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Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

My mother was amazing, raising three children all by herself. We were very poor, but simple and happy. I have very fond memories of the different things she would concoct to feed us! Some of it I still think of, and want to cook again.
She used to make sorullos ("cigars" ) with yellow corn meal dough. She stuffed them with American cheese and ground beef if we had any, and fry them until golden brown. I used to love those as a child, imagining they were submarines, or fat cigars. Haha! :D They were very yummy and crispy.

Here is a recipe similiar to what she made, except for the filling:
http://www.justbestrecipes.com/casser...

Also, she used to fry little dough patties (flour, adobo, water) and serve it to us on a bed of white rice and beans. Another variation of the fried dough used flour, water only, fried and dusted with sugar and cinnamon. I used to love those! There are so many "poor" meals I've enjoyed, and still make today, simply because they are delicious :) Do you have any?

 
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  1. Grout: creamy white rice served with milk, cinnamon, sugar, melted butter. That was supper.
    Saltine crackers eaten like cereal, with milk poured over them in a bowl.

    20 Replies
    1. re: wyogal

      Reminds me of the hot milk and rice my mother made, except it had no sugar and was salty.

      1. re: wyogal

        Oh my goodness--didn't know I was eating "grout"! We often had milky, sugary rice for b'fast or dinner.

        1. re: pine time

          I think it's a simplification of a Norwegian word.

          1. re: wyogal

            My Norwegian mother called it "rice pudding." We often had it for breakfast (no such thing as school breakfasts back then). I was amazed at what real rice pudding tasted like, although I still like Mom's version and have it sometimes, especaily when not feeling well.

        2. re: wyogal

          We would have spaghetti with butter and sugar. mmm. carb fest.
          and this is sort of gross, but I loved it: cheerios with sliced up hot dogs and milk. yes, gross. but I was little and didn't know better and it tasted good. (what I realize now was that was the only food in the house, and she gave it to me and didn't herself eat... love my mama)

          1. re: sdoconnell

            How touching, sdoconnell. It sounds like a horrible concoction now as an adult, but I'm sure it tasted wonderful. Who is it that said this quote, "Hunger is the best sauce"? It is very true. And your mother sounds like a very kind woman... like my own.

              1. re: Seeker19104

                Cervantes: "The best sauce is appetite."

              2. re: QueenDairy

                Spaghetti & butter, add parsley or ?
                I still love that!
                Also Eggs & Asparagus made in the iron skillet.
                Lentil soup of course, with spinach & onions & carrot.
                Notice that a lot of these are Friday Night dinners.

                1. re: QueenDairy

                  It really is the best sauce. Amazing how people's tastes change when they're really hungry.

                  Not on par with many stories, but I can remember going through a stint in my early twenties when a piece of white bread tasted sweet to me. Stolen food from the kitchen was absolutely delicious, and my treat to myself was going to an all you can stuff buffet every two weeks and seeing how much I could eat.

                  My sense of taste was heightened dramatically. At the golden fork (or whatever it was called) I thought I was king of the world.

                2. re: sdoconnell

                  Score one for the loving mothers of the world, sdoconnell. Your mother sounds like a truly lovely lady, and this post made my eyes wet; Thank you.

                  1. re: sdoconnell

                    We had pasta w/sugar too, but w/crumbled farmer's cheese on top. I think it was the lazy-man's version of sweet cheese vareniki, which my grandfather was a master of. But my mom didn't have the time to do. It was delicious and if I could find farmer's cheese now (we had friendship brand), I would love a bowl of this now.

                    Same grandpa was on various food aid programs, and received a giant block of American cheese every so often. He would buy 3 "french" breads at the grocery for $1. Slice them and the cheese super thin, and bake slices of bread and smaller slices of cheese on top until the bread was like a hard cracker and the cheese was jerky-textured. These little 3 bite snacks were the bomb. Totally delicious!

                      1. re: QueenDairy

                        He was the original cook in the family - a genius. He made everything from scratch, european pastries, gefilte fish, you name it. And then, being a retired engineer, he also built his own carrying cases to transport his delicacies to our house for family dinners and parties.

                        Sadly, he passed last year. I still have his vareniki "form." I need to break that thing out and give it a go.

                    1. re: sdoconnell

                      I think your comment hit me the deepest, and there are some great posts on this topic. I can't stop the tears.

                    2. re: wyogal

                      We were never allowed to buy the processed cereals they advertised on tv but we did eat plain graham crackers crumbled in a bowl with a little sugar sprinkled on, and milk. You have to eat right away as they get soggy fast! Delicious though.

                      1. re: chewbacca

                        Had the same breakfast whenever we had extra graham crackers and I always liked it (even when it got soggy).

                        1. re: chewbacca

                          Had this for breakfast some times but the milk had to be really cold and no need for extra sugar. You are right though, you had to eat it right way or they get too soggy!

                        2. re: wyogal

                          Hey what you call Grout, we called desert...LOL

                        3. We weren't poor. My dad always had a job--a good job for the times. But both parents had grown up in the Depression, and they were very cheap where food was concerned. When I was very young, my mom would make a cream sauce and mix it with ground beef and put it over bread. She also creamed dried beef--the stuff that used to come in little jars and was quite salty--and we ate that over bread. Of course it was the cheapest white bread she could find.

                          For a salad, we had iceberg wedges topped with Miracle Whip, or a pineapple slice from a can topped with crated cheese and a dollop of Miracle Whip. I also ate Miracle Whip sandwiches from time to time. We never had butter; it was always margarine, or oleo.

                          I really don't remember the food I ate when I was quite young fondly. Our diets improved as we got older, my dad got raises, and mom went to work. We began to eat a greater variety of food, and overall our diet improved.

                          32 Replies
                          1. re: sueatmo

                            Oh I just remembered another one that I used to love. Yellow rice cooked with slices of hot dog, or vienna sausages. I still crave that to this day!

                            1. re: QueenDairy

                              Oh my goodness, Vienna sausages. Yes, I've eaten them. I have to admit I don't care for them all that much.

                              Ever have fried bologna?

                              1. re: sueatmo

                                Fried bologna isn't "poor" food. It's a regional thing! There are restaurants that sell fried baloney sandwiches. And fried baloney and eggs is not bad. Not as good as salami and eggs but still.... : )

                                1. re: happybaker

                                  LOL! Fried bologna -- my husband lived on that when he was in college...thought he was a gourmet chef, when he proudly showed me how he snipped the edges to keep it from curling up on the pan. Toss on a little cheese, a piece of toast to top and he was good to go. It did taste good, but makes me smile just to remember it. Miss him so much.

                                  1. re: Spaceechik

                                    yeah this is one that could stay here or go on the 'guilty pleasure' thread. indeed good, yet something hard to 'fess up to.

                                    make one soon (OK just for you) and indulge in that secret Cheshire cat smile that you never need explain.

                                  2. re: happybaker

                                    Bologna--err "baloney" as we always called it--WAS poor food.
                                    Back in the day it was cheap meat. As were weiners.
                                    And we had tons of it.
                                    School lunches, sliced thin and fried crispy.

                                    The poor foods I miss the most are "pluma mouse" a German dessert made by cooking prunes, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, water and cornstartch.
                                    In summer my Mom would make it with wild blueberries plus a little cream.

                                    And fried bread.
                                    If Mom made bread that day she would save about a loaf's worth for supper; roll it out thin-ish, slice some holes so it would stay flat and fried it in lard.
                                    We ate it with margarine(!!) and corn syrup.

                                    Oh yeah, and pancake suppers.

                                    1. re: happybaker

                                      Growing up we were most certainly poor, I didn't really realize until i was older. But we used to get block of American cheese and those plastic containers with bologna in it. Bologna, while it can be a regional food, was definitely a poor food. We couldn't afford the yummy deli roast beef or carved turkey, so bologna roll ups it was. Also, cans of government meat with the animal inside depicted as a picture on the front. My dad used to make this awesome meal, I steal crave to this day, it was with can o' pork cooked with seasonings and ketchup when we couldn't afford tomato sauce, and all of that was lovingly glopped over fresh cut, pan fried, french fries. We had one of those cool gadgets that you put over your potato and pushed andit sliced them. I cut my fingers on it many times. I wish I still had that. He would strain the oil of the fries off by laying them on paper bags from the grocery store. My mom would create something out of nothing every meal. Every dish was better than the last and no one was made the same way twice. She fed us with love. She fed us with soul. She fed us with life.

                                      1. re: Sarrastia

                                        Sounds like you cut your finger on the Ronco Veg-o-matic. I always wanted one of those!

                                      2. re: happybaker

                                        A neighbor of mine in Brooklyn was from down South and used to make fried bologna. I thought it was a great idea when I was a little kid. We were never allowed to eat anything like that.

                                        1. re: t19103

                                          Growing up (Deep South), this was somewhat common, among my friends. I could never warm to it, and declined.

                                          Hunt

                                          1. re: t19103

                                            Fried bologna sandwiches are very popular in Southern Ohio. And surprisingly tasty : )

                                            1. re: happybaker

                                              When I was young, It was a treat to make a fried bologna sandwich with sautéed onions, garlic salt, and mayo/ketchup "Russian dressing", and lettuce between 2 slices of white bread. Wouldn't eat it today, but the memory still makes me smile.

                                        2. re: sueatmo

                                          Had fried bologna and onions for breakfast yesterday...

                                          1. re: Cathy

                                            For me bologna is poor food. So I apologize if for you it is not. I haven't eaten bologna in probably 40 years. When I spotted it in my mom's house almost a decade ago I cautioned her that this wasn't good food for an elderly lady--too much fat and salt and not enough protein. But she didn't believe me of course.

                                            Neither Vienna sausages or bologna are good sources of protein I don't think. I don't eat them now and never will again.

                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                              well, except for that bologna thing. I grew up in PA, live in CA; while vacationing in NY last summer, I ordered a fried bologna sandwich ~~ something we definitely do not have in California.

                                              1. re: laliz

                                                I grew up in Connecticut but my mom was from Queens and we had fried bologna sandwiches. We even fried the bologna in butter. I am clutching my chest as I write this--but so good! Haven't had it in a long time.

                                              2. re: sueatmo

                                                It is "poor people food" from my childhood that I still crave. We didn't have bacon, sausage or Spam for breakfast; we had bologna. With eggs, with pancakes, with toast and jam...it was 'my' breakfast meat.

                                                I think it's better than those other meats for breakfast and I really do crave it.

                                                1. re: Cathy

                                                  I remember when I was growing up people would buy large chunks of bologna (with a cloth-like waxed rind) and bake it off like a roast for their family. That with a few potatoes on the side was Sunday dinner. Like you Cathy, we used to fry it up with eggs for breakfast or for sandwiches. Bacon was that twice a year if you were lucky treat at Easter and Christmas breakfasts. I still love bologna today - in a sandwich or fried with eggs.

                                                  1. re: Aislyn

                                                    My husband was told the hard, crackly edges of an egg fried hard in grease was "bacon".

                                                    1. re: Aislyn

                                                      Back in the late 50's/early 60's with 6 kids to feed (5 sprouting boys) and very little money, my mother would score a big chunk of bologna like a ham - stick whole cloves in the intersections, bake it and glaze it...we loved that Sunday dinner. Sunday was the only day we ate meat unless it was payday.

                                                2. re: Cathy

                                                  I love bologna.... to this day, I jokingly pronounce it "BUH-LOG-NAH" just to be silly.

                                                  1. re: Cathy

                                                    Fried bologna and fried onions with garlic salt, a little lettuce and "Russian" dressing, i.e. mixed ketchup and Ann Page mayo, was a luxury as a kid.We were allowed to make it about once a month, and appreciated it because it was considered a luxury.

                                                  2. re: sueatmo

                                                    Ooooh, yeah! Fried bologna sandwiches with Best Foods mayo! Sometimes that was dinner.

                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                      Fried Bologna sandwiches were one of my Grandmothers favorite lunches to make us! I loved them. I also remember something my Mom made called "cheese dreams". It was cheese on a slice of bread then placed in the broiler part of the oven until the cheese melted and puffed up and turned a little brown! We loved them and when we were young it was often our Sunday evening dinner!

                                                    2. re: QueenDairy

                                                      Ah yes, my mom and grandma still make that dish, the Carmela brand of vienna sausages is the best : )

                                                    3. re: sueatmo

                                                      sueatmo, I could have written your post!

                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                        I ate a *lot* of creamed tuna as a child, I think usually over toast, sometimes rice. It was a dish from my father's childhood that I could always make from what was in the pantry.

                                                        I haven't bought Vienna sausages in years, but I used to. The 'proper' way to eat them is to cut a slice of white bread in half, slather generously with yellow mustard, and then roll the Vienna sausage up inside.

                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                          My Mom was a fan of "Creamed Chipped Beef on toast" which was that salty stuff from a jar. My Dad, a WWII vet called it "S... on a shingle" much to our delight, my Mom, not so much.

                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                            The dried beef with a white "gravy" was called "sh*t on a shingle" by the military for several wars (may still be called that). I had a boy friend who loved it, so I had to get the recipe from his Mom.

                                                            1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                              My grandfather loved "sh*t on a shingle, after his time in the army. He made it with turkey, milk, onion, carrots and peas. My mom loved it too and still makes it to this day. I never make it myself but I do love it when my mom does, and it reminds me of my dear grandpa.

                                                              1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                                From what I remember about that, or similar, I do think that the S-O-a_Shingle concept is appropriate. However, I grew up in a household, where canned Corn Beef Hash," and various canned "spiced meats" were considered haute cuisine.

                                                                I never picked up on any of those - sorry.

                                                                Hunt

                                                              2. re: sueatmo

                                                                no offense intended suatmo, but your post reminded me of an old joke: do you pray before you eat? no, my mom is a pretty good cook.

                                                              3. Rice with canned sardines in tomato sauce.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  Omg ipsedixit, that brings back so many memories. To this day, I still love sardines and rice.

                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    Me too , once a week for the Omega3 that we are being told about.

                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                      I remember the rice with canned sardines in tomato sauce days!! .... but I don't miss it

                                                                    2. Pinto beans cooked with ham hocks, along with skillet cornbread made with bacon drippings.
                                                                      Turnip greens on the side.

                                                                      24 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                                                        We always added pork rinds to the beans during the final cooking phase. Oh and since my mother worked as a factory line worker for produce, she would come home dusty and tired, with a bag full of "rejects" which in my honest opinion, were perfectly edible vegetables. Maybe a couple of bruised or scratched squash LOOKED ugly, but they tasted just the same! :) lol

                                                                        1. re: Tripeler

                                                                          Upthread I commented on bologna, and others posted back that they still eat bologna, and don't consider it poor food. Well, I don't consider slow cooked beans of any sort poor food, or if they are, I don't care. I wouldn't eat cornbread with them mainly because of carb considerations, but I'd want to. I like greens too, but my family never ate those three in combination.

                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                            I agree :) "Poor food" was simply in reference to cheap, easily accessible food. I still buy and cook most of it today!

                                                                            1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                              I made garlicky black eyed peas with a "mess" of baby kale. So good. This not a recipe from my childhood, but eating black eyed peas is eating gourmet poor food!

                                                                                1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                  We had a lot of black-eyed peas growing up, and also tomato chili. Tomato chili was just the tomato base with spices and beans (no meat). Meat only started being added when we got older, and my parents could afford to buy meat more often. I was the oldest of 4 kids and remember more times with less meat in our diet than my other three siblings! We also seemed to have a lot of fish, but I grew up along the Mississippi River near St. Louis, and fish was pretty inexpensive, plus my Dad use to go fishing a lot on days off in nearby Lakes and bring home mostly catfish; which to this day, 59 years later, I do not like to eat!

                                                                                  1. re: Mariposa410

                                                                                    my Dad (also STL) is the same way about fish for the same reason, and I don't think I'd fish out of the River there today.

                                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                                      He didn't fish out of the river then! Maybe because he worked in the Steel Mill and knew all the awful stuff that either got dumped or spilled into the river even then! Though not as bad as Pittsburgh where I think was where they had a river "catch on fire" regularly!!! No matter what I still am not much of a Fresh Water Fish lover. I prefer salt water fishes to this day (deep salt water at that)!

                                                                              1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                I agree too. Back in the day, families were larger, people were on much tighter budgets and our parents had to find more cost effective ways to stretch meals, etc. It just so happened that the foods we have been discussing (bologna, beans, etc.) were cheaper to buy and could be stretched much further. Today, at least here in most of the provinces, bologna cost more to buy than Black Forest Ham or Smoked Turkey!

                                                                                1. re: Aislyn

                                                                                  In my family eating bologna was more commonly done that eating dried beans. I've never heard of roasting it. But it was definitely the cheapest cold cut available, or at least almost the cheapest. Seems like I remember olive loaf being somewhat cheap too.

                                                                                  I never formed an attachment to bologna. But as a child it was bologna and Miracle Whip on white bread. A piece of cheese was luxurious addition to the sandwich.

                                                                                  We were unusual in that we didn't use Velveeta or sliced American sandwich cheese, but Longhorn or Colby in the blocks or half rounds.

                                                                                  1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                    I remember an olive loaf too. Didn't it have green olives and red pimento in it? There was also a macaroni & cheese loaf and a mock chicken. If I remember correctly, they were all slightly less expensive than bologna. I remember a funny story that my late mother told me. When she was a young bride, she decided to cook up something different for my father so she tried to fry a few slices of macaroni & cheese loaf. Much to her embarrassment, the meat suddenly had perfect little round holes in it - the cheese had melted obviously. My father used to tease her for years about that. Her cooking skills became much better after that. lol

                                                                                    1. re: Aislyn

                                                                                      Cute story.

                                                                                      Yes, the olive loaf and slices of stuffed olives in it. I didn't think it was that good, preferring bologna, but now I wouldn't eat either one.

                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                        I also remember the olive loaf, and another lunch meat loaf that had little pieces of cheese throughout it (no macaroni noodles though). I use to love it with miracle whip on my lunch sandwiches I took to school! I also remember something called "brick cheese" that I loved! I think the Brick Cheese is still made, but haven't seen that lunchmeat and cheese loaf in years (like about 40 or more)!

                                                                                        1. re: Mariposa410

                                                                                          I've eaten brick cheese. It is, or was, very mild.

                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                            Yes, it was. I heard on one of the food channels that it comes from Wisconsin and got its name from having Bricks placed on top of the forms the cheese was put in to push out the air pockets. I think it may still be made. My husbands father was an independent cheese maker who made and sold his own cheeses in a small Italian family run market back in New Jersey back in the 1930's through the 1960's. He said he remembers it too, though they made varieties of Mozzarella cheese only. He said he thinks it is still being made too, but just not sold too many places outside the midwest.

                                                                                            1. re: Mariposa410

                                                                                              While I am not familiar with the specific 'brick' cheese it is that you refer, I know of a cheese plant in Wisconsin that nakes sharp cheddar in 5 pound 'bricks'. I would not describe it as mild however. You can get similar shaped and sized bricks of provolone and mozzerella.

                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                It could be the same Cheese Plant, my husband said the process to make all the Cheddar's is the same, the difference comes in cheese making with the length of the processing part for each cheese, and in some the coloring that gets added. The "bricks" I referred to are the concrete kind! They were placed on top of the cheese being processed to force out the "cheese whey" in the early part of the cheese being processed. My husband said when his Dad ( an Italian Cheese Maker) made cheese, he used the heavy milk barrels to put on top of the cheese forms he used while processing his cheese! His Dad made mostly the younger cheeses like Mozzarella and something called "scamozza" and smoked forms of these cheeses. He then sold them in his own Italian Market in the area of New Jersey they lived as well as to some other small Italian Markets and Restaurants.

                                                                                                1. re: Mariposa410

                                                                                                  I don't know about how the cheese plant to which I was referring processes their many variety of cheeses but I would guess it is not the same place. The plant to which I refer is a coop that did not get ramped up to big time production until the mid to late '80s in northwest Wisconsin.

                                                                                            2. re: sueatmo

                                                                                              It came in a cardboard box, right? And was gigantic....

                                                                              2. re: Tripeler

                                                                                I think you grew up in my house! My siblings and I ate that yummy meal at least three times a week, and now I miss it if I don't make it often - and my daughter craves it, go figure. We didn't know we were poor!

                                                                                1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                  This is one of my favorite meals from my childhood. I am fortunate that my mother still makes it from time to time.

                                                                                  1. re: GCBananaBread

                                                                                    Fortunately, I learned how to cook these things (along with fried okra) from my grandmother.
                                                                                    If you have time, learn from your mother how to make these things you love.

                                                                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                      Absolutely. I miss that dish so much.

                                                                                    2. Tamago gohan (raw egg and soy sauce mixed with rice), ochazuke (dried package of green tea nori and dehydrated salmon) and natto (fermented soybeans). I never thought of these as poor people food, but upon reflection, they are very frugal meals. My mom grew up post WW II in Japan- a very lean time. Her frugality persists to this day. My brother and I just thought of these dishes as delicious. I still eat these dishes today.

                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: BigSal

                                                                                        I'm not sure where she got it from, but we sometimes had military rations. We used to joke that it was astronaut food. LOL! I remember how it was packaged... dark green foil pouches with crackers inside, canned food with plain white labels and black letters. My favorite was the canned pork. It looked horrible, like dog food, but tasted very good. She would jazz it up with onions and tomato sauce.

                                                                                        1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                          Rice pudding using leftover rice and raisins, baked till a skin forms on top
                                                                                          Sausage casserole with mashed potato.
                                                                                          Swiss chard in cheese sauce (bechamel) with boiled potatoes.
                                                                                          Actually, I think pretty much everything we ate was 'poor food'!

                                                                                          1. re: pippimac

                                                                                            All of the above sounds delicious. I miss my mother's rice pudding. ;)

                                                                                            1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                              Seconding the rice pudding with leftover rice and raisins. I recently found a recipe for one similar to mom's- "Rice Custard Pudding" in The James Beard Cookbook from 1959. It was sweeter than I remember, so next time I'll cut down on the sugar, but otherwise good and nostalgic.

                                                                                          2. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                            Same here! We still eat them occasionally on camping trips, but those green packages were a staple of my childhood. We also called it astronaut food! :P

                                                                                            1. re: Caerus

                                                                                              Ah, the memories! This made me tear up. If we were poor, I didn't know it! :) I just had a memory... Age 5, pretending to be an astronaut exploring an alien terrain (I covered the floor and bed with blankets). I would pretend there was zero gravity and made funny breathing sounds, narrating my observations as I went along. lol Then I would sit on an alien mountain (the bed) and open a pouch of crackers. =D

                                                                                            2. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                              I think in the 60's a lot of Army Warehouse Stores were around that sold those "rations", because I remember them too! We had an Army Supply Depot that did sell things to civilians near us - in fact that was what it was set up to do. I think it literally was an Army "Surplus" Supply Store. They sold all kinds of things like Rations, heavy Parkas, army or military style clothing that was "defective" somehow (we never knew how from what my parents bought).

                                                                                              1. re: Mariposa410

                                                                                                I remember those stores from the 70s. In my area of PA, it seemed like every town of measurable population had one. The one my parent's frequented had a strong oder of rubber, down and canvas (actually, they all probably did)

                                                                                                I considered those rations a treat! I just to pretend I was camping in the spare bedroom.

                                                                                            3. re: BigSal

                                                                                              Wow, Sal, my dad too. Japan 1929 to 1949, ethnic german (jewish). Tamago gohan was a staple that I've introduced to my own kids. Never really associated with poverty. The only things my dad refused to eat due to wartime memories were certain root veggies - turnips and parsnips. I tried a turnip soup on him a few years back - no dice. He loves that stinky yellow radish pickle thing, thought.

                                                                                              1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                bigsal, how about fried spam as the meat side? :-))

                                                                                                1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                  Well, in Hawai`i, there IS a spam festival, but I have managed to miss it, over the last 30 years.

                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                              2. My mom made instant rice with tomato juice, butter, salt & pepper. I love it to this day. Sometimes she used mac instead of rice but they were both good. I remember kmy grandfather eating crackers and milk (like cereal) and I thought it was gross!!

                                                                                                37 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: gtogirl

                                                                                                  My mother used to worry about me, because I had a touch of anemia for a brief time. She would feed me anything with iron. Ok, time for an embarrassing confession: She used to buy baby cereal (the flakes of rice, barley, etc) and mix it up in milk for me. I loved it! LOL! I'm sure the powdered vitamins in it helped. To this day, I can still remember the slightly thick texture, and mild oaty flavor of it. I've been temped to buy some these days, since my hemoglobin is borderline low. haha

                                                                                                  1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                    Me too on the hemoglobin. I hadn't thought to use anemia as an excuse for eating something. Hmm--what could I find an excuse for? Liver?

                                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                      I use it as an excuse to eat so many things, liver is definitely one of them. And the anemia wasn't even all that severe! haha

                                                                                                      1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                        I ate the best calve's liver in London. I just couldn't resist it on the menu. It must have been soaked in milk before cooking. Mr. Sueatmo hates liver, and isn't supposed to eat it anyway, and I probably shouldn't either, so I never make it.

                                                                                                        When I posted upthread about sorghum, I looked up Grandma's Molasses, and the copy says it is rich in iron. How I wish I could eat molasses and say it was health food!

                                                                                                        I am really enjoying this thread. Thanks for starting it.

                                                                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                          The pleasure is all mine ;) Ive never had sorghum molasses before. I'll have to find some and try it sometime.

                                                                                                          1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                            Babe's serves it with their biscuits, and you can also buy it there. It's good ... I think it's a whole separate thing from molasses though. It's much lighter.

                                                                                                            1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                              I don't know Babe's. The sorghum from my youth was heavy and rich tasting. I believe it was more heavy than molasses. I am not sure I would still like it, frankly. But if I ever found it, I'd probably buy to taste again.

                                                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                Babe's is a local fried chicken chain. (Local to me and a different CHer, DairyQueen :) The sorghum they serve and sell is a golden brown, lighter tasting than molasses. It is perfect for drizzling on biscuits ...

                                                                                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                  You are correct. 'Molasses' made from grain sorghum is not really molasses and is much lighter than blackstrap molasses, more like dark corn syrup.

                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                    Thank you! I had no idea what it was before this thread. Definitely will have to try some.

                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                      Yes lighter than blackstrap, but in my memory, about like regular molasses, with a definite special taste. Dark corn syrup is a good comparison, if memory serves. Dark corn syrup was what we used for pancakes, when I was a child. It might have been thicker than corn syrup, but memory here might be faulty. Sorghum molasses is also good drizzled on cornbread. And that my friend, would be poor people food, par excellence.

                                                                                                                      I wonder what a teaspoon would do for a cup of tea?

                                                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                        It might be a little strong tasting for tea. One of my brothers and I used light corn syrup on our pancakes but I don't recall why as we always had maple syrup, or what passes for maple syrup, in the cupboard.

                                                                                                                        Some transplanted to Minnesota Pennsylvania friends of my parents had been buying a product called King Syrup through the mail to make Shoo Fly Pie. They probably paid 10 bucks a bottle. They were visiting and I made a Shoo Fly Pie using Karo Dark Corn Syrup and they couldn't tell the difference. They are traditionalists but before that they are frugal so they will use the dark corn syrup too.

                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                          I don't recall seeing Karo Dark Corn Syrup in the store recently. I see the white, but not the dark. By light corn syrup, you mean the clear stuff? Or is there another Karo syrup I don't remember, or have never known?

                                                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                            It says "Light Corn Syrup" on the bottle, but yes, the clear stuff. I suppose not all stores carry both kinds. We don't use much corn syrup except maybe the occasional homemade caramel corn, but I would not be surprised if they even make a lower calorie version of the regular corn syrup. I also would not be surprised if some of the labels say it is 'fat free'.

                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                              Fat free, but not carb or calorie free, or even reduced. It is pure corn sugar. I haven't used light corn syrup since I made a pecan pie for the last time several years ago.

                                                                                                                            2. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                              Yes, there is Dark Karo syrup! I just bought some at Christmas for some baking I was doing. It is usually right by the "Light Karo Syrup", which is clear in color!

                                                                                                                        2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                          I ran across a blog entry on sorghum on the Bon Appetit site today. It described it as between honey and molasses, but definitely its own flavor. They have a picture of it dripping from a spoon that shows the color well.

                                                                                                                        3. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                          We just ate at the one near Cowboy's stadium. The sorghum there was defitneily much lighter tasting than molasses with none of the bitter tasteof mollasses. It was quite good.

                                                                                                                        4. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                          My Great Grandfather grew sorghum on his farm in So. Indiana. My Grandmother said they would have it on biscuits or pancakes nearly every morning, she called it Sweet Sorghum. There is still a Sorghum Festival held in the Fall in the county where they had a farm.
                                                                                                                          The one time I tried Sorghum as a child my Grandmother pinched me because I spit out the bite of biscuit it was on!

                                                                                                                          1. re: avelyn

                                                                                                                            It is a strong flavor, as I remember. No doubt it is an acquired taste. No grandma should ever pinch any child IMO. In this case, i am glad times have changed.

                                                                                                              2. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                I remember, worse yet, being told by the Dentist who had to surgically remove my wisdom teeth in the 60's, to eat Baby Food for the 10 days he had my jaws sewn shut!!!
                                                                                                                I actually liked it. Interestingly though, when I had my own kids in the early 80's, I tasted their "Baby Food" and it was no where near as sweet (Thank Goodness) as what I recalled back in the 80's. I still rarely used it except when traveling (my husband was in the Air Force), because I just made my own where I could control what was in it!

                                                                                                                1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                  I ate babyfood on occasion up until I was in first grade. And I have no medical reason.... I still remember the Gerber desserts and chunky vegetable soup. I would just add salt and go to town. I only stopped because of the texture.

                                                                                                                2. re: gtogirl

                                                                                                                  Macaroni and canned tomatoes. A little butter and diced onion. My family- six sisters in all- still love it, although we add the extravagant spoonful of Cheez-Whiz

                                                                                                                  1. re: Epicuriouser

                                                                                                                    This is mine too--macaroni and canned tomatoes--but baked in a casserole dish with crushed up saltines on top for a crunch. Now that I'm "rich" (haha) I make it with meat sauce instead of just tomatoes.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Epicuriouser

                                                                                                                      My mom would make this, too. She would add left over diced ham to it. She made the best macaroni and cheese. She use to make it from scratch starting with a white sauce and melting cheddar cheese in it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Epicuriouser

                                                                                                                        My mom would do Macaroni and Cheese (prob store brand) with a can of tuna and a can of peas. I still crave it to this day.

                                                                                                                      2. re: gtogirl

                                                                                                                        Ok I've wondered about that...my grandma eats the saltines and milk after dinner or sometimes before dinner. Always wondered about that...I like saltines but don't think I would like them in milk.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Fromageball

                                                                                                                            One of my favorite meals and my mom would make it for breakfast or dinner, was cracker pancakes. She got this recipe from her mother. They would buy Uneeda (?) biscuits. I think they were some type of water cracker like saltines but without the salt on top. They came in a single stack purple box. I don't see them in the store anymore. At any rate they would make a mixture of milk and egg and then mush up the crackers and let them absorb all the liquid. Melt butter in a pan and put in a little mound of the cracker mixture and smoosh it down like a pancake and brown it on each side and serve it would maple syrup. Haven't had them in years! Has anyone else heard of "Cracker Pancakes?"

                                                                                                                            1. re: fitzgerld4

                                                                                                                              No, but they sound suspiciously similar to matzoh brei. Did anyone in your family celebrate Passover?

                                                                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                  OMG, it's fantastic that you mentioned matzoh brei! My step-grandfather (I counted him as none other than my full grandfather because he was the one who I was closest to and part raised me and he was Jewish) and so growing up in a fully Puerto Rican household I was actually raised as a Puerto Rican-Catholic-Jew (if anyone can grasp their head around that one LOL). My mother was disabled so we lived with my grandparents (my mother's mother and her 3rd husband). So in my house we celebrated all the Christian-Catholic Holidays as well as observing all Jewish holidays and traditions (although I went to Catholic school); even so far as on our Sundays we went to Mass First then off to temple right after - we honored both. So while the Puerto Rican/Catholic side of me grew up loving my traditional and customary meals by virtue of ethnicity and/or maternal religion, I loved (and still love to this day) all the traditional Jewish fare my grandfather would make for me and those he later taught me how to make. I loved when he would make Matzoh Brei for Breakfast. As an adult I still make it and also regularly crave Kosher/Jewish fare (my husband would argue I'm constantly pregnant with all the strange combinations of food I find as comfort food from growing up LOL).... so I love Gefilte Fish (homemade or jarred in a hurry), Lox, Borscht, Bialys, Potato latkes, Potato Pancakes, Gribbonis, fried Chicken Livers, the list could go on and on. Now as an adult I still run my own home with traditions from both, so my husband is just enamoured with the eccentricity of my culinary repetoire and all the holidays I actively celebrate and have special meals/recpies for; especially the "poor mans meals" I learned from both cultures. Good times, good times.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Resplendent

                                                                                                                                    Well, Passover's right around the corner, so you can get your brei on. I don't know of much overlap between Puerto Rican and Jewish food, but if Juan Epstein from "Welcome Back, Kotter" were still around, I bet he'd have some ideas. Yuca kugel, anyone?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                      ROTFLMAO, you and my husband must be related because he said something very similar when he met me and I explained my background. As for Yuca Kugel, hmmm.... give me a few days and I bet I could birth and rock such a new recipe! Actually, I've never hybridized the ethnic cooking styles, but its more like I cook both. So for example, on Christmas I do a bunch of traditional hispanic fare along with Jewish fare. Or on a regular day, I might make a Spanish Torta for Breakfast along with a Matzoh Brei, split one half of each onto plates and that what's me and the hubby will eat for breakfast. So basically it's like constantly cooking with a split personality, LOL. I take great joy in cooking foods from my childhood - as since all my family is gone and all I have is my husband, it's the best way for me to remember and include those who have gone before me and who I miss very much; whether its in a moment or on the holidays. Plus, when we finally have children of our own, it will be the best way for me to share my own family with my child, as I can cook them a childhood meal I grew up with and tell them a story about such and such relative, and allow them to still come to know their grandmother, great-grandmother/grandfather, aunts uncles etc whom they will never have the opportunity to meet in this lifetime. Sure I have plenty of photos etc, but nothing can bring them closer to feeling an emotion towards their relatives no longer here and imagining their prescence than through the tangible memories I create with them through a meal that lives on through me from recipes handed down, (i.e. they will always be Grandma's Brownies etc).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Resplendent

                                                                                                                                        Love this comment! Makes me tear up :) both the "fusion" or rather split-personality of your cooking and especially the remembering family and passing in traditions and memory through food.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Resplendent

                                                                                                                                      Ha, as an Irish-Catholic-Jew, I can definitely grasp it. Except my people had one point of harmonic convergence: corned beef. I also immediately thought of Juan Epstein. He was my childhood hero.

                                                                                                                                      My dad grew up very, very poor during the depression and (with the exception of the park squirrels and pigeons that they had to eat during a particularly bad patch), all of that "poor people's food" was his favorite: chicken liver spread on crackers, gizzards, liver, kidneys, tongue, turkey necks, whiting, herring, borscht, matzo ball soup, cholent, kasha, everything pickled... I love it all, too. Now I live in Spain, which has its own great soul food--and some of the dishes like our "cocido madrileño" seem an awful lot like cholent, just with a healthy dose of pig added.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: butterfly

                                                                                                                                        Ah pigeons. We often walk past the various restaurants in Paris, and I watch to see if any of the chefs are feeding the pigeons. If so, and we have reservations, I move them...

                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                            2. What a great thread, and every memory well worth cooking in my
                                                                                                                              opinion.
                                                                                                                              Grout ... I bet it tasted delicious .

                                                                                                                              Here is a charming 95 year old lady cooking up a storm with her
                                                                                                                              depression era dishes:

                                                                                                                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OPQqH...

                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Naguere

                                                                                                                                What a wonderful video! I enjoyed it throughly. :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: Naguere

                                                                                                                                  Thank you for that link, Naguere. I watched the old lady make peppers and eggs...YUM! My mother made peppers and egg sandwiches, but she would use cubanelle peppers rather than bell peppers, and she would add a bit of onion. Sometimes she would sauté mushrooms with the peppers. It was served on good, crusty Italian bread. I liked mine with mayo. Boy those were good! Think I'll make a p&e sandwich this weekend.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: MysticYoYo

                                                                                                                                    LOL I can't stop watching Clara now! her food reminds me of my childhood- simple, cheap, yet oh, so delicious. She is adorable! Watching this right now:
                                                                                                                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXpouL...

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Naguere

                                                                                                                                    Thank you for the link. Clara is indeed charming and after watching this one, I want to watch them all.

                                                                                                                                  3. Wow...I had some "bad"dinners but sounds like your moms or parents were somewhat inventive...accept for that saltine cereal thing...now that was po...my mother and father also grew up in the depression and were super frugal and my father traveled for biz Monday thru Friday so me and my 3 siblings were subject to hot dogs stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon and a welsh rarebit if u will with toast and camp bells cheese soup pored over with bacon on top...my husband grew up in projects and says he ate mayonnaise sandwiches...now that is sad...

                                                                                                                                    23 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Choptiludrop

                                                                                                                                      hahahaha! Saltine cereal thing..... it was a treat! and even better, when she'd mix a bit of powdered sugar, cocoa powder, drop or two of milk, and frost them for dessert!
                                                                                                                                      If we were poor, we never knew it.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                          My Mom made us those "cookies" also!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChrisKC

                                                                                                                                            I may just try that out, when my sweet tooth comes on in full force. The sweet frosting combined with the salt on the crackers sounds divine. I always make my own powdered sugar because I am too cheap to buy it. lol Will definitely have some "frosted" saltines soon.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                            That sounds good, I've seen my grandma several times eating saltines with milk(plain) but that didn't sound very good to me. I'd eat the saltines with the milk on the side.

                                                                                                                                          3. re: Choptiludrop

                                                                                                                                            Did your hubby like the mayo sandwiches? I LOVE them. In summertime there's tomatoes to add, and thus it becomes more respectable, but yes, I confess I dearly enjoy just bread and mayo slapped together. I am not eating them these days, mainly because I am interested in the "good fat vs bad fat" thing, and I consistently fail at making my own mayo. But man those are tasty to me!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: 64airstream

                                                                                                                                              64 - there is NOTHING like a tomato sandwich on white toast with a big slather of mayo & a slice of yellow-wrapped cheese!!!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: 64airstream

                                                                                                                                                My family has always been horrified that I don't like (raw) tomatoes...not even fresh from the garden. Everyone loved the tomato/mayo sandwiches and thought my tastes would eventually change, but I'm 28 and still don't like them.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Fromageball

                                                                                                                                                  Don't give up yet Fromageball. My youngest son just started eating raw, sliced tomatoes on his sandwiches this year and he is 33 yrs. old. Pleases me to no end, because I have loved any tomato, any time, anywhere since I was little. Couldn't understand why he didn't like them.... lol!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                                                                    Ah, tomatoes.

                                                                                                                                                    Growing up, we got "plastic" tomatoes, and I never got the point. Along with canned, or frozen veggies, they just did nothing for me.

                                                                                                                                                    Some year later (actually MANY), we did a tasting dinner with Chef Thomas Keller (French Laundry, Per Se, etc.), and he did BEETS. How could his have been THAT different from my mother's canned beets?

                                                                                                                                                    Within a few years, we did similar with Chef John Besh, where he featured local tomatoes, and then, I was convinced that the canned, or jarred versions, that my poor mom tried to introduce me to, were poor examples.

                                                                                                                                                    I happened to grow up in a time, where frozen food was NEW, and was unique. My parents grew up, in a time, when canned was the same - unique. They had forgotten "fresh," and it showed. I had no idea that fresh tomatoes, or beets, could be so good - same for Brussle's sprouts. Who knew that they could taste so good? All that I ever had, growing up, were from Bird's Eye. They were mushy, and rather tasteless - just like the canned beets, and the tomatoes, hauled in from the Imperial Valley in CA, long before they were ripe.

                                                                                                                                                    What one family might serve, out of habit, might not be what others would love - especially the kids.

                                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                      Hi Hunt,

                                                                                                                                                      You and I must have grown up around the same time, frozen or canned vegetables only. Hated them, still do.

                                                                                                                                                      When my children were growing up, we lived very near a farm. We always had fresh vegetables in spring, summer and fall. In the winter I did have to get things at the grocery store, but still used fresh. I hardly ever bought "cardboard" tomatoes from there though.

                                                                                                                                                      Nowaday, I do buy fresh tomatoes from the grocery, but most times it's cherry, grape or the compari ones from Costco. I let them sit on my counter for about a week or more, letting them ripen.

                                                                                                                                                      I have to say, while they are a far cry from my summer garden tomatoes, they aren't bad. It's better than not having any to eat.

                                                                                                                                                      BTW, I still can't eat beets, even fresh. They taste like the ground to me, even roasted. But I do roast the golden ones and they are pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                      But getting back to the point, my son used to turn his nose up at garden/farm fresh, summer tomatoes...... oy vey. :)

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for sharing your story.

                                                                                                                                                      www.saffron215.blogspot.com

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Choptiludrop

                                                                                                                                                Hot dogs stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon is a huge treat!! I used to make that when I was a teenager and needed the calories. My mother made real Welsh rarebit ... she cooked a lot of tongue, something I would love to have now but isn't available anywhere I go, plus I don't have a pressure cooker, which gave it a completely unique texture.

                                                                                                                                                You've made me realize that I don't eat the food of my childhood anymore. Occasionally I'll ask my mother to replicate something, but she can never remember what she did, and won't believe what I tell her :D, so it never comes out the same ... I wouldn't mind having the turkey tetrazzini again (with green box parmesan on top), or the yellow pudding Bundt cake covered in Cool Whip with a mound of fresh black cherries ... I guess part of my problem is that I'm unwilling to bring the green box or margarine or the chemical hot mess that is Cool Whip into the house, which is probably more than half the reason why my attempts don't taste the same. They may be good, but they don't hit the bullseye ...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                  My mother used to use boxed whipped topping (Dream Whip) to frost cakes.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                    We do the hotdog thing you described, but we also put sliced jalapenos in with the cheese.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                      We were neither poor nor rich; parents were children of the depression and thought ketchup and onion sandwiches were tasty. But the hot dog slit down the middle with cheese inside and wrapped with bacon was what we called a Texas Tommy and my well-employed dad loved that dish at least once a month. Gotta' admit, tommorrow I'm buying hot dogs, cheese and bacon . . . In memorium.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                        Live on the edge and try one with sliced jalapenos ; )

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                          I make some mean nachos with sliced jalepenos; just not in memorium :(

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                          OK, so I made the Texas Tommy for dinner tonight (almost the 11th ann of dad's passing, whose name was Tom). The memory was better than the reality.

                                                                                                                                                          Now I have hot dogs and buns in the fridge. I guess I'll try again tomorrow with added jalepenos.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                            haha...I've found that to be the case for a lot of food items I loved growing up. The jalapenos could give it a nice kick though!

                                                                                                                                                            I still love pig in the blankets as much as I did as kid though - I bet those would be good with jalapenos or chile peppers.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Fromageball

                                                                                                                                                              I remember "Pigs in the Blanket", they were great! I had a Great Aunt from Polish descent (married my Great Uncle who was from German Parents). Anyway, she made THE BEST Pigs in the Blanket. My Aunt still living, knows how to make it.

                                                                                                                                                        3. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                          My mom did the same hot dog thing, too. But she would stuff a bit of leftover mashed potatoes inside then layer the cheese and wrap them in bacon.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                            That pigs in a blanket recipe was taught to us in my middle school economics class...guess they were trying to prepare all us junior cooks for the realities of managing a family kitchen, but then again, it was the late 50's.

                                                                                                                                                            My mother used to make these sandwiches she called "bunsteads" -- a can of tuna (then in oil, don't think packed in water went back that long ago), some cubes of cheese, chopped celery if we had some, some chopped onion, and a couple of teaspoons of pickle relish -- which she then mixed together, then stuffed in either hamburger or hot dog buns, covered with foil or a second jelly roll pan, and baked at 350F until the buns were crisp on the outside, and the cheese had melted. Loved those!!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Spaceechik

                                                                                                                                                              oh tuna in oil is better anyway - heck I watch everything else well I WANT it packed in oil.

                                                                                                                                                              "Bunsteads"? could that be a derivative of the Dagwood BuMstead character from the Blondie comic that always made ridiculous sandwiches out of anything in the fridge?

                                                                                                                                                              but I'd eat that.

                                                                                                                                                        4. Beans! Pinto, specifically, although I'm liking black beans now, too. My family was "intentionally poor", meaning my parents purposely chose a very frugal and simple way of life. I think we often had pinto beans 5 nights out of 7 (this may be an exageration, as childhood memories can be), and yet I still love them!

                                                                                                                                                          I don't live the lifestyle of my parents, and I buy Rancho Gordo beans now instead of bulk co-op fare, but a bowl of pintos with chopped raw onion, or rolled up in a great homemade flour tortilla is still one of my favorite meals. When I hear people complain about being poor and having to eat beans, I just think "Yeah, so where's the problem??" The glory of the wonderful pinto...

                                                                                                                                                          27 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: 64airstream

                                                                                                                                                            Haha same here! My mother was very frugal- we ate beans nearly every day. But the way she made them, we would drool over them. Her red kidney beans were so good - seasoned with adobo, sofrito, recaito, sliced potatoes, tomatoes, and smashed pork rinds. Her arroz con gandules were to die for. She used cheap salt pork cut into tiny cubes, and it was super tasty. :)) I still try to cook the same way, when craved.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                Baked Beans on an English Muffin topped with a slice of American Cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                Delicious, quick, and I still eat it today. Sometimes I use pita bread and put the cheese and beans inside the pita, then put them in the oven on a baking sheet until the cheese is melted.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: 64airstream

                                                                                                                                                                  Speaking of beans- look what I ran into today. This guy keeps his soaking water, something I have always done, but have been criticized for because it supposedly "contains fart-inducing compounds" or something to that effect... but it doesn't seem to make a big difference to me. I have a cast iron stomach for the most part. The only part of the video that made me wonder was where he said to not use beans over 2 years old. I have, and they came out just fine. But usually when I buy beans, the bag is completely used before it even gets a year old! :p

                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.chow.com/videos/show/youre...

                                                                                                                                                                  I think I'll make some beans for dinner tonight! :) Which should I use? I have pinto, kidney, navy, lentils, and black beans. You get to choose! Beans, beans, they're good for your heart.... :P

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                    Pintos, unless you are doing soup. In that case, black beans.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                      Pintos, it is then! :D With roasted chicken, salad, and rice. We have been going through a rough patch with money, but that doesn't mean we have to skimp on flavor and nutrition!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                        I generally use my soaking water or, more typically, don't soak at all. I usually use the pressure cooker for beans. I think my system is so used to beans that the "fart inducing compounds" do not register.

                                                                                                                                                                        You'd think which bean would be easy but....it all depends. Lentil soup? Got ham for navy bean soup? Pintos are always good, though.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                          ========================================================
                                                                                                                                                                          I think my system is so used to beans that the "fart inducing compounds" do not register.
                                                                                                                                                                          =================================================================

                                                                                                                                                                          Lol... my system is used to beans too. I've been eating them since I grew in my first set of teeth. Oh, how I wish I had a pressure-cooker. Those are the best. Someday.
                                                                                                                                                                          I have no ham to make white bean soup... but plenty of onion and garlic. So, I put some good ol' pintos to soak in water.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                            I know some swear by newer, pricey pressure cookers but mine is a vintage Mirromatic - $3 at a thrift store about 17 years ago. Hey, it works just fine and has never exploded. My mom has one just like it.

                                                                                                                                                                            TBH, I get a disturbingly large number of kitchen items at thrift stores: Crockpot, pressure cooker, yogurt maker, mini Geo Forman grill, waffle maker,Oskar little food processor, blender. Surprising what people get rid of around here.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                              For many years I used a built like a tank old aluminum Presto. I had to locate a new pressure regulator for it. The cooker cost 25 cents at a garage sale, and the pressure regulator cost $60. No kidding. I got a new Fagor for Christmas about 13 years ago, or so. I am really thankful for it.

                                                                                                                                                                              To Dairy Queen, ask around your older acquaintances or elderly relatives. Maybe one of them has an old PC you could use.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                I will definitely ask. :) If the family does not have an old PC laying around, I will check the thrift stores. Thank you both for the great ideas!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                              I love Ham and Beans!!! My mother made them (Beans) a lot with many different things! One of my favorites was something called "Caldo with Garlic Bread" that my Aunt who lived in California taught her to make!!! I sure wish I knew what all was in that "Caldo". It was sort of like a chili, but seasoned differently and had something like Frito's (though not Frito's) added to it at the end and Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Probably a "heart attack" in a bowl, but as a kid, it sure tasted soooo... good!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                          Orale!
                                                                                                                                                                          Beans are a major po' people's food. I like all beans and can cook them from dry, no cans needed. Good thread you started here. Keeping it real (lol). Eating chickpeas today I practice what I preach plus I grow food in my backyard as in fruit trees. I like po food but not po junk food.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: zzDan

                                                                                                                                                                            Dried beans are my only option! :D

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                              Dried Beans are definitely the only way to go!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: madeliner

                                                                                                                                                                                  If one has had the opportunity to taste "fresh" farm-raised beans, like those served at Blackberry Farm, then they WILL know the differences. It is "night and day."

                                                                                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Mariposa410

                                                                                                                                                                                  Same here :) Farmer boy is my favorite of them.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                              Baked beans and more baked beans! Lived in Maine and come from a French Canadian family. My mother would soak her beans on Friday night, then start them cooking on Saturday morning. The smell of those beans cooking would drive me crazy all day. We would eat them with hot dogs, slices of white bread, heavily buttered and a side of my mothers pickled green tomatoes. Yum! But that not all....after eating a big Sunday dinner, usually at my Memere's house, we would have a supper of bacon and eggs with a side of baked beans. There were still enough beans to have a dinner during the week of beans and spam. And a couple of baked bean sandwiches. I still love baked beans, my homemade ones are the best! And I still eat baked bean sandwiches although I get a lot of comments from that at work! LOL!

                                                                                                                                                                              Also, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for snacks, peanut butter and cucumber sandwiches, fluffernutters. Fried codfish cakes on Friday nights. We also had lots of mashed potatoes. My mother would even serve them as a side vegetable when she made spaghetti. Lots of deer meat, deer hamburger, deer chops, sometimes even a moose. That would feed us for a whole winter. Only my father would eat the heart and other "gross stuff" as we called it! Home grown lettuce with onions and heavy cream pored over it. I don't know if that had a name; we just called it lettuce and cream.
                                                                                                                                                                              Meat pies made from ground beef and ground pork mixed with mashed potatoes and bread ( to soak up the fat) inside a pie crust. Ma favorite dessert was chunks of bread thrown into a bowl of maple syrup then fished out with a fork. I will always remember my Memere eating a slice of soft white bread, buttered. Then she would sprinkle some canned milk on it, some brown sugar and roll it up. That was her favorite dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                              I can't even imagine eating lettuce with heavy cream now!! But I miss the green tomatoes!

                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: 64airstream

                                                                                                                                                                              Beans here, too. Pintos were also favored in our house. We'd put a slice of bread in the bowl to soak up the juice. I went through a kid's "oh no, beans again" phase, but now I'm a bean believer. Had them for breakfast yesterday as a matter of fact, with a bit of feta cheese that had to go.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: 64airstream

                                                                                                                                                                                That's funny - I guess I'm kind of the "intentionally poor" type now. I eat a lot of beans and buy everything from the co-op bulk bins.

                                                                                                                                                                                I eat beans or lentils almost daily but I switch it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Fromageball

                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually using any combination of either two beans or beans and lentils is VERY Healthy! It makes the nearest to a complete protein for the body without eating meat!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: 64airstream

                                                                                                                                                                                  I grew up poor, and had frijoles for lunch and dinner almost every day except Sunday. Mom would add a little chorizo or cheese to add extra flavor. You had to either grow to love them or hate them.I think I'm the only one of my brothers who loves them. A smoked ham hock, sofrito, and beef stock, especially with black beans makes them a full meal with a side salad, and they are to die for.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                                                                                                    Completely agree with you. Who are these people who think they are 'poor people's' food? It must be a hangover from back in the day when to eat meat everyday was considered to be the ultimate.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cathodetube

                                                                                                                                                                                      True. When I was growing up (when dinosaurs still roamed the earth), beans were dirt cheap and were "poor people's food" and meat daily was a luxury. If you notice that a lot of Italian food we eat has little meat in it, but lots of vegetables and pasta, because it grew out of the "cucina povera". We're beginning to realize that those foods were really much healthier for us than our current red-meat-centric diets. Being healthy doesn't make the beans less tasty to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. Growing up in a family of 7 children, money was tight and while we were not truly poor there was no room for extras. My mother often made creamed chipped beef on toast w/boiled potatoes for dinner. I was not a fan. However, as an adult, I love it but can now afford to have it for breakfast. Now that's luxury!

                                                                                                                                                                                  15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Janskitchen

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm from the NYC area, and went to college upstate in Utica, NY. Upstate NY is largely a humble economic area, and one of the things I found up there was what the locals called "tomato pie." Basically, pizza without the cheese. You could get it in the pizza places, along with the full range of "regular" pizza. We used to order them for frat events. I asked someone, hey, what's the deal with the tomato pie? He replied, They're cheap!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: woodburner

                                                                                                                                                                                      Growing up in a predominantly Italian neighborhood, tomato pie was and still is an integral part of every family gathering. Baby showers, birthday parties, any occasion that required feeding a big group absolutely requires it. I never looked at it as a poverty dish, but as a celebratory dish. Now, I can definitely see the economic advantages though.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: woodburner

                                                                                                                                                                                        Did you ever taste a tomato pie? Makes me wonder how it was...?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: woodburner

                                                                                                                                                                                          Actually, here in Philly tomato pie is a staple for which people travel to certain spots.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I have a cousin whose main line family (picture "The Philadelphia Story") is known for hosting "Barbecues"--they cook outside, and then you eat inside on Royal Daulton with Waterford for the drinks. A few years ago they wanted to take us out to dinner after a death in the family. We got all dressed up and they took us to Tony's . . . a dive known for its tomato pies. Little did we know, they were regulars there. Me? I'd rather have a white pizza.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                            A bit outside of Philly, but tomato pie must come from Corpolese's bakery in Norristown or Conshohocken for my family to consider it " proper". Battle lines were drawn in our neighborhood based on where you got your tomato pie!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: FrauMetzger

                                                                                                                                                                                              Conshohocken bakery tomato pie will always be my favorite (with Corpolese and Sam's in Willow Grove coming in close second and third)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, Conshohocken Bakery still makes great tomato pie. I am not a fan of the sweeter sauce on Corropolese's (sp?) tomato pie. But they're both still around!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mookleknuck

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'd choose Conshohocken bakery rolls any day. But for whatever reason, it has always been Corpolese for tomato pie. Don't tell my grandmother, but I may have to break with tradition to try your recommendation for Conshy's pie!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                                                                    YES! Yes Yes!~

                                                                                                                                                                                                    My Uncle Jimmy worked as a baker at The "conshy" bakery (great uncle, since passed) and he'd stop by my Grandmom's house on Saturday after his shift with a paper bag of rolls and/or bread, (whatever was not sold at the end of the day went home with whoever wanted it) and if we were lucky, there was more than one tomato pie so we'd get one of those too
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh the joy!
                                                                                                                                                                                                    (I don't get over there often enough and it's really not far from where I live now)

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: FrauMetzger

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, where I work (in MontCo), Corpolese is the standard for in-office parties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Northeast Philadelphia native here. I use to work near Yardley Pa.There is a Place on Rt. 13 Called Franco's. Their tomato pie was the best I had ever had..I lived in south Philly, half of my friends are Italian... This was the best ...slightly on the sweeter side but ooohhh soooo good on a super thin crust!!!! They also make the best sausage and peppers ever...I have tried at least a hundred times to duplicate it and can't...
                                                                                                                                                                                                    My Dad grew up during the depression..some things that him and nanny ate, I had growing up too...like beans,potatoes and eggs...sliced tomato and mayo with s&p open face...egg in a hole...hot dogs on white bread with butter...chicken or turkey hearts with giblet gravy over mashed potatoes...My Dad and I still fight over the turkey heart at the holiday dinners!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: deezil72

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That is so interesting! I have always love the Chicken and Turkey hearts! My husband always thought we should just give them to our dog, but I never let him! When we adopted our kids, they learned to eat them when very young, and now the boys (my 2 sons who are now adults) and I always have a race to see who will get to the heart first to eat it! We've even drawn straws sometimes!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mariposa410

                                                                                                                                                                                                        yeah and in my house you best not take the gizzard (OK at least split it)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: woodburner

                                                                                                                                                                                                I remember tomato pie in the '50s in Fall River, Massachusetts. I don't remember any pizza joints, but there was a small bakery in the Italian section of town called Marzilli's, and one day a week they would make tomato pie. All it really was, I believe, was bread dough spread out in a pan with canned tomatoes and baked. The whole neighborhood smelled heavenly.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. spaghetti con burro e l'uovo

                                                                                                                                                                                              Cook your spaghetti until almost done, drain most of the water, but keep it a bit soupy and keep it simmering. Stir in a scrambled egg and a pat of butter. Serve with cracked black pepper and grated pecorino.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Similar to cacio e pepe, but it has the salty buttery broth to soak up with bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Novelli

                                                                                                                                                                                                "One" scrambled egg? If you're going to feed a crowd with spaghetti and scrambled eggs, I would think that more than a single scrambled egg would be needed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's why it's "poor people food" ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                      More like, whatever the neighbor had on hand LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                      But it wasn't for a "crowd". Just my mom and I, so that helped stretch things even more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Novelli

                                                                                                                                                                                                        As a youngster I used to grouse about my mom using eggs as a universal extender - hard boiled mashed with deviled ham, sliced with chipped beef, and more. Decades later I appreciate their correctness - soft poached on black bean soup in Costa Rica, fried runny on my duck hash. And deviled eggs are forever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Black bean soup with hardboiled eggs.... :) YUM!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Absolutely!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            One of my favs was a popatone, which is an Italian style meatloaf, extended by hiding whole hard boiled eggs inside the center.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Novelli

                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Polpettona", Novelli.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Polpetta means meatball, natch. And the 'ona' suffix means large. My mom put eggs in her meatloaf too! And bacon strips on top. (Want some bacon n eggs with your meatloaf?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Eggs are genius because they can fit into many formats to extend or eat as the main or semi-main

                                                                                                                                                                                                              (obviously) Eggs are such a great extender because they are one of the cheapest animal derived proteins. Eggs and whole chickens on sale are the least expensive. Beef is going up it was just on TV tonight. Lamb is going outta sight. The best place here has whole chicken on sale @79¢ /lb. A great price. Chicken w beans w rice (make mine brown) and vegetables...How can you go wrong on that as far as protein packed nutritious food?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, the amazing things families do to stretch a meal! :) It probably was delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Breakfast for dinner! We had a lot of "mexican eggs" (usually scrambled eggs with salsa thrown in) wrapped up in flour tortillas. We had it often on Fridays, since it didn't have meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      My mom made great chicken soft tacos. She'd poach a chicken, shred the breast meat, then simmer it in tomato juice. It was great (and I should remember to make some!). We did a lot of tacos and burritos in general: the meat is more of a side, and beans, rice, and cheese are cheap. Plus, my brother and I really enjoyed making them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And of course, beans and rice. My mom makes the BEST pork and beans (I think they were actually Boston baked beans, but my southern mother didn't call them that), which we got in the summers on BBQ days. They simmered for hours on the stove, and were an amazing treat (especially with a burger and grilled corn on the cob).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Frugal cooking meant that we didn't have soda in the house, we didn't go out to restaurants often, and we made everything from scratch. I definitely appreciate that upbringing! There were some rough patches, but everything was cooked with love and we were never hungry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: caseyjo

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Completely adore this post. You all truly understand where I am coming from, in terms of fond memories. It really was something special for us, going out to eat.I have the best memories of my mom taking me to a Mcdonalds when I was about 6. It was situated near the metro-rail in Miami, so I would eat, gawk out the window at the tracks above us, and play in the ball pit. :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: caseyjo

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Same here as far as no soda in the house. You had it out of the house once in a while. Soda is just bellywash that washes food downward. Two liter bottles of that crap should not be kept around for children to drink anytime they want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          My mother cooked lots of things from scratch like stuffed cabbage and even ventured into Mediterranean food back then making lamb burgers and more. Moms also take requests so I made my requests and if I was lucky I got it a few days later for dinner

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: zzDan

                                                                                                                                                                                                            My parents kept 2 liter bottles of flat, decaffeinated soda in an inconvenient place. It was pretty clever- it took away the forbidden nature while ensuring that we never drank more than a sip or two.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                                                                                                                              My patents mostly only bought Weight Watchers diet soda sweetened with saccharin. They did have to worry much about their children drinking it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My dad used to buy this soda called "Wink" - I think it was grapefruit flavored. I loved it!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jenscats5

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There is another thread about discontinued food items where someone mentioned Wink; It is still being bottled. You can buy it online.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Who remembers Fizzies? We loved them when we could get them, but in retrospect, boy howdy were those things nasty! The theory (for those who don't remember them) was you dropped a flavored tablet into a glass of water, and voila! You had soda! I think the stuff was essentially flavored Alka-Seltzer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The saccharin-sweetened soda John E. mentioned reminded me of a chocolate diet soda (similar to Yoo-hoo) that was sold at the Mom&Pop corner store I worked at when I was 12. It was sweetened by a new product called "cyclamates" (I think that's how it was spelled). Not long after its appearance, there was a goverment-directed ban placed on cyclamates- they said it caused cancer. Stores selling any products with this chemical as an ingredient had to immediately stop selling it. We had cases upon cases of this cyclamate-sweetened chocolate drink, and the owner of the shop was really cheesed about being stuck with it (I guess the distributor wouldn't take it back), so, rather than let all this product go to waste (it was supposed to be destroyed), he simply gave it away. Can't sell it? Give it to the kids! We drank that stuff for months until it was all consumed. Cancer at age 12? Yeah, right! Pbffft! Hey, it was free soda!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: inspector71

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cyclamates are still being used in Canada. I don't know anything about their cancer rates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: inspector71

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Turns out, that the ban was based on false/bad research data -- if you feed 600 times what a human would drink to little rats, I'd be surprised if they *didn't* get cancer! Even after the study was disproved, the ban continued, but it's safe to use.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Great idea. Parents have the right to psych out their kids...Usually it's the other way around

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: zzDan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We also rarely had Soda, but I remember in the summer, my Dad would go and buy a BIG gallon bottle of A&W Root Beer from the local A&W Root Beer stand on a very hot night (Grew up in St. Louis area but the Illinois side of the river). He would then buy some vanilla ice cream and come home, where my Mom made us all big Root Beer Floats. They were always so good!!! Back then the Bottles were all glass and my Mom washed it and it was reused each time (the root beer was much cheaper that way). When my parents had finely both passed away, and we were clearing out their home of nearly 60 years, we found two of those old gallon bottles!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mariposa410

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I remember getting the root beer to go from the A & W drive-in. We never used a glass jug however. I remember the waxed paper carton must have been about a quart and the top folded over and a plastic clip kept it shut. The funny thing about it is that teenagers today buy that much soda all the time and just for themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I grew up in the 50's and 60's, and much of my early years plastic did not even exist yet. Milk even came in reusable glass bottles! So the fold over waxed cartons would have been in my future!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mariposa410

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          there was a regional root beer around there that came in bottles textured to feel like they were covered in frozen condensate - can't recall the name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mariposa410

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Our visits occurred in the late 60s. I may be wrong about the plastic clips, but I distinctly remember the waxed paper cartons. They went along with the waxed paper straws. We did not often go to the A & W so it was a special treat. There was a local drive-in much closer that my big sister worked at. I remember that on Thursdays they had a special, 5 hamburgers for a buck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Mariposa410

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In StL area, on the MO side, my family used to visit A & W sometimes on summer evenings. They had young girls as carhops, and we got our root beer in cold mugs. Of course we did not have air conditioning, so a cold mug of cold root beer was heaven. I have had root beer floats, but can't recall when I had my first. Possibly at the local A & W.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Kasha varnishkas. Bow tie pasta with kasha. My grandmother's deli in Brooklyn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What are those? The "Kasha varnishkas"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In my house Kasha varnishkas were buckwheat groats(whole buckwheat grains) tossed with egg, dried then toasted, then cooked with chicken broth, then tossed with onions sauteed in oil or margarine and bow tie noodles. Lots of salt and pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kind of like a toasty earthy pilaf. DIVINE. We had them as a side dish but if I was visiting and my Dad was making them? No need for any other food, even steak, I'd have a big bowl as my dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, that sounds so yummy! I'll have to look it up to try and make it sometime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Okay, Mark Bittman uses WAY more pasta than my dad did. It should be 3 parts kasha to 1 part noodle, the way I was raised. And he doesn't toast his groats (oh no!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That said - his onions are PERFECT and this gives you a good idea of the dish. Watch! Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://video.nytimes.com/video/2008/1...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, those caramelized onions look amazing. And with chicken fat? I bet that gives it a wonderful flavor! He makes it look so easy too, which I'm sure it is. "What is wrong with you? Eat, eat!" LOL!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I will definitely get the ingredients for this dish and cook it, keeping in mind to not over "pastastify" it. :P Oh, and toast the kasha first. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. <3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Getting back to you on the kasha varnishkas. I made some for dinner tonight and was astounded by how simple and delicious it is!! I used chicken stock to steam the kasha, and extra onion. The grainy flavor with caramelized onion, egg, and noodle is incredible.. Will definitely make again. Again, thank you for sharing this recipe with me. My boyfriend enjoyed it as well :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I like it, but I am not sure if it is a 'yummy' dish. Sometimes served with beef gravy for moisture and flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  kasha= buchwheat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  varnishkas = bowties

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agree that the buckwheat should be toasted with egg first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Steve -

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My dad's version WAS yummy. I promise! He toasted the buckwheat then cooked it almost like risotto - simmering it until the broth was absorbed then adding a bit more at a time. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And how lucky you were to have a deli in the family : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have recently gotten back into kasha varnishkas. They are really divine. And I think I'd like them just as much without the pasta, which is great for feeding gluten-free folks, or anyone trying to eat whole grain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No schmaltz? To me, that is a key ingredient. I mourn the fatty chicken - seems like i can never accumulate enough schaltz and buying it seems......so wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My dad used schmaltz when he (and we!) were younger. As he got older he had to watch his cholesterol, so, no schmaltz, magazine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However for Matzobrie (love that stuff) he'd cook in margarine and then finish it with a small dollop of schmaltz. Way better than fancy finishing salts! : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My grandma grew up in Russia. She came over to the US already in her late 50s, maybe even 60. And the things she liked best - chicken fat spread on bread, drinking pickle juice, and american beer. The cheap stuff : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4. re: Steve

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would never eat that because I couldn't tolerate the smell of kasha cooking . Like boiling cabbage, it would stink up the house for days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                5. My Mom would make a HUGE potato and egg "omelet" (what she called it, now seems to be known as a "spanish tortilla" (and I DID grow up in a spanish household) or fritatta?).....cut in wedges, like a pie and we'd smother it in ketchup just to get it down! ....was NOT a fav at the time...but, mmm..how I wish she could make me one today :-).....God rest her soul! Love n miss u mommy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TeriPie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have started making that again recently. It makes a great sandwich! Funny how potato is good between bread. The whole starch/starch thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My favorite thing for leftover mashed potato is papa rellena - stuffed potato balls. You can choose a vegetarian filling or with meat... usually it has ground beef, onions, oregano, sofrito, and tomato sauce. Some people even make it with finely shredded chicken. The filling is entirely up to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Reheat the mashed potato, mix well with eggs and cornstarch to form a soft dough. Let it cool down. Flatten a spoonful of mashed potato in the cup of your hand, and form an indentation in the middle. Add a bit of filling into the indentation, then spoon mashed potato on top. Form it into a ball, using a little cornstarch so it doesn't stick. Fry it in hot olive oil until it is golden brown.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Can be eaten with ketchup or plain. :) Here is a recipe, but once you get the hang of it, you can play around a bit to your liking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://latinfood.about.com/od/appetiz...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. rice with hot dogs sausages, onions and canned tomato soup, even better when made with leftover rice!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Creamed tuna and peas on toast, which had the added benefit of being a "fish on Friday" meal in our Catholic household. Haven't had this in years but can almost taste it now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Elbow macaroni with butter, 'green can' cheese and lots of pepper. Now I just use better pasta and cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And as others have posted, creamed chipped beef out of the little glass jar, over toast or leftover baked potatoes... I keep a Stouffer's box in the freezer now, and put it on toasted English muffins ... heavenly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Cabbage & Weenies ~ Cornbread Fritters ~~ Pass the mustard!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Another staple- White rice with a fried egg on top. I used to enjoy bursting the yolk over the rice, season with salt, and chow down. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I like barley with lots of butter/garlic and a fried egg on top for breakfast. I put tons of black pepper on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Fromageball

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That sounds yummy. I will have to try that soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree, that sounds delicious! I'll have to pick up some barley next time I'm at the store. I've always loved barley, it was the main carb in my dad's turkey soup that he made after Thanksgiving. I wish it was easier to find in the grocery store though... there is usually only one brand of it available, and half the time that isn't even in stock.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Although we were neither poor nor wealthy, I remember eating a lot of macaroni and white rice as a kid. It was usually a side dish, so I suppose we had it because my siblings and I would eat it and it was simple for my mother to cook. We were fairly lucky. I did not know it at the time, but we probably ate more meat than your average small town middle income family. We had a neighbor who was a butcher at a local grocery store. They would have meat that was past it's prime but still edible, meaning they couldn't sell it in the store, so the butcher would throw it in the freezer until he accumulated enough to make it worthwhile and charged my father maybe ten or twenty cents a pound for what was usually beef.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lucky you, for having a butcher neighbor ! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. The one thing I actually make quite a bit is matzoh brie. No brie cheese..... just matzo, eggs, onions, s&p.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. My mom raised five kids on her own and she sure came up with ways to fill our bellies. Peanut butter and miracle whip sandwiches sometimes with bananas, tuna mush on saltines, warm cornbread with butter and syrup for breakfast or with milk. Popcorn and milk for morning, the best was clean snow with milk and some vanilla flavoring for ice cream. I didn't touch beans or peanut butter for years and now I'm learning to cook healthy and have them almost every day. My fav was coming home from school and the smell of homemade bread wafting through the house. hmmmm!! I make my own bread and just made my very first sourdough bread. Now, I'm going to learn how to make it with whole grains so it has a lot of fiber in it. I love to bake but all the kids are gone and I cannot eat the sweets, so I am going through this site looking for healthy, good for you sweets that are way under water budget. lol First time I'm on this site. It's awesome. I am looking for the gooey cinnamon rolls that they used to serve at high school. They were not dry at all. The whole roll was like the center.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                by CountryGrown

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: CountryGrown

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I really wish I knew how to bake homemade bread. The aroma of freshly baked bread is intoxicating. I could live off of freshly baked bread and butter alone. Mmmm!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When I was a preteen, I used to bake really good homemade pretzels that everyone raved about, but I lost the recipe over the years.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But a homemade snowcone, courtesy of Mother Nature! How original is that?:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You should start a beginners bake-a-long thread. If I can make bread (with almost no time and effort) so can you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Getting back to you on the yeast bread-baking thing. Thank goodness that I overcame my fear of the unknown! I finally decided to try my hand at it, and I am a natural. As I type this, I have a loaf of honey wheat bread baking in the oven. I will never buy bread again. Spending $4 on a jar of yeast saves you a ton of money in the long run.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I bought yeast today, the jar was over $5! So I got the 2lb package for $6.99

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Makes "cents" to me! I use rapid rise (aka bread machine) yeast. Only have to let the dough rise once that way. I'm having a slice of my honey wheat bread right now with some butter. It is so good!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Woohoo! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm of the opinion that yeast is pretty much interchangeable. I use the bulk stuff, and I do a single rise all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: CountryGrown

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I had forgotten about snow ice cream (no yellow snow!). We thought we'd invented a new delicacy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Of course I've heard of eating snow before, it sounds more like a snow cone than ice cream by the way, but never in a million years would we have eaten snow at our house. We grew up on the prairie in farm country. The wind blew ALL the time. This was back when crop fields were all plowed moboard plows. That means the earth was turned over and the crop residue was turned over into the soil. The problem with this type of field work, now mostly not done in this manner, is that is also exposes the soil to the wind. What I'm really saying is that our snow had a lot of dirt in it. Every snowdrift that melted left a pile of dirt after everything dried up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: CountryGrown

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've had snow ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Your mention of syrup triggered another "poor" food I ate. My mom would make biscuits, and we ate margarine and sorghum molasses on them. My dad loved sorghum. We did not live in the south, but my parents came from OK with roots in AR, so many of the foods I ate have southern country roots. I haven't seen sorghum molasses anywhere in 50 years, I don't think. The flavor was very strong,but if I found some today I'd have to buy it and taste it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The parents of a childhood friend of mine grew up fairly poor on Nebraska farms during the Depression. His father's family grew sorghum and had a sorghum press and made their own sorghum syrup. Most of the sorghum these days goes into animal feed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You can (or used to be able to) purchase sorghum online at Old Vermont Country Store. I have an unopened jar in my pantry right now. Love it on homemade biscuits!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. It's hard to believe now, but our poor people food was pretty amazing looking back at it. Mom's was/is an amazing cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            30 years ago, things like shanks (lamb, beef etc.) were dirt cheap, so were chicken wings until the hot wing craze hit in the 80's. So we had braised short ribs, or lamb shanks, crispy chicken wings etc fairly frequently and I still do. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One of the more normal cheap foods I still love is her tuna cassarole with canned tuna, campbells soups (cream of mushrooma nd cream of chicken), chow mein noodles or pasta and frozen peas and carrots. On a good week it would have cheddar in it but not always. Amazingly good actually.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Soups were another one as she made her own stock and we'd have lots of different bothy soups like chicken noodle, minestrone, etc as well as split pea and chowders. Still love all of them... yum.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jzone

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My mother made the best (at least in my opinion) chicken soup. Cheap, packaged drumsticks and thighs went into it, along with a ton of potatoes, carrots, whatever else found its way in there. This was served with (wait for it)... rice. :D I still love making it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. My mom was not a great cook and couldn't barely cook from scratch at all. She freely admitted that. Her mom wasn't a cook, either, so she never learned. We were not impoverished, but my parents were raising 4 kids on a single civil servant's meager salary, so we ate very frugally but processed foods (60's - when boxes were the homemaker's dream).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My memory of mom's scratch dish is of ham and beans. The ham was actually salt pork that she would soak, then fry (getting some bacon grease). That salt pork went into the kidney beans to give flavor and the bacon grease was used to make fry bread out of the cheapest bread we could buy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The other dish I remember eating was the boxed Chef Boy-ar-dee spaghetti kit, which included a pound of spaghetti, sauce, and a little tin of "parmesan" cheese. One box for all 6 of us and as the youngest, I never got much of the cheese I loved so much. It probably cost just over a dollar, but I know our food budget was very tight and even a second box was beyond our means.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Later, I remember that we got some gov't assistance (not food stamps, but a box of food once a week or month). In that was a big old block of american cheese and some other processed items, including white spongy bread. I loved grilled cheese (not made with real butter, mind you) made with that gov't cheese and bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mom made ham salad with bologna because real ham was too expensive. That stuff had to have been nasty, but I remember loving it back then. Made with Miracle Whip and sweet relish, it was probably overly sweet, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sauerkraut and weenies... again the sauerkraut was packaged. That dish always made me gag.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gardencook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm starting to suspect that the box of military rations my mother brought home every month was gov't assistance food...? Nevertheless, it was yummy, and us kids would joke we were eating astronaut food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gardencook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Government cheese was some tasty stuff back then, mm-hmmm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: laskiblue

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Omg yes! I used to love those saltine crackers that came in a foil pouch with grape jelly (also in a pouch) and that was my sweet fix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. My mother used to cook a dish of what appeared to be macaroni topped with a "ragu" of sloppy joe sauce, ketchup and ground beef. Nowadays I still crave it on rare occasions, though with Sriracha in place of ketchup. Mom used to also make us a traditionally Filipino dish of pasta with cut up hotdogs or Vienna sausage, shredded cheese and a spaghetti sauce doctored with ketchup and sugar that my school lunch table used to call "white trash spaghetti." Little did they know that its origins were far more exotic, if no less stomach turning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In general the food we ate at home was relatively inexpensive fare, but we lacked for nothing. Both my parents came from tropical climates where plants and animals thrived in abundance and provided them with a dazzling flavor palette to work with. So catfish curry, soy braised chicken thighs and a steaming pot of rice could feed a family of four for less than the price of a variety pack of cereal and a gallon of milk.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "egg potatoes" what is known now as Spanish tortilla
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "gravy bread" the gravy left over from a stew made earlier in the week ladled over bread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Home made bread gone stale, then toasted in the oven and had warm chocolate milk poured over. I thought I was eating like a queen. Mom was using things we had in the house to feed us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Patata Uova (which was just potatoes and eggs) though it wasn’t done tortilla style, it was just scrambled eggs with leftover boiled potatoes in it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sometimes we’d have pieces of grandpop’s home made dried sausage in it too (oh that was amazing)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My grandparents had a HUGE garden so we ate well, even though we were “poor” (according to my mother)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We always had fresh vegetables, overflow from the garden and apples and pears from their fruit trees.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sometimes that was dinner… I remember having cauliflower (with velveeta cheese on it) for dinner on more than one occasion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We had lentil soup a lot, because it was good for you and filling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also ate a lot of the “peasant food” that my grandparents continued to make, even though they no longer were considered “peasants” here in this country.. why? Because they were delicious

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Swiss chard and potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tripe in spicy tomato sauce
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My grandmom’s version of what’s today called Ribollita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    These were all staples on our table.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lentil soup is the best, and as you said, very filling. The very first time I had tripe in a hispanic soup made by my mother.. the texture appalled me. But it grows on you, and the different flavors in the menudo are wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We always had a meal on the table, and a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mom was on a tight budget and did without lots of things. She learned to sew and would mend/repair, “repurpose” clothes for us kids and for herself. She would budget every dime (literally) and if she couldn’t get something like hairspray (in 1970 was very important) she’d just do without till she had the extra FIFTY CENTS to spend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We didn’t have chips, or ice cream at home (it was a great at the grandparents house though) NEVER had soda, or sugar cereal, Milk was for breakfast and you drank water if you were thirsty and if you wanted a snack, you could have an apple from the fruit bowl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I feel I’m sounding preachy, so I won’t go on. I think what I’m trying to say is that we were really lucky, because even though there were so many things we did without, we never knew that were “poor” kids and there were families that were worse off than we were.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cgarner, you would enjoy reading Gay Talese's tales of how his Italian family ate during the depression. He describes how they would all go to the ocean and get mussels, which his mom cooked in a tomato brodo. I can't remember which book it's in though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              @pdxgastro, my grandparents were suspect of shellfish, LOL they lived in a farming community before coming here to the United States
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When they were first married they lived in a little neighborhood which consisted mostly of other relatives and people that came from the same town as them in Italy. They had their own version of ‘foraging’ back then… there was a big open field near the state hospital that had tons of dandelions, as soon as they started to come up, they’d pile in a car (whoever had a car) and bring their pillow cases and pick the baby dandelion greens from the field. There were mulberry trees that they’d gather fruit from too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My grandfather was friends with the butcher, who would save him the stuff that was otherwise going to be discarded, heart, lung (which you’re not supposed to eat) intestine, stomach, blood, it’d all go into buckets and left outback for my grandfather to pick up (pops was a freegan before his time)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              He’d boil the crap out of all of it, and then fry hot peppers onions garlic and add the cut up pieces of offal, with tomatoes and blood and let it stew forever… they called it sofrito, which I believe has different meanings in different cultures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They also had a ‘community garden’, someone built an outdoor brick oven which they’d fire up and the ladies would come out and bake their breads in, they had a grape arbor, and they’d all pool their funds and buy a pig each year together as a neighborhood. (the original Nose to Tail Chefs!) By Easter they only had little pieces of whatever was cured or preserved, but it was nearly time to buy a new pig, so after 40 days of lent, they’d all gather their pork scraps and make Easter “ham” pies, with lots of eggs and farmers cheese baked in either a yeast crust or just a crust of flour and water (because they didn’t have butter, olive oil was a premium and used sparingly and the lard by then was gone)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              they were simpler times…as tough as it was for them, they had their family and little community, everyone helped each other in some way shape or form… though I don’t wish that kind of economic scenario on anyone, I do wish “we” could return to that sense of community which they had

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing this :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Your story reminds me of the stories my father tells of his growing up years. While his family did not live on a farm, they actually lived just a few blocks outside of Minneapolis, they had four city lots that included a barn for livestock. They raised their own pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, goats, and they always had a cow for milk. As the youngest, it was my father's job to take a bucket and catch the blood when they butchered the pig. He still likes blood sausage to this day. I'm sure nostalgia is a big part of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Back in the day, Grandma was holding the bucket of blood on her lap in the back seat of a car. There was an accident, she bumped her nose, got a bloody nose. But when the people saw her bloody nose, and blood EVERYWHERE, they freaked, thought all that pig's blood was hers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Did we live in the same house hold?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So many similarities.....Thank you for your post

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. My Mom would die if she heard me describe the meals I had growing up as 'poor people food', but now that I cook for myself, I know how frugally she fed our family! I tend to think of my childhood dinners as having been ordered from a very limited menu with daily specials: Friday was always fish (though we weren't Catholic) 'fried' in a cast iron skillet and the leftovers were fried up with eggs the next morning. Saturday evening was always "Italian" night - spaghetti with sauce made from Ragu and ground beef OR English muffin pizzas (my sister and I loved when my mom cooked "Italian" because we had her convinced that we couldn't drink milk with tomato sauce as it would curdle in our stomachs, so we got to have pop!). The other nights were invariably some form of meat and potatoes - meatloaf, "Swiss steak" (eye of round cooked to death and smothered in an onion gravy), hash (ground beef with water to make a 'gravy') served over mashed potatoes, pork chops "Catalina" style (basted with Kraft Catalina dressing), breakfast sausages with canned stewed tomatoes over the top, and every steak I remember having was cooked in a cast iron skillet with 'mixed gill' (a mixture of green pepper, onion and mushrooms).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My mom was just being frugal, but my Dad was a different story! He had served in the army and had had his share of mess food so he would not tolerate anything that was "convenient" - only butter was allowed, no margarine (my sister and I were so bummed when we didn't get to have squeeze margarine on our pancakes), only whole milk, no Tang (awww man!), no instant anything! Canned vegetables were okay though and I remember he used to have my mom drain the liquid from the peas into a juice glass and he'd start his meal with that! He was also the one to 'clean' out the fridge, which meant scraping any mold off of things he deemed to be good and returning them to the fridge!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My mom is in her 80's now and lives alone, but she still cooks for herself every night - usually the old standards (which I now love - though seldom make), but she delights in the cooking I do with fresh vegetables and choice cuts of meat (she is always saying things like "my goodness you can AFFORD brocolli?!!). Good memories (whether the food was good or not)!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kireland

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Your family sounds a lot like mine! We were a single income family, and since my dad works freelance we were often down to "sticks and stems" between his jobs. I never realized how frugally my mother fed us until I moved into my own apartment!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My dad was in the army, so he refuses to eat a much of the convenience foods they served. The biggest offender was spaghetti, which we only got on special occasions when he was out of town. Sometimes, we'd get spaghetti AND sloppy joes (another of his "never again" foods) the same weekend! I found out years later that sloppy joes were my mom's way of using up the leftover spaghetti sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kireland

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No Tang? :O Sadly, that was our "orange juice", and we loved it to death. My mother would make a container of Tang last forever, as she made it very dilute and would squeeze an orange into it. LOL!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kireland

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I know Tang isn't a treat now, but when we we're kids we wanted it soooo badly! My sister and I used to come home form friends houses and complain that they had all the good stuff - like macaroni and cheese from a box and cookies from a bag! What brats we were!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. cream of wheat: cooked and chilled in loaf pan, then sliced and fried and served w/margarine and pancake syrup
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  pancakes served same way
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  creamed peas on toast
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  creamed canned salmon on mashed potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  fried potatoes OMG endless fried potatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chef boy ar dee boxed spaghetti dinner
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  canned baked beans w/little sausages
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  canned corned beef hash
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Campbells vegetable soup, or chicken noodle, or tomato w/saltines (no homemade soup ever)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Navy beans cooked w/salt pork and served over white bread with ketchup

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    During the holidays, my mother somehow whipped up the best meals for us. She really made miracles happen in that kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of my favorites was escabeche con moyejas. She boiled chicken gizzards until tender, cleaned them out, and boiled it again with sliced green plantain, malanga, potatoes. When it was cooked well, she drained it and mixed in minced garlic, onions, olives, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. This was refrigerated and eaten cold. It is delicious. I have not been able to find a recipe online specifically like the way she prepared it, but here is something similiar to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Every recipe I've seen online does not include malanga or potatoes. Perhaps it was her way of stretching it... Either way, it came out SO delicious. For those of you that don't know what malanga is, it is a type of root that grows in tropical areas. It has a thick skin, similiar to a yucca, and is cooked like a potato. Here is a picture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. The first thing that comes to mind is Mujaddara.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      :O if that's what I think it is- it is friggin delicious! I had a landlady that used to insist I eat dinner with her. It had basmati, onions, lentils, i *think* saffron, and some kind of grain... with lamb. Very flavorful. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. We weren't poor & I was an only child & my mom didn't work....well she worked for my dad at his co. but I'm not sure if she got a check or not......But my dad was in the Army also & in the Korean war - but I think he LIKED the food as he wouldn't allow my mom to use spices or seasonings when she cooked. Everything was plain plain plain! Now some meals were better than others but we always had a "veggie" (canned & boiled) + a meat + a veggie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Some examples:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Spaghetti (mom made homemade sauce - a very sweet sauce - lots of sugar!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pot roast
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Baked plain chicken with plain Minute rice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pork chops (cooked to death) with baked beans, mashed potatoes & applesauce...My dad only chewed on the bones.....???
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Monk fish + macaroni & cheese + kale + stewed tomatoes (Fridays) - or fish sticks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Turkey "croquettes" - some frozen thing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My dad made this one thing I called "dog food" - sauteed ground beef with a package of brown gravy mix mixed into the grease & served over plain boiled potatoes. I refused to eat it! YUCK!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jenscats5

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh and we went out to dinner about once a week.....usually to this pretty awful restaurant where the food was bad & plain.....dad loved it! Always got a steak + a baked potato & a giant bowl of gravy.....I know someone know who remembers this place - food was known to be awful. Dad loved it!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jenscats5

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow, bet you didn't know when you were having monk fish how trend setting you were! :) It's almost as expensive as many types of lobster now. Lucky you? lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jzone

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't remember how much it cost in 70's but wasn't it inexpensive then? Now it's expensive...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Since my folks were from the “old country”, we ate a lot of strange food (they weren’t known to throw anything out). When I was a child, there was a chicken farm down the road where we could buy a fresh killed chicken and we got everything with it. My favorite was the chicken feet, which we cooked in soup. We also cooked the gizzards, but quite a few of them, not from just one chicken. We cooked them in chicken broth with celery and onion, thickened the broth with corn starch, and added fresh chopped parsley and served this over rice--we ate a lot of rice! To this day, I love the gizzards over rice. Not only were most meals accompanied with rice, we also had a lot of rice pudding with raisins, one of the few sweets I was allowed. We couldn’t afford soda or ice cream, so we had none.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We also ate fried brains (pork, I think), beef tongue and kidneys (not favorites), pig’s knuckles and feet, and chicken, calves, and beef liver.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now I don’t think this is considered “poor” food (my Mom considered it something special but I HATED it), beef Rouladen. You use a very thin cut of beef (possibly flank steak--I’m not an expert mostly due to my dislike of this dish), pound it extra thin, spread it with mustard, sprinkle chopped onions, arrange slices of pickles and cooked bacon. Then roll them up and tie them and brown them in oil, add beef broth, and simmer until tender. Many people enjoy this dish but since I dislike both mustard and pickles (I will eat mustard on hot dogs and pickles by themselves but that‘s about it), it’s something from my past that I have no yearning for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I still eat the livers, pig’s knuckles and feet (love the knuckles in some type of bean or pea soup), chicken feet and gizzards cooked in broth (can only find them in Compare supermarket). I imagine that to folks not used to it, chicken feet sound “gross” but they really are good, just have to make sure they are good and clean!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I haven’t eaten (in AGES) fried brains, beef tongue and kidneys and Rouladen. I hope this brings back memories for someone, perhaps someone of German descent.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: msgenie516

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, it sure is bringing back memories for me, even if I am of Puerto-Rican-Spaniard descent ! :) Thank you for sharing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: msgenie516

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh dude... thank you for reminding me about chicken gizzards and on a related note, chicken hearts. We had those all the time. Mom would just shake'n'bake em and pop them in the oven. Served with a random veg and mashed taters. Yummm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I love this thread. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jzone

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I miss chicken gizzards. Maybe it's time I make some more escabeche con moyejas... Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: msgenie516

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My mom did the steak roll, too. I still love them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: msgenie516

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    TOTALLY brings back plenty of memories for me! Only difference is: growing up in a Spanish/Basque home...NOTHING was wasted when Dad butchered his own LAMB! ;-) ...yeah...still can't stomach anything more than "well-done" grilled lamb chops with tons of garlic salt and pepper to mask that "lamb" taste and smell....ugh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: msgenie516

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This makes me really miss my Mom!!! She use to eat Pickled Pigs Feet or New Years every year, and until she died, I was the only other one in the family who would eat them with her!! It makes me want to go and get a jar of them (except the jars are pretty big, and I would be the only one to ever eat any, so they would last a while, if my dear husband doesn't throw them out!!!!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Even though I'm from Korea, I'm not old enough (33) to have experienced truly lean times there. And my parents were ridiculously wealthy at the time so we always had ample meat on our table growing up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However there is one food item I always remember more fondly than anything my mother made: blood sausage, or soondae.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Even though my parents were rich they were very strict with my allowance. I got 100won a day, or roughly 10c by today's exchange rates. I loved video games, and at the time 100 won got me 2 plays. But instead of playing twice, I always saved half my allowance for a special treat on the way home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There was an old lady around the corner from my school who was out there every day, rain or shine selling blood sausage and organ meats. 50 won (5c) would buy me a little snack size portion. I had no idea what I was eating at the time - didn't know there was blood in the sausage, had no clue what organs even were - but I knew that the little magical packages of offal she was selling tasted like no other food I'd experienced anywhere else. Looking back, I think that might have been where my love for food and adventure started.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Man I miss those times.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sometimes, the humblest ( is that a real word? lol) foods are the most delicious and memorable dishes.^___^

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've never had blood sausage before. How does it taste? Sounds really yummy imo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, the humble, cheap foods are the ones I always look back most fondly on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What does blood sausage taste like....it's hard to describe. A little gritty, and a bit iron-y. Blood sausage is one of those foods that almost all cultures seems to have figured out on their own, if you look around for it you'll find it. :) I think it's well worth it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm pretty sure you are right about that! It may well go under some other name!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. We weren't exactly poor, but I have a feeling that there were times when we cutting it close with bills. My parents were very frugal and still are to this day, so meals were simple.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We ate a lot of breakfast type items for dinner. Over easy eggs and plain white toast, or eggs with hot dogs cut up in them. Lots of fried potatoes too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My mom is Mexican, so we also ate a lot of plain bean and cheese burritos. Or mashed pinto beans and Mexican rice, flour tortillas on the side. I still crave those delicious mashed pinto beans! Mom always has them on the stove when I'm home - they are a staple.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Yesterday, I baked some old bread dough that was sitting in the freezer for almost a year. I just couldn't bear to throw it out, and it was in a air tight container. They came out pretty good, just a bit too gummy in my opinion. Not good for dinner rolls.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think most of the yeast died out, since the dough was so old. I can just hear my mother's voice, telling me not to waste it. I've seen other people throw out bread like this, and it is a tragedy!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Anyway, I cut it all up into cubes, spread some butter on the whole thing, dusted it with garlic salt, Parmesan, parsley, and toasted it well. Now I have the most perfect, delicious croutons ever. I will always be frugal, thanks to my mother. :) LOL

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have a friend with whom I cook periodically. We call it "cooking 911." If we don't create the crisis, we're using up some death row ingredient. I love the challenge. Anyone can make a great meal with a $50 piece of meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm with you! We recently bought some small bread loafs at a local grocery, and they got forgotten when we unloaded the grocery's from the car somehow. When we found them, they were definitely hard as a board! My husband wanted to just toss them, and I wouldn't let him. I ran them through the Food Processor and made perfect Bread crumbs, which we use a lot in baking fish (which we eat at least twice a week)!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Mariposa410

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hah! I'm glad that I'm not alone in this! :D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Scrambled eggs with baked beans, and the leftover baked beans on toast with ketchup the next day - two dinners out of one big can of baked beans. Another meal stretcher was saurkraut with egg noodles and butter, sometimes with sausage, sometimes no meat at all. Appian Way pizza kits were a treat, too.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, my mother would do those pizza kits too ;) They weren't bad. I would've been hard pressed to remember the brand name though ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is so interesting! I just ran across a recipe I want to try that uses Shredded cabbage and egg noodles!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mariposa410

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cabbage and noodles is delicious - I fry up the onion and cabbage in a little bacon grease for extra flavor. We fight over who gets the rest of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Tuna & Creamettes: once a week it was a box of boiled elbow noodles with a can of tuna and a couple of spoon-fulls of Hellman's mayo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. QueenDairy, your OP brought tears to my eyes. I can absolutely feel how deeply you loved your very strong mother. And I want to try this recipe with picadillo. It might be too labor-intensive for work, considering I'd have to make at least 120 if not more, but it sounds wonderful for home dinner, so thanks!! One for the "must try" file.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We didn't have financial difficulties, but my mom (a) wasn't much of a cook and (b) gawd, she hated spending money for food. So once a week like clockwork, we had creamed tuna over some freakishly soft "toast", or saltines, or anything white that would absorb that sauce. And we kids gobbled that **** up. And I love it to this very day. ('Cepting, I use better bread and higher-grade tuna.)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The sorullos are very tasty! You can make the dough ahead of time, as long as you keep it moist (plastic wrap helps).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My mom added 1 packet of sazon (without color) to the dough. Here is a picture. Upthread, I posted a recipe for another comfort food called Papas Rellena. So good. :) And yes, I admire her so very much, and remember all of the struggles we went through... some of which she claims to not remember now... Whew, now I am tearing up myself! LOL!! <3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Aw, sweetie. Thank you for sharing. I did forget to mention that mom was the leftovers queen. She'd put 3 leftover peas in Tupperware, I swear she would. But she'd incorporate all the leftovers, from soup to nuts, into fried rice and with enough soy sauce it was purty good. Funny note: she made a graph of things she froze, and about monthly she'd yank it all out of the freezer and have a diner's choice dinner. I recall one time she pulled out a veal stew, sweet and sour meatballs, and something else.......but she'd only saved the gravy!! there was no meat in anything!! We laughed until we cried over that one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My parents were ethnic German (north German) and Norwegian so we had boiled potatoes 6 nights a week and then the 7th night we had fried potatoes made from all the leftover boiled ones. we also had either Norwegian meatballs or Frikadellen once a week. I never thought of this a "poor" food; this is what north Germans and Norwegians eat. I didn't realize until I was in my 20s that Americans (not ethnic German or Scandinavian) thought meatballs were a great economy dish and was what you had when you couldn't afford anything else. We had roast beef (with boiled potatoes of course) every Sunday and always had some kind of meat, usually beef or pork, for dinner. My parents both worked and we always had good food, not fancy, but good.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RevImmigrant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My grandmother was from a family of 11! kids. Her afterschool snack as a child? Boiled potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        To this day, I have not had a boiled potato as yummy as she could make them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My grandmother had the same snack as a kid! Her mother used to give them to her and her sister with mustard on top. She would make the same for me when she stayed with us. She was from Cincinnati of German descent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Another after school she made me that her mother had made her was fried apple pieces. She used butter and sprinkled sugar and cinnamon on top. Butter and sugar sandwiches on white bread was another.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: happybaker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My mother used to tell stories about her childhood. They seemed to eat a lot of potatoes. Apparently they never ate baked potatoes. They had boiled potatoes for the noon meal and they always boiled enough so there would be leftover potatoes to fry for supper. I seem to remember my mother cooking boiled potatoes when I was a kid. We pretty much ate them the same as a baked potato, with lots of butter and s/p.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. In the late 50's and early 60's, I grew up in a small fishing village in Nova Scotia where the majority of men fished for a living and most women were housewives. The "poor man's food" for our village, believe it or not, was lobster. Back in those days, the demand for lobster was minimal so the price was much lower than haddock, pollock, cod, etc. As a result, most fishermen brought home the lobster to feed the family. This may sound bizarre but as kids, we would get so tired of lobster that when we had to take lobster sandwiches to school for lunch, we would always try to trade them off to the kids (whose fathers weren't fishermen) who had cheese whiz or deviled ham sandwiches! While to many people, lobster is a delicacy or a treat today, I could care less if I ever saw another one as long as I live! :)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Aislyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            One man's "poor food" is another man's treasure. lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How true QueenDairy! And to think as kids we used to sneak a couple of live lobsters out of the bag in the back porch and try to "race" them down a hallway until my dad would catch us. I guess it wasn't cool to play with your supper - not to mention risk losing a finger since they didn't even have bands on the claws!! lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Aislyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't know if it's comparable to your lobster reference, but my mother told stories about the noon dinners her mother used to make during the Depression. My mom grew up in northwest Wisconsin and while her father was never out of work, they didn't have much money either. The big meal was at noon and kids would go home for lunch. In the autumn my grandmother would invariably cook roast duck with wild rice stuffing. That sounds almost gourmet now but my grandfather shot the ducks and gathered, parched and processed the wild rice each autumn as well. When I was a kid we ate a lot of pheasant because my father was able to shoot them in the corn field next to his office.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, John E., wild duck, pheasant and venison were always plentiful growing up for the very same reason you mentioned. Imagine all of the work your grandfather put into processing the wild rice!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Another common practice was to gather seagull's eggs in the early spring and use them in baking or in a custard. Actually, some of the "old folk" would actually fry them up for breakfast!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Aislyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would guess that the gathering of the seagull eggs is frowned upon these days ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Aislyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I wonder how seagull's eggs taste? Like regular chicken eggs?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Since they both are scavengers and eat fish, I've heard that seagull eggs taste remarkable like those of bald eagles ; )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I like mine over-medium, please... not rare. *drum beat*

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: QueenDairy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        They are larger than a chicken's egg and have a very bright orange yolk. Remembering back, I know that they made a very rich custard and that pound cakes and the like came out much nicer than with chicken eggs. If my memory serves me, you really couldn't tell the difference in terms of taste - they were just much richer. Fried, I am told, the yolk is a bit on the "rubbery" side as opposed to a chicken egg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Aislyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This reminds me of an episode of Iron chef I was watching- the secret ingredient was cobia. The challenger side used a whole ostrich egg yolk to make pasta. When asked why he did it, he explained that it contains a higher fat content, resulting in a richer pasta. Here is the link to the video.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHA6yB...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If you skip to 06:40, you can see him breaking the ostrich egg with a hammer and chisel! lol... very interesting battle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: Aislyn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Because of our circumstances, we simply did not go 'out to eat'...as I mentioned previously, we grew our food, and hunted and fished. I remember many years later seeing 'venison' on a menu, and saying "What the hell is THAT?" LOL! Where I come from, it's called 'Deer Meat'...noone Ever said venison!! haha!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I'm not sure this fits in this thread, but it sure is "poor people food". I previously posted but my husband mentioned this afterwards. He told me that when there was nothing else in the house, he would make sauerkraut sandwiches on white bread with mustard. However, he never "craved" them and doesn't now. I can't even imagine eating them! If there was no other food and I was hungry, I think I would rather eat the bread and the sauerkraut separately and forget about the mustard altogether!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My family wasn't as poor as some I remember (especially those that didn't have electric and it was the 1950's already) but they were REALLY frugal when it came to spending money on food. This meant we didn't have goodies, as the money spent on food had to go toward "wholesome" food. I don't think that would have included sauerkraut sandwiches!

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