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Foods from your childhood that you still love and/or prepare

As a flipside to a thread I recently started,"Foods from your childhood that seem laughable now", I thought it would be fun to also talk about the foods we liked as kids and still like now. You know, what our parents actually did right, what tastes have stuck with us through the years, well into adulthood, etc.
I, for one, still use the same "old stand-by" Betty Crocker recipes for biscuits and for peach cobbler that we used when I was growing up.
I still love oatmeal- and oatmeal cookies(but I prefer them with cranberries now), beans and cornbread, buckwheat pancakes, homemade cream of broccoli soup, natural peanut butter, pot pie, apple crisp...  My Dad made good fried potatoes(you know, with onions, for breakfast). I make those sometimes.
We had Mexican neighbors, ate at the local Mexican restaurants, and usually had some(store-bought, albeit) Mexican food around the house.  That has surely been a major influence.  It was my Dad that got me hooked on jalapeños en escabeche.  (Our favorite brand was the glass jar "La Victoria" but sadly it mysteriously disappeared from the shelves several years back...)
My Mom had a Middle-Eastern cookbook that had a few recipes she'd make from time to time, and I still love M.E. food to this day.
Candy-wise, I still like to eat from time to time: Skor bars, those little cube caramels wrapped in cellophane, butter mints, mint melt-aways, turtles, smarties(mmm...citric acid and sugar) and sour patch kids(more citric acid and sugar!)...
I'll also admit that sometimes I still go back and eat a box of Kraft mac and cheese, just for old time's sake(European hubby just affectionately laughs at me at such times, and lets me have it all to myself!)
And believe it or not, I liked then, and still like now, those baby green lima beans you can buy in the freezer section in US supermarkets!
How about you guys?

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  1. I still make my mom's brisket recipe, her Passover Bagels, her Cabbage Borscht. She always made her Thanksgiving turkey in a covered roasting pan and I still make it that way as well. She also made this "Mexican Gazpacho", with yogurt and cumin that I still love to make.

    And this week for the first time, I finally made her favorite Ice Cream recipe which she made often when I was a kid. It's called Cafe Diable, and it's got rum and brandy and orange oil, cloves, cinnamon, coffee in it. Very yummy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mwk

      Mmm, sounds like your Mom was a good cook!
      And that ice cream sounds like it's to die for.
      There was only one time we had homemade ice cream when I was growing up-we made a gigantic batch of vanilla and it turned out awful, coated your mouth something terrible. However, due to Mom and Dad's disdain for throwing out any food unless it was actually rotten we did finally choke it all down over a period of weeks(or was it months?)...
      An experience after which the prevailing sentiment in our household was, "Leave ice cream to the professionals!"
      Happily, sounds like things were different in your family!

    2. Could someone please make a credible version of "Johnny Marzetti" (sp?), that staple of US public schools from coast-to-coast? Trader Joe's, I'm lookin' at you...!

      1 Reply
      1. re: annagranfors

        It was never a "market" dish, but a home or maybe school-cafeteria dish, and unlike mac'n'cheese not widely popular enough to make a frozen or refrigerated version. I learned about it from a whole lot of the regional cookbooks, mostly from women's clubs or church groups, that I can't stop buying when I see them. I'm a tad too busy to go dig out a recipe, but I bet Google could find a few - you have the name exactly right, and as I recall it's a pretty typical and uncomplicated thing to make, kind of like my school's (and family's) Marietta.

      2. It might be easier to say what don't I make like my mother did. I use all her baking recipes especially since she was taught by a fabulous pastry chef and her sister, a home economist. So, definitely all my Christmas recipes, including the stuffing and the plum pudding sauce comes from my great grandmother. I've never eaten anyone else's pumpkin pie since hers is so perfect and all the other ones seem so- well, -orange. Her chicken pot pie, my great aunts potato salad, my grandfather's stuffed mushroom caps. I roast the way she did and do potatoes and other veggies her way in general. She is a very simple cook, but everything is perfect.I often had friends that were converted to foods they thought they hated after eating at our house. It was always done right, with the pure flavour of the food shining through.

        3 Replies
        1. re: dianne0712

          We love all things pumpkin. Can you share your Greatgrandmother's pumpkin pie recipe? TIA.

          1. re: pine time

            My mom's, not grandma. She got it from a 1955 magazine article on prize winning fair recipes. You'll love this.

            Spicy pumpkin pie

            2 Tbsp butter
            1 1/2 cups pumpkin (I only use Stokely's )
            1 tsp ginger
            1 tsp cinnamon
            1/4 tsp mace
            1/4 tsp cloves
            1/2 tsp salt
            2 eggs
            1/2 cup white sugar
            1/2 cup brown sugar
            2 Tbsp flour
            1 cup milk
            9" unbaked pie shell
            Start oven at 450.
            Melt butter and stir into pumpkin along with spices.In separate bowl beat eggs until frothy. Stir in eggs, flour, both sugars, salt and milk. Mix with a gentle hand. Pour into shell, bake 10 minutes at 450 then reduce to 375 for 45 minutes.

            1. re: dianne0712

              thanks to you and your mom! Going shopping today--have everything on hand except for the mace (well, there is some, but heaven only knows how old it is). Pumpkin pie tonight!

        2. My mother's dishes that I make:

          Stuffed cabbages
          Beef Stroganoff
          Tuna casserole
          Lasagna with Bechamel
          Mustard pork chops
          Scrambled eggs with Polish sausage
          Apricot Icebox cheesecake
          Sour cream apple pie
          Frosted Mocha cookies
          English Matrimonials
          Marinated bean salad
          Home - corned beef
          Coffee sugar cookies (but I can't get them right)
          Million Calorie Cake (not often enough!)
          Paprika potatoes

          I had no idea that I made so many of my mother's recipes! How do I have time to make anything else?

          7 Replies
          1. re: jmcarthur8

            Mmm...paprikás krumpli- Hungarian food!
            My brother has lived in Italy for a bunch of years and I was surprised when he taught me how to make lasagna with bechamel(yum!). I had never come across it in my American upbringing, but he says it's probably just as common as the tomato sauce varieties, at least in his part of Italy.
            What are English matrimonials?? They sound interesting!

            1. re: Gracemama

              Gracemama, here's the thread about the English Matrimonials.


              My mother's lasagna had a red sauce, too. The bechamel was in the layers and had parmesan and eggs in it. I still love that recipe.

              1. re: jmcarthur8

                Thanks for sharing!!!
                This morning I made a double recipe with homemade apricot jam. So quick and so good!
                My toddler, hubby, and the crew of men presently working on our house were all highly appreciative. It's going in my recipe notebook!

                That lasagna sounds wonderful.

                1. re: Gracemama

                  Glad you liked the English Matrimonials! When I make them, I'll do half the pan with homemade strawberry jam, and half with homemade Georgia peach. I still can't decide which I like best.
                  Before I started canning my own jam, I'd use commercial apricot jam - loved it. But I don't know if I can get good tasting apricots here in Georgia.

                  1. re: jmcarthur8

                    Laugh! Guess you can't have it all. I live in Hungary-an apricot country. In fact the jam I used yesterday was made soley with apricots from my mother-in-law's own garden. But although we do have peaches here to some degree, my chances of getting really good, juicy Georgia style peaches here are probably about as good as your chances of getting really good fresh apricots there. And I did salivate when I read about your peach version.
                    Anyways, thanks again for a great recipe. As I write this, my toddler is contentedly stuffing his face with one of yesterday's (few) remaining bars.

                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                      Guess I'm lucky--we grow our own apricots & peaches here in So. Cal.! Will be making your Matrimonials, Jmcarthur8, since you liked my WW Amaretto Cheesecake!

            2. I grew up in Erfurt/Thüringen and one of the local seasonal specialties was (/probably still is ) fresh Fava beans/Broad beans.
              My mother prepared/served them in a sauce/roux made from nicely smoked chopped bacon, flavored with lots of Summer Savory ( Bohnenkraut). I always loved this dish and I certainly make it every so often when I see those beans fresh at my farmer's market.

              1. My mother was a great cook, who sadly for me (for countless reasons of course, besides her cooking!) passed away when I was 20. She and I cooked together alot beginning at a very early age for me, so we did have many happy kitchen-years together. I have her old recipe box, covered in very-60's orange shelf paper. It is one of my greatest treasures.

                Of course, there are many things in it that are dated that I wouldn't make anymore, but many things, I still make at least once in a while;

                Most of my Christmas cookie recipes are here. Snowballs, Mint nanimo bars, pecan diamonds, Lace cookies, and walnut bars with orange glaze.
                Her taco salad
                Chicken crepes
                Frozen Frango dessert (chocolate mint mousse in little foil cups)
                Chicken pot pie
                Zucchini bread, zucchini lasagna
                Steak Dianne
                I can her spiced peaches, and fruit syrup.
                Curried Zucchini soup.
                Parmesan Chicken

                Thanks for the memories mom!

                1. My mother is an excellent cook - but unfortunately our Eastern European mother to daughter tradition of cooking is that the "mom" is queen of the kitchen and doesn't want or allow any help. That being said, one of my favorite dishes from childhood was my mom's version of the Moosewood's recipe for pasta carbonara made with caramelized onions and broccoli. As the base of this recipe is the Moosewood, I've been able to recreate it on my own.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: cresyd

                    My mother had that same issue with her Slovak mother - she wouldn't let anyone in the kitchen, so as not to 'waste food'. So her daughters had to fend for themselves when they went on their own. They became good cooks in spite of late learning, but Grandma's recipes died with her. Nobody could ever understand her when she described how she made her meatloaf (a handful of this, a bit of that, have the butcher grind it twice..), so we all have delicious memories, but no meatloaf.

                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                      I've compared notes with some other children of Eastern European mothers - and it's definitely a tragic breed of home cook that exists. My mother managed to figure out a few recipes from her mother - but she'll even complain that they're not the same. But then even with all of her complaints about her mother, she won't teach me, show me, or write any of her recipes down.

                      Unfortunately the main cooking trait I've learned from my mom is how to be the czar of the kitchen. Sigh.

                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                        Different culture but I know a number of PA women of a certain age that also weren't allowed in the kitchen for fear that a speck of sugar would be wasted.

                        My grandmother hated cooking and therefore assumed we all must be protected. NO ONE was allowed to help her in the kitchen.

                    2. Braised oxtails, tamale pie, lamb shanks.

                      1. mocha logs, these coffee cookies made with a cookie press and then the end is dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts

                        orange sour cream sweet yeast rolls

                        my moms pie crust recipe

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: rasputina

                          Would you share your mom's pie crust? I'm always open to trying new versions. Great basics are the mainstay of any kitchen.

                          1. re: rasputina

                            Also, I have a cookie press I only use for spritz. I'd love to have another recipe! Would you share that one too?

                          2. My parents were and remain good cooks. Dad mostly handles weekend breakfasts and the grill, while my mom's domain is the kitchen at dinner time. I enjoyed most of the meals I had growing up and still look forward to joining them for dinner, which I still do every couple weeks or so.

                            That said, I am struggling to think of a single thing that I cook the same as them. We even differ on something as simple as spaghetti, where my mother puts oil in the pasta water, salts less than I do, and generally cooks her pasta a little more than I do. I guess I cook fried breakfast potatoes, from either frozen or fresh potatoes, pretty much the same as my father. The same could be said for eggs over-easy. There really isn't much to either of those items, though.

                            I attribute this to the fact that I never really helped in the kitchen when I was growing up and didn't start really cooking until I had moved out of the house. Almost all of my cooking skills and the recipes I follow are mashed together from the interwebs and trial-and-error.

                            1. I have never attempted to make it but I loved teaberry ice cream (hand dipped) as a child. It isn't a common flavor and I always order it when I see it.

                              There are certain Ritter Sport(chocolate bar) flavors that transport me straight back to my teen years.

                              1. For me is spaghetti with tomatoe and butter sauce. Yep, mom added lots of butter to the sauce and it's still my favorite way to eat spaghetti. I only make it a couple of times a year but everytime I have it, it's like heaven for me.

                                1. Grilled cheese sandwiches, with Campbell's tomato soup. The only difference now is that I rarely use American cheese, I cook the sandwich on a cast iron skillet (didn't have one those until I was in my 30s) and use the non-condensed canned soup.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: 4X4

                                    I'm right there with you on the grilled cheeses and tomato soup. I just do the grilled cheeses with real cheese and bread, and the soup homemade since I can't buy canned where I live. Total comfort food!

                                    1. re: Gracemama

                                      It's funny, we had that when I was a kid, and I didn't know till I got on CH that everyone else had it, too! Hubby and I have Campbell's tomato soup (or Progresso) and grilled cheddar now and then in the winter. It is warming and calming.

                                      1. re: Gracemama

                                        Where in the world can on not buy canned soup! I think that NASA is leaving some on Mars righ now! hehe

                                        1. re: randyjl

                                          LOL, I was talking more about no canned Campbell's tomato. I think we do have some selection of canned soups here(I live in a small Hungarian town) but I'm not sure if there is any equivalent canned tomato soup....
                                          Anyways, homemade is better.

                                    2. I still make all of my grandmother's cookies every Christmas (before she emigrated here she lived in Sweden - her family owned a bakery).

                                      I still make my mom's food - it's comfort food after all! Pork chops with mushroom gravy, porcupine meatballs, I still eat Kraft Mac and Cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches made with Velveeta, cheeseball - and I've learned some of my husband's favorites from his mom who recently passed so he can have his comfort food too.

                                      1. Mom was not the star cook of the family; that would be her dad, Grandpa Kuntz. Many of the best things she made came from him or from his extended tribe of Illinois farmers, all of German Mennonite extraction if not persuasion. The wilted lettuce salad and the potato salad were right off the farm, both recipes being given in proportions of ingredients so as to make them useful for a supper for two or a table for dozens. I still need to get that wilted lettuce from my sister, but the potato salad has been mine for over fifty years. Her two small-game recipes, the classic Häsenpfeffer for rabbit and a braise that makes its own gravy for rabbit and squirrel (AND young raccoon, as we found out one glorious evening) were also from Grandpa. I've made the Häsenpfeffer, but with caged rabbits it's not the same. As for squirrels, although the Illinois ones are the size of cats, these California critters would be more work than it's worth.

                                        From my mom, I do make, more or less frequently: tuna-noodle casserole; braised pork steaks with horseradish; a tuna-and-mayonnaise gelatin mold (usually served with new peas and potatoes, cooked separately and served together in a rich cream sauce); chicken and dumplings; chicken and noodles; baked chicken with bread stuffing (and then hash made from chicken meat, stuffing and gravy); scalloped cabbage; scalloped potatoes; scalloped oysters; green beans cooked with onion and bacon. I do not make her "chili", a hamburger and tomato soup with kidney beans, nor do I make her stewed tomatoes with chunks of bread torn up in it. Mom was my dearest friend, and I miss her more that I'm able to say, but her cooking in my childhood years was not her best. That came later, with a new and better life, richer in all senses of the word.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          There's a current post for racoon recipes. Have you seen it?

                                        2. My mum used to make kedgeree and I loved it, to this day it is something I make as it is a comfort food for me.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Musie

                                            Can you share how your Mom made the kedgeree? I mean, what the basic ingredients were? My Mom also made it several times when I was little, but I can't rembember the details...rice and tomatoes among other things, I think... I do remember that it was wonderful.

                                          2. My mom would make a fried egg and put it over rice with a splaxh of soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and black pepper! THat is comfort to me.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. Food from my childhood I still like and eat includes chicken & dumplings, Brussels sprouts, corn on the cob, okra & field peas, oatmeal cookies, watermelon and at Easter Elmer's Gold Brick eggs. I have my MIL's recipes so some of her cobblers and pies that my husband loves are on future menus. I still love sugar wafer cookies and have been planning to buy some again soon. My paternal grandmother always kept Nabisco brand in stock & I always think of her when I see them on the store shelves.

                                              I only eat unhealthy deep fat fried chicken at family reunions but I always eat it there. (So once every year for that.)

                                              Great thread, Gracemama.

                                              1. My Mom was and still is a terrible cook. She admits it. I love her to bits but her cooking is atrocious. So, I cook very little from my Mom's...uh...repetoire. What I do cook from then are things that I cooked as a kid (someone had to keep us alive and I became a good cook at a very young age) such as chicken and dumplings and meatloaf. I've made certain changes, such as using mire poix (at the age of 9 I had no clue what that was).

                                                But my Mom bakes the very best buns in the world.

                                                1. My grandmother never passed on her recipes and the names of some of her dishes don't exist. I wish she would have understood how much we really wanted those recipes, except for the blood soup. Glad that recipe did not survive.

                                                  My mom was a good cook, and except for baked goods, she never went by a recipe so there was never anything written. One of my favorite comfort foods she'd make and I still frequently prepare is egg trash. A combination of kielbasa, leftover boiled potatoes fried on butter and topped with eggs that were mixed in. Really ugly looking dish, but so darn good!

                                                  For the holidays I still bake her butter cookies, krustai, and lasineciai, Her hotmilk cake is my go-to yellow cake.

                                                  1. Seafood Gumbo, Red Bean & Rice, Shrimp Creole, Shrimp Po-boys, Fried Catfish w/ Black-eyed Peas... yes, there are some.


                                                    1. Mom's recipes that I will make till the bitter end:

                                                      chicken and dumplings

                                                      chicken breasts with wine sauce and mushrooms

                                                      enchiladas suizas

                                                      beef stew

                                                      roast beef with biscuit dumplings

                                                      oven porcupines

                                                      fried porkchops

                                                      Polish sandwiches with kraut, mustard and Swiss on rye bread

                                                      lasagne made with cottage cheese instead of ricotta

                                                      Mexican rice

                                                      pork chops baked with rice and cream o' mushroom soup

                                                      cream of potato soup sprinkled with dill and cayenne

                                                      peanut butter pie

                                                      fried potatoes

                                                      1. Hi All, I know this thread hasn't been active for a while, but I just wanted to take a quick minute to thank everyone who posted.  It was touching to read all these tributes to people's parents' and grandparents' wonderful (and in some cases, not so wonderful) cooking legacies.
                                                        Also, I think recipes that have survived and been cherished by multiple generations tend to have something to them. (Simple law of survival of the fittest?)So these lists have given me inspiration /ideas about new foods I might want to try out, and old foods I might want to revisit. Thanks!

                                                        1. I love to make a HUGE pot of beef bourguignon using elk shoulder combined with the rib 'primal' cut. Take about childhood memories. I freeze the whole thing in large yogurt containers then give them to the kids. We had some last night with one of the boys. We never had mushrooms when I was a kid. Now I add a bunch of little whole brown button mushrooms. I don't use celery bc it makes food taste bitter. I use a lot more red wine then my mom ever used I'm sure. I always simmer the wine first to remove some of the alcohol taste. I use smoked pork jowl and substitute tomato paste with tomato juice which contains no flour. I can eat flour but don't like it in tomato paste bc IMO the paste stays 'pasty' tasting.

                                                          1. My mom never really made "memorable" dishes, as she worked a lot and most of it was "get dinner on the table quick" stuff using boxed stuff. But, I still bake with a lot of the same recipes I did when I was young.... cowboy chocolate chip cookies (choc chip oatmeal cookies), molasses crinkles (which turns out are from the betty crocker cookbook LOL), and, my personal favorite "honey" rolls.

                                                            The honey rolls do not have honey in them. They are a potato based cinnamon roll that are baked in a pan with brown sugar and syrup (not real maple, has to be the fake stuff) in the bottom. So, after they're done, you turn the pan upside down and you get a delicious fluffy sticky roll. It was my paternal grandmother's recipe, and my cousin named them honey rolls about 40 years ago.

                                                            1. "Chicken (or turkey) a la King" over Pepperidge Farm puff pastry "Patty Shells".

                                                              1. My cousins and I used to love pillsbury real cherry turnovers including dough filling and icing. They were in the refrigerated section next to the croissant dough and such.
                                                                I still enjoyed them into early adulthood when they just disappeared. But last night at Walmart while I was reaching for some croissant dough I thought I was seeing things! I cannot believe they are back! I haven't had one in ages and they are still just as good as I remembered. This seems like a small miracle to me. I'm so happy.

                                                                1. Pumpkin bread
                                                                  Chocolate chip coffee cake
                                                                  Carrot cake
                                                                  Crab Imperial
                                                                  Butterscotch oatmeal cookies
                                                                  Cream of Wheat
                                                                  Life Cereal
                                                                  Raisin Bran Cereal
                                                                  My grandmother's stuffing recipe

                                                                  1. My Mom grew up in Honduras, so plantains, fried, and red beans & rice & jalapenos are on the list. Rice balls, chicken fried steak with milk gravy, rice & green peas, Home made beef noodle soup with home made noodles, are my other childhood favorites that I still cook, altho some of it is verboten on my low carb diet so they are once in a blue moon treats, and Mom's fried chicken is still a biggie, and I do use wheat flour on it. Ruined it a couple of times with other coatings and I like it too well to ruin again. We're talking 1/4 c of flour for 4 pieces, how bad can it be?
                                                                    My mother in love was a great cook and we still use lots of her recipes. Esp her pot roast, and some of her Christmas cookies.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Nanzi

                                                                      Mmm....jealous of the Honduran food!

                                                                    2. It's odd...my grandmother was Ukrainian. I loved going to her house. She was always cooking something great.....Halupki (stuffed cabbage), pierogi (although she pronounced it pi-dau-hee), kolace, paska, chicken soup with homemade noodles, etc.

                                                                      My mother never ever made any of that. Never. Asking her to make halupki was like asking her to pull a tooth.

                                                                      But, I make all of that stuff now, and absolutely love it. And my kids are right next to me when I do, so hopefully they'll carry it on.

                                                                        1. Lancashire Hotpot
                                                                          Shepherd’s Pie
                                                                          Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy (though we never called them "bangers")
                                                                          Chicken a la King
                                                                          English-Style Baked Beans (milder with tomato and less sugar & molasses than U.S. versions)
                                                                          Cornish Pasties
                                                                          Steak and Kidney Pie
                                                                          Swiss Steak