are better as a memory.
I have some favs from childhood. My aunt and grandmother used to make baked potatoes on the stove in some covered cooking thing. They would rub the skin with butter and add salt. They were the best. My other grandmother was a great old-fashioned German cook but I remember her tuna sandwiches made with Miracle Whip. Oh yeah, she made a great chicken soup with homemade noodles.