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I miss my mom's______dish!

For anyone whose mom (or whoever cooked in your home) is alive or has passed - but dishes they use to make that you now miss...

I've been thinking of this lately as the holidays are coming and my mother always use to cook up a storm...

Though what I mainly, really, really miss, is my mother's macaroni with meat sauce - this is not a meal she use to make for holidays but one of those everyday meals that somehow, even though it's SO easy, I can't seem to duplicate it!! Just elbow macaroni with ground beef, tomato sauce, spices, and Parmesan on top. Cheap, quick, and the most comforting food ever (imho)

How about you?

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  1. braised meats. braised pork belly and pig feet. it's scary chinese, and none of us eat like that these days- mai chai quo zou (pork belly and preserved mustard), fung ziang zou (pork in roasted broken rice, don't know how else to describe it), duck soup and brased pig feet noodles... i love warm weather and fat meats...

    3 Replies
    1. re: jeniyo

      hmm...I cannot imagine ever eating the above but it certainly sounds interesting! And I'm sorry you don't have it!...

      1. re: jeniyo

        Nothing at all scary about the foods you mentioned...I also grew up in an ethnic household and braised meats and meats redolent with fat were the norm. To this day, I really don't enjoy overly lean meat.
        I also couldn't narrow it down to one (or even five) dishes I missed (that is, missed until I learned to make them). But...I guess that the ancient Mongol influence buried in my Hungarian genes makes the "scary Chinese" dishes you describe things that are definitely on my list of dishes to try. They sound absolutely delicious.

        1. re: jeniyo

          Jeniyo, I was going to list exactly what you already did. One positive thing: I just had pork belly + preserved mustard greens for lunch in NYC (can't remember the name of the restaurant, but it was, of all things, a tourist trap). Bizarre afternoon, sitting there and having to attend to an emergency as well as an elderly man fell right outside of the restaurant, not 6 feet away from us (we helped him to a chair and tried not to embarrass him any further as cops and a crowd gathered and gawped). Having that pork belly, though, made me want to try to make it myself. Maybe soon!

        2. her *killer* matzo balls. fortunately she's very much alive & well, but since i'm gluten-free i can't eat them anymore! not looking forward to watching the rest of the family inhale them at Rosh Hashanah dinner in a couple of weeks...

          9 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Would you be so kind to share the recipe for those "killer" matzo balls?? I love this soup so much. I'm not Jewish, but I stumbled on it when I was in my 30s. My mother (passed), from New York would talk about her bestfriend's "bubbie" and how much she loved that soup!

            1. re: chef chicklet

              chicklet, i don't have the recipe, but i can ask her. FWIW, i'm pretty sure she uses Croyden House Matzo Ball Mix, so i just looked it up on the web. as it turns out, the stuff contains MSG, which now explains two things: 1) why they taste so good, and 2) why i was getting migraines every holiday up until a few years ago! oy.

              i've made my own kick-ass matzo balls over the years, so i'd be happy to share a good recipe with you. or i can ask mom if you want her info on the boxed mix (which will likely be easier to make if you don't mind the MSG).

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Not matzo balls, but chicken noodle soup. She's still very much alive and lives nearby but refused to make this anymore and swears she can't remember the recipe. She says she used to make it when she was cooking for 7 and won't do it again. I've tried so many times to duplicate what she did with her broth but no combination of vegetables, herbs and spices can deliver it. Sometimes I'll be doing something and I have a flashback to it and can taste it and smell it but can't make it. We ate it was grated parm and crusty bread. She used dittalini as the pasta.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Oh that would be great! thanks!

                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    which one? mine or mom's?

              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Glad she's alive and well...but sorry you can't have them! Isn't there a gluten free matzo ball somewhere?! My mom passed away 6 years ago and she made lead weight matzo balls, which I loved. Though now when I make matzo balls (only 1x per year) I make them off the back of the Israeli matzo meal can and they come out much better! (sshhh!) :-)

                1. re: lovessushi

                  see, the beauty of my mom's recipe is that they were always "floaters," not "sinkers." i'm not a fan of leaden matzo balls - prefer them slightly dense, but still light & fluffy. and no, sadly, there really isn't any way to make a halfway decent GF matzo ball, because matzo meal is wheat, and the GF oat matzo just doesn't work. boo :( i ended up making my own over the years once i moved away, and they were always excellent if i do say so myself - light, fluffy, with just the right amount of "chew" to them. but there's just something about the memory of my mom's...

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Aahh...I see...

                    Sorry there's no decent GF matzo balls! That's terrible!

                    Well, at least you can have the soup?!

                    And yes, I make pretty ok ones too but somehow the memory of my mom's are just so good!

                    1. re: lovessushi

                      I was just going to say, I bet GHG's mom makes those matzoh balls feather-light! Lovely! My sister married a Jewish man and his mom made lovely matzoh...and brisket....and a knock-you-out rice dish--not a pilaf, oh it was TURKISH rice.. she was a wonderful cook and so happy to feed everyone!

              3. I miss just about everything my mom makes. She has a remarkable talent for making the simplest dishes really flavourful. I especially love her fish chowder, turkey dinner, fruit pies and pancakes. I love to cook with her when we're together but sadly it's not that often because we live in different cities.

                11 Replies
                1. re: ms. clicquot

                  Sounds delicious! Sad that you're so far away from each other...maybe she can send a pie? ;-)

                  1. re: ms. clicquot

                    Then go have a cooking weekend with her. Get the recipes, learn her secrets and share the memories. Believe me, one day you'll get "the call" and you'll wish you had.

                    My mom passed in 1994 and, fortunately, she was a great record keeper. I have every recipe of things she made since my early childhood and a roster of holiday menus she prepared from 1960 through 1993. I appreciate these as much as the photos of same.

                    Ms. Clicquot - go do it!

                    CP

                    1. re: Chefpaulo

                      CP my mom passed in 2003 and I was fortunate too in that she left a record of EVERYTHING...even though somehow much of it doesn't taste the same...she kept a little book going and I always said, oh, why bother...now I know why.

                      Yes, those that are lucky enough to have their moms need to go cook with them asap! :-)

                      1. re: lovessushi

                        Wow! You two are lucky. I will have to get my mom to write hers down, especially her rouladen recipe, and potato salad, German style, which is rather soupy but delicious.

                      2. re: Chefpaulo

                        Actually, I'm very fortunate that she wrote out all of her 'standard' recipes for me when I went to university many years ago. Now I add my own flair to her meatloaf, pancakes, soups, turkey stuffing, etc. and will pass them along to my children, nieces and nephews when the time comes. She also taught me how to make sauces, biscuits and pie crust. However, there's still something special about when mom cooks.

                        Sadly, my grandmother (my father's mother) did not write anything down and we couldn't find much in the few cookbooks she had. She's 92 and her mind has been destroyed by Alzheimer's so her recipes have been lost forever. I wish we'd taken the time to learn them while we still had the chance.

                        1. re: Chefpaulo

                          "Then go have a cooking weekend with her. Get the recipes, learn her secrets and share the memories. Believe me, one day you'll get "the call" and you'll wish you had"

                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                          I just wanted to repeat these words for everyone who still has their Mother...Please go see her...Please call her...Please spend time with her...Please tell her you love her...
                          When you no longer can it will rip your heart out....

                          Don't wait..Don't put it off...Do it today.....The clock is ticking.

                          PS...I miss my Mother's dumplings.....

                          1. re: Uncle Bob

                            P.S. Just read Uncle Bob's admonition - my mom isn't even gone one year and I'm so glad I spent as much time with her as I did. BUT, I miss her terribly, and the clock is ticking. Thanks Uncle Bob.

                            1. re: Uncle Bob

                              Uncle Bob, you are so right! My mom and I are very close and I have copies of most of my favorite recipes (or know how to make them without a recipe from practice). Still, there are things I still need to learn. We all need the reminder, so thank you!

                              One thing my mom makes that I've never even tried to replicate because she does it so beautifully is her apple pie. I've eaten lots of people's apple pies and not one has ever tasted as good as Janey's. So that's on my list to learn! And I need to know where her blackbird is. When I was little, she used to bake the pie with a ceramic blackbird sticking up from the middle of the piecrust with his beak open to let out the steam. No one else's mom ever had a blackbird baked in the pie. It was (and is still!) so cool. :)

                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                My mother used to make a meat and potato pie with a blackbird in the middle holding up the pastry. She was from the North of England and it was a common dish there. It was one of her best dishes. Don't have a recipe unfortunately. She was very good at pastry and I am not. She also used to make home made mincemeat (sweet) pies as well as lemon curd and jam tarts at Christmas. Never got to grips with those either. It's easy to get mincemeat in jars here. At Christmas time they are everywhere, school fairs, friends' houses, grocery stores etc. You can booze them up with brandy. I now prefer light flaky pastry for my mince pies. In fact I like them without any lid at all. I usually just eat the middle and give the pastry to my dog, making sure that she doesn't get any vine fruit.

                              2. re: Uncle Bob

                                Unc Bob that made me get kinda teary... It's true. I get so crazed when my friends 'complain' about having to 'deal with' their Mothers. I have such great memories of my parents (lots of them involve food!! :o) - y'all don't want the pain that comes with regret when it's too late. And don't bitch about the people in your life, in particular when it's Mom or Dad, if I'm around because I'll tell you about yourself...

                                I miss both my parents.
                                I miss the everyday food prepared with love- I can't single out one thing, really. But when Mom made Braciole it was always perfect and amazingly good.
                                When Mom made zeppole (I call 'em ZAPE-la's) -it was Christmas!
                                Mom used to burn the bread-often, and guess what? I miss that smell!!
                                XOX

                                1. re: Uncle Bob

                                  I second the above suggestion - during the year before my grandmother died (she suffered from chronic leukemia, so we were aware her time was limited) - I was lucky enough to be able to visit her once a week and spend the day chatting & cooking...she was Indian, and taught me how to prepare my favorite dishes, like aloo ka paratha and samosas, After she died, I was given her karahi and her spice grinder, which I will treasure always along with the memories...

                            2. My mom's salmon patties. For some reason I can't duplicate it. Also her chop suey, not the real thing but the Jewish version.

                              1. Easy: my mom's pot roast with potatoes, carrots and celery. It was so very simple, but as many times as I've tried it I've never made it exactly like she did.

                                One of my most distinct and wonderful memories is coming home as a kid after playing outside all day, to the smell of her browning salt and peppered beef in Crisco using her torquoise colored Club pot. The meat wasn't fall apart tender but tender enough, and the vegetables had a wonderful caramelization. And the gravy, my God, the gravy!

                                1. Steamed bread pudding. She had standing "orders" to wake me up if I was asleep when the pudding was ready. She passed away 2 years ago, and so did the recipe.

                                  1. It was my grandmother who cooked at my house. I miss her dim sum and her Chinese tamales. I should have learned to make them from her but didn't. I have since learned how to make the tamales and a few types of dim sum from friends and fellow gym workout partners. I always think of my grandmother when I make them.

                                    1. My Mom was not a very good cook overall, but made the best fried chicken and I loved her vegetable soup. She died in 1994 and while there are something she made well and I can replacate (country fried steak, sausage gravy, cabbage rolls) those two things I would love to have just one more time.

                                      1. Uncle's gumbo and chili con carne. Mother's chicken siopao. Bothing passings were completely unexpected so those flavors and exact recipes were lost to time. My grandmother, however, beat the odds so I had plenty of time to collect all her recipes before the time came.

                                        1. Her homemade chili, fresh mint tea from her garden, and her asparagus.
                                          As kids we hated her asparagus, but now we all love it. And we now know
                                          why Mom & Dad never pushed it on us. They saved it for themselves.
                                          She's long gone, but I'd like to discuss that with her someday.

                                          1. I know it sound silly, but I really miss her tuna noodle casserole. With the crushed potato chips on it. She is in Arizona now (I'm in Chicago) and we don't see each other that often - I have been able to duplicate almost everything she cooked but this.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Missy2U

                                              I can actually appreciate that missy, I think it's the silly sounding recipes that I miss the most!

                                              1. re: Missy2U

                                                Missy, it doesn't sound sill at all to me. I haven't had TNC in more than 27 years, as my ex and kids would never eat it. I loved my Moms as well. It was standard, with Campbell's cream of mush soup, tuna, peas, egg noodles and some crushed FF onion rings on top. Perhaps I am just being sentimental? I also miss her tuna patties which she covered with a cream of mushroom soup sauce. No one in my house ever would eat "hot" tuna!

                                              2. My mom's jambalaya, her seven steaks, everything.

                                                1. My mom made a Swiss steak that had no tomatoes at all; she pounded a mixture of flour, dry mustard and S&P into round steak with the edge of a dimestore Jadeite plate (that would go for at least $20 at an antique mall now!), and then browned it and slow-braised it. It made its own gravy, which we ate (usually) on plain boiled potatoes. Delicious, but as it was just something she knew how to do the recipe was never written down. Now that my sister (the Official Guardian of the Recipe Box) has told me that, I'm waiting for cooler weather so that I can experiment...

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                    Will--My mom made Swiss steak too, out of botttom round, cut into 3" servings (which became 4 " with pounding), then salted, peppered floured them, and pounded with the dull edge (back side) of my Grandmother's meat cleaver. Same cooking method as your mom's, one of the only things she made in the GE electric skillet my dad gave her for Christmas one year. Same delicious gravy, and when served over mashed russets put though a ricer, oh...heaven on a plate!

                                                    You can make it without a written recipe. Just keep the seasonings simple and it will basically make itself. When the meat is well-browned in some veg oil, remove from pan, add some water or beef broth, (water works fine) stir up all the delicious bits to melt, add some flour & water shaken together in a small jar , and stir to thicken the juices. The meat goes back in and barely simmers for 45 minutes to an hour till tender.

                                                    Try it-- I know you can do it.

                                                  2. honestly, i'm a better cook than my mom ever was. but then she was a ground breaking doctor at a time when women just did not do that, so......

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: thew

                                                      Christmas is coming. The women on my maternal side of the family were accomplished cooks and bakers. Those three gals put together, "meals to die for," and I hate that phrase. Christmas meant ethnic savories, breads, pastries, everything they did at that time made the winter celebrations and family gatherings events to look forward to. Think kolaches, nut rolls. I don't think anything I've made matches what those girls produced, and I've tried! Maybe I've made their work iconic, but I don't think so.

                                                       
                                                    2. mom was not a great cook, but I miss her beef roast with potatoes and carrots. Ketchup on the roast (which drove her crazy) and butter (well, margarine back then) and pan juices on the potatoes and carrots.

                                                      I have never duplicated that meal.

                                                      1. Among many things, the irreplaceable: her lard pie pastry. The recipe was from a Scottish friend and great baker (whence also her shortbread recipe). It was wonderfully tender and flaky - you could see the layers when you cut into it with your fork. Her hands were always cold and she attributed her success to them. My pastry has never come close to hers.

                                                        1. My mother is still alive and well, but suffered from two brain tumors that were removed surgically leaving her still in a recovering state. She can now walk, speak, and drive, but the nerve damage on the one side of her brain makes it very painful to live and so she cooks, but only once in a while. I really like my mothers cooking and miss her white lasagna. She taught me how to make my trational 10 lb. lasagna, but also would make this white lasagna with chicken, spinach, french cut green beans, a white cheese sauce, and whatever other veggies she had around. She would still use the lasagna noodles and all the same cheeses, but this succulent and comforting lasagna was very good!

                                                          1. My mom is still here so luckily I still get to eat my favorites. The only thing she never makes anymore is macaroni and cheese, which was always my birthday request as a kid. It was great, made from scratch with a crunchy bread crumb-parmesan topping, but I doubt I would appreciate it now.

                                                            The lost dishes I'll speak to were my paternal grandmother's. Ma-Maw was a fantastic cook, but she never used a recipe and never recorded one. When I asked her, she would say, "You just have to watch me, cher."

                                                            She probably had only ten or so meals in her repertoire--she served the exact same meal every Sunday (pot roast, rice and gravy, lemon cake), Monday (red beans and rice), Wednesday (spaghetti and meat sauce made with chopped not ground meat), and Friday (seafood gumbo and fried fish, if my grandfather brought some home) of her adult life. She switched up another six or so meals on the other days. She cooked with very few ingredients and utensils, used a coffee cup and ordinary flatware spoons for measuring. She was immensely proud of a huge Magnalite dutch oven someone gave her as a gift, probably in the early sixties.

                                                            What I think I and her many children and grandchildren miss most is her Sunday "dinner" pot roast because noone can duplicate it. I watched her. Her daughter watched her. My mom watched her.
                                                            She used salt and pepper and garlic to season a chuck roast. She browned it--lightly--in a little oil, added a little water, covered it and cooked it slowly on the stove, adding a little water every so often. That's all. It was spectacularly tender, moist, flavorful. My mom's and my aunt's were always too dark, too dry. Mine always lacks that special flavor, and I always ended up with too much liquid. Once my aunt told me she thought maybe she used a "veal" roast (not white or milk fed veal, but red veal). I have tried different veal roasts. But I never can get it right.
                                                            I can still smell it, but I know I will never taste it again.

                                                            1. My mom rarely cooked (once she found out I was interested in cooking, my parents would pay me 5 bucks to cook dinner for the family), but thankfully she's around. One of the few things she made were these spinach and cheese (maybe cream cheese and parmesan?) crepes. I remember wolfing them down as fast as I could.

                                                              1. this post got me sentimental. My mom is not longer with me, but there are serveral things that I miss. First and foremost her beef stroganoff. I don't make it myself, I think I'm afraid it wont measure up. Like several others she also made a great mac and cheese with ham. Was a wonder with any kind of casserole. And I also always loved when we had breakfast for dinner, with pancakes and bacon

                                                                1. Tuna noodle casserole
                                                                  Tuna rice casserole (with spinach and chopped hard-boiled eggs)
                                                                  Mock duck (butterflied flank steak filled with Pepperidge Farms dressing, rolled, tied, and grilled)
                                                                  Clam chowder (New England style, but she made Manhattan style once and it rocked too)
                                                                  Meatballs- an odd combo of flavors that I haven't had anywhere else- in the later years she would get stoned and make a million teeny tiny ones- they were just as good- served with spaghetti in a bolognese sauce. My sauce is actually much better but i could never touch those meatballs quality-wise
                                                                  Turkey tetrazzini- she didn't make it too often but damn it was good
                                                                  The turkeys my folks used to brine to put in the neighbor's smokehouse when the neighbor sent out word that he was going to fire up the smokehouse

                                                                  And my favorite aunt, Aunt Ginny's, mac and cheese

                                                                  1. I just miss my mom, and would gladly eat anything she ever cooked, including the dreaded dinner of cold leftover roast lamb with pancakes and maple syrup.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                      Ah yes, me too... You know what I miss that I think is gross now...her taco salad...with thousand island dressing (don't ask). But I'd be happy to eat that again with her...just one more time.

                                                                    2. My mother did not cook with any regularity but she made the best bonbons I have ever eaten. Sixty years ago we were living in Argentina with a primitive kitchen and even more primitive groceries, so Mother had no special dipping chocolate and most of the local sugar was gray with pieces of rope in it. She would make the chocolates for Christmas season, which of course in the Southern Hemisphere comes in midsummer. Working on steamy, humid days (bad for candy-making), she made a boiled fondant (first picking the rope out of the sugar) then poured the syrup out on a marble tabletop and worked it with a spatula until it turned creamy and luscious. She got some kind of chocolate from God-knows-where and melted it with paraffin over hot water in a little egg-poaching pan then dipped balls of fondant in it and the resulting bonbons were perfection. With infinitely better equipment and conditions I have never been able to approach the quality of her bonbons.

                                                                      1. There are a couple dishes I miss...

                                                                        My mom's Rabbit...she made the best fried rabbit. The fresher the rabbit the better, she made it just like fried chicken, she would soak the rabbit in buttermilk for 4 to 8 hrs, shake it up in flour and fry it up.

                                                                        Her vension stew was amazing. It would take all day, but so worth the effort!

                                                                        I loved her fried gizzards and gravy, thank goodness she past that down to me, because it just reminds me of home and just good old comfort food.

                                                                        Now I really miss my grandmother's Black Magic Cake!

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                                                          I'm missing my mom after reading all of this! She's 3,000 miles away, but she's coming to visit at the end of the month. She's not the most stellar cook, it was my grandma who was incredible in the kitchen. And my great-aunt Ree - she made this ice cream Jello mold for every holiday and it was always my favorite part of the meal. Funny thing is I HATE Jello, but I loved that dessert. I do miss my dad's turkeys, though - they're awesome. He smokes them or something - I've never tasted anything like it. And he's so methodical about it - he has a special apron he wears when he's making them, it's hysterical.

                                                                          lovessushi - My husband always talks about his mom's taco salad. It sounds vile - ranch dressing and processed cheese of some sort - but he swears it was the best thing ever. He's also obsessed with her rice pudding. I've tried making it, but I think everything tastes better when mom makes it.

                                                                          I'm really hungry now.

                                                                          1. re: MPJ

                                                                            MPJ yes, it is both disgusting and delicious all at the same time!

                                                                        2. My mother never learned how to cook, and my stepmother couldn't cook worth squat. But my grandmother... oh, she is the one whose cooking I REALLY wish I could taste again. I miss her aspics (yes, they were really good!), her steamed carrot pudding with hard sauce, and her lemon angel pie. I think about her every time the holidays roll around, and remember the way everything revolved around her kitchen creations.

                                                                          1. My mom makes an amazing beef brisket in a tomato-based sauce, noodle kugel, and a lot of great eggplant dishes (her side of the family is Romanian). I still get to eat some of the stuff when I visit my mom, but as she's getting older, she doesn't cook as much. I really should learn how to make those dishes myself...

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Gigi007

                                                                              Do it before it's too late!

                                                                            2. My mom did not do much well in the kitchen (which is why I learned to cook!), but god was her chicken and rice dish amazing. A full chicken on rice with some sort of herbs the nature of which I have never figured out. The fat plumped up the rice. Very simple; VERY good. it was the first meal I got each time I came home from university.

                                                                              My SO has worked for years to replicate it and has come pretty close. I think the "mom" factor is the only thing she can't recreate...but mostly I miss my mom who suffers from Alzheimers :-(. Now I am teary...geez!

                                                                              1. My mother is still here, but has Parkinsons and no longer can cook.

                                                                                Fortunately I did spend time over the years learning many of her dishes. I never did learn her lemon meringue pie. I was intimidated with baking initially, later I just was more interested in using my calories for meals instead of sweets. But her pie, taught to her by the housekeeper in Tupelo who was employed by her parents for years and years while they tended store, was truly amazing. I'm visiting her now, so this is a great nudge to ask her about it and see if she wrote anything down.

                                                                                I have been trying to cook "her" dishes for family gatherings when I visit. She was a very good cook and progressive for her time and location. I made her matzoh ball soup last Friday. She directed, I chopped, brought the cutting board to her bed for her to approve...I like my soup recipe better, but everyone was happy having hers! And she enjoyed being able to cook by proxy! The plus side of her condition is that my father (an excellent but seldom active) cook is really shining and developing a decent rotation of quick meals.

                                                                                While it is difficult to see a disease take away so many aspects of a person, it does create a situation where all of us have become more actively aware of appreciating our time together.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: meatn3

                                                                                  Nice story, and a reminder that when one door closes, we need to push through the crack in another.
                                                                                  Was it the crust of your mother's pie that was special? The other components? I ask because my mom often made killer lemon meringue pies. Her crust was nothing special, but it was her filling and meringue that I can't quite duplicate. I know she always said not to make meringue when it is humid (which is funny because it is almost always humid here!)

                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                    Her crust sounds like your mothers! Her filling was very tart and smooth as silk. The meringue was light as can be, never any of the sugar crunch that I've experienced in other pies. I've heard the humidity rule too. My mother spent all but 3 years of her life in Miss., Alabama or Florida - and certainly didn't have air conditioning all of those years!

                                                                                    As a child I loved when the little golden dew drops formed on the meringue - I thought they were magic pearls and could make wishes come true.

                                                                                    My grandparents housekeeper gave my mother such a gift of cooking skills. My grandmother was of the" boil everything until all components are the same shade of gray" school of thought. She also just had no interest in food except as fuel. If she had been the primary cooking influence I shudder to think of the meals I might have grown up with!

                                                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                                                      Mention of the "golden dew drops" has me all choked up. My mom also made a wonderful lemon meringue pie - and butterscotch cream pie, an almost forgotten delight - and her meringue always got these. Which made her mad. but they tasted good.

                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                        Wow, this turned into quite a thread! Speaking of dessert...my mom use to make this incredible fudge...with marshmallow fluff and chocolate chips. It was SO good!! Mind you this was in the early-mid 1980's when she use to give a few chips to the pan and a few chips to the dog...I know this is a complete no-no now-a-days but the dog was always healthy, lived till a nice old age, and no problem. Now I'd never dare to...but anyway...

                                                                                        1. re: lovessushi

                                                                                          I know this is an old thread, but something happened last night that reminded me of it.

                                                                                          I made a beautiful vanilla bean rice pudding - it's seriously divine - and I thought my husband would be really excited because he reminisces now and then about how much he enjoyed rice pudding growing up. So I serve him a little ramekin full of pudding, and he looks at it - sniffs it - and takes a tiny bite.

                                                                                          Me: Well?
                                                                                          DH: It's good! It's really good - it's just - different.
                                                                                          Me: Different.....how?
                                                                                          DH: It's not like my mom's.
                                                                                          Me: What's your mom's recipe like?
                                                                                          DH: It's the one on the can of evaporated milk.

                                                                                          I've been devouring bowlfuls of my pudding all morning, and while I think he enjoyed it, I know he likes his mom's better. I'm thinking about buying a can of evaporated milk next week and just making that for him - everything tastes better when it's made like mom's!

                                                                                2. My dad's buttercream frosting--no powdered sugar! Rather, it uses copious amounts of butter and cooked vanilla (or chocolate, depending on the flavor) pudding (he insists on Dr. Oetker). Dad's an engineer, but his father was a pastry chef, so he learned this as a child (when his dad and siblings used to bake things on the side or under the table to earn a little extra money after the war). Dad is very much alive (and marvelously, wonderflly healthy) but he doesn't make tortes like this anymore. His tortes looked absolutely amazing--I can't replicate his piping skills--though the spongecake base to me was just a vehicle for that faboo frosting, so buttery, rich, smooth, and not at all overly sweet. I've asked him for the recipe, but (especially for an engineer) he doesn't report exact amounts. Will have to ask again when I visit the folks over Christmas--maybe he needn't make a torte, just a bowlful of the frosting!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                                    I have custard-based buttercream recipe and sponge from an Austrian baker. if you' d like it. Traditionally, sponge cake is used not too sweet or rich on it's own, as the filllings and coatings are the 'stars' of those desserts.

                                                                                    Let me know and I'll post it. I'd get him to give you a 'present' of piping lessons. It's an 'art' and takes some practice, but is fun!

                                                                                  2. Boy - Where do I start?

                                                                                    Home made bread. My mom raised 10 kids and Mondays were bread baking days, for the week. Coming home from school on a wintry bitter cold day and coming into the closed in porch and the yeasty aroma and warmth would hit you and make your mouth water. Accompanied by home made butter. mmmmm . . . . .

                                                                                    Baked pot roast with root veggies that she would put dumplings on top, was a huge favorite.

                                                                                    Fried chicken only on Sundays.

                                                                                    NOBODY. EVER. Has achieved her pie crusts. Another after school treat from the scraps that were sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and baked. She made hers w/ lard.

                                                                                    Gnadle (I don't know the spelling and I don't know anyone that's ever made them outside of the immediate family). Unyeasted dough, boiled, fried in lard with sauerkraut. I've made this more than once but I'm thinking it's the lard that's missing.

                                                                                    My son always requests her chocolate chip cookies, but I haven't figured out why they're so special, other than I rarely made cookies when he was growing up. . . And she was more than willing to bake for her grandson.

                                                                                    One sis has come close to the bread and another has accomplished the fried chicken.

                                                                                    Mom still cooks but not like she did and even tho I've gotten the recipes, I've not been able to recreate them. Of course, the recipes give amounts like "some but not a lot" and "just till it looks right" . . . Ha! . . .maybe it's the lard factor . . .

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: JerryMe

                                                                                      My mom's still around, but I miss her Vietnamese cooking. She only cooks traditional Vietnamese cuisine around Tet now & I crave all the good stuff all year round. She never taught her kids how to cook Vietnamese because she wanted all of us to be "American," which I think is a real shame now that I'm older. My grandmother, who passed away in 2007, used to make my favorite cookies called "kid fillers." They're basically crunchy spiced molasses cookies & I have the coveted original recipe, which I only make at Christmas (like she did). The big difference is now I make them & get all emotional cause they make me miss her.

                                                                                    2. How about Grandma's dishes? I miss my Grandma's chicken pot pie (the PA dutch kind with the thick noodles), stuffed cabbage rolls and swiss steak. She was such a great cook. I try to make these recipes about once a year, but they are never as good as hers were.

                                                                                      1. Sand tarts.

                                                                                        Very very flat, thin, round sugar cookies, tops shiny with egg wash, a single black walnut in the middle.

                                                                                        You have to make them ahead and let them cure out on the screen porch for a couple weeks so they get the right amount of bendy in the middle.

                                                                                        Mine still aren't like my grandmother's. I think I have the wrong kind of screens on my porch.

                                                                                        1. I didn't know it until I left home but my mother had a knack for boring and bland food (I never knew I actually liked salad until I left hom). So it is very, very surprising to say that she made (and still makes) the most delicious lasagne. Not bad for a Welsh woman with absolutely no Italian influence. We only used to get it about once a year when we were growing up as it was such a time consuming process, but oh it was heavenly. I have tried many, many lasagnes since and now I no longer bother as not one has matched up to my mothers - not even the old Italian nonna's who I have been priviliged enough to eat with. And fruit mince pies, my mother makes amazing mince pies. She certainly has a knack for pastry that I have never, ever developed.

                                                                                          1. My mother's eggplant parmesan. She did the dipping in egg and flour and fried in olive oil. So good. I do it the lazy way, no dipping in anything and bake in the oven.

                                                                                            1. Mom's scalloped potatoes. Simple ingredients: russets sliced VERY thin, light dusting of flour between layers, butter, and Carnation evaporated milk, salt and pepper.
                                                                                              Hers always developed the best crusty top, my favorite part. Nice and creamy, too. M-m-m-m.

                                                                                              Mom was a simple cook, having grown up in a traditional English household, which meant boiling everything. In her later years she went back to community college for an AA degree in Food Service, so learned some basic classic recipes, and the correct way to cook green vegetables! She bloomed into a chowhound in her 60's and became as adventurous an eater as anyone I know.

                                                                                              Mom's scalloped potatoes, pan-roasted potatoes, potato salad and frenched green beans were some of her signature dishes, sure to please. And her Meyer Lemon Chiffon Pie--oh, oh, oh! She fed my brothers' ravenous teenaged friends wholesome dinners they never seemed to get at home. Funny how they'd always turn up to "visit" my brothers right at dinnertime! My dad would always shout at the opening door:
                                                                                              "C'mon in...We were going to throw it out to the pigs anyway!" To which my mom would chide" "oh Tom!" because they heard it every single time. Stop me if I've told this story before here!

                                                                                              1. My mom wasn't a great cook, and she didn't make many Bolivian dishes, but somehow everything she made, unintentionally, tasted Bolivian - spaghetti, stews, anything - even while not being actual Bolivian dishes. But maybe if a Bolivian cooks it, it is Bolivian?? Anyway, I miss her something terrible.

                                                                                                1. Is there anyone else who has a soft tingle
                                                                                                  for Depression-era Moms who served up chipped beef,
                                                                                                  on toast, AKA Shit on a Shingle?

                                                                                                  She was accustomed way back in her youth to dried meat
                                                                                                  that was chipped formed rolled extruded then thin sliced.
                                                                                                  Dry as shoe leather,
                                                                                                  but yet thin as a wafer,
                                                                                                  it would store through hot weather.
                                                                                                  She held all her years to appeal of that treat.

                                                                                                  Her classic presentation
                                                                                                  was but small variation
                                                                                                  on what all marching armies have served:

                                                                                                  Gravy of white flour, unspiced, unadorned,
                                                                                                  into which sheets off chipped beef were pulled small and then torn
                                                                                                  and delivered on slabs of coarse hunks of toast.

                                                                                                  We used fork and knife to cut through the bloat
                                                                                                  of this glistening castle of creamed beefiness.

                                                                                                  It stood like a mound on the hard crunchy toast
                                                                                                  dripping and oozing,
                                                                                                  but beef angles protruding
                                                                                                  the saltiness all ever over exuding

                                                                                                  We were fed.
                                                                                                  We were happy.
                                                                                                  Our burps intermingled.
                                                                                                  There's no need to denigrate that dish
                                                                                                  as shit on a shingle.

                                                                                                  1. Home-made black walnut ice cream. I fear I shall never taste it again.