Thursday, February 3, 2011
52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy, Week 5: Favorite Food
When I was growing up, the only time we ate out was when we were on vacation. My mother worked full-time and came home EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and cooked dinner. So naturally, she had to use some shortcuts in her cooking, but since that is what I grew up with, that is what I know and love. For instance, Mom didn't make spaghetti sauce from scratch... she used Ragu spaghetti sauce in a jar probably from the time it was invented! I still use it to this day, and homemade spaghetti sauce is just not as good to me. My mother is a good cook. She doesn't cook much anymore, but when she does, "she's still got it!" Some of my favorites from childhood?
* Chicken and dumplings. The ultimate comfort food to me. Mom didn't roll out her own dumplings; she used Mueller's pre-packaged dumplings, which were very similar to regular egg noodles - just wider. To this day, I do not care for homemade dumplings... too "dough-y" to me. I love Mom's chicken and dumplings. I can remember being an adult and having my wisdom teeth out and my mom coming over and cooking a pot of chicken & dumplings for me. I was in my 30's before I ever attempted to cook them myself. They still are not as good as Mom's, but they will do when I need some comfort food.
* Fried chicken. Yum. Nothing I need to say about this - you know what I'm talking about!
* Sausage balls. Mom started making these for Christmas sometime when I was a teenager, I think. They are still a favorite, and she just made me some this past Christmas!
* Banana pudding. Still my favorite dessert.
We can thank my father for my love of McDonald's. Sometimes, while Mom was at work, he'd take to lunch there. I think I cut some teeth there! He loved to tell the story of how, when I was little, I would sidle up to him in the cab of the pickup truck and say "My froat (throat) is thirsty" meaning I wanted to get something to drink at McDonald's. I can remember it being a rite of passage when I graduated from eating a little hamburger to a Quarter Pounder!
What are my favorites now? Well, I still love all of the above, of course. I still have not attempted fried chicken or sausage balls, and I just made my first banana pudding (under Mom's watchful eye) this past Thanksgiving. I know, I know. My only excuse is that I do not want to be disappointed when they are not as good as hers, because I know they won't be.
And anyone who knows my mother is screaming at their computer screen right now while reading this because I have not mentioned her CORNBREAD. My mother's cornbread is every bit as good as Colene's - it's just different. My mother makes magic out of corn meal, self-rising flour, and water. That's it. Oh, and a cast iron skillet. People ask her for the recipe... there isn't one. It's so simple and yet so complicated at the same time. I don't think I appreciated her cornbread when I was growing up, but it is definitely a favorite now. I have cooked it... and as expected, mine is not as good. Alas, I don't have a cast iron skillet and can't use one on my smooth top stove.
I don't cook much at all. I don't enjoy it. So my favorites tend to be from restaurants, like Mexican food, hot wings, or McDonald's french fries. I would run over small children and old ladies to get to a bag of potato chips. For that matter, I have never met a potato I didn't like.
Disclaimers: (1) I actually can cook and am a pretty good cook, but don't tell anyone cause then people would expect me to do it! and
(2) All those wonderful foods I mentioned are now casualties of getting older and must be taken in moderation.