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Apr 10, 2012 05:07 PM

"No mom, you don't have to cook..."

So, how many of you used to think your mom was the BEST cook in the world when you were young, but since you have grown up and become a chowhound and/or cook, have discovered that mom just wasn't a good cook?

I love my mom, but her food is WAY too salty!

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  1. You mean it's not because Mom used to be a better cook? ;)

    1 Reply
    1. re: visciole

      I actually think my mom WAS a better cook back then. She stopped cooking for a decade at least and got out of practice. She also tends to be trying some health trend or other, lately it's been low salt and that is not working for me!
      But there's also the fact that I learned to cook in the foodie era and have access to better ingredients etc. She's forever throwing huge amounts of dried herbs in where I never would for example (into dips and soups as a finish so the flavours don't have a chance).

    2. Opposite here. When I was young I thought my mom was average to below average as a cook. I never got the good stuff like TV dinners, Kraft mac & cheese, Fluffernutters or any of the good food my friends had. Veggies were never the good canned stuff like creamed corn; either they were fresh (only in season back in the day) or frozen. Chicken was roasted, not fried. Roast beef on Sundays with mashed potatoes and green beans. Yuck.

      As I got older (teens) she expanded her repertoire to Italian--home made lasagna, stuffed shells, chicken parm. Damn I was deprived.

      Then I lived on college caf food. Roomates, friends and I made pilgramages to parents' house (college was in same city as folks' house) for good food.

      Now she lives with me and I had a very tasty roast chicken and asparagus for dinner. Her stuffed shells are in the freezer for quick fix dinners. The herb garden outside provided some nice pungent mint for the iced tea.

      16 Replies
      1. re: gaffk

        In a few ways, I was dealt the same - frozen, 'cause that was new, or from a can, or from a jar. We so very seldom had anything really fresh, but then, that was what my mother grew up with - farm produce, so the packaged variety held an aura, at least for her. Such was life, in those post-Depression times.

        It was not until I was exposed to some of those same veggies, etc., that were fresh, that I came to appreciate many of them.

        Now, one must understand that I am probably older than their parents, so what I encountered was a generation, or two, before their parents "came of age." Much has changed, and in some ways (fresh produce), for the better, at least from where I sit.


        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Both parents were children of the depression. Mom's parents owned a business and was so less "deprived"; dad's parents worked for the government and so also less "deprived." They both thought an onion and ketchup sandwich was a treat. That's a depression.

          1. re: gaffk

            That sandwich sounds oddly familiar.

            My father tried to convince me that mayonnaise, with black pepper on white bread, was a sandwich. Oh well, at least he tried.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              I can remember mayonnaise sandwiches from when I was very young. The mayo was really Miracle Whip. My sis preferred butter sandwiches, which was really oleo.

              Parents grew up during the Depression.

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                In the Late seventies my parents would eat mayo sandwiches to be frugal as young newlyweds.

                1. re: melpy

                  Funny, how as we progress and our palettes become more refined there are still old staples that just work. My All-time fave sandwich is semolina bread, mayo, one slice of provolone and tomato slices. Sometimes, when the fridge is empty...mayo does the trick

                  1. re: jhopp217

                    And I hated mayo on both sides ;) Give me bologna or give me death . . . Lebanon on rye . . . with mustard!

                    1. re: gaffk

                      Lebanon must be from Philly

                        1. re: gaffk

                          My father is from Philly and I love the stuff. I like to call it the single man's cold cut, because it permeates your skin. My father once brought it back on a bus and people complained. He had it double plastic bagged, then in a paper bag and then put it in a back pack. The back pack was basically ruined. Delicious though on a nice Hoagie!

                          1. re: jhopp217

                            Yes, it does have a distinctive aroma, but I guess if you're from Philly you're impervious to it.

                            Crunch in some Utz or Wise chips and it was quite a five star day ;)

                            1. re: gaffk

                              I am from Florida and love it with all my heart. It may be a Philly thing but I embrace it with all its fatty goodness.

                              1. re: suzigirl

                                Wow, who knew you could find lebanon in FL. It really is a small world these days.

                                1. re: gaffk

                                  There aren't many places, but when it comes to smokey, fatty, meaty goodness I'm on it. We have Seltzer's brand sweet and regular. Yummy. I got my bf hooked on it too.

          2. re: gaffk

            What a lovely post gaffk. And thanks for starting this thread potato.
            I think I will add something from my mom's childhood just for fun. My grandmother worked as a bookkeeper Way back in the day when most women did not work outside the home. So there was always sliced bread from the market at her house for my mom to offer her friend. But at the friend's house there was fresh homemade bread aplenty. Each girl thought the other one had it better.
            A fast after school snack back in the day was bread and jam or if there was no jam the old reliable standby was bread slices spread with butter and sprinkled with sugar. By the time I came along as the grandaughter, my grandmother sometimes made warm delicious homemade loaves of bread and boy did I know to appreciate it.

            1. re: givemecarbs

              Funny about the bread. Just goes to show kids always seem to prefer what their friends have rather than what they experience every day.

          3. My mother was an adequate cook. We never went hurting, but seldom had anything special, with but a few exceptions. OTOH, she knew the best restaurants in New Orleans (where we often went for "special" events), so I did learn quite a bit - just not from her kitchen.

            Much could be blamed on the times. Frozen food was really just hitting its stride, and she embraced that. In the end, it was only slightly better than canned, or in a jar. Much that she loved, was totally lost on me, until I encountered those items, in a fresh state - I mean, who knew?????

            We would always drag my mother out to eat, and at restaurants of our choice, and always our "treat."

            I am very fortunate in that my wife is the best cook (I think that she could actually be a chef, with a bit of time on her side), that I have ever been around. She is far, far better, than any in her family, and certainly in mine.

            Thinking about this thread deeply, I would say that there are but 3 dishes from my mom, and 1 from my paternal grandmother, that I would really want again. From my wife's family, though possibly better cooks, I might lean toward 1 dish, but even that is a bit of a stretch.

            I did not come from a family of cooks, but still, my mother knew every top-level restaurant in New Orleans, and given the opportunity, took us to those.


            1. My Mom was not a very good cook and was a person who ate to live and found food essentially a burden. She had a few great things she could do well....fried chicken, London broil, sauteed cabbage, vegetable soup and cabbage rolls (she made a Hungarian friend when my Dad was in the Navy).

              Thank goodness for having two aunts who loved to cook and could make a feast out of essentially anything.

              1. My mom had a few company dishes she could trot out, but for everyday it was pretty ordinary, and as others have posted, was out of cans or the freezer. My mom never met a mix she didn't like. I think she thought of mixes--cake mix, cornbread mix, biscuit mix--as making things easier or foolproof. I do think she was a product of her times, and also her culture. She always seemed to have some ideal in mind, and which she never felt she met. And day to day cooking (she worked outside the home after all) was a chore for her.

                So, her cooking was occasionally good, although I don't think I'd like it at all now. I am sure it was overly salty. Mostly it wasn't every wonderful, and I think I sensed that early on.