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Did Your Mom Repeatedly Cook a Dish You Despised?

My mom--God rest her soul--was a marvelous cook, and I still prepare several of her greatest dishes. However, she also made a Sweet and Sour Pork that I dreaded like the Black Death. And she made it over and over again. Ghastly stuff.

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    1. re: arashall

      I loved meatloaf until I saw it being made. Something about the bread,eggs, meat, etc grossed me out. Thank god I never saw her make meatballs.

      1. re: viperlush

        I had the same experience. Well, I didn't love it, but I liked it a lot as a little kid. I even liked helping make it when I was very young.

        But as I got older, the thought of what was involved in the preparation of the meatloaf disgusted me. It was always made with a thick slab of tomato paste on top, which was especially repulsive. And if that wasn't bad enough, there were always leftovers that we had to eat a day or two later, when the texture and colors had turned to something else entirely.

      2. re: arashall

        I used to come home from college every weekend to work in a local restaurant. Every single Friday, when Dad would pick me up at the bus stop, I'd ask "what's for dinner?". Invariably, the answer was meatloaf. After a year of this, I begged my Dad to ask Mom to make something else on Friday nights since I never could stomach her meatloaf. His answer was, "But, she makes it for you! It's your favorite!".

        How could she never see how I gagged and choked it down every Friday?? <grin>

        He's such a good Dad, he did ask Mom to make something else and I've never again been subjected to her meatloaf.

        1. re: arashall

          Mom was a great cook, but her meatloaf was inedible. She and my late dad went to Mexico for the Xmas-New Year holidays in 1969-70. Before going away she cooked meals for my college aged sister, future brother in law and myself to eat during her absence. Included were three meatloaves. Sis pulled one from the freezer, defrosted it and heated it. Futrure BIL took one taste and said he wasn't hungry, I claimed to have had a late lunch and sis said she was on a diet.

          So, the meatloaf was put into the dog's bowl. Even Sniffy, our Golden Retriver wouldn't eat it.

          18 years later when parents sold the house the other two meatloaves were sitting in the bottom of the freezer, Hopefully the next owners of the house who bought all the appliances threw them away.

          1. re: bagelman01

            Was there ever a thought by anyone in nearly two decades, Hey! Let's toss one of those meatloaves in the oven! Or Hey! There is that old meatloaf!

            1. re: FireFlyFiftyFive

              My sister married the end of the spring 1970 semester and moved away. I moved away 2 years later. We never told my mother that the meatloaves were buried in the bottom of the freezer and she seldom made the trip to the basement to get things from the freezer. Sis and I had a good laugh when cleaning out the freezer when my oparents sold the house. The newest food in the freezer was probably at least 7 years old.

          2. re: arashall

            My wonderful mother was a horrible cook, and made meatloaf and steaks, (extra well done) at least once each week. When I moved out at 18, I promised myself that I would never eat meatloaf again. Turns out that was a lie. I'm now 52, and have had it twice since then. Never again! Steaks, on the other hand are pretty good when not cooked until like shoe leather!


            1. re: arashall

              Meatloaf was one for me too, also liver & onions and fried chicken. In retrospect, I would not mind having it once again, just not often (and not really since none of it is healthy).

              1. re: arashall

                Now, my mom rather butchered meatloaf, and it was way down on my list. However, my wife does a great version, and it's night-and-day from what my mom served, and quite good, to almost great.


              2. I used to hate what I called "Kentucky Supper" - white beans cooked with ham hocks and served with homemade corn bread. I just hated this, which is funny to me because now I would love it!

                1 Reply
                1. re: woodleyparkhound

                  As a kid I detested beans, which consisted exclusively of pintos. I can only imagine my horror had mom trotted out white beans. I might not have survived.

                2. My mom's a fabulous cook (and her mom was too), and I can stomach most foods, but I absolutely hated tuna casserole. Maybe that's an obvious choice, but it was the only dish that I could not stand as a kid. They had 6 kids to feed, so it seemed like a necessary evil at least once every couple months.

                  43 Replies
                  1. re: Jeebs

                    Tuna noodle casserole with potato chips on top - I hated it. She switched, at some point, to a new tuna casserole, without noodles, but with sliced hard boiled eggs in it, that was served over popovers. This was OK. But still kind of gross.

                    1. re: jeanmarieok

                      Oh yeah, I couldn't stand the tuna casserole either. It wasn't the noodle/potato chip kind, but rather had canned biscuits on top. The tops of the biscuits would brown, but the underside was always gummy and nasty.

                      1. re: lawhound05

                        I suspect there are many of us children of the 70's, scarred by tuna noodle casserole. Thank heavens it's fallen out of favor.

                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                          It was one of my favorite meals! I never met a noodle I didn't like. My mom made it with crushed saltine crackers on top. When I found out that a friend's mom made it with crushed potato chips on top, I was very jealous!

                          1. re: woodleyparkhound

                            Then you would have positively turned green with envy about my mom's tuna casserole with crushed *BBQ* potato chips on top! Lord knows where she found that gem.

                            1. re: tcamp

                              That is, ah, unique!
                              And now this thread has me making tuna noodle casserole for dinner tonight.

                          2. re: jeanmarieok

                            My MIL made tuna goo every Friday, all the time my husband was growing up. Then the Pope said you didn't have to give up meat on Fridays, and she never made it again.

                            My husband was crushed.

                            Now about once a month he makes tuna goo for us ... good tuna, shrimp, crab meat, gruyere, No potato chips, no peas, no celery. Just yum.

                            1. re: Meann

                              Still have Lent to be meatless on Fridays - and I know for a fact, my mom still makes tuna casserole during Lent....

                              1. re: Meann

                                Would this be creamed tuna on toast. I hated it on Fridays, but now, I make it everyonce in a while as an emergency dinner, and the troops love it.

                                1. re: The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah

                                  Oy vay. That was mom's go-to dinner. At the time, we absolutely haaaaaaaated it, and spent large amounts of time trying how to get rid of the dreaded peas in it. (A planter, placed strategically near the table, was the end receptacle.) But now? If I need my mom, I don't call her (because she drives me nuts.) but I make creamed tuna, with mushroom soup and frozen peas. And I serve it over toast.

                                  1. re: mamachef

                                    Let me guess: pea plants sprang up in the planter, your mom harvested the peas and used them to fuel an ever-expanding immensity of creamed tuna on toast. I think a Hammer horror film used this as a plot.

                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      , I don't call her (because she drives me nuts.)~~

                                      I'm sorry for laughing at this mamachef....but I had to since it reminds me so much of my mother...I try to avoid inviting her into my house as well. Though I love her dearly.
                                      I can only tolerate so much of her hypercritical diatribes....

                                2. re: jeanmarieok

                                  My mom put sherry and mushrooms in her tuna noddle casserole, with sliced almonds on top. I still make it, and still love it.

                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    well... is sherry in anything ever really wrong?

                                  2. re: jeanmarieok

                                    I had tunnynoodle last night at a local wonderful cafe, and it was pure comfort, but my mom's was real, real bad. She once made a salmon loaf, and it was the only time I ever saw my daddy lost his temper fully, over food. He actually threw the loaf out the kitchen door and ordered pizza

                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      Either that loaf was REALLLLLLY bad or he had a bad day at the orifice.

                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                        It may have been a bad day, now that I recall. It was just before the end of tax season, which was never a good time at home. We never even tasted it; it was that fast. But his objection seemed to be that it was canned salmon, and they could afford better food. Or it may have been a childhood aversion. We most surely didn't discuss it. We ate that damn pizza and kept our mouths shut.

                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                          I thought I was the only one who used "orifice" in this way!!

                                          1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                            Nopers. Daddy used it too. "Hand me my briefcase: I'm off to the orofice." It was actually a pretty good metaphor, because it swallowed him up 6 months of the year, and left him pretty chewed the rest of the time.

                                            1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                              Shuckydarn. I thought I was being original. ;)

                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                All good. I'll just pretend I heard it HERE first Disregard post.

                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                  My hubster uses the term "orifice" for office. One of his many cornyisms that immediately caused my eyes to go into a rolling action.

                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                    I don't suppose he's OBGYN or procto?

                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                        No, but he's brilliantly hilarious - Just ask him and he'll tell you so.....!

                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                          Aye. 'Tis a difficult burden to bear. And bare. ;)

                                                      2. re: sandylc

                                                        Almost everybody I know that I've known for a long time says that, and the usual other cornyisms (great word, BTW).

                                                    1. re: QueenDairy

                                                      We ate tuna noodle casserole on Friday's too. We called it Friday Night Chicken. My mom did a good job. What I hated were the Swanson Tuna Pot Pies. I have not had any sort of pot pie since I moved away from home.

                                                  2. re: mamachef

                                                    Sorry, but what kind of jerk would do such a thing? Your mother went to the trouble of fixing a home-cooked meal and her husband threw it out of the house? A simple, "Thanks for the effort, but this just doesn't do it for me" would have gotten the message across. If my father had ever behaved in such a way, Mom would have brained him with her cast iron skillet. Even when she served slimy boiled okra, all Dad did was taste it and inform us kids that we didn't have to eat it if we chose not to. (It was REALLLY bad.) FWIW, my mother made a tasty salmon loaf with canned salmon, a recipe out of the old JoC, served with a lemon sauce. We all loved it.

                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                      Yep, it was jerky, end-of-tax-season behavior. Out of character by a long shot. I doubt that they'd have stayed married if that was his usual mode of operation. FWIW, the ONLY person who can talk bad about my daddy is his kids. : )

                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                        "the ONLY person who can talk bad about my daddy is his kids"


                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                            yup and the thing I WANT to yell at either is "I can 2nd guess myself very well enough w/o your help. but thanks"

                                              2. re: Jeebs

                                                This strikes a chord. I hated my mom's tuna casserole because she made it with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup. Those mushrooms were nasty, in my jaundiced opinion. It was years before I could eat any kind of mushroom.

                                                No noodles, rice instead. No chips, grated cheese.

                                                1. re: Akitist

                                                  I actually developed the ability to pick out the mushrooms when my mom made tuna casserole with Campbell's.

                                                2. re: Jeebs

                                                  I couldn't stand the tuna noodle casserole either. I recall one evening, being so grossed out, but had to stay at the dinner. "Eat or go without"....I was happy to go without, but my parents thought I'd cave. Nope, I sat there all night until bedtime, trying not to look at the pile of casserole on my plate, that you know got awfully cold and gloppy from sitting that whole time. At least the smell died down eventually (or I got used to it).

                                                  It took me years to discover that tuna casserole could be good. And I even learned how to make hers to serve it to her later on....although the smell still really grossed me out.

                                                  1. re: Jeebs

                                                    My lovely mother was a good cook but had several favourite recipes I loathed. They seemed to be on the menu every week. Subgum yuk (with chow mein noodles and tuna), blintzes with cottage cheese in them, and lasagne made with cottage cheese as well. I used to want to die on subgum yuk night.

                                                    However, she is the undisputed potato salad Queen of the world, and her gravy is to die for.

                                                    1. re: shygirl

                                                      My mom used cottage cheese instead of ricotta in her lasagna and I loved it. Still do. In fact, I prefer it to ricotta.

                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                        I'm kind of on board with the cottage cheese, gives it more moisture, it's the ground beef alone that I find umm "Betty Crocker"

                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                          My mom did that, too, because she said it was cheaper--ricotta used to be quite expensive. Although I use ricotta when cooking lasagna for others, I prefer the texture of cottage cheese.

                                                    2. Swedish meatballs, because she added Capers to the sauce. I loathed Capers, they looked and tasted like squishy bugs to me as a kid. To this day I have never added Capers to a dish, although I do eat them nowadays if I have to.

                                                      15 Replies
                                                      1. re: RUK

                                                        Funny--I really like capers, but an English pea will never pass my lips. They look a bit the same, but I suppose I like the sourness and firmness of capers, while the soft blandness of peas puts me on edge.

                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                          Vinegared capers in a bottle are abhorrent. Switch to the salted ones that come in a bag, this will be a taste revelation, and will make one understand why capers are so popular.

                                                          1. re: arktos

                                                            If I see 'em, I'll grab 'em. Don't recall seeing bagged, salted capers before.

                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                  Can you tell me the brand, or store. I've never ever seen bagged capers.

                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                    http://www.amazon.com/Capers-in-Sea-S... I am not sure of a store in your vicinity, but amazon sells them :) Make sure to rinse them under running water before using!

                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                      So two days later i'm at a local veresion of Whole foods, Sunflower Market, and damned if there wasn't a jar of nonbrined salted capers. Haven"t used them yet, I want to wait till DH goes out of town and make some really raunchy putanesca sauce with them.

                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                        "raunchy putanesca "

                                                                        I trust that redundant pun was intended...

                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                          I prepared some iconoclastic strozzapretti last night.

                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                            Didn't you know that I work for the Department of Redundancy Department?

                                                            1. re: RUK

                                                              That is so funny! I was trying to think of something my mom made that I *despised* and couldn't really come up with anything I'd felt that strongly about.

                                                              My mom used to make Kroneberger Klopten with capers, of course. While I liked the whole meatballs & cream sauce & rice combo, I would pick out all the capers.

                                                              Needless to say, I'm a caper lover now, with piccata being one of my favorite applications for them.

                                                              One of the -- let's say -- less appreciated dishes she made was pancakes for dinner. Yeah, I know. Any other kid's dream dinner, I guess. Thin, German-style pancakes (Eierkuchen) with sugar, cinnamon & apple sauce.

                                                              I had much more of sweet tooth as a kid, like most of us, but a sweet meal was just not my idea of "dinner".

                                                              But despising? Nope. She was too much of a good cook.

                                                              1. re: RUK

                                                                @RUK, try fried capers - they might change your mind.

                                                              2. I guess I'm lucky in that my mother never expected me to eat something I detested. I think that's a bit cruel, really.
                                                                About once a month, Mom would make liver for her and Dad. My brother and I were not expected to eat it and she'd just open a can of franks and beans for us. We loved it. It was like getting to eat junk food!

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                  Yes, mom loved us too much. Dad got liver and onions or, on Saturday afternoons, liverwurst and onions. On those days we got grilled cheese and tomato soup or chicken noodle soup and saltines.

                                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                                    My parents made me eat a "bite" of liver, which was about the size of a pencil eraser and always washed down with a glass of milk. I got boxed mac and cheese, which I loved. I think the message was really, "It's not all about you. Sometimes we'll have things we like because WE like them." Most things I didn't like they were secretly happy about because they were luxury items, like crab, fried smelt (for breakfast--I'd leave the room!) and avocados.

                                                                    1. re: Jeri L

                                                                      I say something similar to my kids. "Sometimes I cook what you like for dinner, and sometimes I cook what I like." Luckily my kids are not picky eaters, so usually it's something everybody likes.

                                                                  2. My mom is a good cook and I don't remember eating anything bad growing up but my husband has quite a few. Teriyaki sauce was a big thing once when he was growing up so his mom would put teriyaki sauce into everything she cooked and lots and lots of it..soo much so that they had to ask their dad to ask their mom to stop using so much of it.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Monica

                                                                      Liver and onions! Needed that iron! My mom was a wonderful cook, but the liver made me gag.

                                                                    2. Liver and canned spinach. The liver, as if that wasn't bad enough, was cooked to shoe leather. I had to finish it all, cold congealed, sitting at the kitchen table for hours in what seemed days, tears streaming down my face.

                                                                      Thanks for bringing up the subject.

                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                      1. re: RC51Mike

                                                                        Wow, that's horrid. Sorry you had to go through that.

                                                                          1. re: RC51Mike

                                                                            Once a year mom forced us to eat liver served with lumpy mashed potatoes and LeSeuer peas from the can. The liver was always dry and tough as dad liked meat well done. I'd try to hide the peas in the potatoes, as I don't eat canned peas to this day.

                                                                            Now, liver is a favorite of mine, but I like it medium rare. I still won't eat LeSeuer Peas and potatoes are my least favorite starch.

                                                                            Like you, we were kept at the table until the entire portion of liver was consumed, all the time hearing that we could not waste food as children were starving in Europe (baby boom post war guilt). As if my finishing the liver would fill the belly of a child in a DP camp in Europe.

                                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                                              Yes! When she served something awful or we weren't hungry she took great offense. She was mostly a great cook, but she was neurotic and defensive.

                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                Well, you went there, didn't you?!
                                                                                I agree but didn't want to come out and say it for fear of offending.

                                                                                1. re: monavano

                                                                                  None taken. My therapist said the same thing.

                                                                                  In another bit of food related psychodrama, when I was around 7 or 8, my mother thought it would be fun to have a contest to see who could eat the most food between my cousin and me. It was mostly candy and at one point my mother sent my sister to the store to get more candy since we were running out. I ended up on the bathroom floor throwing up. Ah, memories.

                                                                                  1. re: RC51Mike

                                                                                    Wow. Glad my mom never thought of that, it wouldn't have been beneath her.

                                                                                2. re: RC51Mike

                                                                                  I was not allowed to leave the table until my liver was gone. Luckily, my place at the table was next to the window, so when I was the last one left, out the window went the liver. I bet the neighborhood cats loved it when we had liver!

                                                                                  1. re: ChrisOC

                                                                                    After last night, my liver is now officially gone.

                                                                                3. Yep.

                                                                                  My mom is a good cook. Was a good cook I should say. She's still alive, but doesn't cook anymore.

                                                                                  But my dad for some reason liked everything well done, burnt.

                                                                                  Anything with a sauce or gravy, from pasta to brisket, was okay. But anything like hamburgers or meat or lamb chops or anything like that ... burnt and dry. But my dad loved it. I think his mom burned everything, too.

                                                                                  1. Gad. For one thing, my mom was one of the great non-cooks of all time, but she *thought* she could cook. She'd go on these strange food binges, like the time she bought several big canisters (the size of a three-pound coffee can) of TVP, textured vegetable protein, at the Mormon storable-food store. TVP, for those fortunate enough not to be familiar with it, is an alleged "meat substitute"; little rock-hard cubes to be reconstituted with water and cooked with a dish. It has a strange spongy texture, and none of the flavors taste *anything* like what they're labeled as: the "beef" flavor is almost but not quite entirely unlike beef, the chicken flavor tastes like nothing that's ever been near any kind of poultry, the pork flavor tastes primarily of salt.

                                                                                    As I say, these are intended to be cooked *into* entire dishes such as soups or stews or casseroles. But since Mom was a non-cook, half the time her idea was to reconstitute the stuff, simmer it for a few minutes, and just serve it up in a bowl. And my rejection of it had nothing to do with the substance itself: I must be lying if I said I didn't like it, or just *refusing* to like it *as I certainly would* if I'd only *allow* myself to. After all, I liked chicken, and it was labeled "chicken flavor", right?

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Cactus Wren

                                                                                      Wow. That sounds unusually terrible. Like something out of a Stephen King novel.

                                                                                      1. re: Cactus Wren

                                                                                        Yikes. I like TVP in spaghetti sauce occasionally, but it's the non-flavored stuff and I use it for texture, mainly. Eating it plain would be awful. Like trying to eat Miracle Whip plain with a spoon.

                                                                                      2. A creamy Spam casserole with noodles. Just the smell of it.....Ughh!!! The sight of a can of Spam still brings it all back some 40+ years. Fortunately, I wasn't made to eat it. Gotta still love my Mom for that !!!!

                                                                                        15 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Phoebe

                                                                                          The funny thing about SPAM is that I never, ever ate it as a child. Ever. My parents were repulsed by the idea of it. (We weren't the least bit kosher, but my parents had a few vestiges of their kosher upbringing still inside them. SPAM fell into the category of stuff they wouldn't eat. I think they also felt that things like SPAM and Underwood Deviled Ham were for poor people and even though we were poor, they didn't want to act like we were poor.)

                                                                                          Anyway, I met and married a Japanese American woman who grew up in a community where there were an abundance of Japanese Hawaiians. Needless to say, SPAM was part of her diet and I've since grown to enjoy SPAM musubi or SPAM and eggs and frequently order it for myself.

                                                                                          I'm not sure I'd like a creamy SPAM casserole, but I do eat SPAM on rice once in a while.

                                                                                          Why I feel the need to capitalize SPAM -- that I don't know.

                                                                                          1. re: PaulF

                                                                                            I'm well aware of Spam's popularity in Hawaii. I first learned about this after seeing Sam Choy on a cooking show about 10 years ago. I was puzzled that this product was being prepared in such a "fine" manner. Crazy thing is the casserole dish my Mom used to fix actually tasted decent. I just could never get pass the "look" of Spam....or the smell of it !!! (I did enjoy many Underwood Deviled Ham sandwiches in my youth, though !!!) Go figure????

                                                                                            1. re: PaulF

                                                                                              You feel the need to capitalize because it's an acronym Shoulder Pork (H)AM. I had it once after coming home from my honemoon in Hawaii in 1988 and hearing about how popular it was there. Haven't had it since, not a hater, just not a fan, but I drive past the plant in Austin a couple times a year and think aboot it.

                                                                                            2. re: Phoebe

                                                                                              OMG-the Spam wars at our were terrible. At one dark point in the '70s Spam was the "go to" chic item for suburbans housewives. It showed up everywhere! My brother and I hated it. We would just sit and cry...it was so bad to us. And we weren't fussy kids...But spam did me in.

                                                                                              I still might cry just thinking of it

                                                                                              1. re: Luna2372

                                                                                                No Spam in our 70's household but plenty of vienna sausages and canned Underwood liverwurst. I actually miss the latter.

                                                                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                  My sister and I were talking about spam recently. In the 50s we would make spam and American cheese "grilled" in the waffle iron. She also reminded me that we used to love Underwood Deviled Ham in the little can with the white paper wrapper.

                                                                                                  1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                    I still love Deviled Ham. The Deviled Roast Beef is, I think, less successful.

                                                                                                2. re: Luna2372

                                                                                                  Sorry for even mentioning the word SPAM. I certainly didn't want to make you cry!!! (Maybe they're tears of joy, because as an adult....you never have to eat it again.) ;O

                                                                                                  1. re: Phoebe

                                                                                                    LOL...My mom and brother were here for Christmas and I mentioned the "Spam" wars'

                                                                                                    Holy Moly...my mother can make like denial an art form...." I never ever made you kids eat anything you didn't want"...then my brother fake a vomit attack to re-enact the scene...


                                                                                                      1. re: Luna2372

                                                                                                        I think we have the same mother. She has conveniently forgotten all meal time traumas and now maintains that my brother and I make stories up that just happen to correlate.

                                                                                                        1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                                                          Perhaps like Tom and I, you and your brother share a mutant brain link so that all food you eat becomes his memory too...and visey-versey!

                                                                                                          1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                                                            Yeah, if my parents were alive they would have said the same thing. Or my dad would, and smack me upside the head. My mother would have marched off to her room and slammed the door. Oh- and sobbing loudly at the outrageous attack on her person.

                                                                                                          2. re: Luna2372

                                                                                                            My mother has been rewriting history for my entire life! She still does it now on a daily basis? What's up with that?????? Is reality just not good enough?

                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                              I want to know when I'll be old enough to use that super power! Then I can re-write it myself and only ever have eat KD and Wagon Wheels and Pop Tart!

                                                                                                    1. Creamed tuna on crispy chow mein noodles from the can. Loved tuna in sandwiches, hated this dish. And when my parents went out for the evening, my sister would make this dish because it was her favorite!

                                                                                                      1. Clam Casserole aka." barf in a bowl"
                                                                                                        Chicken a la Orange super sweet
                                                                                                        Chicken Mole
                                                                                                        The only one she still makes is the clam casserole because my sister loves it. Just the thought makes me gag. It is a texture thing :)

                                                                                                        1. My mom believed in making us eat everything on our plates. It's a miracle none of us are overweight or suffering from an eating disorder. She frequently made this ghastly, gag-inducing concoction of rice, green peppers, ground beef and soy sauce. It took me years to discover that both soy sauce and green peppers are edible. On the days when she worked late, she'd "make" Van de Kamp's shiny frozen fish filets (nasty batter!), steamed broccoli, and instant grits. That meal was truly hell on a plate, and she'd make us all wash it down with a 16 oz glass of milk, a drink I detest to this day. One great thing she did was to serve dessert every day, a habit I continue in my own home, even if it's just a cut-up mango or fuyu persimmon. And my eating rule is: well, if you don't like the main meal, surely you'll like the dessert.

                                                                                                          1. My mother was never a good cook. She is still with us, but is an invalid and hasn't cooked for herself for almost 7years and hasn't cooked for me for nearly 30 years. She is happy to leave the cooking to me. Most of what she made when I was a child was not appetizing, but the one I remember the most was Sauerkraut and Weenies. Just the smell makes me gag. We use to live in Germany and it took me a long time to bravely try *true* sauerkraut. What a revelation! Who knew that sauerkraut was delicious? ;-)

                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: gardencook

                                                                                                              Strangely enough, I've never had franks n' kraut. I'd think this could be good if the two constituent parts are of high quality.

                                                                                                              1. re: gardencook

                                                                                                                As a kid, my mom used to fix a dish called Maxie's Franks out of the 1960 edition of Peg Bracken's "The I Hate To Cook Book". It consisted of sauerkraut, hot dogs, brown sugar and ketchup. It was baked in a large 13x9 dish. Loved it !!! Haven't had it in years, but I still cook some of my all-time favorite dishes from this book some 40 years later.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                    That's the exact same recipe. Only difference is I remember my mom used sauerkraut that came in a bag, never a can.Guess I'm gonna have to make it now with all of this nostalgic talk. It was tasty!!!

                                                                                                                  2. re: Phoebe

                                                                                                                    My mother-in-law raised her kids on "hallupsie" which consisted of Minute rice, hamburger, sauerkraut, salt, pepper, and some water for the rice, stirred up in a casserole and baked. It sounds so horrible, but it's one of those things that you can't stop eating once you start. I'd like to recreate it with something other than Minute Rice, although maybe that's part of its charm. All native raw juices were thrown in with the ingredients and the burger meat was raw.Too weird. My mom would have at least browned the ground beef!

                                                                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                      sounds like an Americanized shortcut of the Russian golubtsy (sp?) cabbage stuffed with beef and rice.

                                                                                                                      which when done correctly is such a good winter dish.

                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                        I grew up on golabki! It's one of my best memories of my grandpa. He would make a huge dish of golabki, pumpernickel bread with butter, blueberry pie (from scratch) and chocolate milk (the ONLY time I had that growing up). My sisters ate the filling out of the cabbage and gave their extra cabbage to me. But yes, that does sound like a bastardized/americanized version. You have the rice, hamburger, and cabbage of some kind.

                                                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                          Yes it is.

                                                                                                                          I do most of the cooking in my house, but my wife makes the golubtsi and she makes them well.

                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                            I bet you're right a bout that- it makes a lot of sense, except for the Russian part, they're all hard-core germans, but it's not so far away.

                                                                                                                          2. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                            We had haluski, which is different, and I really like - sauteed cabbage and onions mixed with egg noodles and (cooked and drained) ground beef. I like it a lot - I need to make it, haven't had it in years and years.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                              We made it once recently, with leftover steamed rice (not instant), a pound of ground beef sauteed and partially defatted, and some good kraut. Lots of pepper. It was really, really good.

                                                                                                                              No egg noodles ever crossed MIL's mind regarding that recipe, I may bring it up to DH for consideration, because I love egg noodles. Thanks, jeanmarieok, for the variation!

                                                                                                                          3. re: Phoebe

                                                                                                                            I bought that book but have never tried any recipes from it. I just liked the cover and the sentiment (even though I LOVE to cook). I think I bought it at the same time I purchased "The Queen is in the Kitchen". Maybe I need to crack into those and try a few dishes!

                                                                                                                        2. My mom is great special occassion cook but was a horrible everyday cook. There are four of us kids and when she was in grad school, she relied heavily on the crockpot. But she'd just throw things in and turn it on. The worst was pork chops and applesauce in which pork chops (the cheap mass produced bland kind) and a jar of Motts applesauce were "cooked" for 8 hours on low. It still makes me cringe. And I still can't eat casseroles because she would put pillsbury biscuits on top of them and they never cooked all the way through so it would be half burnt on top and raw dough mixing in with the cream of mushroom stuff. We all learned to cook real quick after a while!

                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: lbs

                                                                                                                              My mom cooked food in the crockpot until it was dead twice. But, I didn't detest it and it filled the void.

                                                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                I did detest it and I still loved and appreciated my mom.

                                                                                                                              2. re: lbs

                                                                                                                                My very petite non-foodie friend recently told me (I've known her since high school) that her mom used to make ONE box of Kraft mac & cheese for all six kids for dinner- nothing else! I know they're smaller than they used to be, but cripes.
                                                                                                                                I guess that's why they were all small kids, too.

                                                                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                  Bloody hell. I regularly scarf an entire box by myself, with a heaping side of Uncle Ben's Wild Rice.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                    Dinner from McD's was one hamburger each (2 for Dad), one fries each and drinks all around. Of course, they only made one burger (with or without cheese) then, the small one, fries were small, and drinks were 12oz. We were all well-satisfied when done, having eaten what is now a Happy Meal.

                                                                                                                                    Which says a lot about the portions we're now accustomed to eating, doesn't it?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                      It's amazing what disposable wealth does to one's eating habits.

                                                                                                                                2. My mom (RIP) was a classic "60"s cook" -- meaning, if the recipe was on the back of a can of cream of whatever, it was added to the regular meal rotation. The worst was something mysteriously labeled "Firehouse Pot Roast". It was nothing like pot roast at all, which I loved. Instead, it was a broiled beef roast -- usually a round cut called "London Broil" that was overccoked past well done. Then, she split the roast down the middle almost all the way through, poured a can of cream of mushroom soup (undiluted, and I think it was mushroom), wrapped the poor roast in foil and put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes. She used to rave about how juicy the roast was. It looked absolutely hideous. Tasted horrid, but looked even worse.

                                                                                                                                  1. My mother made the worst gravy I've ever had. Until I was almost 30, I never asked for or ate gravy -- ever, anywhere --- as I thought it was just greasy water and flour and over-peppered. First time I ate Thanksgiving at my soon-to-be in-laws, they passed this stuff around and I tried and asked.. "What is this" Gravy was the answer. Wait... WHAAAT? Total revelation.

                                                                                                                                    That and the pork chops buried under canned sauerkraut with a whole bunch of whole peppercorns, and cooked in a large Dutch oven till everything was totally dead and gray.
                                                                                                                                    Honorable mention: the horrible New England Boiled Dinner, where the fat cap on the corned beef was never removed so you had to pick out gobs of jiggly boiled fat.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: berkleybabe

                                                                                                                                      Gobs of jiggly boiled fat--how could any little girl fail to relish that?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: berkleybabe

                                                                                                                                        The only gravy I've ever eaten but have never had since is the red-eye ham gravy my mom used to make. It was delicious!

                                                                                                                                      2. Fish on Fridays, never seasoned, no sauces. Just usually squishy thick swordfish, pan fried in butter with only s&p to sprinkle on top. **shudders**

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: arktos

                                                                                                                                          this was the dish I remember most hating as a child- unseasoned fish. In my mom's rendition it was flounder baked in the oven, perhaps with a little water, and covered with bread crumbs. it tasted terrible and bland.

                                                                                                                                        2. My mom is and was an excellent cook. But there was one dish she used to make when I was growing up that I never liked. It was fish fillets cooked in tomato soup with pasta alphabet letters. I hate tomato soup. When this cooked the fish absorbed some of the soup and when it was served there were little pasta letters stuck to the fish. I used to think they were sending me messages telling me to not eat them! LOL I didn't tell my mother I didn't like the dish until a few years ago.

                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                                                                            How did you tell her? By making the dish and spelling out "I hate this dish" on her fillet?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                              LOL! I would never waste perfectly good fish in that manner. The truth finally came out during a discussion about childhood foods that we had during some holiday dinner.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                                                                              Speaking of tomato soup, my babysitter used to "cool it down" with milk, which I found disgusting. Why wouldn't she just add an ice cube or two?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                                My mother would do the same. I believe it used to be on the back of the can.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phoebe

                                                                                                                                                  Ahhh...My love for Campbell's tomato soup "cooled down' with a splash of cream and pepper knows no bounds.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Luna2372

                                                                                                                                                    Cream might have been fine, but skim milk was awful.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                                      Fat make the world go round. Pun intended!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: shygirl

                                                                                                                                                        A gin martini with a strip of bacon fat in it is now all the rage on the Left Bank.

                                                                                                                                              2. where to begin????
                                                                                                                                                I first thought of liver & onions, which I was forced to eat and hated.
                                                                                                                                                Then there was salmon "loaf" (**note** I loved meatloaf, but not salmon loaf or patties)
                                                                                                                                                My uncle would fish and bring her fresh fish, which she didn't know how to cook except fried in cornmeal and I grew up hating both fish and cornmeal.

                                                                                                                                                1. Like many other posters, my mom was a well-above average cook (nothing too fancy, but generally pretty damn good food) but her pork chops-- man. Thrown into a cast-iron skillet and left to mind their own business for some unspecified amount of time until served bone-dry. I was well into my twenties before I discovered how tasty they can be. I used to be just incredulous that people would order them in a restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: monfrancisco

                                                                                                                                                    I grew up in a house where every meat was well done. It's amazing how bloody I like my steak now. And pork? Pink, please.
                                                                                                                                                    Mom's eye of round roast was unswallowable without gravy. I too was in my 20-s or even 30-s before I stopped going for the eye roast cut if I wanted a roast.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                                      I too was much older when I finally discovered pork and beef do not have to require flossing between bites. and gravy doesn't always come out of a packet.

                                                                                                                                                      but to keep it nice she makes a killer pie crust.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                        Ah! - I have to give my mom credit - her pie crust was incredible and has never been duplicated!

                                                                                                                                                  2. Mostly I liked what my mom cooked (and her baking is award winning) other than certain veggie sides. But there was one dish called Monday Meat Pie. Probably from one of those Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks (I swear there must be 1000 of them in the series). It used the Sunday roast cubed up with veggies and this dry cornbread topping. Turned by off cornbread for the longest time. What a waste of leftover roast.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, I don't think I'd be feeling cornbread with beef roast either.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Oh yes!

                                                                                                                                                      Cabbage rolls
                                                                                                                                                      Brussels sprouts

                                                                                                                                                      I haven't touched any of them since I left home.

                                                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                                                                                                        Love cabbage rolls. You can keep the sprouts and liver.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                                                                                                          My mom used to make sprouts by boiling the frozen kind. Yuck. The first time I had fresh sprouts roasted was a revelation.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                                                                                            Oh, geez, boiled forever frozen brussels sprouts. The smell!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                                                                                              Yes! The boiled til soggy/messy frozen brussels sprouts!! It made the WHOLE house reek!! Now they're my favorite vegetable, who knew!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                                                                                                Frozen Brussels sprouts are just wrong. I once served a sprouts dish to a friend and she loved it and asked for the recipe. A couple of weeks later she called, asking for the REAL recipe since she had just tried the one I gave her and the sprouts were bitter and awful. Turns out she thought subbing frozen sprouts would be fine, and that they should be heated first so they didn't start as frozen rocks. Um, ICK.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                                                                                                                My father loved brussels sprouts--no one else did in our family--so he would cook up a lot of them in the pressure cooker for wayyyy too long and then eat them cold out of the frig for days. Periodically he would burn them and then the house stank for days.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                                                  That sounds like when my mom would cook broccoli in the pressure cooker until it was mush. The house stunk so she'd open the jar of airwick (it was actually a glass jar and you'd pull up the wick) which then got the house stinking of a mixture of broccoli and pine. Nasty!

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                                                                                                                  Love all of them, but the liver MUST BE rare!

                                                                                                                                                                3. Both of my parents are excellent cooks, and I'm an adventurous diner, but one of dad's favorite meals is Calves Liver with Onions, which I've NEVER been able to stomach to this day. But dad loved it, so what're you gonna do?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. My mother didn't care for cooking much. She did do the big Sunday dinner pretty well, Roast beef, gravy, mashed and a canned vegetable. But during the week? Not so much. Rosted chicken was pretty good, so was the meatloaf. However, those gross Friday night fish sticks were horrid. And she thought they were good for us. Blech. And we had them every Friday night until I was 18 yrs old I think.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. I remember growing up my friend hated when her mother made Pork and Beans...she would take and donate all the cans that went into it when our school had a food drive!

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: WhatsEatingYou

                                                                                                                                                                        When I was young cowboy movies and TV were big. My dad got us to eat pork and beans by telling us it was cowboy food.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: biscottifan

                                                                                                                                                                          My mom tried the same thing with Sweet and Sour Pork. Shrewd boy that I was, I saw right through the lie.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Birds Eye vegetable medleys. Bleah. Most of them are contaminated with carrots, and carrots ruin everything. Also, I don't think you should call something a stir-fry when it's really a

                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                          small h, I went to elementary school wit Richard Birdseye and his sister. he was a great guy back then. I remember feeling somewhat fortunate looking in the freezer and seeing his family name on our vegetables. I'd mention having broc or peas or green beans to him and he'd just smile.
                                                                                                                                                                          your story made me think of Richard Birdseye :) thanks for reminder

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                            I'm glad to have brought up a happy memory for you. I wonder if the Birdseye kids ever complained about having to eat their vegetables, and if their parents countered with something like "if not for these vegetables, you wouldn't have a roof over your head."

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                              ""if not for these vegetables, you wouldn't have a roof over your head."
                                                                                                                                                                              ......or horses in the barn or fields and fields of acreage. hahahahah

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Boiled frozen vegetables, especially green beans. I don't think I tasted a fresh vegetable until I got my own apartment after college.

                                                                                                                                                                          Chicken breast quarters marinated and baked to death with "low-cal Italian salad dressing." I can still recall the pungent chemical odor and taste.

                                                                                                                                                                          Instant mashed potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                          Bacon-wrapped chicken livers.

                                                                                                                                                                          Canned ham.

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                                                                            I'm guilty of loving instant mashed pertatas, even to this day. Always loved Colonel Sanders' taters and gravy.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Pot roast, boiled potatoes, and some kind of vegetable medley. Sadly, these were foods that my farmer-boy father absolutely loved and he preferred the vegetables cooked to almost mush and the meat cooked to almost leather. This was a frequent meal and I cannot even begin to guess how many hours I sat at the table trying to avoid eating it.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Oh, yeah. She had a rotation of about 15 meals and each of us had a couple we didn't love. Me, it was the tuna casserole and frankfurters paprika, a charming dish featuring hot dogs cut on the diagonal and cooked in a spicy-ish red sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                Damn! That sounds purdy good. Got the recipe for the Paprika Dawgs?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                  We had a dish called "barbecued hot dogs" which was not barbecue at all, but diagonally cut hot dogs in a red sauce, served over rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Spaghetti with chicken liver instead of meatballs. Chicken boiled without any seasoning for hours in the crockpot. Fish cooked in canned mushroom soup. Still gives me nightmares.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: siki2

                                                                                                                                                                                    All of that sounds horrific!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. When my divorced mom was working full-time, raising my sister and hosting me on weekends, she would make spaghetti in the crock pot. That meant pouring canned tomato sauce into the crock, and nestling (i'm using that word lightly!) the spaghetti noodles into the sauce. Then she'd turn it on low for about 10 hours, until we came home! What a mess!

                                                                                                                                                                                    Somehow we finally got the nerve to ask her to stop making that dish. My sister and I still laugh about it today!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

                                                                                                                                                                                      How did the pasta stay intact? I'd think it would fall apart.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Ewww...my mom made salmon croquettes and i thought ( and still do) that they were so nasty! I really hated those nights.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 2 things in our house, the first were large meatballs cooked in a brown gravy called Klops. They were totally horrible and my siblings and I renamed them Plops, they looked and tasted like poop!

                                                                                                                                                                                        The second was sweet and sour stuffed cabbage, the smell was enough to have us crying when we got in from school, we had to eat it and none of us liked it. My coworker eats sweet and sour cabbage a couple times a month and immediately I am 8 or 9 years old feeling nauseous.

                                                                                                                                                                                        My dad tells us that when he was small Friday night was boiled fish. His mom was a terrible cook, very plain and the fish was just boiled in water with no taste at all. He remembers being chased around the kitchen table by his mom holding a rolling pin until he sat back down to eat it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Almost every Friday night: baked: frozen fish sticks, frozen mixed vegetables from the bag, frozen french fries.
                                                                                                                                                                                          I hated Friday night dinners.
                                                                                                                                                                                          My mother was not a good cook, was not inspired by it, and didn't like to do it.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Ask me what she made that I did like and the list would be extremely short, if there would even be a list. I was thin (skinny) as a kid.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kayandallie

                                                                                                                                                                                            I hated fish but loved fish sticks, but I was in it for the tartar sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, I dug fish sticks, too. Mrs. Paul's. And Van de Kamp's fish fillets.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. tuna patties with pineapple on top. Hideous.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My mother was a young widow with four daughters and she really had to watch her pennies, and we never knew we were in bad shape because she did well with food. EXCEPT - she though frozen salisbury steaks with gravy were the bomb. Pretty gross, but I never complained.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. nope. i was an easy kid to please, and Mom wasn't a very adventurous cook but she had a solid repertoire of simple, relatively tasty recipes. she'd occasionally try something new, and the rule was that we had to have at least a couple of bites the first time. if we hated it, we didn't have to finish it and she wouldn't make it for us again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. That would be 3 minute eggs, cooked for 2-1/2 minutes. The whites were always runny and the yolks were barely warm - major ick factor. I'd ask if she would cook them for 10 minutes so they would be hard. Not a chance. Put me off soft-cooked eggs for decades but I learned to like them a couple of years ago. My DH loves them with buttered toast fingers and Marmite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Pork loin and canned crushed pineapple cooked to death in the crockpot. Pot Roast cooked to a dry, tough, blob and then moistened with a burnt grease and undercooked flour gravy. Tasteless meatloaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. She was an amazing cook, but she had a few dishes I hated. A runny egg sauce w/capers that she would put on fish, undercooked eggplant and croquettes. The croquettes never worked out for her, but she kept trying - I must take after dad because I would have given up. To this day I have a slight gag reflex when I see them on a menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. My mom is an excellent home cook, but for some reason I never liked her beef stew. Something about the texture of the meat when it was cooked. Our family now calls it "oh boy stew", because whenever I came home from school (or later on, from work) and asked what was for dinner, the response was "oh boy (insert rolling eyes here), stew". Gotta love a family joke!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Pork chops cooked in a pan until they were as dry as sawdust, then smothered in Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup. Ugh. To this day i despise any dish where I can detect that gelatinous sodium bomb known as condensed Cream of Mushroom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Two more dishes have sprung to mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            First, Swiss steak. It was always tougher than a boot and covered in stewed tomatoes, which I loathed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Second was fried chicken. Now I'd wager there are few people who love fried yardbird as much as I, but my mom's was inevitably dry and tasteless. I ate it, but with very little relish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                              We had these two dishes also, but were "Swanson" TV dinners........ blech.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Cold jellied carp. Every freaking Friday night. The absolute rock-bottom of Hungarian Jewish cookery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              32 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Nyleve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                We have a winner!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                I find it inspiring that many of you have had to endure horrible gustatory assaults and yet here you are, a CH'er!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Nyleve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well if it wasn't rock-bottom, I'm sure you could easily see the floor from there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Nyleve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yep, that sounds bad. Never had that at home but when I lived on a kibbutz, a friday delicacy was translated as "congealed leg." Not really sure what it is was and I avoided though I did enjoy the gigantic fish heads pulled out of the soup pot and served to those of us who'd helped cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Congealed leg. Oh that brings back a memory. Probably a very garlicky jellied veal concoction made from feet. I'm sure my mother made it a few times (I can almost smell it in my mind) but it wasn't in regular rotation. Gaaaah. Just the thought of it gives me the willies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Nyleve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I'm fairly sure there was a boiled hoof in that jelly mess somewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Nyleve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ptcha. Terrifying Jewish children for centuries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            YES!!!! Gaaaaa!!!!! The food of nightmares!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Nyleve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Much of the" jewish" food my grandparents, elder relatives and parents ate when I was a child literally made me hide under the table. I can recall them all eating away saying to me, " Oy! You don't know what's good!". I cannot sit near anyone eating gefilte fish or chopped liver to this day b/c of my childhood memories. People would eat it and then try to hug and kiss me- puke!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MRS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I can do chopped liver; I can do gefilte fish. Heck - I've even made gefilte fish. But until you've been faced with a slice of corpse-cold, jelly-enveloped boiled carp - with no seasoning other than carrots and celery (also boiled - but who cares - no seasoning could save that dish) - you haven't lived. Or died. In my case, the latter, almost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Nyleve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This may be the funniest thing I've read on Chowhound in several years. You poor thing. And I thought my mom's stew was bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Vetter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And the thing is that my mother was actually a good cook - in that Transylvanian sort of way. But the carp. Bleh bleh bleh bleh. Did I say bleh?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My father loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Vetter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Funny? I'm trembling to my very soul! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: MRS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, boy, I remember going to the family farm in the summer, and everyone would be boisterously eating disgusting things. The worst thing I remember is how everyone would chomp happily on slabs of raw onions, then want to talk closely and hug and kiss me. Puke!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My mom would occasionally chomp down on a bit of raw onion. And you'll occasionally see raw onion as a garnish-cum-side with Texas BBQ. In small portions, I don't object to raw onion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I now can take the raw onion with cilantro on carnitas tacos, for example. But just chowing down on big chunks of it naked (the onion, not me) - what's up with that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It may be a bubble or two off of level.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm tellin' ya!!! The relatives going after the small kids for hugs and kisses after what they ate!!! Oh man!! And the men w/ mustaches??! Whoo, bad news!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: MRS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I learned to love chopped liver eventually.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But it was a day of revelation for me when I realized I could refuse a plate of gefilte fish and the sky wouldn't fall. (Though it's been 20 years since I've eaten any, and the family still looks surprised when I turn it away.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      my grandpa ate that - Shabbos lunch - how do I make retching sounds come alive on the computer?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've only eaten ptcha once, and that was by mistake. I saw it on a buffet table at a cousin's bar mitzvah and thought it was some weird kind of gefilte fish (note to self: lay off the Mogen David and/or get eyes checked before ingesting mysterious gelatinous substances).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Nyleve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cold jellied capr (gefilte fish "GAG") is right up there with lutefisk that for some insane reason I felt I had to sample. To say that I heaved everything but my butthole would be an understatement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: logburner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Now that is some fantastic imagery!! haha The funny part is I know exactly what you mean!! I had that reaction to ham aspic when I was about 14. It was at a dinner in France, and I had no idea what it was, I thought it was just regular jello. I ate a big forkful, expecting a fruity flavor (like maybe pineapple or something because it was with ham) and instead got a mouthful of cold ham flavored gelatin.... I had to run to the bathroom. I think if I had it now the reaction wouldn't have been so visceral, but it was more the shock of what it tasted like vs. what I expected.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kubasd23

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Taste shock is a powerful thing, is it not? Several times I've taken a mighty drought of Coke while expecting iced tea--or vice versa--and it is literally startling. They eyes bulge, the eyebrows skyrocket and it's all you can do to swallow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ha! Once at a family picnic (I was eight or nine) I grabbed a thermos and took a big swig of martini thinking it was water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now that's a PLEASANT taste shock! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It would be now, but like I said, I was eight or nine...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: kubasd23

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I simply can't get behind the concept of aspic. We have a family friend who LOVES the stuff, and does very pretty arrangements of cuts of salmon, veggies and such in aspic. Lovely to look at. In fact, let's just leave it as is, so as not to disturb the image...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kubasd23

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When I was a small child, I took a long swig of apple cider vinegar, thinking it was apple juice. I don't remember much except for the violent retching. There will always be stories about it, told at family get-togethers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A mild version of this phenomenon happened to me today at lunch. I had two sandwiches, one peanut butter, and the other turkey and pastrami with mustard. I hawed into the former somehow expecting it to be the latter, and it was a strangely disconcerting experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My mother's dish for celebrating in the 60's was a crab/shrimp concoction that had a souffle-like base. She must have paid dearly for this dish. I always hated it, and believed into my thirties that I hated shrimp and crap. Then I realized that what I really hated were the cooked green peppers, which overwhelmed everything else. I HATE cooked green peppers. And now I am like most humans, who can't get enough of crab and shrimp.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pitterpatter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I like cooked Bell peppers, but only when diced. Big soft chunks of them...no good. No good at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pitterpatter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I hated peppers as a kid too. My mom would sometimes make stuffed peppers and it was awful. She was a great cook and now I like her stuffed peppers but until I acquired a taste for peppers in general that was the worst meal ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pinkpoodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The "stuff" was delish--the peppers, not so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agreed. Stuffed peppers are just nasty. I like peppers, and I like stuffed cabbage, but there's no way even today that I could stomach a stuffed pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AmyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                After watching the three of us pick out the 'stuff,' and leave the pepper behind for a couple of years, my mother just started baking the stuffing in a pyrex pan - complete with Campbell's Tomato soup. I love green peppers, but **not** stuffed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Creamed salmon. My parents loved it. I hated it. Canned salmon, canned or frozen peas, some sort of "cream" sauce, all served on boiled potatoes. BLECH.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Holy cow. After reading all these horror stories, I should probably consider myself lucky for being "forced" to have the occasional sweet pancake dinner '-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Liver and onions and beans w/ fried onions. Those were on a weekly rotation. Yuck! HOWEVER, homemade bread and butter was on a weekly rotation and YUM!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Beef stew. She is a good cook, but this was really, really boring, bland, root vegetable-y stew. I'm sure the meat wasn't browned. The onion sure wasn't. I bet there was no garlic. No wine. Not enough salt. The meat was murdered and she used those godforsaken veggies called RUTABAGAS. Mooshy potatoes, rutabagas, meat. Maybe some frozen peas and carrots tossed in. In a Wondra based gravy. Oh, god. How a woman who made such ethereal Swedish pancakes, krumkake and cinnamon rolls...well...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've never been the least bit skinny, cough cough, but I would just happily refuse to eat dinner on stew nights.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Vetter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What a bummer. Stew should be one of the great meals in a person's life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Terrieltr

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    True. But it does no good to stew over it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Tri-bean burger bake. A casserole, and frequent potluck dish, that was beloved by my brother and hated by me, included canned kidney beans, green beans, and pork and beans, ground beef, in a sauce that included ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire, and brown sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Most of what my mother cooked was great - I even liked the liver and spinach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But her baked fish dish was inedible - as far as I can determine she'd put sliced raw onion, canned tomatoes and thick pieces of white fish in a casserole - and bake it. The fish would be overcooked and chewy, the onion raw and the tomatoes watery. I can only think that - as she only made this for me and my brother as an after-school meal and the adults never ate it - she had no idea it was so awful.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We were never forced to eat individual foods we genuinely hated (green peppers, cooked carrots, honey...) so it never occurred to us to complain about the baked fish, as all of the ingredients were individually liked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. My Mom was never allowed in the kitchen growing up, and she lived at home (even in college) until she married Dad. They met in his hometown and carried on a long-distance romance and he never asked or realized that she couldn't cook (or had a terrible driving record) until they got married.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      She really tried, but for Christmas and Easter breakfast, she always made "The Rock" - a yeast dough ring with raisins, cut then baked - hard as a rock. She followed directions from cans, boxes, Joy of Cooking. I remember taking Coconut Cream Soup (that was supposed to be pie) to a Girl Scout event. Her cooking is legendary for not being good, but she's getting much better!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When Dad started working from home more often, he took over the cooking, but meat and fish have to be baked or barbecued until dry and tough. I still don't like cooked fish, but he knows that when I'm over and they're serving ahi tuna to just leave mine raw - I bring my own wasabi powder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And I was one who was forced to sit at the table and finish everything on my plate. I grew up to be one of those very picky eaters. The dog would only eat so much!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Ah, many. And this thread brings back great memories of both my lovely Mom and my awesome German Shepherd who saved me from eating most of the crappy stuff.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Note: dogs love toast covered with tuna in Campbell's Cream of Celery soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ha. Reminds me of my son learning to feed himself - he hated having food on his hands, so he would dangle them for the dog to clean off. I would just close my eyes and think: 1. symbiotic relationships are good; 2. the kid's building his immune system; 3. they crawl around around on the same carpet anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Still wondered if I was a terrible mom!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nah - so funny! You and my Mom must be related as you both operated on the same child rearing plan. Dogs really are the best handi-wipes - esp when your mom feeds you horror food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: EM23

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think my food was generally pretty good - the kid was inspired to do some pretty good cooking in college and now beyond. We still like to collaborate on cooking projects, so he must think I'm at least semi-ok at at it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              not a bad Mom at all, despite the morphography in which dogs linguistically roam, their mouths are still generally cleaner than ours.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. The Brisket that has Diet Coke in the sauce...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And beef stroganoff and once a week tuna-pasta crap=tuna+pasta+peas+MAYO

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            YUCK TO ALL THREE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Liver..and I could not leave the table until I had eaten every bite. There's not enough ketchup in the world to make it palatable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SimplyMarie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I discovered a trick to deal with liver, which I hated too. If I held my nose I couldn't taste a thing. So I'd hold my nose while chewing and swallowing liver and would continue to hold it while chewing and swallowing something else I liked afterward. Then I'd drink something. When I released my nose, I couldn't taste the liver. I didn't have to eat the whole thing though - only three bites, which, as an adult, I think is appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. both of my parents are excellent cooks (my mother especially), but there was a period of my childhood when they started to panic about saving money for college, and tried to cut costs as much as possible to get a jump start on their savings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                during this time, they discovered how cheap it was to serve cream of wheat...for dinner. ugh! no texture, no flavor, and while my parents claim we only had it a few times over the course of a few months, my sister and i remember forcing it down ALL THE TIME.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i still can't eat it, and don't really even like oatmeal since then either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. There was a period growing up where my family didn't eat meat for health and financial reasons (I guess). Instead of having nice vegetarian meals like pastas or curries, we would always have dishes where the meat was substituted with something else:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  lentil burgers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  nut burgers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  lentil loaf (instead of meat loaf)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  bean tacos
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pasta with textured vegetable protein
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the list goes on...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When I would go to my friend's house for supper and have the meatloaf he despised, it was like I had died and gone to heaven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: analysisparalysis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What saved me many nasty bites was that we had a table that expanded to place leafs in. Under the table was a small ledge that held a few bites of food. The dog was put out at meal time since my parents were on to the feeding under the table trick. After dinner he was allowed in to clean up the nasty bits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Even he wouldn't touch the peas though. I had to sneak back later to clean those out.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If we mixed the leftover peas with leftover mashed potatoes, he could empty his dish, leaving a nice neat little pile of peas in the bottom of the dish. A very talented dog!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Raffles, I miss you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. My dad was the cook of the house, but on the rare occasion my mom gave it a go, the salmon cakes she churned out were the worst. I can only describe them as fishy, salty, paper mache-like patties with very large chunks of celery.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As an adult, I'm fanatical about good quality seafood, I think maybe it stems from this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. This is way too funny of a thread. Reading all your horror stories made me so thankful that my mother only cooked a few meals, over and over. None of them good, just decent and we didn't know any better. And I do remember her saying to eat something because there were starving children in Africa. My response, I remember so clearly even though it's 40+ years ago was, "give me an envelope and I'll mail it to them".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      She made some gross meatloaf, to this day I won't eat anyone's meatloaf because of it. She made steak in the broiler, lamb chops in a frying pan, spaghetti with home made meat sauce she could do really well with a family recipe for the meat sauce from my father's Italian side of the family. Hamburgers in a frying pan, Hebrew National hot dogs boiled with gross Heinz vegetarian beans and that's pretty much alll I remember eating. I know she made liver for my dad but not for us.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And the best thing she ever made was when she broiled the frozen pizza by accident?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Not really cooked, but once a week we'd have:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ham out of a tin
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mashed potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Western Salad"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I could never stand the ham, sliding out of the triangular tin, glistening with gelatinous goop that was never scraped off. It would sit, a sickly pink triangle slightly sliding around on a plate, knife at the ready to hack off a cold quivering piece through the gelatin protective layer. Followed by a healthy scoop of iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes and sliced cucumbers slathered with Kraft French dressing.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        On the other hand, the mashed potatoes were good...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I love my mom, she doesn't come from a cooking tradition, growing up on a farm with 15 siblings at the poverty line. I just hated that meal, that's all. And every week it would be the same..."what's for dinner" "HAM, potatoes, salad" "I HATE Ham" 'Really? Since when?" "Since ALWAYS" "Oh well..." For years. Sigh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. This is such a fun thread.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My mother was/is a very good cook but 2 things came to mind for me:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Beer Cheese Soup- it was cheddar based, I think. A little bit of a gritty texture and bitter flavor - blech. Maybe she was trying to keep me from trying beer as a teen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Brussels Sprouts - boiled and served with mayo. That was the side that left me sitting at the table in tears while she did the dishes and the thought still makes me gag. Just had Brussels Sprouts (roasted in bacon fat) for dinner last night and licked the plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          However, no one makes better chocolate chip cookies or berry pie than my mother. No one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sushiqueen36

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Beer Cheese Soup? Sorry, but WOW.....LOLOL...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Apparently there are folks who like it - I haven't tried it in years. I love cheese, like beer but not heated and mixed thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sushiqueen36

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My college roommate and her boyfriend at the time made beer cheese soup once. I thought it was delicious. Have yet to attempt making it at home now because I can't find anything to justify the lack of nutritional value.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you really like it, the value is in the comfort factor. Emotional nutrition is good for you from time to time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: freia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I see it on menus around here from time to time - seems to be a popular combination, but I don't like beer so I avoid it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dad used to make beer pancakes when we were kids - I didn't like those either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I learned to like meatloaf quite recently, as I was stigmatized with an idea of it as being greasy, weirdly sweet, compact yet crumbly as it kept falling apart : well, unappetizing. The sauce made by mixing cream of tomato, ketchup and brown sugar and poured atop of it was the worst bit, it burnt as it cooked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sadly, both my brother and my father-in-law LOVED the stuff so it was a regular at the family table. Furthermore, it was convenient to my mom who apprehends cooking as a chore rather than a pleasure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I now make mine by mixing different minced meats, adding a whole lot of grated veggies and apple to the mix, an egg and some panko. Sauce is on the side, could be tomato-basil, could be beer gravy ou a kinda sauce Robert. But it certainely looks and tastes better than the original version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mokafeinomane

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What you're making is one big delicious meatball! With different sauces too. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm all about big, delicious meatballs with manifold sauces.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Peril, if I begged could you post even just one of your moms dishes that you loved?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. we were very good children and didn't complain much at the table (or weren't allowed to < I know it was one or the other :) anyway.......nothing creeping me out either about constants mom made. but...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I didn't like:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. that she used kidney beans and celery in her chili con carne
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. she thought for some reason we were supposed to eat and like rutabagas
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. liver and onions (even bacon wrapped liver) was detested

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Something disgusting called Diamond Jim (spinach, eggs, mushrooms, and ???).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It always tasted like throw up to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. My mom was married at age 21 in the early 1950's, and she fully accepted the food industry's line that processed foods were superior to the way her mother had cooked. That would have been okay, but she had a quirk about wasting electricity in the refrigerator, so she set it to the warmest possible temperature. The whole family regularly got sick with "bugs" that were really food poisoning. I didn't realize it at the time, though when I went off to college I noticed I stopped getting sick. Thought I grew out of it! I love my mom dearly, and I'm relieved that she is moving into an assisted living facility where the cooking, and refrigeration, will be done for her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow. Your mom was the original "Frugal Gourmet." ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow, also. And none of you died? Whew.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was thinking the same thing - just WOW.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They're probably extremely immune to food poisoning at this point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: bitchincook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "I love my mom dearly" < very sweet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree she didn't know better [that was back in the day] things were different.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              just ask my mom Nanc and her best girlfriend George everyday religously watching Jack La Lanne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. "Chicken fricassee". I put that in quotes because it resembled no chicken fricassee recipe that I have ever read. It was just boiled chicken with some celery and a bay leaf thrown into the stew pot. I think of that nasty, white, gooseflesh-covered skin on the chicken and I want to hurl. It was one of my dad's favorite dishes, though, so we had it often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AnnaBaptist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                After reading your post, I want to hurl too. Thanks a lot! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AnnaBaptist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, god, that reminds me of my mom's version of chicken fricassee. As bad as you suggest, plus canned asparagus which added nothing positive to the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AnnaBaptist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I hated it too! We had chicken every other Sunday and every other chicken was chicken fricassee on Minute Rice -...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. My Mom tried to be adventurous for her time ( for 3years we lived 3 blocks from Sunset Magazine); my mother-in-law, when I met my wife, however, thought it was a great "time-saver" to pre-cook pasta and freeze it in plastic bags. Oh yes, and my step-grandmother made a Jello-sour-cream-and-frozen-blueberries thing which she brought to Thanksgivings and which became infamous as " Martha's Blue Mold".

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It is funny reading these posts since the things that I hated as a child are foods that any foodie would pay good money to eat now. Things like escarole soup, steak pizzaiola, stuffed cabbage and basically any vegetable that wasn't salad, string beans or artichokes were things I despised. I would dread the dinner hour since I knew that I'd be doing my homework in front of a congealing bowl of something I had refused at dinner. Eventually, I'd have to leave the table to go to bed, but it was a never-ending war. Things were made worse by the fact that my sister would eat anything, and she was rosy-cheeked and plump while I was skinny and sallow. "Look at how your sister eats her minestra," my grandmother would say. This would cause me to dig my heels in even further. She loved cream of wheat or farina for breakfast -- things that would make me want to barf. And forget the "chocolate egg nog," which was just milk, a raw egg and chocolate syrup whirred in a blender -- but not quite enough, so there would be a string of albumen to gag on. And the smell of the bacala soaking in the cold pantry was enough to send me over the edge. I often wonder how it would be if I could go back in time and eat some of the meals that I steadfastly refused to consume. I was a stubborn child, and must have been a real pleasure sitting at dinner and gagging at the latest atrocity that constituted dinner for me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Leftover casserole - with canned peas added. I hated those.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But looking back, since we were really poor, I should have been thankful we had dinner almost every night, enough to eat and a roof over our head.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Still, I dont like peas mixed into any food I eat, especially canned ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Pistachio pudding and some sort of awful spice cake thing in a 9x13 pan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Tacos with hard shells, ground beef, and 'taco sauce' made out a mixture of ketchup, mustard, and a little mayo *shudder*. Until I was about 22 I thought i HATED mexican, turns out I love mexican and just hated my mom's version of it. I also was forced to sit at the table until my milk was gone, long after it at turned warm and sour. I've only recently been able to stomach it again, and even then, only in latte form. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: vienta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            yes! All sorts of things I thought I hated, but when I got older I realized I only hated my parents versions! I might have to start a thread about this....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Lima beans, apple sauce, and pork chops so dry and tough that my brother and I would choke on the splinters. All unseasoned, with 'gravy' that tasted like floury water, complete with flour lumps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ah, but I'd eat it every day for 5 more minutes with her!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: socky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yeah I think that is the undertow of these "gripe about childhood food" threads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              we understand we are lucky if we still have them around to grouse about and also know we'll be sorry when they're gone. vent 'em while you got 'em (but with respect of course).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: socky

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Our floury, lumpy, water was flavored with burnt grease! Yum! You, know, from the dry, overcooked pot roast!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Yes, every Saturday my mother would cook something she called Farmer's soup, a kind of vegetable soup with turnips which, to this day, makes me want to cry out of sheer frustration. I will eat anything, from sea urchin and calamari to meat tartar, but I will never eat that soup again. I believe she did this out of some kind spite, always telling me that I was being narrow of mind. Really, it was just sadism, pure and simple! It's funny, because she is actually a good cook...just has a mean steak, I guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Worse than my mom's tuna casserole was something called Hurry Tuna Curry and served it on noodles. It was a horrific shade of yellow and I hated it! I held my breath and choked it down because, of course, there was no other option. It took about 30 years before I could try real curry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As an adult I tried joking with my mother about Hurry Tuna Curry. She said it was the 70's and tuna was what they could afford. I then realized my parents never let us know just how tight money was during those days, so I enjoyed a carefree childhood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RedNailz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah I know that was behind many of the bad "yuck" worthy meals my mom made. I wonder if I could handle it so gracefully. Of course as long as my youngest has his Kraft M&C he is fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. My mom was not a good cook growing up and has become even less so as I've gotten older. Its ok though cause she has strengths in other areas of homemaking that i learned and i was able to learn all my cooking skills from various relatives, friends and friends mothers. One dish that stands out in particular was her making a pan fried dish such as salmon cakes (salmon from a can) or sirlion and adding a can of stewed tomatos. For some reason in my mom's mind adding a stewed can of tomatos with meat in a pan automatically elevated the taste, for myself and my sister it just made everything too mushy and odd tasting. To this day i'm not fond of any meat heated with or covered in stewed tomatoes. :(

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Munkipawse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Previous generations really were serious about their gender role assignments. I wonder how many of our fathers may have been more interested and maybe very good at cooking had it not been strictly prohibited. Some people like to cook and are good at it, and others less so - it is now accepted that male/female isn't a factor. My mom actually complained to me several times that the husband of a couple she knew was being "starved to death" by his wife because she "refused to cook for him" anymore. I asked my mom if the husband knew where the grocery store and kitchen were, and Mom didn't understand my point!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Munkipawse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm with you on that one. Swiss steak was one of my least favorite mommy dishes. And I was, and still am, a hardcore carnivore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Me too! I hated Swiss steak! Forgot all about it, mercifully, until your post!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh absolutely- I don't like anythign that has perfectly good beef stewed in perfectly good tomatoes. That goes for any seafood done in the veracruz style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We can make an exception for Bolognese sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You are welcome to my bolognese too. I don't like beef in my Italian tomato sauce. Unless they're meatballs. Almost forgot about that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mmmm, bolognese. I'll take it, if it's smooth. I'm not a fan of chunky cooked tomatoes in anything, so tend to use whatever tomatoes are specified and puree 'em before adding them to what I'm cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think it goes back to childhood. When money was tight, Mom would pour a can of some kind of tomatoes over macaroni and call it dinner. It was cheap and kept us fed, but it put me off canned tomatoes for life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm the same with cooked chunks of maters. Whenever I make pasta sauce, I process to a texture slightly chunkier than a puree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've only recently learned that our preference isn't the rarity I once thought it was. There are lots like us!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Pasta fazool (pasta e fagioli). Ugh. My older brother and I loathed it, but my father and younger brother and sister loved it, so we were out voted.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MysticYoYo


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            would that be white beans and pasta in the same dish? I

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. My mom was a wonderful cook but there were a few things we used to butt heads on...beets (ugh), coleslaw (ugh), and she would fix liver and onions for herself at times but never made the rest of us eat that. I don't know why she gave us a reprieve on that, but made us eat other stuff...it always smelled so yucky. But the tuna casserole I'm OK with, although I burned my husband out on it the first year we were married. I was 17 and it's all I knew how to cook!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MoxieLouise

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Funny...I remember not liking coleslaw...but slaw happens almost every night here in some form or another.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. i'm having so much fun reading this thread - i'm seriously laughing out loud! what great therapy. my mom wasn't an awful cook, but she was a "eat everything on your plate/no substitutes" immigrant (from south india - i know, some of you are probably thinking, so lucky! but... it's not so simple) mom type - so the more i reminisce, the more i'm remembering.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              also, she would complain about having to do all the cooking, but the truth is that the kitchen was her domain, one which she didn't want to relinquish control of, and that she got her self-esteem from. this meant that: she never wanted to eat out, even though it would save her from having to cook; we had to eat what she made, because if we suggested eating something else, she'd take it personally and get angry; and that she hated it when i started getting into cooking as a teenager and got compliments - she'd try and come up with all sorts of reasons why i couldn't cook, and why she had to (so twisted!). the truth is, in her old age she has started letting me into her kitchen a little more. i actually made the stuffing for thanksgiving, and she even complimented me on it. though she still complains to me about 1) how much work she does in the kitchen, and 2) how much my dad likes eating out. ha!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ANYway. with that as a preface, and also, with the given that i love her very much, and know that she was doing the best she could given her situation - some things that she cooked on a regular basis that i didn't enjoy:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - vegetable soup made with water (oh how i longed for her to buy/use chicken broth!), containing chunks of long-simmered green pepper, and also kidney beans - ugh! the former were so bitter and mushy; the latter, the one bean i didn't like. she'd douse the soup with dried "italian seasoning" for flavor. for a long time i didn't like the taste of oregano as a result. this trio would also appear in her "spaghetti sauce" but at least there, it was somewhat masked by the tomato sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - "ratatouille" - also with the aforementioned italian seasoning. eggplant was one of her favorite veggies, and she thought she was being very gourmet, making this, but she would use overripe/overgrown eggplant, which had the most awful bitter taste that she didn't notice. i really had to force that stuff down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - when we got older, she seemed to become an even worse cook - i think she was getting bored/tired of it (though she wouldn't give it up). in my teens, her favorite way of flavoring things was to singe a pile of garlic cloves - i.e. blacken them - and add them to stuff. she LOVED the flavor. i can't even remember how many possibly ok dishes she ruined with those cloves. one of her favorite ways to use them was to add them to tomato juice heated up with very minimal spices - a sort of quick south indian rasam - and then add a can of beans - garbanzo, pinto, sometimes kidney (ack). this was heated through and served over white rice. the overriding flavor was of burnt garlic. need i say more?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              - worst for me is that she would make food very hot (as in chili-heat - aromatic spices i loved). she'd often leave big hunks of green chili and dried red chilis in the pot. i often found her cooking too hot (i now know i'm a super-taster), and every so often i'd bite into the chili - oh how i dreaded that. if i said anything, she'd suggest i was making it up/take it personally/etc. the only remedy offered was to add yogurt or drink more water/milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              what's really interesting to me is, reading of other people's most despised dishes, so many are things that i DREAMED of my mom making! i longed for bland food of the sort others have described. i remember one of the first foods i attempted to make, probably around the age of 10, was - i kid you not - white sauce. it took me several tries to get it smooth. i think i ate it with toast. meatloaf? i remember craving it (she actually made meatloaf a couple of times when i was young, and it was really good! but probably too time-consuming). when she made american style meats - baked chicken breasts, pork chops, fish fillets - it was usually dried out, but i didn't mind, i was just excited to have something "american". the nights she'd let me and my sister make boxed mac and cheese, i was in heaven. i longed for these things called "casseroles" that i read of, made with a "cream of" soup and topped with potato chips. and also pot roast, hot dogs, swiss steak. i still remember the first time i had tuna noodle casserole - my college friend made it for dinner, i LOVED it, got the recipe from her, and subsisted on it almost all summer, to my roommates' horror. vienna sausages and underwood deviled ham? i yearned to try them, and finally one year i got my chance: they were on the list of required items for our school's required earthquake emergency kit. at the end of the year, i brought the kit home and happily devoured both (the vienna sausages were a letdown, but i loved the deviled ham).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              to my mother's credit, there were several things she did well. i liked most of her dal dishes, the backbone of any indian household's cuisine; her indian chicken curry was a reliable once-a-few-weeks, hard-to-ruin treat; and especially her indian-style sauteed veggies, i really enjoyed, when she made them well (not with too much chili or burnt garlic! :-). broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage - i loved these as a kid, and still do, because of how she cooked them - sauteed and lightly spiced. i'm very thankful that she in general attempted to feed us balanced, healthy meals with lots of veggies; but the whole "clean your whole plate" philosophy is one that i think goes too far, and one i intend not to continue, if i ever have kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: elmwoodchica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I may be related to you as well. a bad cook with kitchen control issues - oh yeah I know that scene. just 'cause i make it different isn't a critique of yours (ahem) but I would snarf the last paragraph of your Mom's food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  probably so. i will admit, i remember eating veggies "american"-style and being fairly horrified and thankful for the way my mom usually made them. (mind you, she reminded us of this CONSTANTLY - telling us about the horrific meals she would see her colleagues eat at work, how they'd marvel over her lunches, etc.) but the truth is, having grown up eating not only my mother's home-cooked indian food, but also many other "aunties'" versions of the same and other dishes, at parties/special occasions/etc, i know that there are a lot better indian home cooks out there than my mom! she's fairly middle of the pack. maybe even towards the bottom. (kind of hard to say, but it's true!) i'm of the opinion that when it comes to food, home-cooked is really where it's at.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: elmwoodchica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Deviled ham is way underrated these days. I used to love making a deviled ham sandwich on the beach or in a canoe and combined with some savory breadcrumbs it makes a mean stuffed mushroom!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Berheenia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I wholeheartedly agree! In fact, tonight's dinner will be toasted English muffins with deviled ham and melted American cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: elmwoodchica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The burnt garlic sounds terrible! I too am Indian and grew up wishing for meatloaf and tuna noodle casserole. My mom to this day makes me eat bitter melon, saying, "Try it, you'll like it!" as if I haven't tried it literally hundreds of time before and, nope, still don't like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I wonder what my kids will say about my cooking...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. My Mom was and still isn't too good at cooking. Growing up I would cringe when I saw the soup pot out, which was almost once a week. Her version of fish chower: frozen fish, frozen corn, onions, powdered milk and enough water to make "chowder". It was always curdled and she never used salt in her cooking. When I finally tasted a proper chowder I was speechless!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. My mom is a lovely cook and baker. However, she made this god-awful smoked turkey salad wrap with huge, wet chunks of smoked turkey, dried fruits (like cranberries, raisins, and prunes), and celery, and so much mayonnaise it would ooze out of the flavorless tortilla it was served in. I have nightmares about this dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. My mother is a great cook, but once a month she made beef liver and onions. The only way I could choke it down was to drown it in Heinz 57 Sauce ....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. My Mom was never the greatest cook but I can't remember anything I disliked as much as "Rouladen". Even her stuffed peppers made with UNCOOKED rice were better, although a bit crunchy! I don't think she made the Rouladen wrong but they are thin pieces of pounded steak that are rolled up with a filling of bacon, onions, mustard, and pickles. And I never liked mustard or pickles (could tolerate the pickles by themselves but never with meat, pick them off hamburgers to this day). I also don't like bacon with any other meat. She thought they were the greatest thing, so I never said anything and suffered in silence.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: msgenie516

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              what's even better is the day one learns to translate "Oh I think everyone likes this" into its real meaning: "I like it and that's what I'm making"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: msgenie516

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                " Even her stuffed peppers made with UNCOOKED rice were better, although a bit crunchy! "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I imagine so! lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  She was a fine cook but the liver and onions and the lima beans in the frozen mixed vegetables really sucked.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: msgenie516

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My dad taught my mom to make rouladen and I loved it! Sounds alot like your mom's recipe but I do not recall the bacon. May have been there but the overwhelming tastes were mustard and pickle, both of which I love.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. My mom is really a good cook, with the following exceptions: The two things she made for us that I couldn't stand growing up were corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes boiled in a pot on top of the stove, with the corned beef fat glistening at the top. Tasted worse than it smelled, if that's possible. The other thing she'd do, and I would dread, was when she'd cook steaks in the broiler. Shoe leather with salt and pepper is what resulted. But my dad was a meat and potatoes man, and he loved it. I'm 53 now and still can't stand corned beef, and if I eat a steak, it's in a restaurant. I leave that to the experts!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NurseMom17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    if I'm around and steak is on the agenda, I just hijack it and grill under the pretense of 'helping'. even if it's 32 degrees Fahrenheit. raining? I'll do it in the garage with the door open. I cringe when I see steak made into shoe leather. you want it that way? I'll hold my tongue and do it, but not on my plate bub. and it's not just her Dad is equally guilty, both have said they like it medium rare, yet no matter who is doing it, it comes out tough and grey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It is possible to do steaks very nicely under the broiler. I think i was 12 before I knew you could cook them any other way. Put the oven rack as close to the elements/flame as possible. Get the elements good and hot (when using electric range). Keep a close eye on the steak, as with all things close to the broiler it will go from raw to burnt in a matter of nano-seconds. Turn once, just like on a bbq. No, you won't get any smoke flavor, but you can get nicely seared but still pink and juicy steaks this way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If for some reason I'm unable to grill my steak, under the broiler is the way I prepare it and it turns out fine. The only thing lacking is the kiss of smoke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Absolutely. Throw some sliced onions on them as they're being broiled. Even some garlic salt instead of plain salt, maybe. Mmmm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Part of the key to success is choosing the right cuts in the first place, though. That may have been a large part of NurseMom17's mother's problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          broiler can indeed work fine. I guess I was posting under the umbrella of ideals. (I did live for about 6 years with no outdoor space)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Wankel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        care to share more? this sounds delicious to me...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kubasd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah. Brown sugar and pie--what's not to love?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Wankel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Its the only kind of pie she ever made, and she made them often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Wankel

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Do you have any idea what was in it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. For me it was steak and kidney pie, a favorite of my stepfather's. Mother would spend the whole day on it. The house smelled like a urinal all afternoon, and then we had to eat the stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also an early vegetarian offering, spaghetti and nutballs with awfully bland sauce. Although I think most of my problem with that dish was the gritty 1970s whole wheat pasta. She made it once with an artichoke flour pasta and it was only half bad.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I admire the determination of the whole foods pioneers - there is a reason why real food still has a bad reputation to this day!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Tuna Croquettes.. The worst thing I ever tasted or had the displeasure of swallowing. No matter how much catchup, horseradish or tarter sauce you put on it, it never covered up the taste or the smell. But she was so happy to make them for us. Excuse me... I need to go burn off my tastebuds.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My mom was a terrific cook. I'd learn to deal with her liver and onions and her tuna noodle casserole, but what disgusted me (even to this day) is chicken and dumplings. UGH!!!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ctfoodguy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What was wrong with 'em?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My mom's chicks and dumps was probably her greatest dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  PK - oh it can be screwed up and in a most royal way esp. the dumplings. oh yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am the only person in my family who asked my grandmother for her dumpling recipe/lessons. They are amazing. One of the most amazing things about it is that it contains only chicken, water, salt, pepper, and flour. Not one thing else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      technique counts for so much. I'd love to make my own tortilla but I have this enormous hunch there's something that I don't know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What kind of tortillas? I make both kinds fairly well...not great, but better than old bought ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          either one. I know it's not rocket science, but I can't help but feel it's one of those things a grandmother has to teach you. y'know a "work the dough but not too much, sprinkle just enough water but not too much" situation. I can cook on the fly just fine, but maybe I need to just suck it up and give it a shot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I feel the same way about gnocchi and spaetzel. I actually tried making gnocchi once and it was a borderline disaster.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But I can make my mom's chicken and dumplings like a pro.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've had good luck so far with both gnocchi and spaetzle. I think that many of these things are made easy by getting just the right info phrased in just the right way by the right person. Mario Batali's old show was great for this - he has a great way of boiling it down to the basics and then explaining them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "I think that many of these things are made easy by getting just the right info phrased in just the right way by the right person."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Exactly right, particularly when it comes to the traditional recipes/techniques that are simple & basic but somehow also subtle & method-sensitive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Swedish meatballs. Beyond gross. The smell still sickens me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. My mom was an excellent cook (still is, but she's in a retirement home so doesn't cook much anymore), and as my parents were avid gardeners, the food I ate growing up was very high quality compared to what a lot of people were getting at that time (seventies). Almost all our vegetables came from the garden, and they grew plenty extra to put up for the winter. My mother is from southwestern Mississippi, so the cooking was mostly classic southern stuff with a strong cajun and creole influence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The thing about my mother is that she ruled the house with an iron fist, and as the primary cook, made whatever she wanted without regard for anyone's likes or dislikes (and that included my father). She made what she wanted and we were expected to eat it. No ifs, ands or buts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My dad did not care for rice, of all things. In my mother's cooking, rice was a staple. Dirty rice, jambalaya, gumbo over rice - you get the idea. Dad obediently ate what he was served - maybe just a small serving of the rice, but he always took some and always ate it with never a word of complaint.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was not as saintly as my father. Now, the rice dishes, I loved. Where Mom and I crossed swords was over English peas. I liked peas. I would go out to the garden and steal them and eat them raw. And I could eat them cooked if they were just barely cooked. But Mom cooked them until soft, and I just couldn't take that texture. Many a battle was fought over English peas, and I always lost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mayo was another thing. Her coleslaw, tuna salad - anything with mayo in it - she used more than I could take, and it just made the stuff unpalatable to me. After I left home, it took about 20 years before I could eat anything with a mayo-based dressing.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, boy, I really get the mayo thing. To this day, my mom is probably trying to resist taking a spoon and a giant jar of mayo and going to town on it. Gross. It also took me years to accept small amounts of good-quality mayo used well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Makes me think of a brief exchange between two roommates in the movie Notting Hill...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (Spike is eating from a take-out cup with a spoon.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Spike (pensively): There's something wrong with this yoghurt.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      William: That's not yoghurt, it's mayonnaise.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Spike: Oh. Right. (goes back to eating as he turns away.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Just watched Notting Hill the other night... that scene makes me shudder every time.... and I love mayo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Love this scene. Usually have to pause the movie from the fit of giggles that ensues. Spike is fabulous.