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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Nostalgic Weekend Break From Politics

(For politics, please scroll down)

One of my Facebook finds:

I miss Mom's homemade vegetable beef soup, made from leftover pot roast and vegetables canned from our one-acre garden.

Without success, I've tried over and over again to duplicate Mom's vegetable beef soup. To my knowledge, she didn't use a recipe for that wonderful soup.

What do you miss from the days that your grandmother or mother did the cooking? Recipes welcome!


  1. My Grandmothers peach cobbler. That something so sinfully delicious could come from such a sweet, unassuming woman...never failed to amaze me.

    It made up for the times she made - and tried to make me eat - her tomato aspic.

    1. CI,
      My mother made peach cobbler, too. Mr. AOW's favorite!

      But the best peach cobbler I've ever had was prepared by my former neighbor, who hailed from Georgia. Her peach cobbler was to die for! Too bad that she's now moved far away, but before then (2013), we could count on Bunny's peach cobbler every summer.

    2. Peach cobbler, Sour Cherry cobbler, Bluebberry cobbler –– all better than anything you could ever get in ANY restaurant.

      We made great Apple Crisp too with stewed apples we'd peeled and cut into thin slices, butter, brown sugar, a dash of cinnamon and a graham cracker crust made with butter, cinnamon, a little brown sugar and a dash or two of powdered ginger. You could add a few raisins too. It wouldn't hurt it a bit.

      Neither would scoop of vanilla ice cream!

  2. Hamburger, browned in frying pan, can of tomato sauce, frozen green beans mixed in and then served within a "ring" of mashed potatoes (like a bowl)...

    1. That sounds awesome. Your grandma had a great imagination!

    2. Sounds a little like my Mom's version of Shepherd's Pie only she used leftover roast leg of lamb, lamb gravy, and par-boiled peas and carrots inside her ring of mashed potatoes. It all got browned in the oven, and tasted as good as any of the many other great thngs my mother produced every day –– like magic.

      She never thought of herself as a bored, frustrated housewife who should have had a "career." Instead she thought of homemaking as an Art Form –– especially when it involved cooking.

    3. FJ,
      I've never sampled anything like that before.

    4. FT,
      many other great thngs my mother produced every day –– like magic

      My memory of my own mother is much the same.

    5. Very much a "poor man's" shepherd pie. ;)

    6. Shepherd's Pie is supposed to be a Poor Man's Dish, Thersistes. That doesn't mean it can't be good.

      My maternal grandmother may have come from European peasant stock, but that didn't mean she wasn't as smart as a whip, and her culinary talents were extraordinary We used to joke saying, "Grandma could stew up a pair of old boots and make them taste delicious." She probably could have too, if push had ever come to shove!

      Grandma was also a born executive. She produced and rode herd on eight children, made most of their clothes on her treadle Singer, cooked all their meals from scratch, washed their clothes and linens in a huge cauldron she set to boiling atop her cast-iron woodstove, raised chickens, grew a wide variety of vegetables in her half-acre garden, gathered fruit from her apple and peach orchard, and canned what they didn't eat. she wasted NOTHING –– and I mean NOTHING.

      She and Grandpa learned English in Night School after she arrived here, because they wanted to be "Good Americans,"and she was FANATICALLY determined to make sure her children were prperly educated –– no one was allowed to eat dinner till AFTER they'd done their homework around the big kitchen dining table under Grandma's watchful eye.

      Her three surviving boys (a fourth had died tragically at age three of spinal meningitis) all graduated from college –– almost unheard of in those days, and all became successful in their chosen fi]elds. Her girls all graduated from high school. That too was almost unheard of in those days.

      In today's world my grandmother would probably have been able to become the CEO of large, multinational corporation. I don't think she was unhappy with her lot in life, however. Like the "Old Woman who luvedin a Shoe, and had so many children she didn't know what to do," my Grandma was just too darned busy EVER to think of HERSELF at ALL.

      DO you know what else she did? She attended a women's sewing circle once a week at her church. The ladies got together to sew garents for the POOR and NEEDY, and for Our Boys Fighting Overseas during WWI.

      I suppose Grandma and Grandpa WERE "poor," themselves, by today's perverted standards, but THEY never THOUGHT SO.

      I admire them a great deal, but feel a bit ashamed that in no way could I ever measure up to the remarkable example they set for good conduct and productivity.

      THEY –– and the many like them who came over in The Great Migration were the TRUE "PROGRESSIVES."

  3. Grandma's banana pudding, made in a double boiler. And no, I won't share the recipe. smile

  4. Great Granny's bread puddin' hot from the oven, with some half and half poured over it.

    Hillbilly Granny's chili and coffee

    Eastern European Grandma's apple strudel. When she finally shared the recipe with her daughters and granddaughters, they were horrified at how much sugar, butter and lard went into the recipe. LOL!

    1. SF,
      Bread pudding! Haven't had some in years.

      Those Old World recipes were loaded with sugar, butter and lard -- and that's why the dishes were so good.

    2. i LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE Bread Pudding!

      My Mom used to make two kinds –– one with whole milk, eggs, butter, sugar,a dash of vanilla –– it was GREAT.

      But she also made NanFreeThinke's recipe for CHOCOLATE Bread Pudding, which was FABULOUS! That was similar to the other but included melted squares of Baker's Chocolate, heavy CREAM, butter, sugar, and vanilla.

      God it was GOOOOOD!!!

      I've tried to make it, myself, a few times over the years, but the recipe was never written down, so I had to wing it. It always came out "all right," but NEVER as good as when Mom or Nana FreeThinke made it.

      One of the restaurants here in town serves Bread Pudding with sweetened whipped cream on top of a sauce made wth BOURBON. It tastes good, but if you ever dropped a chunk of it on your bare foot, you'd suffer a few broken bones. We've often said they must have to use a hacksaw to get it out of the pan. §;-}

      Our family recipes turned our feather light with a nice crust on top.

      Let's hear for LETHAL CUISINE!

      What a way to GO!

  5. Oh, to have my grandmother's homemade blueberry muffins in front of me right now! Hot out of the oven, steam poured out when you'd break into it, and then I'd put butter into that hot cakey muffin filled with poppin' blueberries...SO good!

    The other grandmother's mac 'n cheese was the best I've ever had and I'm an expert :-) We realized after she'd died and we tried to replicate, it was that she'd over boiled the pasta just a little so that after baking, the macaroni and cheese had a delicious, souffle-like consistency..mmmm

    1. Z, I've alway said back when we used to compare notes on food that yoiu and I ought to get together and produce a cookbook filled with our respective family recipes.

      It would be UNIQUE and totally wonderful. With the right promotion it really could become a best seller –– even in these cynical, hard-bitten times.

  6. Mom's fried chicken in PURE LARD-yeah, I know cholesterol, bla, bla, bla ! Back in the day chicken was fresh having been kept live in back of the store. I don't know of anything like that today.

    1. Jon,
      Nothing like fried chicken in PURE LARD! Love it! My mom used to fix that kind of fried chicken (fresh chicken as we had our own chickens), but she stopped fixing fried chicken after we gave up having our own chickens. Plus, Mom had a heart attack at age 44. So, no more fried chicken for her or for us.

    2. Lard is the ONLY shortening to use, if you want to make a REALLY good pie crust.

    3. @FT,

      "Lard is the ONLY shortening to use, if you want to make a REALLY good pie crust."

      I couldn't agree more! I wonder if anyone still does that?

    4. We have a genuine French Patisserie in the town where I live. They make all their own baked goods every day, and I KNOW they must use lard, because their pastries are SO good –– so light, flaky and deliciously rich –– it's unbelievable.

      They also serve crepes, omelettes, three or four different kinds of quiche, a variety of great salads and sandwiches made on their own homemade baguettes.

      All platters come with a basketful of THE best bread I've ever tasted.

      The place is owned and operated by a real French family, and most of their emp;oyees are from France as well.

      It ain't cheap –– hell, what IS today? –– but it's really really good.

      I don't dare go there more than once or rwice a year, beause I am diabetic, and always struggling to keep my weight down to acceptabe levels, but if I ever want to commit suicide, I'll go there and happily EAT myself to DEATH, §;-D (Just kidding!)

  7. Replies
    1. Mustang,
      I'm not sure that I've ever tried rhubarb pie. Mr. AOW has, though, and raves about it.

    2. I'm with you there, Mustang. When I was growing up we were lucky to have friends who had a huge vegetable garden. They grew rhubarb, so we got to eat rhubarb pie two or three times a year. My Mom and her friend made stewed rhubarb too, and put it up in Mason jars sealed with paraffin. It was wonderful served chilled with a little cream on top.

      My mother was very adventurous with her cooking, so she found a recipe for rhubarb pie with strawberries in the filling. I won't say it was better, but it sure was was GOOD.

      We had homemade gooseberry and blackberry pies too made from berries we'd handpicked the same day.

      I will always miss those good old times when people really DID things together and shared what they knew and what they had in friendly sociable ways.

      Church Bazaars, Family Picnics, Family Outings, Saturday Night Auppers with friends and neighbors with a game of cards after dinner.

      We had radio back then, but no TV. Going to a movie was a Special Event.

      TV did a lot of harm to family life and community social life, but nothing compared to the destructive effects computers, and these so-called SmartPhones have had on sociability.

      Thanks for the Memories!

  8. Crumbly Peach Pie (fresh peaches halved, skinned put face down in a pre-baked pie shell, then drizzled with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and covered with a layer of "crumbs" baked untl brown and bubbly = Heaven On Earth!)

    Fudge Pie (with brownie crust filled with peppermint stick ice cream or chocoate chip mint.)

    Brasciola en casserole (ultra-thin slices of beef pouded flat, coated lightly with olive oil, a smiden of mnced fresh garic, a few raisins, a few pignoli [pine nuts], freshly grated Romao cheese, freshly grated black pepper, fresh homemade bread crumbs, alo rolled up like a jelly roll, held together with toothpicks, lightky browned in ha;f butter and half olive oil, placed in a covered casserole dish, with fresh, sliced mushrooms, and an ounce or two of Marsala wine. Bake at 325 for about an hour. Serve with whipped potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, or Sinach Soufflé, and a light green salad dressed with lemin juice, olive oil a little garlic, S&P. Hoemde Granita di Cafe (homemade sorbet made with Espresso) or Homemade Lemon Ice and a few butter cookies.)

    Having a grandmother who'd been born in Europe who was a natural-born gourmet chef before anyone outside France had even heard the word "gourmet" was a distinct advantage.

    My Scottish-English grandmother, who'd been raised in New England, made a great New England Boiled Dinner, wonderful baking powder bicuits, home made New England Chowder to die for, baked beans served with hot dogs and Boston brown bread, homemade donuts, and homemade peanut brittle –– among other things.

    Gee I wish I could be a kid again! It was a great life! §;^D

    1. You were quite fortunate to grow up as you did!

    2. Spoiled Rotten! But GOSH it was FUN.

  9. FT - I'm comin' over man!!

    One grandmother was a terrible cook, the other a southern cook who overcooked all vegetables and served inedible French toast. I didn't know such a thing was possible until I had her style.

    My mother was an OK cook with a few 'good' things - I still make her Southwest 3-bean casserole. But a good baker, and I loved her strawberry shortcakes with real whipped cream, and lemon meringue pie! I'd go for my auntie's apricot horn cookies every Christmas, and I treasure the recipe she shared in the last years of her life.

    Mr. B's mother made apple pie to die for. And pickled pigs feet -- for his father. Post depression kids ... un-uh, not so much.

    1. Baysider,
      Like you, I didn't know that inedible French toast was even possible!

      I'll pass on the pickled pigs feet, thank you. My father, however, loved pickled pig's knuckles. Ick!

    2. You'd be more than welcome, Baysider, although at age 76 my days a Great Amateur Chef are pretty much behind me.

      You would have loved my family –– as it was fifty-five to seventy years ago. Those people may not have had much by today's stadards, but they REALLY knew how to LIVE.

      It was a privilege to have known them.

    3. AOW, my father, whose family was Celtic-English, and my Uncle George, whose parents had been born in Germany, both loved Pigs Knuckles and Sautkraut AND Pig's Feet as well.

      My mother and her sister, both Italian by ethnicity, became expert at the art of making the pig dishes, AND Sauerbraten with Kartoffelkloesse and Red Cabbage or Spaetzle and spinach. Every year one of them would stage her own private Oktoberfest, and have the family over for a real German meal.

      My Auntie Ann was an Irish girl who married my mother's brother Bill. Well SHE learned how to be one of the best ITALIAN cooks in the family!

      All this talk today of "Multiculturalism" makes me want to throw up. It's so ARTIFICIAL, so MANIPULATIVE, and so POLITICALLY motivated.

      WE lived in and around New York City, and WE truly WERE "Multicultural." Only no one called it that in those days. We regarded ourselves as COSMOPOLITAN, because even though there was still a lot of rivalry among the various ethnic groups, and we freely cracked jokes at each others' expense, we really were friendly with ALL kinds of people who lived in "the neighborhoods" where most of us grew up. Most of the women constantly collected recipes for dishes from The Old Country from each other.

      My Christian mother made the best Matzoh Balls in creation, and she got a fantasic recipe for stuffing a chicken with Matzoh Meal, Eggs, S&P and I forget what else –– probably chopped fresh parsley. I remember she had to POUR it into rear end of the bird, then sew it up. As the chicken roasted, the Matzoh Meal dressing expanded till it looke like the bird might explode, but it never did.

      And BOY was it ever DELICIOUS!

      Mother even learned to make gefilte fish from our neighbor across the street. The two women were like sisters so friendly did they become. In fact out two families got especially close. We did lots of things together, and even went on a VACATION together one summer before we had to move away.

      We loved eating in Jewish Delicatessens too. Hot pastrami on rye with potatoe salad and a pickle, or Chopped Chicken Liver with choped hard-cooked egg mized in also on rye –– best sandwiches you ever tasted.

      My father may have been a rock-ribbed Yankee of quintessential Puritan English stock, but HE wast the most adventurous person I've ever known when it came to food. AND he loved talking with strangers he met while on business trips or commuting. He was always coming home to tell us what he learned from so-and-so, and wwhat a nice fellow he was! Mother was just the opposite, She told me NEVER to talk to strangers under ANY circumstances.

      Dad always told me, "Sport, you must always eat whatever is put in front of you –– whether you think you're going to like it or not. After you've eaten it at least three times, and still don't enjoy it, you never have to eat it again, but i want you to try EVERYTHING. If you don't, you'll miss out on a helluvalotta fun."

      He was right, bless him!

  10. My paternal grandmother was quite elderly when I was born, so I don't recall anything that she prepared in the kitchen. She left behind no recipes that I know of. I suppose that in her younger days she could cook well (from what my father said).

    My maternal grandmother could barely cook anything! Maybe bacon. When she was growing up, she was the designated seamstress and her sister the designated cook.

    My mother was a master cook. Nothing fancy -- she stuck pretty much to salt and pepper for seasonings. That said, I never heard a single complaint about any meal she set before us.

  11. For me it wasn't just a food but rather the time of year and that was Christmas. All the wonderful christmas cookies we would cut out and decorate and everything that went along with it. A ritual was stuffing dried dates with a peanut and coating it in powdered sugar. I don't know where that one came from.

  12. Well, Mom made all sorts of good stuff. Grandmother however served us root beer floats every time we visited. Yum.

    1. PS - My Dad made fudge. Cocoa, lots of sugar, and a very specif cooking ritual, usually set on the porch in winter. Hard as a rock but melted instantly once in your mouth. He learned how to make it as an infantry SGT walking Italy, France and Germany in WWII. I watched him make it many times and never could to it myself.

    2. Kid,
      Root beer floats! I haven't thought about having one for ages. Now that my appetite is returning, I may have to indulge.

      My grandmother didn't make me root beer floats, but she saw to it that we went across the street to the mom-and-pop market to get ice cream sandwiches.

      As for my dad, well, he wasn't a cook in any sense of the word. But he would occasionally fix us scrapple and eggs. Somehow, high cholesterol never bothered Dad; he lived to the age of 86.5 -- out shopping for groceries on Tuesday and dead on Saturday night. We should all be so lucky to be that independent in our mid-80s!

    3. You must make Mr AOW and yourself a root beer float SOON. Use the extra long ice tea spoons too.

      I don't believe health information is a one size fits all. We will end up (maybe) as a society where individuals can get individual health advice. More eggs for you, less for me. Way on down the line with everything we can intake.

    4. Kid,
      As soon as I'm done with the upcoming colonoscopy -- a prep I detest for obvious reasons -- Mr. AOW and I will have root beer floats.

  13. Vegetable beef soup with egg dumplings. All the vegetables were home grown. My grandmother used the same dumpling recipe as she used in her chicken and dumplings.

  14. I'm HUNGREEEEE after reading about all these delicious dishes!

    And today is pre-colonoscopy, starve-to-death day for me!

    Oh, well.

    Carry on. I can try the recipes later. My appetite is back -- thanks to the new doctor who is finding the source of this pain syndrome and cutting it off at the root.

    1. This Thread shoild be a KEEPER. We haven't had such a pleasant time in the blogosphere in YEARS.

      All politics all the times makes "Jack" a bore and a stinkpot. ];^}>

    2. Oh and try to remember FreeThinke's homemade motto, if you're feeling frustrated and deprived by all this food talk:

      A Pleasure POSTPONED is a Pleasure PROLONGED.

      That should be stitched onto a sampler and framed.

    3. FT,
      This Thread shoild be a KEEPER. We haven't had such a pleasant time in the blogosphere in YEARS.


      I hope that the hospital cafeteria has something decent to eat after my procedure is finished. I don't want to postpone any longer than I have to! Of course, nothing there will be as good as the dishes being discussed in this thread.

    4. As for politics, this blog will be back to the grind tomorrow.

  15. AOW... I'm using your question as an icebreaker for a small group this week.

    As for me, my mom was never a very good cook, but one that she essentially heated up was the old Swanson Chicken Pot Pies... served on rice. To this day, a too salty favorite of mine!

    Great post!

    1. Dave,
      My mom occasionally served chicken pot pies, but I'm not sure that were Swanson's.

      Glad that you find my question in this blog post of use.

  16. Loved those Swanson pot pies, tho we didn't get them often..the crust was nice on them.

    Dave, I hope you're well. I saw Pastor Keith today at my church; he doesn't attend the one in the old church anymore.

    AOW, WordPress isn't letting me comment here..I have to go thru loops of proving I'm not a robot by IDing the pictures, etc. Please know my heart is here but I can't figure this out and it is a PAIN now :-( After all these years!?

  17. test. I think I figured it out! Fingers crossed, AOW!

  18. HOOORAAAAY!!! This totally UNtechie computer gal DID IT (all applause, please...you have NO idea how bad I am at this stuff, considering I've had a pretty successful blog for about 12 years!!) HA!! (can't tell I'm proud of myself?!)

    1. Computers are maddening when they won't do what we tell them to do!

  19. I don't remember my mom being much of a cook but I was young when she died.

    Mealtime was always pretty basic but I remember Dad made a great turkey soup with the Thanksgiving leftovers.
    He made a pretty good kielbasa, too.
    It's been awhile but I still miss him every day.

    1. He must have been quite a guy, Ducky.


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