Compared to your family, what new thing are you doing?
Hummos, baba ganooj, tabbouleh, fatoosh, moussaka, spankorizo, spanakopita, baklava. Sesame noodles, shrimp & pork pot stickers, egg foo yung, beef soup flavored with five-spices and full of Chinese noodles. Kolachkys, pierogies, noodles & sauerkraut, beets grated with horseradish. Bread, coffee cake, Danish pastry, panettone, hamantashen, kringle, stollen, apple slices. Picadillo, empanadas, ropa vieja, escabeche, gazpacho. Goulash soup, black bean soup, minestrone, gumbo, shrimp bisque. Crepes. Quiche. Cioppino. Curries. Linzertorte. Skordalia. Tandoori chicken. Kedgeree. Cajun red beans and rice. A wonderful Persian stew called Gaymeh Bamedjan made with beef, dried yellow peas, eggplant, and a spice called Sour Lemon. Mango kulfi. Cheesecake.
If I eat something in a restaurant or bought at a bakery that I like, that's it: I learn to make it at home. How full the world is of possibilities and how quickly the world has shrunk: my mother would not recognize 50% of what I cook, and my grandmother would not recognize 90% of what I cook.
Note that I included cheesecake on my list. When I was eleven, eating lunch out with my grandmother, I ordered cheesecake. "You won't like it," she warned. "Nobody in our family likes cheesecake." Wrong, Grandma.
I think an interesting twist on this question might be: "Compared to the time when you were a child, what new thing are *your parents* doing?"
Yes, my mother used convenience foods and prepared fairly bland dishes when she was: a) looking after 4 kids AND commuting to college classes in the city every day, and b) cooking for a group of people with mostly pretty conservative tastes. I am in awe of the fact that she continued to get a nutritious and usually tasty supper on the table at 6:30 sharp, night after night, year after year.
Now she is 77, lives alone, cooks elegant and balanced meals for herself, eats very few convenience foods and tries at least one new recipe a week.
Very cool, Mom!
re: almond tree
almond tree, I like what you posed and how you answered it. And I can really relate.
My own Mom def. changed how she shopped and cooked over her lifetime and so have I. We both enjoyed entertaining more as we got older. When produce choices, ethnic markets and pick your own farms really took off, we changed our shopping & eating habits considerably. I drink more wine, cocktails, teas & coffees then my parents did. I have also traveled more which influenced my understanding of food and culture.
My own kids would say similar things. They would def. say that my oldest and my youngest were raised by very different Mom's while my middle two would say they got the "in transition" Mom. All my kids (now adults) food shop smart and cook; some are fussy about textures and meats.
All in all we are a food loving family and we continue to learn from each other all the time.
My mom cooked for my brother, frequently traveling father, and me. Once I hit middle school she started working. So she had a lot more to consider and more schedules to work around when cooking. We also lived in the country with a garden, farmstands, cider mill, and dairy (closed when I was young). But grocery stores had limited "ethnic ingredients" and we didn't live near any "ethnic" grocery stores/neighborhoods. The nearest grocery store was about 20 min away so my mom did a large weekly shopping trip. She also had more money to spend on food. We ate more meat and more casserole type dishes. But we always ate as a family and my mom has always been a good cook.
My current family is the BF and I (SINKS) and we live in a city. So even though we have less money for food, I have more time to think about what to cook and have the internet for ideas. And since I can walk to many stores I don't need to do a large weekly shopping trip. We probably eat more veggies, but that's because my mom usually prepared one veggie/meal and I do 2 or 3. We tend to eat a lot less meat than we did growing up, but my parents are also eating less meat. I can do more "ethnic" cooking now, but so can my mother in her current location.
1) Rice and bread no longer take up the lion's share of my dinner plate
2) Sodium and preservatives are much sparer in my diet today
3) Having moved to the coast, I enjoy a wider variety of fresh fish and seafood
4) My parents had a good relationship with their butcher; I have a good relationship with my farmer's market
5) My parents were good about cooking a variety of cuisines, but I cook an even wider variety nowadays. Dad loved hardshell tacos; I love homemade posole.
Actually I find as I get older I'm cooking more like my mom. The tastes are different but the style is becoming more similar. Growing up, as a single mom, she made stir fries with various seasonings but the same vegetables and chicken breast over rice. She had 2 really: curry powder with orange juice or stir fry with soy and sesame. The veggies were always julienned carrots, cabbage, maybe broccoli, and onions. I find myself making more simple stir fries as I get older but I use a much greater variety of seasonings and vegetables, I may also through an egg in or put it over pasta instead of rice.
I also don't need to have meat or fish every night, and don't feel bad if my daughter doesn't.
Because I have dh 1) I get a lot more support and he basically does the cooking 80% of the time. 2) We probably eat a lot more meat and less tomato sauce because of his preferences.
My mother only cooked from scratch, never had junk food in the house, and always had a garden, so that she did right. OTOH, the meals she cooked were terrible - no variety, no taste, and really just not very good.
Things I do the same: cook from scratch and never have junk food in the house.
OTOH, I cook a very wide variety of foods, I use spices & seasonings to flavour the food I cook, and I cook from a variety of cuisines around the world. Biggest change, I think, would be that I cook a LOT of Asian food - but, in all fairness, I live in Asia and married an Asian, so this is just a logical step.
The food I cook and have cooked for the last twenty years in no way at all resembles the food I grew up on.
Actually preparing meals from basic foods. Growing up, everything was either out of a hamburger helper box or frozen. To this day my mom still buys stuff like cut up frozen onions because it's easier.
There are very, very prepared foods i our house, outside of the wife's weekday breakfast/lunch (stuff like kashi bars). Dinners are always fresh veggies, butcher meat, etc.
My mother's repertoire was limited by my father's insistence on a chiefly meat & potatoes diet. She used a pressure cooker for vegetables because she knew it preserved nutrients better, but didn't realize she was overcooking them. Then again, 50 yrs ago everyone overcooked vegetables.
I microwave or steam most of my fresh and frozen veg. When as an octogenarian Mom moved in, she had never had microwaved food. The first meal I cooked, she was stunned at the potato (peeled, chunked, microwaved with a little water), remarking that she had never had one with so much flavor.
The occasional childhood Swanson TV dinner's peas were always delectable. Mom agreed but had no idea how to replicate them. Once I was on my own, I discovered that
peas need almost no cooking, which explains the Swanson's, which were just heated up from frozen.
I make one-dish meals like stir-fries and casseroles often, something Mom never did (because of Dad). She enjoyed my cooking and the increased variety of ingredients.
Actually using my oven and not as an expensive cupboard.
Cooking with herbs.
Kosher salt and using a pepper grinder.
Using pans that aren't nonstick. I collect tin lined copper.
Making things from scratch (not using pre jarred pasta sauce and homemade stock in place of bouillon cubes)
Going to a butcher.
Using a thermometer, mixer, blender, food processor, mortar and pestle for freshly ground spices.
Actually cooking. Dinner growing up was usually very simple. Sliced spam, hot dog, a fried slice of tofu. My dad would often get upset if I cooked for more than 20 minutes or used more than 5 ingredients and he still does. We're not even poor either and are considered upper middle class. If you can buy it in the store or as takeout, why waste your time and cook it? He believes this and will scream so loud that all the neighbors would hear it if you even attempt to bake a cake or pie, or make fried chicken when you can just go to Popeyes. I actually had to stop cooking in high school because he made such a big deal out of the "waste of time and money" cooking is. I cook with much more ingredients, use higher quality ingredients, spend much more, and cook for much longer periods of time.
Also...My mom freaked out when I made crepe Suzette and grabbed the fire extinguisher. They thought my food caught on fire by accident lol. I kept screaming for her to stop and that I wanted the fire. Happened again with beef Wellington.
Oh and not cooking everything well done or over well done.
Yup. Pretty much everything.
Eating raw fish.
Buying wine based on a criteria other than red or white.
Enjoying a tripe and kidney stew without a green vegetable in sight.
Eating limburger cheese in the house instead of on the back porch.
Having spare ribs year round.
Not having to gag down baked, boiled, stewed, and roasted beets.
Way less processed foods. I don't blame my mom for using them really... she worked full time once I was 6 years old and we had a lot of after school activities... so dinner had to be easy and put together fast, and my brother and I were picky eaters. Nowadays she's a great scratch cook, like she was back before she went back to work.
The list of things I do the same as how I was raised would be much shorter!
Things are diferent:
1. Seasonings other than salt and pepper
2. Fresh vegetables rather than frozen most of the time
3. Wayyyy less meat, especially beef
4. Seafood, which was almost non-existent in my growing up years
5. Cheeses other than American and gjetost
6. Much greater variety and inclusion of "ethnic" meals. I did not have pizza until well into my teenage years. No joke.
1) eat more vegetables, but less fruits.
2) eat more ocean seafood, and less river seafood.
3) use carbon steel knives and carbon steel cookware more so than stainless steel knives and stainless cookware.
4) I bake. They don't.
5) I cook a lot more "international"
6) I don't make soup nearly as often
I can go on and on.
Trying new things and reading cookbooks. While not a strict daily rotation, my family has the same meal about once every two weeks. It's very traditional, meat and veg. type meals, mostly stewed or braised. I don't think I've even seen them stir-fry anything. My mom has one cookbook and one file of family recipes. Most of them are good. I just like variety. To be fair, they're always willing to try anything i present. It's just that if they like it, they want me to make the same thing each time. I save new recipes for friends and younger cousins.
I make things from scratch most of the time. We always cooked a lot with jarred sauces, which is completely fine, but I feel a sense of pride when I can make something from scratch myself.
Overall, I'd say I'm more experimental, but I also have a greater passion for cooking.
2 and 3 are definitely true for me. I eat meat maybe two or three times a week now, whereas it was a daily thing with my family and if there was a day when we ate vegetarian the guys in my family would spend the rest of the evening roaming angrily around the place eating cake to fill the hole in their stomachs! And yes, eating at an earlier time so you don't have to attack the Doritos in desperation at 7pm waiting for things to be cooked... :P