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Nostalgic Recipes

What are the recipes that take you back to a special place in your life? How long has it been since you've made it/them?

For me one of them would be cod fish cakes. Reminds me of summers in my great aunt's kitchen in Maine in the 50s. I made them once many years ago and my family --one and all and after I'd soaked and soaked dried cod -- decided they were vile and I was nutz... Oh well. They're still special to me. ;>

Then there were my great aunt's cakey date-filled cookies. Alas! I don't even have a recipe for those.

Another is good old tuna casserole with cream of mushroom soup and topped with crushed potato chips. That's my childhood! Mom wasn't much of a cook and that was the era of convenience foods. But I still have to make a tuna casserole every once in a while just because nothing tastes like those salty potato chips stirred into the fishy ragu.

Finally, there's homemade bread. My great aunt made a loaf of bread every other day *before* she went off to work at the university. She made a lovely basic white bread that she shaped in large balls. Then she put two of them into a bread pan and baked what came out looking like a soft brown tush. I still make bread in her memory all the time. Not so much white bread and none of the tush bread but I always hope mine will make my house smell as good and be as satisfying and make a memory for my kids.

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  1. My grandmother's meat loaf. I'm sure it was nothing special speaking from a culinary standpoint, but it was special to me. I never thought to get the recipe from her.

    Everything else from childhood is something I cooked. It's hard to work up nostalgia for your own cooking, LOL!

    1. Yeah, codfish cakes! Only mine were GORTON'S canned codfish cakes--no longer made. But I loved them.
      When I think of childood food (1950s) I get memories of jelly omelets and carrot-raisin salad. Still like 'em both!
      I remember waiting HOURS for hard boiled eggs to cook (to dye). I was truly astonished to learn as an older kid that it only took 10 minutes.
      My dad once made a "marble" cake with swirls of pale pink and blue colored batter (in white) for my birthday.
      It was a strange and wonderful thing to learn how to eat artichoke leaves!
      Curry--or anything spicy over rice--seemed exotic--now I suppose what I had was not too authentic. (Though curry powder is actually a British invention, not Indian?)
      I learned that Limburger cheese smells bad but tastes wonderful--to this day I love stinky stinkier stinkiest cheese.
      Rare visits to German Grandma in New York--sweet sour red cabbage! And she sent fancy anise-flavored cookies at Christmas--they were whitish, not brown like the cookies I knew.
      But pretty much I lived right smack in the center of Minute Rice and Betty Crocker cake mixes and Wonder Bread (and cigarettes too!) Ain't it a shame! I'm catching up little by little.

      8 Replies
      1. re: blue room

        I wouldn't have bet a thin dime that someone else would think fondly of codfish cakes. ;>

        My husband still loves carrot and raisin salad. Have to make it for him frequently.

        Have you got a good recipe for red cabbage? I think this Ruth Reichl one is great.

        Braised Red Cabbage

        • 1 medium-sized head red cabbage (3 1/2 lb.), quartered, cored and thinly sliced
        • 1/4 pound bacon (about 4 slices), chopped
        • 1 tablespoon butter
        • 2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
        • 1 Granny Smith or other tart apple, peeled, cored, cut into eighths and thinly sliced
        • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
        • 3 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
        • 1 tablespoon salt
        • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

        Rinse the cabbage under cold water, then drain; do not pat dry.

        Cook bacon in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until crisp, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add butter to bacon fat, increase heat to moderate, and add onions (I also added a tart apple that I had peeled, cut into eighths, cored and then sliced thin). Cook, stirring until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in cabbage, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, and pepper, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender, about 1 1/4 hours.

        Sprinkle cabbage with bacon just before serving.

        1. re: rainey

          You'd have lost that dime. There *must* be a way to combine mild fish with mashed potato and fry 'til golden and have it come out nice, not vile.

          As for red cabbage, I use this from Patricia Wells:

          2 tablespoons butter or lard
          2 medium onions, thinly sliced
          1 red cabbage (about 2 pounds)
          1/2 teaspoon salt
          1/2 teaspoon sugar
          4 apples--(no mention of tart or sweet) peeled, cored, sliced thin
          4 whole cloves, stuck into 4 quarters of another onion
          1/2 cup good-better-best red wine vinegar (hah! I've got what I've got!)
          about 3 cups dry red wine (seems like a lot, but it's goood in the end!)
          This all gets braised--the sliced onions first. She says:
          "Never blanch or cook red cabbage in boiling water, or all the bright red color will end up in the cooking water. If you don't braise the cabbage, as in this recipe, use it raw, grated, or sliced for salads."
          Braise over very low heat for about 2 hours. The cabbage should be very soft and almost all liquid absorbed. We love it.

          1. re: blue room

            Well, it *is* nice to me! They just don't get the attraction of soaking something that looks like tree bark until you can fry it all golden brown. I guess it's a good thing we're not Scandinavian and have to eat lutefisk...

            1. re: rainey

              Ugh! Lutefisk - the OTHER white glop! LOL!

            2. re: blue room

              << You'd have lost that dime. There *must* be a way to combine mild fish with mashed potato and fry 'til golden and have it come out nice, not vile. >>

              Actually, the Portuguese do it very well. I make a fried codfish ball that is very tasty, of course you have to add a little garlic, onion and parsley to the fish and potato to make it yummy.

              1. re: NE_Elaine

                I've seen another Portuguese dish that was codfish braised in tomatoes and vegetables. Looked wonderful to me but I've passed on it since my family is so negative about dried cod and it's the distinctive flavor of dried cod that appeals to me.

                1. re: rainey

                  You can make those dishes - there's a ton of variations - with fresh cod too, and they're very good. My basic Mediterranean Fish Thing is potatoes, onions, peppers (I use poblanos because Mrs. O can't stand sweet ones), tomatoes and fish, with the ingredients cooked or not, fried or boiled, and with or without wine, garlic, smoked paprika and/or saffron. And maybe a handful of olives. I usually start these things on the stovetop and finish them in the oven, as they would be done by old granny ladies on a Greek island or Catalonian shore. Hey, it's just food, and it's damn good.

                2. re: NE_Elaine

                  We eat them when in Brazil. Yummy snack.

          2. Shredded carrot/raisin/pineapple salad rings my nostalgia-bell. Definitely the tuna casserole, which I still make about twice a year, either in Winter or when I'm a bit down. My Grandma Mimi's oven brisket, and her "cheese dreams", which were basically blintz filling spooned into tiny muffin cups lined with pie pastry, served with strawberry or sour cherry preserves and sour cream.

            1. Growing up in the 60's, my mother made pan seared pork chops which she put in a casserole dish & topped with Campbell's condensed tomato soup, sliced onions & green bell peppers. It was finished in the oven and she got the recipe on the side of the soup can. She still makes the recipe and I only eat it at her house. When I was a kid & got sick, I'd have a bowl of Campbell's chicken noodle soup and cinnamon toast, which was bread lightly toasted, spread with softened butter which had sugar & cinnamon mixed in. It was the best combination. I don't buy canned soups because I love soup making but I do have a can squirreled away for emergencies & since you bought up nostalgia, I might have to dig it out..

              My folks were southern born & raised so I grew up eating a lot of goodies. My grandmother, who raised her own food was a master of any ingredient she put her hands on. She made biscuits a couple times a day...no measuring of anything, she just mixed up everything and they came out light and perfect everytime. Paired with some crispy fried fat back & home made peach preserves, I think it was the best thing I ever ate. What I wouldn't give to sit at her table and eat one more of her meals.

              The only thing I remember my father cooking was a pot of great northernn beans with ham hocks; he was the one to make the beans in my house and he did it well. Even now, whenever I make those beans, it reminds me of him. Thanks for the memories!

              1. I too was quite fond of Tuna casserole topped with crushed potato chips. Haven't had it in years though. Peg Bracken's "I Hate to Cook Book" from the sixties produced several recipes that I still make today. My all time favorite of hers is Pedro's Specials. Basically it's a quick chili served with Fritos, diced onions, and shredded cheese on a bed of chopped lettuce. (The original Taco salad.) MMM!!! But, the grandaddy of them all is the Pillsbury Bake-Off winner from 1962....Candy Bar Cookies. The top prize money was only $25,000 back then. Have the original copy that was printed Feb. 1962 in Parade, very torn and tattered now. These cookies are fantastic and have been made every year for Christmas in my family since '62. Nostalgic is the first thing that comes to my mind when making these cookies. That and me helping my Mom make them!

                1. I'm Vietnamese so my nostalgia food is won tons because me, my mom, my cousin and my sister would all be inolved making it. One person putting the filling in, one person doing the egg wash, one person folding and one person frying. The other thing that brings back memories is the Vietnamese sticky rice that's square shaped with pork and mung bean paste inside. It brings back big family New Year's celebrations.

                  1. My grandmother would make ravioli, particularly for Easter dinner. She had no mixer and no pasta attachment -- just a rolling pin and her hands. My job was to seal the ravioli with a fork and to carry them on my outstretched hands to her bed where a clean tablecloth had been spread. Nothing is/was more delicious to me than that cheese ravioli filling -- fresh ricotta mixed with eggs, parsley and romano cheese.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: roxlet

                        Ahhhh, the clean white cloth - I had almost forgotten about that. I remember it spread out on the bed in the spare room, covered with basil and oregano from the garden. We lived in New England, and my grandmother used to dry her herbs for use in the winter. That smell of dried basil still takes me back to the '40's!!!

                      2. My favorite thing to do with my mother growing up was canning. We would spend days in the kitchen canning tomatoes and salsa and all manner of other deliciousness from the garden, and she always made a pot of green beans and potatoes, which would simmer away on the back burner while we peeled and chopped and stirred. Bacon, onions, cubed potatoes, and fresh green beans, cooked for a couple of hours or until we had time to eat it. It's one of those things that became more than the sum of its parts. Truly delicious.

                        I haven't had it in a couple of years and I want to go make it right now! :)

                        1. Ketchup fried rice topped with a fried egg (what mom made when I got a "gold star" in grade school)

                          Congee with Chinese dried pork floss and pickled soysauce cucumbers (this was my "get well" meal after a bout of flu, cold, etc.)

                          Hot dog wrapped in a slice of white bread (pref. Wonder bread) (what my grandma made for me as an after-school snack)

                          Chef Boyardee ravioli over white rice (college all-nighters)

                          Fried Spam sandwich with two slices of American Cheese (college all-nighters).

                          1. I don't think I'd ever eat it now, but I have such fond memories of a lunch my mom used to make. It was white sliced bread with mayonaise and ground beef on it toasted in the oven just long enough to hold it all together. The other one is boiled peanuts from the side of the road stands in Florida as a kid, but I make them at home now, so it's a regular on my list of things I eat.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Sisyphus

                              What an unusual sandwich!

                              I lived in Florida briefly. I heard soooo much about boiled peanuts I had to try it when I found raw peanuts at the grocery store. Don't know if I didn't do it right or if it's something you have to grow up with to appreciate. But I fully get that it's a much loved thing and I bet it would be nostalgic for many.

                              Do you live in a place where you can't get raw peanuts now? I've never seen them outside that market in FL.

                            2. Tuna casserole is a given - Mom's was just tuna, Cream of Mushroom soup and noodles, no topping at all, whereas I stir in an egg and some frozen baby peas and top it with cheese. There were some other favorites of hers I've never made - "porcupine" meatballs; her "goulash" (I'm sure from a soup-can label) made with hamburger, bacon, kidney beans and tomato soup, and served over noodles; a baked hamburger dish of two big patties with mustard and sliced onion between them; her version of Swiss steak with flour and dry mustard pounded into round steak, which was then browned and braised; her hot dogs stuffed with leftover mashed potato, topped with those damned pimentos she liked so much. Her potato salad I do make, and have posted its recipe several times; I'd love to do the Swiss steak, but it's not in her old recipe box, nor in the BH&G looseleaf cookbook. I guess I could re-invent it; it was delicious.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Will Owen

                                Yeah, why did Swiss steak and and Salisbury steak disappear? They were great comforting meals.

                                Takes me back. ;>

                                1. re: rainey

                                  I don't think Salisbury steak disappeared, it just sorta got subsumed into mass-produced Mystery Meat. One reason I think that is that when our USAF chow hall would have Salisbury steak on the menu, Mystery Meat was what the guys would call it, or any other kind of preformed-patty meat product, whether breaded or naked.

                                  I got so lost in nostalgia after posting to this thread this morning that I went and got the wherewithal for one of Mom's best combos, my alltime favorite summer meal: molded gelatin tuna (or salmon) loaf, served with a casserole of creamed new potatoes and peas. We need to go feed my mom-in-law this evening, and I figured I'd pass a tradition along while I was at it...

                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    I never, ever thought I'd see molded gelatin salmon loaf here, but glad I did! I remember it well! Mom wasn't a master of innovation, so hers was always made with lemon jello...

                              2. My mom always made us a noodle dish when we were sick. It has totally become my comfort food.

                                You boil teeny tiny seed noodles until tender, drain and pour into a serving dish that had a bullion cube crushed into a HUGE glob of margarine (we thought it was butter) stir until the bullion is fully melted and serve!

                                Even though they were chicken flavored, we called them Hot Buttered Noodles.

                                1. my mom really didn't cook at all, nor did my nanny, but some things that stick out...

                                  chicken divan - layered in a casserole loaf dish - cooked broccoli, cooked chicken, pour over cream of chicken soup (reduced fat) mixed with reduced fat or full fat mayo and sour cream; sprinkled with bread crumbs on half (i didn't like them), then baked... no cheese.

                                  pastina with butter and parmesan

                                  salmon croquettes - didn't really like em, but now i make my own version that are MUCH better and remind me of childhood

                                  potato knishes -- only, they were the blue box (Mrs. Cohen's) - i wish i knew how to make these from scratch with that oddly chewy crust...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Emme

                                    Thanks for bringing back the memory. I didn't eat them either so when my mother would make them she would also make tuna croquettes for me.

                                  2. Homemade bread - my great-grandmother

                                    Chicken and dumplings (flat dumplings, NOT fluffy) - my grandmother. This was my most favourite food when I was a really little girl, so my grandmother always made it for us to have the first night we would arrive for a visit. They often butchered their own chickens and she always made sure that I got the heart when the chicken and dumplings were served. I don't care for the other chicken organs and rarely see hearts in the birds available for purchase in our local markets. A couple of years ago I was quite surprised to find one in the bag with the giblets. Instead of roasting the chicken, I made chicken and dumplings.

                                    Étouffée - my mom. Made with either crawfish or shrimp. Still one of my all-time favourite dishes.

                                    Canning tomatoes - my grandmother. We did this every summer at her house, and I still can tomatoes every summer.

                                    Shrimp boil - my grandmother.

                                    I make all of these things. But I haven't done a shrimp boil in several years. My grandmother had a large pot (sort of the size of a water bath canner) that she used to boil the shrimp, new potatoes and corn. When everything was done, she'd drain off the liquid and dump the contents of the pot in the middle of her big round table that had been covered with layers of newspaper. Everyone had a paper grocery bag beside their chair to hold shrimp shells and corncobs. Oh, those were good eats! I inherited that pot and I really ought to do a shrimp boil again.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: decolady

                                      That sounds like the South -- a world away from my childhood experiences. Thanks for sharing it.

                                      1. re: rainey

                                        Hey, thanks for starting the topic. I've gotten really hungry for all those things, just listing them here. I grew up in Louisiana and my grandfather grew a huge garden as well as scuppernongs, muscadines, plums, pears, apples, pomegranates, and figs. We ate like kings, though we didn't realize it at the time.

                                        Bread: As much as my Mom and I have tried, we haven't been able to duplicate the exact way my great-grandmother made it. We've got the recipe (and it's very good), but I think over the years she must've made a few changes that she never wrote down.

                                        1. re: decolady

                                          "We ate like kings, though we didn't realize it at the time."

                                          Us too. Poor as church mice, but we always sat down to homemade bread and something from the garden.

                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                            Oh, I'll third that!

                                            My family in Maine lived on not very much money. But they lived very well. They did it by living in a house that my great grandfather built by hand that had no mortgage. A lovely two-story house with covered porches (piazzas, they called them) that spanned the front and the side of the house.

                                            My grandfather hunted and fished for meat. He grew a garden from which they got their fresh veggies and beans in the summer. My great aunt canned what they needed for the cold months. They dried the beans and feasted on them all year. My great aunt made their bread, cookies and cakes (but she made tough crusts and took merciless teasing about them -- if only she'd known that the flour and technique for bread and pastry are so different!). They bought groceries, but not often.

                                            My great grandmother and my aunt crocheted intricate white cotton table cloths and bed covers when they were stuck inside in the winter. They had an organ with which they entertained themselves. And a huge, huge kitchen with a cast iron stove (that had been converted to burn gas) that warmed it and a daybed and a couple rocking chairs and an old cathedral radio so that they could stay warm and socialize during the days. The food that came out of that kitchen was basic but there was no better food on the planet. And I MEAN that! Everything was fresh or lovingly preserved. Everything was flavorful and memorable.

                                            It was a different way of life. I'm sure they felt the financial pinch in a way I never was aware of when I was young, But there didn't seem to be anxiety or pressure. I guess that's what nostalgia is...

                                            1. re: rainey

                                              What beautiful memories you have! Thank you for sharing them.

                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                Yup! That's why food is so important to me despite the fact that I grew up in the 50s when convenience food and mindless cooking became the standard and my mother was a completely lackluster cook.

                                    2. my grandmother's Thanksgiving stuffing. i can't eat it anymore because of the gluten, and i think the last time i made it was for Thanksgiving dinner about 5 years ago - my younger sister came out to spend the holiday with me, and i promised her i'd make it :)

                                      dessert in our house was always store-bought, so there are no childhood recipes for that.
                                      now that i think about it, they're all really holiday dishes - noodle kugel, matzo brei, matzo ball soup, brisket...and of all of those, the only one i can still eat is brisket!

                                      my friends were always obsessed with mom's chicken salad - many a case of late-night munchies was satisfied at our kitchen island with that chicken salad and a toasted bagel or pita...but i had to laugh when an old college friend emailed me last year requesting the recipe: poach boneless, skinless chicken breasts in water to cover with 2 packets of George Washington Seasoning (hello, MSG!); drain, cube, and mix with mayo, salt & pepper.

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        Oh my goodness. I've got a recipe that call for G. Washington seasoning mix. Haven't made it in years - Walnut Roast. It's a vegetarian main dish that was on the box of Special K back in the 70s maybe. I'm sure it was changed by the time I got it, but it has walnuts, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, eggs, GW brown seasoning, and of course, the Special K. I'd be afraid to try to figure out the nutritional content of it now. LOL.

                                        1. re: decolady

                                          yikes ;)

                                          i should have specified *golden* seasoning for the chicken salad. the stuff is still around...

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Some of my long-ago vegetarian friends used GW a lot, it seems. As I recall one of them made a vegetarian scrambled egg substitute using tofu and GW golden.

                                          2. re: decolady

                                            What is George Washington seasoning mix? Never heard of it in the North East or the West Coast. Never encountered it in FL either for that matter.

                                            1. re: rainey

                                              Went to see if I could find any still in my pantry and sure enough, there was one box. It comes in individual foil packets (about the size of a sugar packet). 8 packets/box. The mixture itself is a brownish powder (or yellow for the golden flavour).

                                              "G. Washington's Rich Brown Seasoning and Broth
                                              AS A BROTH: To make a hot broth, just empty contents of foil packet into a 6 oz cup, add boiling water and stir.
                                              AS A SEASONING: G.Washington's imparts a unique hearty flavour to many foods. Ideal for use with beef, pork, stews, gravies, soups, pasta dishes, and vegetables. It can also be sprinkled over salad greens, into salad dressings and mixed with stuffings and sandwich fillings.

                                              Ingredients: Salt, Monosodium Glutamate, Malto-Dextrin, Onion Powder, Caramel (Colour), Spices, Disodium Guanylate and Disodium Inosinate.
                                              Calories (per packet): 5
                                              Total Fat: 0 gm
                                              Sodium: 1060 gm (44% of Daily Value*)
                                              Total Carbohydrate: Less than 1 gm
                                              Protein: 0 gm
                                              *Percent Daily Values are based on 2,000 calorie diet.

                                              ©International Home Foods
                                              Distributed by International Home Foods, Inc.
                                              Parsippany, NJ 07054.
                                              Made in the U.S.A."

                                              Who knew? I never read the directions, only ever used it in Walnut Roast. And the only place I have ever seen it for sale around here was in the local health food store. (Does that seem like an oxymoron?) Oh, and the name and logo is G Washington's, in the style of George Washington's signature. No first name, just the initial.

                                              I remember it came in the golden and rich brown flavours (with coordinating colours on the boxes). It seems like there may have been a box with green on it, too, but I don't recall that flavour.

                                              1. re: decolady

                                                Wow. How interesting.

                                                Thanks so much for typing that all out.

                                              2. re: rainey

                                                Oh, gosh. My aunt in Brooklyn always had G. Washington in the cupboard. She couldn't cook worth a hang but she sprinkled the powder over her one big dish - desiccated London Broil. It wasn't meant to be desiccated but overcooked was the only way she knew how to cook meat. My first recipe for knaidlach came from their packet. That was before I got a good recipe and learned how to cook.

                                                My grandmother's chopped liver is my favorite memory. I make a very good version but I don't think my daughter's memory of watching me feed broiled liver into the KitchenAid meat grinder will be quite the same as my memory of watching my grandmother chop it by hand in her big wooden bowl.

                                                The Spouse has fond memories of the classic tuna casserole with a can of mushroom soup and frozen peas. No one else in the house will touch the stuff so he makes it for himself when I'm out of town.

                                                1. re: rockycat

                                                  that's a sweet visual. < hubby's casserole.
                                                  my husband does similar thing with M&C and beefaroni.
                                                  when I'm gone it's amazing how the cans and boxes end up in the pantry.
                                                  he makes the blue box stuff from directions.
                                                  then opens a can of beefaroni.
                                                  gets out a big bowl and puts contents of both in the bowl, stirs to combine, plates it, nukes if it's not hot enough, then eats.
                                                  makes a great take along for boat trip dinners.

                                                  1. re: rockycat

                                                    My mother had a meat grinder that hooked on the side of the counter, a hand cranked device. I remember her 'feeding' hard-boiled egg and onion into the thing and stuffing the cooked liver down, pushing it all through with a wooden 'plunger.' Why didn't I save that?

                                                    1. re: rockycat

                                                      Any chance of your sharing your mother's tayglach recipe?
                                                      I have been dying to try and make it at home.

                                              3. I don't have much to get nostalgic for from my childhood in food terms. My dad worked away and my mother worked full time, hated cooking and was freakishly obsessed with her weight, which in combination made for very bland, boring food. But as I pondered deeply about what I miss I did remember something.

                                                My wonderful grandmothers Welsh cakes.

                                                I used to spend a lot of time with my grandmother as a girl, we lived far away from everywhere and there were no other children nearby, so I filled my time by talking with my grandmother. I remember on those happy days I would come home from school and she would be in her kitchen with butter sizzling on the hot cake pan waiting to fry the Welsh cakes. It was almost food torture waiting for them to be cool enough to roll in the caster sugar and devour - which had to be done in secret as my mother disapproved of us enjoying such treats due to her fear of us getting fat. There came a time when my grandmother became too unwell to cook Welsh cakes anymore and I asked for the recipe before she died. Unfortunately I did not get her to clarify her updated recipe, as the original she had written down contained ingredients such as powdered eggs, because she had learned to cook during war times! But thinking about it now I must order a Welsh cake pan, find a recipe and start recreating some Welsh food heritage for my own son :)

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: TheHuntress

                                                  Ooooh! Reminds me of my other grandmother's doughnuts. I never eat doughnuts anymore. Probably haven't had one in 50 years. If they don't have the fresh-from-the-fat crunch and the soft insides with the sugary coating, what's the point?

                                                  I hope you can find a pan and a recipe with available ingredients. If it helps at all, I know King Arthurs sells powdered egg yolks (I ordered them once when I was making a lot of ice cream and needed 6-8 yolks at a time). And powdered whites are available in most grocery stores. Maybe you could mix a 50/50 proportion and use your grandmother's recipe.

                                                  1. re: TheHuntress

                                                    I had to check out Welsh cakes because the concept was new to me. Apparently you can make them on a griddle: http://www.welshholidaycottages.com/f...

                                                    1. re: rainey

                                                      Thanks for the powdered egg tip off :) I do live in Australia, so they're not so easy to come by, but I'm certainly going to try. And I was thinking that a griddle would do the job nicely, I always wanted that pan my grandmother cooked on when she died, but I'm unsure as to what happened to it. Well I guess I know what I'm doing on my next 2 days off...

                                                    2. re: TheHuntress

                                                      I went to look those up and found a number of recipes on the web. Maybe you could compare your grandmother's to them to figure out the amount of eggs, etc. to use. Good luck. I loved your story of eating these with your grandmother.

                                                    3. What a great topic! On the Danish side of my family frikadeler and red cabbage buty the red cabbage is sweet sour braised with nothing but butter, water, sugar, and vinegar. On my Ohio side....my grandma made chicken dumplings but they were flat squares, both kinds of apple dumplings...one was a meal one was a dessert. There was valso this casserole we called Johnny Marzetti. It was ground beef, macaroni, tomato sauce, maybe onions and peppers? and American cheese on top. Not so long ago, one of my co-workers was eating at her desk. The smell immediately snapped me back to my childhood. Turns out, it6 was what they had called Hungarian goulash when she was a kid and her mom still made it. Hungarian Goulash was Johnny Marzetti:)

                                                      1. Curious that in looking back to my childhood for food memories, most of the things that come up of my mother's cooking revolve around flour.

                                                        I was born at the height of the Great Depression (1933), and one of my fondest early childhood memories (age four to six or so) is of my mother making apple dumplings for breakfast on weekends. She would make a very rich flaky pie dough from scratch using leaf lard, then roll out the dough and cut into large squares, probably near a foot across, heap the centers with peeled and sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lots of butter and a drop of vanilla. Then all four corners were pulled up and overlapped a bit and pinched closed tightly. A small hole pierced the very top. She made one for each person and baked them until golden brown. They were served in a soup plate with the cream from the top and some of the un-homogenized milk poured into a pan and heated with sugar, nutmeg and vanilla, which was then poured hot from a pitcher over the apple dumplings at the table. I have tried many times to duplicate those wonders but so far, no cigar. <sigh> My god, they were sinfully good!

                                                        During the war years (WWII), we had a huge Victory garden and also raised chickens and rabbits for food. And every year, a turkey was added to the chicken coop in plenty of time to grow to a giant bird to feed the large crowd that always gathered at our house for Thanksgiving. My mother did the whole nine yards: turkey, stuffing, giblet gravy, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes (actually riced in her China hat, then buttered and creamed), a plethora of fresh veggies from the garden, candied yams, a relish tray with everything from celery sticks to black olives that all of the children (including me) immediately engaged as thimbles on each and every finger! Adults rarely got any olives. And of course, both pumpkin and mince pies with huge dollops of whipped cream for dessert. Both from scratch.

                                                        But of all of the things my mother cooked, the one thing that wafts across my memory most sharply to this day is her yeast rolls. She bought one ounce square cakes of live yeast at the grocery store that came wrapped in silver foil with a Fleischman's yellow label pasted on top where the foil met. I cannot find that yeast anywhere today, and no dried yeast comes close to the flavor and aroma! Her rolls had a lightly golden crust around them and a rich hot aromatic interior that drank up fresh butter and made your mouth dance. She baked them for all holidays, except at Easter they turned into hot cross buns with the addition of candied citrus and the crossed channels on top were filled with icing when done. When a holiday was over and I went back to school, kids who lived in the valley where the breezes wafted after passing our hill top house would say to me, "I smelled your mothers yeast buns. They smell soooo good!" And I would smile.

                                                        As a young married, and for at least a decade or so after, every Christmas (my husband was in the Air Force, so we rarely got home for the holidays) she would send me a Care package of her miniature mince pies baked in muffin tins. And I would serve about six of them to my husband and later, my kids, then take the other dozen and a half and wrap them individualy and store them in the freezer just for me. Mince pie popsicles with hot coffee, and a private showing of my childhood as it washed around me.

                                                        From my own past when it comes to food memories, I used to serve baked Alaska quite a bit for dessert. Big ones, individual ones, different flavor cakes, different flavor ice creams. Everybody loved them. I haven't made one in years. And they are sooooo easy! Shame on me!

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                          Caroline we have found the cake yeast at holiday time at Central Market and Whole Foods. So it might be something worth looking for. HEB here in Central TX used to have it but they were not selling it so quit ordering.

                                                          Of course, some memories are best left unscathed as well. It seems nothing I make ever tastes as good as my grandmothers.

                                                          As for nostalgia I surely do miss my grandma;s chicken salad. It was cubed chicken with some sort of boiled dressing on it.

                                                          1. re: pickychicky1979

                                                            Thanks! I'll look for it this December. And I'm wondering whether ti will freeze as well as the dried active yeast? Probably not, but I will try it with one loaf and see if it works. It would be great to have it year round!

                                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                                            I've seen the Fleischman's yeast you're talking about in the dairy case.

                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                              What wonderful memories!

                                                              My great aunt used fresh yeast too and I remember that package. Haven't seen it in 30 years.

                                                              1. re: rainey

                                                                They still make it:


                                                                It's at the top of the page there. It may be worthwhile to contact them and find a local supplier.

                                                              2. re: Caroline1

                                                                It's worth asking at any local grocery stores - I've had more luck finding it at traditional mainstream stores rather than specialty or high end grocery stores.

                                                                I've found it year round at some very mundane places - like Safeway and Albertsons (just assumed that they WOULDN'T have it). Not all stores in a chain will carry it, but some do.

                                                                Just be careful to check the expiration dates.

                                                              3. What a wonderful thread! My mother was not a good cook but my grandmother was outstanding. She was from Louisana & was in her 50's when I was born in 1954. My grandfather died the year I was born & she never learned how to drive. She would walk to the store every day to shop. I remember her wringing the necks off chickens to fix supper. Scared the life out of me cause it seemed that they would chase you. She'd fix dumplins... the flat kind... so good & still the way I make them today. Smothered pork chops with mashed potatoes. Something she called dock beans that I know now is Red Beans & Rice with cornbread in a cast iron skillet & gumbo. Hoe cakes with cream gravy.

                                                                Being from Texas, ya got to have Chicken Fried Steak... I learned from sneaking into the kitchen at Andy's in Rockdale Texas & watching them. I learned Mexican food from a housekeeper we had & cathead biscuits from a mother in law. She also taught me to make fresh green beans & red new potatoes from the garden.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Buttons522

                                                                  love to know how you make your dumplings as well as the hoe cakes!

                                                                2. To this day, if anyone is frying eggs in butter and I walk into the kitchen and catch a whiff, it transports me back to my Granddad's quarterly week-long visits in the 1960s. I don't get the flashback if I'm the one doing the eggs; it has to be a "surprise" where I walk into the room and get hit with the smells, just like when I was six years old.

                                                                  You see, Mom always used margarine. But when Granddaddy was coming, she'd buy real butter. He was from Wisconsin, where colored margarine was illegal until 1967. Mom did margarine because in the Mississippi heat of her youth it wouldn't go rancid, so she grew up on it. Granddaddy made a small fortune bootlegging margarine into Milwaukee after he retired, but he'd sure as heck never eat the stuff.

                                                                  So butter fried eggs were a real event. It is my dominant early memory of the food in that kitchen. And it was sooo exciting. I begged her to use it year-round, but when it was finished, the dreaded margarine returned.

                                                                  He'd also bring down some Norwegian gjetost cheese, some pickled herring, and flatbread wafers. Now, every few years I'll pick up those three items and chow down with his memories.

                                                                  Granddaddy taught me that butter is better. The last time I actively used margarine since I was 20 and doing expediption backpacking and we needed 5,000 calories a day. And it keeps well, so we'd use the plastic bottles of liquid margarine. No mess, and a big zap in the morning oatmeal and a bibber zap in the nightly mac and cheese did the job. Never bought it since.,

                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                    Bootlegged margarine! OMG! I LOVE IT!

                                                                    1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                      oh my we seem to be from the same ancestory. did they make the flatbread or was it store bought? ours, made from grams with lots of love and attention.
                                                                      not same family though, you're grasp of the English language supercedes mine for sure.........can not stand gjetost, mom loved it

                                                                      we only ever buy butter

                                                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                                                        Apropos of not much, one of my first eatin' buddies was a woman whose passion for Chinese food was bottomless. She liked other stuff too, and I came to trust her judgement. And then one day she peeled the paper off a slab of gjetost and told me to take a bite. Well, it took well over a week for the taste of rancid goat to leave my mouth, and though we stayed friends for years I never let her just stick anything into my mouth ever again (and I know what you're thinking but we weren't friends like THAT).

                                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                                          LAUGH. OUT. LOUD. What a devil you are, Will Owen :)

                                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                                            Oh, Sweet William, I am so sorry that someone introduced you to gjetost by asking you to "take a bite". No no no no... it is to be shaven thin, giving a wispy curl with the slotted cheese knife, and often applied to the paper-thin wafer of the flatbread.

                                                                            I too would gag at a "chunk" of gjetost. But the thin shaved curls melt upon my tongue in the euphony of caramelized casein.

                                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                                              Oh no Will, my mind doesn't work that way.

                                                                              Also don't believe what FF said. It's a feeble fib. I'm telling you, the smallest shaving still tastes like gjetost, and that's the problem. I can't even smell gjetost, it simply sickens me.
                                                                              Funny how I wasn't addressed on that post though, quizzical.

                                                                              Give me a pound of good quality buttuh and I'm all yours.

                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                So... a pound of butter, a jug of wine, and thou? I shall allow that image to rest, unless you choose to address it in a different kind of forum.

                                                                                Foodfuser's olfactory system is fully intact, despite rumbling rumors to the contrary.

                                                                                Gjetost rocks.

                                                                                Maybe it's just the memories. But I think it's more the image of all those ancestral Norskie housewives saving their whey from other cheesemaking activities, then heating and stirring that whey over the stove over long times until it browned and caramelized and became Gjetost.

                                                                                A gossamer thread of a finely shaved curl is the finest way to introduce it to cheese lovers who will soon be aficionados of this compressed Norwegian gold.

                                                                                The flatbread wafers that Gramps used were extremely thin: thicker than paper, but thinner than shirt cardboard. Definitely a factory rolled product. Perforated, squared, and boxed, roughly 6 by 6.

                                                                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                  Showing your age again, bro. Many here have probably never heard of much less seen shirt cardboard :)

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    Maybe it's a guy thing more than an age thing. In the Menswear department, dress shirts are still wrapped around an internal cardboard, about 8x10. It supports the shirt for display, and later makes a pretty good frisbee.

                                                                                    1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                      Ah, I was talking about how they come back from the laundry. So we had an ongoing supply for craft projects.

                                                                                    2. re: c oliver

                                                                                      Hey! Watch it, whippersnapper! LOL!

                                                                                    3. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                      I won't put a pleasurable smile on UR face by commenting & since I don't drink alcohol U can keep UR jug.

                                                                                      ...and UR right this forum isn't the place DS, but then "I" didn't start this mélange of slathing tidbits.

                                                                                    4. re: iL Divo

                                                                                      The joys of Chowhound!!! I never even considered that the pros and cons of our beloved Gjetost would be debated on a thread. Cons? No cons. "It simply sickens me" might be something my wife would say to "get my goat" (sorry), but I'm sure she really loves it. For nostalgia, gjetost can't be beat in the mind of this third generation Norwegian-American. But it also hits the reality that since I moved away from "home," (my parents' household), and the older generation has died, my inclination to buy gjetost every time we shop has faded. We'll get a block of "big eraser" now about once every 2 years. Ah...nostalgic memories of Nøkkelost cheese, Christmas baked goods such as fattigman cookies, maringues, and Norwegian butter wreath cookies. My non-Norwegian mother-in-law does take on an awesome Julekake bread in her bread machine just for me each Christmas, and keeps some of the nostalgia alive. Florida Hound

                                                                                    5. re: Will Owen

                                                                                      Will, the fact that she asked you to a big bite of a chunk explains your lifelong defamation of this extraordinary cheese. Had she taken the time to shave that brown block into gossamer curls, to let each shave melt away in your mouth... it might have been different indeed.

                                                                                    6. re: iL Divo

                                                                                      The flatbread was definitely machine fabricated, like rolled thru the finest setting on a pasta machine. But the real giveaway was that it came in a six by six box.

                                                                                    7. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                      what a great memory - the buttery egg smells, and the fact that you bring your grandfather back by eating his snack.....

                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                        Gramps was cool. A stolid Norwegian.

                                                                                        He brought the beauty of the airborne scent of butyric acid into the household. Yes, butter is better.

                                                                                        But then there is Mom's strainer canister to receive the hot bacon grease. So finally, which to use?

                                                                                        I thank Mom and Gramps both for providing the culinary dilemma that allows me to move back and forth between the two with alacrity and lickability.

                                                                                        1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                          And don't forget duck fat, one of my fave "lipids of choice."

                                                                                    8. Anything made from using the coffee can filled with leftover Crisco grease drippings

                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: rHairing

                                                                                        LOL! Only I've not seen a metal coffee can for a couple of years. Seems they've all gone to plastic.

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            When I was buying coffee for my dad (he died last year) I looked for but could not find coffee in a can - only in the plastic bucket thingies.

                                                                                            I haven't looked recently, I don't drink coffee myself.

                                                                                            1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                              Probably a smart choice. Coffee [although needed many times of the day sadly] is overrated, tea is my preference.
                                                                                              I'm sorry about your father Zen...

                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                Thanks, I still miss him.

                                                                                                I'm a tea drinker too. Love Chai! Real chai, not the prepackaged stuff.

                                                                                                1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                  I love chai too.
                                                                                                  shouldn't admit that SB's chai, the cold chai, with tons of ice is wonderful, but a rare treat for me

                                                                                              2. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                they have them usually in smaller stores - in San Francisco, i see them in liquor stores, and the local latino grocers.

                                                                                                I too am sorry for your loss, Zen - it must still be hard. This thread has a lot of touching aspects to it.

                                                                                            2. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                              I got quite a nice stainless cylinder from Bed Bath and Beyond. It came with a black silicone lid. It's so minimal it seems to disappear on my counter next to the cooktop. Easy to open and pour hot fat into it. Easy to clean it.

                                                                                              1. re: rainey

                                                                                                I had a stoneware crock with hinged lid and wire bail (sealed with an old-style rubber canning ring) that I used to use to keep my bacon grease in.

                                                                                                I went off and left it in the fridge during a move.


                                                                                                1. re: rainey

                                                                                                  I just use an small, empty tin can and keep in the fridge. When it's full I toss in the trash and put another in the fridge.

                                                                                                2. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                  Zen, you may someday soon, pop into WallyWorld and see their cans of coffee. Yep, they're in there still. Also [for anyone who lives in California] knows Von's markets' brand of coffee, the 13 oz'ers are still cans.

                                                                                              2. As much as I love food, I don't have much food nostalgia because my mom is a wretched cook most of the time. She also cooks something different practically every night from a new recipe (although I do tend to do that also).
                                                                                                I miss my Nonnie's (great-grandmother) garden and am nostalgic for her homemade wine, although I was too young for the wine and really only recall one meal at her house.
                                                                                                My grandma's pizzelle. I have some in the house right now. Lucky me! Also she always seems to have blueberry muffins in the house and oddly cake-textured chocolate chip cookies. Cranberry bars. I have the recipe but have only made them once. She is a good cook, but I don't particularly recall her savory dishes. I am envious of her pantry, which is huge and always stuffed to the gills. One great memory from our yearly visits as a kid when grandpa was alive was one night we would always get Chinese takeout. I loved it! And it was so much fun passing all the dishes. Little did I know at that time that the restaurant we ordered from, around the corner from her house, was one of the best in the Boston area!
                                                                                                The thing I remember most about my other grandmother was her getting teased for putting butter, mayo, ketchup, etc. in serving dishes instead of setting the containers on the table. Also cocktail hour every night. I was too young for that, too, but was once allowed a Rusty Nail. Not quite to my taste. (Big understatement.) Also, she always pulled a frozen lasagna or dish of manicotti out to heat up. I always thought that was strange because she is not the least bit Italian, but they were still good.
                                                                                                My mom does get an honorable mention for Beachcomber Heroes, from an ancient Betty Crocker kids' cookbook. French loaf, salami, provolone, peppers, heated in the oven. Not sure what else is in them, but they were really good.

                                                                                                1. My mom had a meatgrinder you attached to the counter and would grind up left over pot roast, or corned beef and make "meat salad" sandwhiches adding mayo and onions,etc. Those were some of my favorite brown bag discoveries. That and if she packed a ding dong.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                                                                    I recently got the KA grinder to attach to my stand mixer. I made hash with leftover beef roast and potatoes and fried it to a crisp on both sides in bacon grease. It was bliss. Like nothing I've had in 30 years. I don't know why diners no longer make this simple fare with the right kind of crispy exterior...

                                                                                                    1. re: rainey

                                                                                                      That sounds delicious rainey. I'll look into that grinder for my KA. Thanks for the heads up.

                                                                                                  2. My Grandma Ida's Heavenly Hash cookies: like rocky road, only the texture was between pillowy and aerated. Hard to describe. She tried to show me how to make them, but I was too young, alas, and the recipe and the know-how went with her. Grandma Mimi's apricot and poppyseed hamentaschen, too......I can make them, but the dough is just never....quite right. And Ida used to make a "Salat Russe", mayonnaise-dressed cubes of potato, carrot, cucumber, pickle, peas, sometimes smoked sausage cubes or cubed chicken...not the crawfish-garnished veal laden classic, but oh-so-good.

                                                                                                    1. The one truly nostalgic food for me is my Nana's csöröge, light flaky Hungarian pastries covered in powdered sugar. She made them for every family holiday and, so far, none of us has had the wherewithal to try it. I think I may have to give it a go sometime soon and give my Mom a nice surprise. The look on her face would be worth the hours of rolling and folding all that dough.

                                                                                                      To this day, the smell of tea brings my Nana back, too, and the feeling of childhood as vivid as yesterday. Same with the smell of eggs frying in bacon. I have to get a nice, big chunk of Hungarian bacon at least once a month so I can get my old-timey juicy crispy-edged fried egg thing on. Then, do like Mom and grate a raw garlic clove on the hot toast? Heaven!

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: mangetoutoc

                                                                                                        Somewhere in the sear of the grease or the scent of the teabags, there is commonality. Maybe it's all about Nana's.

                                                                                                        1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                          Yeah, you've got to give it to the Nanas. They live somewhere in the core of our subconscious, still giving us warm, loving feelings of being a pampered little person in their kitchen with just a slight smell or taste.

                                                                                                          1. re: mangetoutoc

                                                                                                            Yes: Mamas... Pajamas...flannel...with feet.
                                                                                                            They pampered with warm hearth, and pretty good eats.

                                                                                                          2. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                            Certainly Nana's are a large part of it, but the other part is fresh ingredients. Most of us find it difficult to obtain eggs from a local farmer. Buying a fresh chicken or a piece of pork (that doesn't taste like cardboard) is a real accomplishment. I live in a city (of 1 milllion) that doesn't even have a butcher shop. There is no chance of my getting a piece of specially cut beef. There are no roadside stands to buy fresh vegetables. Heck, we don't even have a legitimate bakery.

                                                                                                            In my chldhood, my parents went to the fish market and/or the poultry market on Saturday mornings. They actually picked out the live chicken/fish and it was taken to the back, butchered and dressed, then brought home to cook.

                                                                                                            My dad's specialty was Salisbury Steak. To make it, he bought a nice thick bone- in round steak , with a good measure of fat on the outer rim. I haven't seen that cut in a grocery store in years and these stores tell me, all their meat comes in pre-cut and trimmed . So not having a butcher within a 300 mile radius I won't be making that dish anytime soon.

                                                                                                            Everything is done today with precision, to obtain the largest amount of profit. Nothing tastes the same because it isn't the same.

                                                                                                            1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                                              Zadehs are in the picture too - everytime I smell fish being fried, it evokes a memory of being on a pontoon on Maple Lake in MN, with Zadeh teaching me to fish and cheering away everytime I landed one. Then he taught me to clean them and scale them and filet them; built a fire on the bbq on the beach, seasoned and floured them, melted some schmaltz(!), sliced an onion into the schmaltz and sauteed it and then fried that fish till it was crisp. We ate them with our fingers and mopped up the onions and pan juices with some rye bread he'd brought, the sour kind with caraway seeds. Finished off with a thermos of ice-cold water, it was one of the best meals, and certainly one of the best memories, I've ever had.

                                                                                                          3. From my grandmother it would be the Fried Chicken she would make every Sunday dinner with Crisco from the can in an electric skillet on the edge of the kitchen/dining table. Also whenever she made pies, she would use the leftover pie crust pastry scraps and press them into a smaller-sized tin pie pan, dot with butter and cover with cinnamon and sugar for my sister and I to devour while we waited for the pies to be done.

                                                                                                            A college memory would be making the Jiffy blueberry muffins with my roommate in our tiny kitchen, then pulling them out hot and dousing them with the squeeze margarine and having them for breakfast the morning after a big night out.