Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Aug 18, 2014 04:58 PM

DIrty Family Secrets

Ok, so let's dish. I am sure some of us have seen a family member cook something just for themselves, maybe a late-nite snack or quickie dinner, that is so anti-Chowhound that you just want to scream. It looks awful, smells bad, and you refuse to taste it for a second time.

I'll go first. A certain family member of mine will make a chicken quesadilla. It's bad enough to use american cheese, a flour tortilla, and some jarred salsa, but the canned Swanson's chicken makes it a foul smelling mess. Quite frankly, I have no desire to eat it before the chicken is added, but the chicken takes it to another level of disgusting.

Do you dare tell on a family member?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If your compass is right, I think I may be part anti-chow.
    If hungry or umm, reality altered enough, I would eat that quesadilla.

    12 Replies
    1. re: buckytom

      Me too. I've been known to eat that canned chicken.

      1. re: Multifoiled

        That canned chicken is a great substitute for canned tuna in a tuna casserole or noodle dish. It doesn't have the tuna smell and strong taste, but provides the right texture.

      2. re: buckytom

        <reality altered enough>

        Hah, definitely.

        Normally that sounds pretty awful though. Canned chicken is gnarly.

        1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

          i am really altered at this particular moment, but NOT altered enough to eat THAT disgusting thing.

          1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

            Thirty years of experimenting with, enjoying, and over-indulging in every reality altering substance I could find access to and I've never succumbed to opening a can of chicken. In retrospect, it's actually kind of impressive considering the fact that I had one can that moved with me three or four times in the late 90s/early 00s.

            Come to think of it, for the life of me, I can't remember whatever happened to it?

            1. re: MGZ

              It's alive and lurking under the kitchen cabinet... be careful, very very careful......

              1. re: drongo

                Mrs Z. is gonna be pissed when she finds out that we're having quesadillas for dinner.

            2. re: EatFoodGetMoney

              There was a Twilight Zone episode where they ate canned chicken pieces on the bone! It looked repulsive. I wonder if a whole canned chicken was a regular thing or a bomb shelter speciality.

              1. re: NattyP

                Maybe it was a special foodie episode, and they were eating confit de canard from a can....


                1. re: Steve

                  It lives! I'd take the confit over the Sweet Sue.

                2. re: NattyP

                  Inlaws kept whole canned chicken up at the family cabin as emergency rations. When hubby and I cleaned out said cabin, a can was unearthed that dated back to the early 80's. No, we did not open it....

                  1. re: NattyP

                    Wasn't there a thread a while ago about unexpected foods that were canned?


              2. Not a family member but a former neighbor. We could see their deck from ours and would watch, time and time again, when they would grill chicken legs for 45 minutes. Chicken jerky, anyone?

                5 Replies
                1. re: c oliver

                  When I grill larger supermarket chicken legs, it does take about 40 minutes and they are plenty juicy. I use charcoal and some direct and indirect heat to maximize the smokey flavor, so I am not blasting it on high on a gas grill for 45 minutes. If I get air chilled chicken legs from Whole Foods, they are significantly smaller and take way less time.

                  1. re: mels

                    Air chilled chicken legs? What does that mean?

                  2. re: c oliver

                    I charcoal-grill bone in chicken for exactly 45 minutes and it is always pretty moist. 30 minutes on the indirect-heat side and 15 minutes on the heat side, turning every 5 minutes. Perfect every time.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Assuming the grill isn't hot enough to burn the chicken 45 minutes does not make chicken jerky...depending on how it's cooked it could be really moist and fall off the boney.

                    2. My mom made "grilled cheese" by putting several slices of cheddar on a piece of bread and microwaving it for a minute or so. My brother "upgraded" the recipe to kraft singles .

                      The smell . . .

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: autumm

                        Oh how I hope that was Wonder bread.......

                        1. re: Steve

                          No luck, Mom never let us have that, just cracked wheat from the local bakery seconds store (the not quite perfect loaves. . .)

                        2. re: autumm

                          it helps if you toast the bread prior to nuking with cheese.

                          1. re: Vidute

                            That step was skipped in my mom's/brother's procedures.

                            1. re: Vidute

                              Or skip the microwave entirely. Lay the toaster down on the counter so the slots are horizontal instead of vertical, and put the bread and cheese in the toaster. Voila, a makeshift toaster oven. (you need large slots to do this, but nowadays almost all toasters do.

                              1. re: autumm

                                Mrs. B and youngest daughter LOVE microwaved American cheese on smush white bread.

                                Elder daughter begs daddy to make proper grilled cheese using using seeded rye bread and havarti...........

                                When eldest daughter is 40 minutes away on a trip home from the ship she works on, I'll get a call to have two tuna melts ready for her arrival. It will take the full 40 minutes to make the tuna salad to her liking, assemble and grill. She gets very tired of the fancy cuisine on the cruise ship and longs for comfort food made by daddy. Her ship doesn't have crew meals, the eat what the high fare passengers eat. No children on board, no simple food.

                              2. I just learned a few months back that American cheese was processed cheese. I thought it was some local type of cheddar or something. I'm not American. And, sorry, but ew.

                                23 Replies
                                1. re: LMAshton

                                  American cheese is great, just not the kind you can buy in any stores.
                                  When I think of "American cheese," all I think of is cheese that has the following:

                                  Cheese (any kind you can imagine)
                                  Emulsifying salt (sodium citrate, or sodium hexametaphosphate; personally I like SC, SHMP makes a more brittle product)
                                  Liquid (milk, water, beer, wine)
                                  Maybe some iota carrageenan to get the texture just right

                                  Fun and easy to make, and once you have a grilled cheese or a burger with homemade American cheese you will never go back.

                                  1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                    Uh, no, I don't think so.

                                    I have no problem with other people enjoying it. It's just not something I can see me ever liking. Processed cheese, to me, is completely and utterly gross.

                                    1. re: LMAshton

                                      You like your cheese to have the oil separate from it instead of melting and holding an emulsion?

                                        1. re: LMAshton

                                          Sorry, my comment was a bit rude, I'm a smartass.

                                          Eh, I love both. Though if I could only have one it would be just straight up cheese. I just think "cheese," has some great uses. Mostly for casual or comfort type foods though. I don't find emulsifying salts to be bad, is that what you don't like? Or just the texture of "cheese"? It's weird, I used to hate "cheese," when I was a kid, recently started to like it again once I started making it myself with great cheeses.

                                          1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                            The processed cheese is good for chile-cheese type of dips which always manage to lure me in at superbowl parties.

                                            1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                              The taste and the texture are both quite off-putting for me. I don't hate emulsifiers on principle, but am not fond of overly processed food in general.

                                              1. re: LMAshton

                                                Yeah, I'm with you on processed foods, never really buy them myself, but I like to mess around in my kitchen to see what I can create.

                                                Properly made, the taste is pretty much exactly what the cheese tastes like (assuming you use water or milk). The emulsifiers have better flavor release than a traditional roux so the cheese can shine through better I think.
                                                As for texture, it's definitely not for everyone, it does look crazy artificial.

                                                1. re: LMAshton

                                                  If I'm understanding you correctly, you have never had processed cheese? Is that correct? If so, how can you be so condemning of it?

                                                  I don't have a great appreciation for store bought processed cheeses, but HOME MADE, with emulsifying salts, can be pretty great.

                                                  For example, if I were making a classic Swiss (country of origin and original recipe) cheese fondue, when I learned to make that dish way back in the 1950s, one of the high hurdles a good cook had to learn to clear was making it without the cheese "breaking" and setting its natural butter/oils free and messing up the whole fondue! But in today's world, using a home version of emulsified/processed top grade Emanthaler or Jarlesburg or any other top quality Swiss cheese would make a fondue a lot less risky to create.

                                                  I do not understand your out-of-hand rejection of "processed" cheeses across the board. There are "processes" and then there are "processes." I just don't understand knocking something you've never tried that is not a serious toxic food threat. '-)

                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                    You sound pretty condemning yourself.

                                                    I didn't say I hadn't tried it. I said the taste and texture are offputting. I don't like it. Am I to be condemned for my preferences?

                                                    1. re: LMAshton

                                                      Whatever. But YOU are the one who wrote, "I just learned a few months back that American cheese was processed cheese. I thought it was some local type of cheddar or something. I'm not American. And, sorry, but ew."

                                                      So I'm asking, where and when have you eaten American cheese???

                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                        Maybe on the same occasion that s/he realized what it was?
                                                        I also assumed they had never tried it, but it's not actually implied by what they said. And I'd never heard of homemade processed
                                                        cheese before, it's not what people typically think of!

                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                          If you like processed cheese, fine. Have it. I don't actually care. I don't like it and I don't understand why my preferences are such a problem for you. Nor do I understand why you seem to think I need to defend or explain my preferences.

                                                      2. re: Caroline1

                                                        For whatever it's worth, Yvonne Ruperti has a recipe in "The America's Test Kitchen D.I.Y. Cookbook" for homemade American Cheese. She writes: "I caused all of the snooty foodies to run for the hills. But that's okay with me... I'm completely content eating my perfectly melty, toasty grilled cheese with American cheese any day of the week."

                                                        (Ruperti lives in Singapore, so I suspect making her own is the only way she gets to eat this sort of American comfort food these days.)

                                                        1. re: drongo

                                                          I look at it like this: If Kraft or Borden makes it. it's processed cheese. If someone makes it at home, it's molecular gastronomy! '-)

                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                            I really hated American cheese as a kid. Would always throw the piece in my sandwiches to my little sister. And since it was the only kind of cheese my mom bought, for a long time, I was under the impression I hated all cheese, period.

                                                            But then came a time when I had some "real" cheese, and now I love all kinds, unfortunately sometimes to the point of costiveness, even the stinky stuff, but still not American.

                                                            That being said, I'd be willing to try making my own American cheese sometime! That just sounds like a patriotic cheesy good time to be had in the kitchen.

                                                          2. re: drongo

                                                            Processed cheese is readily available in Singapore.

                                                            1. re: LMAshton

                                                              Processed American cheese is a key ingredient in Korean budae jigae (army camp stew).

                                                      3. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                        I think your rudeness is justified when a foreigner who has never eaten one of the iconic foods of your country based on the fact that it is "processed". What the fuck does that even mean?

                                                        The mighty american cheeseburger is built on american cheese. There is no beating its goo factor. MURCA

                                                        1. re: joonjoon

                                                          Processed cheese is a food product made from cheese plus emulsifiers, saturated vegetable oils, extra salt, food colorings, whey and sugar.

                                                          Glad you asked.

                                                2. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                                  When I was in 5th grade, my friend and I would walk to her house and make grilled cheese in the toaster oven with Velveeta. I thought that was the bomb. American cheese slices today have a chalk mouth-feel that I don't enjoy. Grilled cheese with pepper jack is my fav now.