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Oct 7, 2013 09:21 PM

Nostalgic Childhood Foods

Hi Everyone!
I am new to the boards and have enjoyed myself immensely reading these posts. Please excuse me if this is posted in the wrong forum.

As an Asian American with only a few years in the US, food has been something comforting no matter where in the world we moved. Though we weren't rich by any means, I felt we always ate well.
I just wanted to share and record some memories of the food concoctions my parents used to make for us. More than anything, I just want to have a list of these so I don't forget them, but I would love to hear everyone's stories!

I'm just randomly writing these out so bear with me :)

1. Taco toasts
This was something my mom would make us following taco/burrito nights in our home. it was basically a slice of white bread topped with leftover taco meat and a slice of American cheese toasted in the oven. We got this for breakfast before school alot and me and my sisters would nible off the crusts first before finishing off the crispy, gooey, savory remnants.

2. Sweet egg soup
This was a dish my dad would make for us when we were sick. Essentially it was milk sweetened with sugar and microwaved until hot. A beaten egg was stirred in which made this sort of a custard tasting egg drop soup.

3. Cabbage onion omlette
This was something we had often during dinner, shredded cabbage and onions were sauteed until softened, seasoned with salt and white pepper before having 5 or 6 beaten eggs added to the frying pan. Brown on one side then flip to brown on the other, I think this was mom's way of making sure we got our veggies and protein in one dish.

4. French toast with Condensed milk
We never had maple syrup and so french toast mornings always consisted of french toast served with condensed milk, I still love doing this today.

5. Spaghetti pie
I loved this stuff as a kid. Homemade meat sauce tossed with cooked, drained spaghetti was put into a casserole pan. This was then topped with bell peppers, onions, sausage, ham and a generous sprinkling of cheese before being thrown into an oven until golden and bubbly.

6. Tortilla egg omelets
Traditionally, these are called "Dan Bin" and are made with a very thin crepe which consists of potato starch and flour. Since these were often time consuming to make and difficult to buy, my mother would simply use tortillas (the large size for burritos.)
She would beat two eggs with chopped scallions, salt and white pepper, pour this mixture into a hot nonstick pan and scramble. While still semi solid, she would place one tortilla on top. Then she would flip the entire thing over, brown the tortilla and fold into thirds. This was served with tamari sauce thickened over low heat with cornstarch.

7. Burdock and Beef stew
Another one of my favorite dishes, I suspect its a play off Japanese food my grandmother used to make, but I have not had this outside my family.
Basically, burdock root (gobo) and carrot was cut up into thick strips sauteed with beef until fragrant, then simmered in a stock consisting of soy, rice wine and sugar until the beef was tender.

8.Simple garlic toast
I don't know why this lingers so fondly in my memory.
White bread, buttered generously then sprinkled with garlic powder and toasted until crispy and golden. I have no idea why she gave this to us for breakfast, but we loved it.

9.Chicken and egg rice
This is pretty staple but so satisfying - bare basic Japanese dish.
sliced onions are sauteed with bite sized pieces of chicken thigh meat. When chicken is almost done, sweet dashi broth is added and brought to a heavy simmer. kill the heat add 2 beaten eggs seasoned with soy sauce and mirin. Stir until the eggs are partially set and pour over hot rice.

10. Bitter gourd and salted eggs
Bitter gourd is sliced then sauteed with sliced onions until tender, add dashi stock, rice wine and a touch of soy sauce. Crumble a salted duck egg in and warm through. Serve with rice.

11. Chicken noodle soup
I loved this soup as a kid and could not get enough of it. Especially when I was coming down with a cold, this would almost certainly immediately appear at the dinner table.
It consisted of chicken drumsticks in a pot of water with dried shiitake mushrooms with a few cloves of garlic, a slice of japanese leek and a sliced thumb of garlic. Once simmering, the scum was removed then soy sauce, salt and rice wine were added. once the chicken is done and tender, a generous sprinkling of goji berries were added.

12. Curry with no curry
This was basically what my mom would do when we had the ingredients for Japanese curry rice but us unruly kids did not feel like curry rice!
Sautee onions, carrots, potatoes and cut up chicken thighs and top with water once browned. Simmer until you have a fragrant broth. Skim off impurities and divide into two. One portion goes into the fridge for curry rice tomorrow and the other one is seasoned with salt and pepper and a few stalks of celery, milk and cream are thrown in and simmered for a little while longer. Ladle into bowls and top with one slice of kraft singles...I guess this would basically be a chicken chowder? haha.

Thats it for now, but I am sure I will think of more - made me pretty darn nostalgic recalling these! I love you mom and dad!

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  1. My fond memories of childhood food are freshly made gado-gado and fruit salad by the street vendor. Somehow it tasted so much better than when mom made it at home. Homecooked meals that were childhood memories include hot spicy rendang and spekoek cake - several layers of cake consists of spicy cinnamon, nutmeg etc. made by grandma. Oh, those days....

    3 Replies
    1. re: roro808

      I just googled gado-gado, it looks like something I would love to try eating! Have you ever tried making it at home?
      Man, everything you listed sounds so tasty as well - its great that these boards are quite international!

      1. re: Tokyoite

        Yes -- many times. But somehow it just does not match those made by the street vendors...LOL. This, together with my spicy Singapore noodles are always a hit in my potluck parties.

        1. re: roro808

          If you don't mind me asking, what does into Singapore noodles? I loved my trip over there and the variety of noodle dishes was absolutely mind boggling!

    2. Here are a couple more I thought of this morning :D

      13. Crunchy, creamy potato and egg salad sandwiches

      This was always served refrigerator cold in our house. Me and my sisters would sneak spoonfuls of it when my mom put the dish in the fridge to cool.
      Boiled potatoes were peeled, lightly mashed with some mayo, mustard powder and mayo. thinly sliced carrot, cucumber and chopped eggs were added. Always served as a sandwich between untoasted bread.

      14. Dad's Chicken wings

      Dad made these when mom wasn't home, sticky, sweet and savory!
      Chicken wings are pan fried (no additional oil) until golden then stewed until tender with orange juice, ketchup, hoisin sauce thickly sliced scallions and ginger slices. Served with hot rice.

      15. Dad's Steamed buns with pork floss

      Dad loved to make bread, this is a really simple steamed bun that consisted of a simple dough of flour, yeast, sugar, salt and water. Kneaded until smooth and elastic and left to double. Punch down, divide into balls and roll each ball into a long, thin strip. Brush lightly with oil and roll up like a cinnamon roll. allow to rise for another half our and steam until fluffy. Cut in half and stuff with pork floss!

      16. Sunday morning rice porridge
      Rice cooked with plenty of water and sweet potatoes. Served with an assortment of pickles, pork floss, salted eggs and canned gluten. A simple meal for sunday mornings.

      I might have to start making a photo journal with these!

      1. my dad worked a lot growing up, so some of my favorite things were what he'd cook on the unusual days he was around.
        1) over-easy eggs with buttered toast
        2) snoqualmie falls old-fashioned oatmeal with cream, raisins and brown sugar
        3) plain quesadillas with sour cream, pico de gallo, and homemade guacamole
        4) his prime rib roast with a salad of spinach, bleu cheese, raisins, toasted pecans
        5) homemade cheese fondue
        6) homemade sufganiyah for hanukkah
        7) grilled cheese

        the others are from my mom:
        1) homemade bread pudding
        2) french tarte aux poires et amandines
        3) homemade fettuccine alfredo with seared tuna OR crab
        4) potato latkes with applesauce and sour cream for hanukkah
        5) her spaghetti (farfalle pasta with a tomato-cream sauce, italian sausage, side of caesar extra parm and slices of buttered baguette)
        6) medium-rare salmon, served with a balsamic-soy reduction syrup, caesar salad OR buttered haricot verts with slivered almonds, and sliced buttered baguette
        7) fajita night (warm tortillas, marinated grilled flank steak, seasoned black beans, grilled sweet onions, hatch chiles, choice of 2-4 salsas, sour cream, homemade guac, shredded cheese); build-your-own, side of tortilla chips

        or just general:
        kraft blue box mac and cheese, that slightly mushy, cold-ish character of lunchbox sandwiches, the joy of finding a bag of chips in the lunchbox, ants on a log, rare grilled steak with caesar and a slice of buttered baguette, delivery pizza, leftover thai food