Yum, Yum!

Time to get back to Lite Fridays. We've talked shoes and balance, hair and balance...Now let's talk comfort food and balance. The topic today: What are your three top favorite foods from childhood? What do your memories say about how you were raised and how you want to raise your kids?

Mine were:

Lemon Coolers. A round shortbread cookie, covered in powdered sugar and filled with explosive dots of lemon flavor. Available in New Hampshire, where my mom took us for a few weeks each summer to escape the D.C. heat (in the days before central air conditioning).

Suzie Q's. A spongy rectangular chocolate cake filled with sweet white cream. There were four of us kids, and my mom had the devilish, former-math-teacher idea to make the child who cut the cake pick the last piece. So if you held the knife, you cut the Suzie Q into the most ridiculously even pieces, because you automatically got the last and, of course, the smallest, serving.

Homemade Ice Cream. On hot nights in New Hampshire, Mom would send us kids down our dirt road to get ice from a public ice machine. The cream she bought from a local dairy farm was so thick we had to bang it out of the glass bottle like catsup. We cranked the ice cream maker and added local peaches, strawberries, blueberries or raspberries to make "Streach" ice cream. It was the creamiest, most delicious treat on the planet.

All of this goes to show that my mom -- who by my recollection was a fairly unhappy stay-at-home mother until she returned to teaching years later -- gave me a childhood filled with wonderful memories. My father, unfortunately, was too busy at his law firm to enjoy our food rituals.

What does this have to do with how I find balance in my own life today? Well, on hot summer nights my husband and I take our kids out for ice cream even when it's past their bedtime. I let my children have a slew of favorite desserts, although sadly Lemon Coolers and Suzie Q's seem to be off the market. And I try to make sure that neither my husband nor I are too busy with work to enjoy our children's childhoods.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  June 22, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Free-for-All
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first...

Posted by: anon lurker | June 22, 2007 7:14 AM

Favorite childhood foods

1) Macaroni and cheese
2) green beans
3) Pizza any kind!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 7:21 AM

third!

Posted by: 2xmami | June 22, 2007 7:23 AM

My favorite foods as a kid were Devil Dogs and pizza.

As far as family-related foods, each of my parents had a specialty dish that I associate with them to this day. My mom's was Pasta Fajoli (we pronounced it "pasta fazool"). She'd stir chunks of romano cheese into the thick soup, and it tasted like heaven.

My dad's was pot roast with sour cream gravy. It was a heart attack on a plate, but it sure was tasty.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 22, 2007 7:26 AM

Squire's pizza, a Dundalk, Maryland institution. Craved it like MAD when I was pregnant.

Tastykakes with the peanut butter. Had one in my lunch every day.

Plate of saltines with peanut butter, jelly and softened butter, most of them open-faced but one butter & jelly sandwich and one pb&j sandwich -- Grandmom treat.

O'Donnell Bakery donuts, dense cake donuts with the thick chocolate icing/glaze on top that got a hard crust.

Almost anything from the Good Humor truck. And here's a trick from childhood (my sister does it too): let the ice cream get soft for about 5 minutes in the bowl, then stir it with your spoon to make it soft and creamy. This is especially fun to do with chocolate chip or mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Posted by: educmom | June 22, 2007 7:30 AM

Previously, Leslie wrote:
My father, unfortunately, was too busy at his law firm to enjoy our food rituals.

Maybe his job allowed her to be a SAHM.
Maybe there were no child care options available.
Maybe this is something 2 adult parents worked out the best that they could.

Posted by: bryn mawr | June 22, 2007 7:33 AM

Depends on where we lived:

- in Munich, wurst mit semmel!

- in New Orleans, a shrimp po-boy, dressed; or boiled crabs with corn and potatoes mixed in the crab boil (the definition of lagniappe!)

- in Colorado, Grandma's home-baked angel food cake with fresh berries and real whipped cream on top.

Posted by: Army Brat | June 22, 2007 7:34 AM

Favorite foods as a child:

Fried chicken; I always got a drumstick because we had so many hungry kids around the table.

Homemade ice cream; we had a hand powered ice cream maker, and we'd crank and crank that thing until the ice cream was nice and hard. I actually managed to find one just like it, and still have it!

Potato salad: my mom could make the best potato salad you ever tasted, with chunks of potato, eggs, mayonnaise, relish, etc, in it. My wife stopped making it because I was always trying to get her to make it taste like my mom made it.

Meat loaf: call me wierd, but my mom's meat loaf was excellent. The memory of how it tasted is still fresh, and it was really good when put on a sandwich the next day!

Blackberry cobbler: we had wild blackberries all over our farm, and my sister and I would go out and pick pints and pints of them. My mom would make jelly and cobblers out of those berries, and my sister made money selling the picked berries to neighbors.

Cornbread: my mom would bake cornbread from scratch in a cast iron skillet. It would be golden brown and a little crunchy, and the smell would carry all through the house. We'd crumble it up and put the cornbread in a glass of milk and eat it that way with a spoon.

Pancakes: We'd get a stack of pancakes each that was probably a couple of inches high. Sometimes there were blueberries (REAL blueberries, not those imitation things) in them, sometimes corn (blech). Big, fluffy, stick to your ribs pancakes!

Breakfast: On the weekends, my mom would cook a breakfast fit for a king. Scrambled eggs with cheese, or hard fried eggs, bacon or sausage, biscuits with gravy, and grits. We'd get big glasses of milk and/or orange juice, and there was always jars of blackberry or strawberry jelly for the biscuits.

Mmmm, those were the days...

Posted by: John L | June 22, 2007 7:37 AM

- Homemade Stawberry Shortcake with real whipped cream
- peanut butter on toast with iceburg lettuce
- summer peaches
- pecan pralines

Posted by: Pink Plate | June 22, 2007 7:38 AM

My kids and I also have our food rituals. Some are not so much fun (apparently, I make squash too often), but there are a few good ones, and they also almost all revolve around sweets.

Son #1 loves something called Texas brownies, which is really a sheet cake with glaze that has coffee and buttermilk. Son #2 loves my 'plaid cookbook' brownies. They both love my crab dip, which I only make at Christmas.

Several of the favorites are in North Carolina. We discovered a little burger/barbecue shack in Kitty Hawk a couple of years ago with the best milkshakes anywhere. There's an ice cream place in Duck that's walking distance from the neighborhood where we stay, and the kids go there almost every night.

And, when we lived in Raleigh, we all loved Goodberry's (there are some Triangle residents here, so you know) -- frozen custard with things like heath bar, blueberry, Spanish peanuts, chocolate chip, or oreos whipped in. Since #1 was in school in western NC last year, we managed to get to Goodberry's a few times, and when #2 was looking at schools in the Carolinas, we also managed to find our way there. Yuummmm!

Posted by: educmom | June 22, 2007 7:45 AM

From childhood:

Two German cookies: Mondelschnitzel (sp?) and speckalatze (sp?)

Strawberry flan

Steak on the grill, baked potatoes and salad

Yorkshire pudding

For my family, I love to cook and experiment much more than either of my parents. So far, my family loves my

Three-Cheese Lasagna w/Basil & Turkey Sausage

Italian pot roast

Chocolate stout cake

Roasted sweet potatoes


God, now I'm STARVING.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 22, 2007 7:50 AM

I too have memories of cranking the ice cream machine with my parents and brother through the summer. Somehow that ice cream always tasted better then any scoop shop!! As my kids get older I hope to do the same with them. Of course our new ice cream machine plugs in and doesn't use rock salt and have a crank like the old one. but we will make do!

Posted by: HappyDad | June 22, 2007 7:52 AM

As Forrest Gump would say, shrimp!

Here are mine

1. Hamburger from McD's. Just to tell you how old I am, for $0.53 we could buy a burger (0.15), a fry(0.10) and a milk shake (0.25). The three cents was tax.

2. When we moved down to these parts, shrimp.

3. Chocolate--always and in always!

Posted by: Fred | June 22, 2007 7:54 AM

Had to get the unhappy SAHM comment in didn't you Leslie, just couldn't write a column without it. By the way, stupid topic too.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 7:55 AM

Fred - shrimp! Boiled in Zatarain's Crab Boil! Folks up here can have their Old Bay; I'll take the good stuff any time.

Posted by: Army Brat | June 22, 2007 7:58 AM

I don't quite get the allure of Goodberry's. There's one near my house, a fact that I thought would lead to many summer-night treats, but we really don't like it that much.

For my money, Kohr Brothers at the Jersey shore makes the best frozen custard. I used to look forward to their cones all summer.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 22, 2007 8:00 AM

By the way, stupid topic too.
==========================================

Hey stick in the mud! This weeks other topics weren't contentious enough for you?

If not, go back reread and then you can comment further!

BTW, Suzie "Q" are awesome!

Posted by: to 7:55 | June 22, 2007 8:01 AM

Favorite Childhood foods:

In the summer, my grandparents would call and pick us up for the day (we lived about 20minutes away). They would always ask if we were finished with our chores and then ask if we'd like to spend the day with them (who wouldn't?). We'd go back to their house for lunch...sometime gnocchi with butter and parmesan and other times it was just pastina (the tiny star shaped pasta). We'd head out to a matinee movie and hit a restaurant for the 'early bird special'. They didn't invite us every week, but at least twice a month in the summer...always on a thursday. I remember when he died, my gramma found a bank envelope with cash in it marked 'Thursdays'. In retrospect, it was their little 'date'.

Posted by: 2girls2boys | June 22, 2007 8:02 AM

My favorite foods as a child were:

1. Anything from the ice cream man - loved hearing that bell and scaring up change wherever I could.

2. Kentucky Fried Chicken - it was such a treat when my mom came home with that bucket.


3. Bagels with lox and whitefish salad - still one of my favs and one I've passed on to my kids. Sometimes we'd have it for dinner when I was young and mom wanted an easy night.

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | June 22, 2007 8:04 AM

Another article lacking balance. Leslie you couldn't resist a dig at stay-at-home parents, could you?

Posted by: nO Balance | June 22, 2007 8:06 AM

Making Root Beer from the bottle!

Zatarains made a root beer concertrate. It came in a 4 oz bottle, all we had to do was add 1 gallon of water and about 14 tons of sugar!

My 7 brothers and I inhaled this stuff all summer. Made for some hyped up boys all day!

Posted by: Fred | June 22, 2007 8:06 AM

Leslie,

We still find Susie Q's and Ding Dongs down this way. I have not looked for Lemon Coolers in a while. I will have to check out the grocery store!

Posted by: Fred | June 22, 2007 8:10 AM

So glad at least one person knows what Suzie Q's are.

Also -- Add Yorkshire Pudding to my list. That is one that I still love.

Posted by: Leslie | June 22, 2007 8:11 AM

NewSAHM,

I'm with you on not liking Goodberry's. It just doesn't taste all that good; give me Baskin-Robbins or Coldstone any day!

For vacations we'd drive down to the Florida coast around Panama City, or Port St. Joe. My dad would go to the harbor and pick up 10 pounds or more of shrimp with the heads still on them, take them back to our trailer, cut the heads off and boil them for dinner (the shrimp, not the heads). Peel-and-eat shrimp with some good hot horseradish sauce was the best!

Also, in the summer I'd walk up and down the country roads and pick up coke bottles thrown from a car, and take them to the country store for a nickle apiece. Back then a boy with 30-50 cents could buy a LOT of bubble gum! The store also had an old cooler containing grape Ne-Hi drinks and little cardboard tubs of ice cream for 20 cents, with a wooden spoon to go with it.

Posted by: John L | June 22, 2007 8:15 AM

My sister and I used to walk up to the local bakery with my grandparents to get Black and White cookies - while I still love them, they never taste quite as good as I remember.

And of course, porkroll (Trenton Roll or Taylor Ham) was and is the best breakfast meat out there.

Posted by: BLE | June 22, 2007 8:20 AM

Anything from my Granny's house -- it was the only time I ever got to eat bad-for-you stuff. There's nothing like running yourself silly all day playing in the country, then coming back in to a big ol' meal of cube steak, macaroni and cheese, and green beans cooked with bacon in a pressure cooker until they're dead. Or spending hours picking blackberries, cooking and canning, and then getting to eat the fruits of your labors. Or the peach pie with the Georgia peaches we just picked (and Cool Whip, of course).

Fresh corn tortillas with butter -- the soft thick homemade ones you get down in Texas, not the hard crumbly things they call tortillas up here. And pralines -- big and soft.

Hush puppies. Especially from the White Swan Barbecue in Smithfield, NC (although I understand they're a chain, now). We'd drive down to Florida to visit great-grands, and always time the trip so we could hit the White Swan at a mealtime. "Roadfood" was the best book ever written, btw.

I hope I can pass down some of my Granny's legacy. She's an old country girl, and boy, does she know a lot about how to feed a family from a garden and not much else. Luckily, I don't face the same challenges, but I think it's important that my kids remember where they came from. I have planted my own blackberry patch, so I can make her pies and jam. I've also started making my own pasta when I have time.

But I suspect the dish my family will remember is from the other side of the family: latkes. My husband gave me his mom's recipe when we got married, and after a few years' practice, I'm now pretty much the designated latke maker for the whole family. Not bad for a shiksa, eh? :-) (Truth to tell, it's not me, it's my Kitchen-Aid. Well, and the double onions).

Posted by: Laura | June 22, 2007 8:26 AM

Here you go, Fred:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00002N62F?tag=csfstext-20&link_code=as3&creativeASIN=B00002N62F&creative=373489&camp=211189

It looks a lot like the one I've got, but mine is about 10 years older and has the traditional cedar bucket.

Posted by: John L | June 22, 2007 8:27 AM

Fred - Zatarain's got its start with the root beer and root beer concentrate - that's some good stuff. I went to high school with a couple of kids from the Zatarain family, although the family had sold the company by then - but those were popular kids!

John L - cut the heads off the shrimp before boiling them??? AUGGHHHHH!!! No, no, no - boil them with the heads still on, then tear the heads off when peeling the shrimp. The same with mudbugs (crawfish, for the unenlightened).

One of the worst insults you can sling in Louisiana is to assert that folks where you're from can't cook. As in "Ruston? You went to school in Ruston? Man, you can't even get a good meal in Ruston!!" Them's fightin' words.

Posted by: Army Brat | June 22, 2007 8:30 AM

Ahhh, dang, and how could I forget tea syrup? My Granny would boil a cup of tea leaves in @ a quart of water and about 7 c. of sugar + some Sweet-n-Low to boot. Once it cooled, she'd put it in a quart jar in the fridge. Whenever you wanted some tea, you'd put about an inch of the tea syrup in the bottom of a cup, add ice, and fill it up with water. Heaven on a hot day (though it makes my teeth hurt now just thinking about it).

And Ding-Dongs.

Posted by: Laura | June 22, 2007 8:30 AM

My boss is here today and he is taking me to lunch. What to eat? Shrimp or crab? Damn, choices, choices!

Maybe I will stop by that gas station that sells Suzie Q's and pick one up this afternoon.

Posted by: Fred | June 22, 2007 8:31 AM

Suzie Q's were invented by some drunk college boys who were really hungry and ended up spraying whip cream onto a sponge because they were so hungry.

The recipe hasn't changed much since then.

Posted by: Andrew | June 22, 2007 8:34 AM

Suzie Q's were invented by some drunk college boys who were really hungry and ended up spraying whip cream onto a sponge because they were so hungry.


And they belong in the Man's Hall of Fame for it!

(yea, I noticed you said sponge not sponge cake.)

Posted by: Fred | June 22, 2007 8:36 AM

At Thanksgiving and Xmas, mom would make chocolate pie, not the pudding kind, but the mousse kind. It was-and is-total heaven.

I would only get a piece or two since it had to be shared by five people. And I remember trying to bribe my brother and sister for their pieces and never, ever achieving success.

Now that I am older, I make it for our holiday gatherings and my "snotty" mama tries to say hers is still better. Of course I inform her that is not possible since I am a better cook in the family! NOT! No one is a better cook than mom but the ribbing sure is fun.

Posted by: Nutty Mama | June 22, 2007 8:37 AM

My dad used to make mashed potatoes with cheese and bacon in them. I make them today but they just dont tatse the same.

My DD loves it when I make colored scrambled egg pancake (she doesnt like how scrambled eggs are hard to get on a fork, so I make scrambled eggs without scrambling them)

Posted by: Marie | June 22, 2007 8:41 AM

Well, Army Brat, you cannot get a good meal in Shreveport either!

Posted by: Fred | June 22, 2007 8:42 AM

Army Brat,

You know, now that you mention it we did leave the heads on when we boiled the shrimp. I recall seeing their eyes looking at us on the plate, and having to pinch the heads off prior to removing the legs and shells. My sister in law took all the heads home with her, frozen, so she could feed them to her blue crabs in her salt water aquarium...

Posted by: John L | June 22, 2007 8:42 AM

Shrimp heads on. Reminds me of a commercial for some national restaurant chain showing how fresh its seafood was. The commercial had a shrimper hauling in his nets and showing his catch of shrimp, with no heads!

Posted by: Fred | June 22, 2007 8:47 AM

Fred: you're choosing between shrimp and crab? You're mean and a braggart. I want some.

And the general phrase in South La is that you can't get a good meal above Alec!

(For the non-Louisiana aware: Alexandria - Alec, for short - is just about in the center of Louisiana. North of it - "above Alec" - is considered North Louisiana; south of it - "below Alec" - is South Louisiana. Even though my father was born and raised in Jackson Parish - "above Alec" - he swore by the assertion that you cannot get a good meal above Alec - well, except for his parents' cooking. His father was a chef, and his mother was just a darned good cook. :-)

Posted by: Army Brat | June 22, 2007 8:48 AM

edumom, my brother and I also loved the saltines with jelly, butter, and peanut butter. I still make them as a snack today.

Leslie, my dad's Christmas tradition is Yorkshire pudding with gravy.

Kohrs Brothers is better than Goodberry's in my opinion. Too bad I'm in NC now. But frozen custard is frozen custard, you know?

One of my last memories of my grandma is making gnocchi with her and my mom. I think of her whenever I eat gnocchi.

My favorite summer foods are:
~ frozen juice pops (my mom poured juice into molds and added the popsicle sticks--did anyone else have these? Do they still make them?)
~ strawberry shortcakes and berry cobblers
~ s'mores, batter boys, and taco frito skillet cooked over a fire. I loved them at camp, and I still take over the fire to make these on camp outs today.

Posted by: Meesh | June 22, 2007 8:54 AM

Cabbage rolls
Pot roast with mashed potatoes
Sugar cookies
Stout cake

Pizza burger with pickles from a local tasty freeze.

Posted by: scarry | June 22, 2007 8:58 AM

Cherry pies Grandma made with pie cherries you just picked off the trees.

Gorging yourself on raspberries with your cereal (instead of raspberries with cereal, it was cereal with your raspberries, there were so many). Ah!

Oh was reading yesterday's blog and I think pATRICK's "I love you Daddy" comment does relate to marriage for him, since from his postings, I would gather that he would have made ever effort NOT to become a father without being married.

I considered the "I love you Mommy's" one of the biggest bonuses of marriage too, since I was one of the lucky ones that didn't struggle with fertility in my late 30's and have two wonderful (IMHO - ha!) daughters. I wouldn't have considered bio kids outside of marriage.

Posted by: Robin L. | June 22, 2007 9:02 AM

My mom would make chocolate/oatmeal cookies, the ones you didn't have to bake. She and my sister would mix everything and bring it to a boil, then hurry to drop them on the wax paper on the dining room table. My dad would call them "cow blobs" because of the way they looked, but he'd eat them right along with all the rest of us.

I asked my sister for the recipe, and then protested that it had peanut butter in it, that it was the wrong recipe. She assured me it was the right one, and after I made them and tasted one, had to admit that was how I remembered them tasting!

Posted by: John L | June 22, 2007 9:02 AM

Snowballs - chocolate with marshmallow with spearmint or cherry as alternate choices

Steamed crabs - a real treat because they were expensive in my family's small budget

Posted by: balto | June 22, 2007 9:05 AM

Marie, my dad did that too. His scrambled eggs were more like egg squares. I make them like that (because I don't really know another way) and my husband loves them. When we met, he thought I was the best cook because my scrambled eggs were so good. I tried explaining that it's still just eggs and milk...

Posted by: Meesh | June 22, 2007 9:06 AM

tomato sandwiches at the height of summer, bbq from Wilbur's in Goldsboro NC, my Mema's buttermilk biscuit with Sue Bee honey.... mmmmm

Posted by: tarheel gal | June 22, 2007 9:07 AM

Yes Army Brat, we are going to the Bon Ton. It is either Crabmeat Imperial or Fried Shrimp. Maybe soft-shell crab today?

We would take some of the root beer and put it in the popsicle molds to homemade popsicles also!

Posted by: Fred | June 22, 2007 9:08 AM

"chocolate/oatmeal cookies"

John L. I call these no bake cookies. They are really good. My mom didn't like chocolate, so I never had one until I was in high school.

Posted by: scarry | June 22, 2007 9:09 AM

"frozen juice pops (my mom poured juice into molds and added the popsicle sticks--did anyone else have these? Do they still make them?)"

I'm pretty sure you can still find these. I know I have a set I bought maybe three years ago. Try target or the dollar store.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 22, 2007 9:11 AM

I keep thinking of more:

My dad's blueberry pancakes (see, he did have at least SOME food fun)

Melted Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

The first time I ate uncooked Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Also -- from adulthood -- my MIL's chicken paprikash with noccelin.

Posted by: Leslie | June 22, 2007 9:14 AM

My mom is far from the world's best cook, but her pie crust makes Sara Lee weep with envy. My favorite childhood foods were my mom's rhubarb pie (not hyper-sweet and no strawberries!), mom's apple pie made with apples picked fresh in the orchard across the street, and my grandmother's M&M-studded molasses cookies. Grandma's been gone 25 years (I'm only 34), and I would give anything to have this recipe.

Posted by: BxNY | June 22, 2007 9:17 AM

Rotisserie cooked roast beef and yorkshire pudding...made with lard...can you still buy lard?

Pot roast with potatoes and carrots

The carrots from corn beef and cabbage

Mom's raspberry jam

Mom's pies...she made a few a week...cherry, strawberry rubharb.

I miss my mom....

Posted by: Antshe | June 22, 2007 9:17 AM

1. Fresh, dead-ripe apricots from the tree in our back yard. My mother complained that she could never hoard enough to make an apricot pie because we'd eat them all raw first. When DH and I bought our current house, one of the first things we did was plant some hardy apricot trees -- it's nearly that time of year now.

2. Ice cream cones from a few mom-and-pop ice cream parlors in my hometown that made their own ice cream on premises(this was back before the chains). In an era when drugstore soda fountain, restaurant and grocery store offerings were still pretty much limited to vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, these shops had more decadent flavors, as well as offbeat seasonal choices like (at the place near my aunt's house) orange sherbet with chocolate ripples (black-and-orange motif) for Hallowe'en -- much tastier than it sounds.

3. Homemade French fries from scratch. As a special snack treat a few Saturday afternoons a year, my father would peel and slice long potatoes, then soak them in a large bowl of ice-cold water for at least 30 minutes (to remove excess starch, he claimed). After that, he'd drain and blot the potato sticks thoroughly while heating peanut oil -- which he felt imparted the best flavor -- in our old-fashioned stove-top French fryer (not the built-in type, just the two-nesting-pans type). I'd hang out in the kitchen with my dad, inhaling the heavenly aroma of the frying potatoes (it took a few batches, because for best results one shouldn't fry too many at once) with such anticipation. But once the fries were done, my father still had to drain them and blot thoroughly with paper towels, then salt them lightly before they were done. Those were so-o-o-o good, and much tastier than commercial French fries.

My dad also occasionally made popcorn over an open flame (gas-range at home, campfire in the wild) using an old-fashioned wire basket with a long handle; plain dry popcorn (Jiffy Time) came in a resealable can, with a choice of white or yellow kernels (my dad thought yellow had a more corny flavor). Then he'd pour a little melted butter -- NOT margarine or imitation flavoring! -- over the finished popcorn and toss lightly with a sprinkle of salt. At home the aroma of the whole process was spread throughout our small house, so he never had to call us when the popcorn was done because we were all already there, waiting eagerly.

Speaking of corn, I still fix freshly-picked steamed ripe sweet corn-on-the-cob with butter and salt (we grow mainly Silver Queen in our garden). I also loved sneaking raw green peas from my grandmother's vegetable garden -- how can something so delicious actually be healthful, too (or vice versa)?

I'm sure I'll think of more... and enjoy the memories, too!

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 9:20 AM

Homemade apple pies, with apples from the trees on the farm.

Rabbit; yes, we raised them too. My dad would bake them or braise them in a skillet. No, they do not taste like chicken.

My dad would also grill beef, lamb and chicken together after letting it marinade overnight in a special sauce. The only thing I remember about that sauce was he'd get a six pack of beer and only pour 3 cans of it into the sauce, with some Worcestershire sauce and other things. He'd drink the other three beers while he was cutting the meat and putting it in the sauce. The next day that meat was delicious!

Posted by: John L | June 22, 2007 9:24 AM

Anyone remembers homemade banana pudding - not the instant pudding layered with vanilla wafers - but the actual double-boiler on the stove top prepared masterpiece with the whipped egg whites topping? This was back in the day when you could find yellow bananas (ripe) at the grocery store.

Posted by: Tazza | June 22, 2007 9:34 AM

John L - re: your dad's sauce recipe - that was one of the first things DW noticed about south Louisiana recipes - everything requires either a six-pack of beer or two cups of wine.

If it's beer, you put three in the recipe and drink the other three.

If it's wine, one cup goes in the recipe and one cup goes in you!

Posted by: Army Brat | June 22, 2007 9:37 AM

Sand Tarts
Lefse
Flat Bread

These are favorites my mom used to make, the last two are Norwegian specialties.

A bit of advice - if you have a favorite recipe your mom or dad always made, go over and make it with them now. That way you can ask all the qustions you are going to have when you try to make it yourself for the first time. My mom died suddenly and I recently tried to make a favorite recipe of hers and had a lot of questions. My siblings and I are now putting together a book of all her recipes. We should have done it when she was around so we could again ask her all the questions we may have when we try to make them ourselves.

Posted by: Do it now | June 22, 2007 9:37 AM

To educmom - I know your Kitty Hawk milkshake place...John's! Chocolate with peanut butter and banana. God's gift.

Posted by: beach bum | June 22, 2007 9:47 AM

Do it now,

You are so right about making your favorite recipes with your mom (or whoever) before they are gone. Often they don't have a recipe written down either, or they adjusted some of the ingredients to suit themselves, and once they're gone those little adjustments are lost.

I'm fortunate that my sister helped my mom with a lot of the foods she would make, so I can ask her how they were prepared. Even so, on several of them she does not recall exactly what was changed, so we're left with experimenting to try and recreate the taste.

I am making a notebook of recipes I've gotten from my sister and from other sources, but it would have been nice to have them from the original source.

Posted by: John L | June 22, 2007 9:47 AM

Was anybody else a picky eater? Unfortunatley I was - my mother was always irritated but she never made me my own meal (had to eat what was served!) but did make me spagetti for my birthday and a lemon cake with sugary drizzly icing. I didn't like anything with cheese on it - until HS when I started to like pizza. I liked my grandmother's banana bread without nuts and fried bologna sandwiches on white bread with mustard. That's really all I remember - surely I ate other things?

I liked popsicles and ice cream but was not a real sweets eater till I got pregnant - go figure. Didn't like any hostess products, donuts, or sugary concoctions till I was a teenager. I didn't have any cavaties!

Favortie candy bar - Snickers. I tried one in 4th grade and loved it despite the nuts. Back then we were lucky to get one candy bar every couple months so when I did get one I savored it.

Wait - I ate pancakes! I always wanted to make them myself Saturday mornings - Bisquick batter!

Posted by: cmac | June 22, 2007 9:51 AM

My favorite summer recipes;

My grandmother's flan (summer, fall, winter, spring)
Peach frappe (peaches and sugar frapped with ice in the blender, or if no fresh peaches, canned peaches work too)
Baked Alaska
My mother's homemade pizza sandwiches (basically bread, cheese, tomatoes and onions toasted in the overn until the cheese melts - easy to make for a quick summer lunch)
My grandmother's rice fritters
Spanish tortilla - my favorite
Strawberries marinated in a sugar and sweet vermouth - heaven


You people are making me hungry. And the nausea seems to be abating. I could eat everything in sight right now.

Posted by: Emily | June 22, 2007 10:04 AM

Hey, CMAC, I was a picky eater as a child, too. And like your mother, mine wouldn't cook separate dishes for me on nights when she'd be fixing liver (calf's or chicken), which was at least once a week because my father loved, loved, LOVED liver. Her solution was that I could have cottage cheese for my main course, then eat the rest of the same meal as everyone else.

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 10:05 AM

To WorkingMomX: Strawberries on flan? Or in it? Never heard of either till I read your post. What would pATRICK think? LOL!

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 10:08 AM

WorkingmomX - How do you make your strawberry flan recipe?

Posted by: Emily | June 22, 2007 10:09 AM

This food memory isn't from childhood, but my student days. I remember occasionally walking along US 1 in College Park to go to Turner Lab on hot summer nevenings to buy the University of Maryland's delicious chocolate ice cream, either a cone or a carton to take home.

Someone please post to let me know whether it's still there, and if their ice cream is still as wonderful as I recall.

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 10:11 AM

This food memory isn't from childhood, but my student days. I remember occasionally walking along US 1 in College Park to go to Turner Lab on hot summer nevenings to buy the University of Maryland's delicious chocolate chip ice cream, either a cone or a carton to take home.

Someone please post to let me know whether it's still there, and if their ice cream is still as wonderful as I recall.

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 10:11 AM

That's suppose to be chocolate CHIP ice cream (though I'm sure their chocolate was also delicious).

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 10:13 AM

That's supposed to be chocolate CHIP ice cream (though I'm sure their chocolate was also delicious).

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 10:13 AM

My favorite cold/rainy day meal when I was little was grilled cheese (made, sadly, with Velveeta - but man, it was good) with Campbell's Tomato soup made with milk instead of water.

My mom also made homemade pie crusts for all her pies, but my favorites were apple, strawberry, and pecan -- I've become very popular in my new family for bringing these recipes to the table.

We also tended to eat anything that could stretch the dollars when money was tight --five kids and med school for my dad at the same time made things a little tough. I thought my mom was gourmet when I was a kid, but I now know a lot of the recipes involved a pound of ground beef, pasta, and cream of mushroom soup.

Posted by: Lori | June 22, 2007 10:16 AM

CMAC -- I was a picky eater, too, and my mom also never made me a separate meal. The limit of her tolerance was stuff like letting me have my spaghetti with butter instead of sauce.

That's part of the reason so many of my great food memories come from summer visits to grandparents, because they ALWAYS planned the menu around food they knew I'd like. Although when you're starting with (a) breaded and fried, and/or (b) bacon, and finishing up with pies and jam, there wasn't much I'd have objected to anyway. Except the okra.

Oh, and I forgot to mention my Grandma's side of the equation. Her homemade macaroni and cheese casserole -- still the best in the world. Real braunschweiger in the yellow wrapper. A big old round of real colby cheese, which she'd slice paper thin. Old Fashioned Cream Pie (basically a custard pie, with a little bit of cinnamon flavor, and a crusty crunchy top from the brown sugar in the recipe).

Oh, and the single best food of all time: goop. It's basically a really thick brown sugar sauce -- you make a roux of butter and flour, pour in boiling water, and once it's all bubbled and seized, you stir in massive quantities of brown sugar. Great as filling between the layers of chocolate cake (the cake being mostly irrelevant) -- or eaten directly out of the pan (as frequently happens in our family).

Posted by: Laura | June 22, 2007 10:19 AM

To Fred: Bananas Foster for dessert with the boss at lunch today?

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 10:23 AM

catlady, it was still there in 2002 when I graduated, and it was still delicious.

Posted by: Meesh | June 22, 2007 10:24 AM

The strawberry flan was actually more of a tart with a sugar cookie crust, whole (hulled) strawberries on top with the tips pointing up, and then a clear, sweet glaze poured over the top. Fresh whipped cream on top, YUM.

I cannot read this blog today, because I'm so hungry!!

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 22, 2007 10:24 AM

Thanks, Meesh! Next time I visit the DC area...

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 10:26 AM

John L. & scarry:

My mom always made those chocolate/oatmeal cookies too! I found the recipe recently in an old cookbook my grandmother gave me that was filled with recipes contributed by ladies in her church. They were called "Boiled Chocolate Cookies" in that cookbook.

My mom would always make those when she felt a chocolate attack coming on. We'd always make fun of her and call them "doo doo cookies" or "cow patties." This would irritate her to no end and eventually she banned us from calling them that.

My sister, home from college for the summer, called me the other day and told me that my mom had made some of those cookies the night before. She probably hadn't made them in a couple of years. My sister told me they were sitting around, reading magazines, when my mom announced that she wanted some of those "doo doo cookies." My sister reminded her that we weren't allowed to call them that, to which my mom shushed her and went off the to the kitchen to make them. They agreed to call the cookies "Dookies" from now on.

I'm glad someone else has experienced these interesting, chocolatey creations!

Posted by: chocolate/oatmeal cookies! | June 22, 2007 10:29 AM

Scarry,

What is Stout Cake? A great cake, flourless chocolate cake with a layer of orange marmalade!

Posted by: Pink Plate | June 22, 2007 10:30 AM

Fun topic!
My mom made tortilla to bring on family picnics. Her secret was to saute the onions and potatoes in butter until they were roasted & crisp, then add the eggs. This made a savory tortilla that she cut into slices and put between French bread (no condiment needed.) My sister and I still try but we can't match hers.
Also I remember a '70s phenom called Taco Salad, made with Fritos corn chips and Catalina salad dressing and kidney beans. For some reason I couldn't get enough of that (and I hope that description doesn't cause someone to lose their breakfast)
Tied for third: strawberry cheesecake ice cream from Baskin Robbins; fresh lobster with melted butter which was a special treat on my summer birthday.

Posted by: Nobody like mom | June 22, 2007 10:33 AM

Here's my recipe for Chocolate Stout Cake. It's not for the faint of heart, but my friends, it is divine. I cool the icing to room temperature and then whip until it's the consistency of ganache.

Chocolate Stout Cake
Makes 12 servings.

2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream

Icing
2 cups whipping cream
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

For icing:
Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.

Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.

Bon Appétit, September 2002

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 22, 2007 10:35 AM

Scarry,

What is Stout Cake? A great cake, flourless chocolate cake with a layer of orange marmalade!

Cake made with beer. We use Guinness. It is really good. It can be made to taste like a spice cake or a chocolate cake. Some people frost it, but I usually don't unless there are going to be a lot of kids around. It is really rich and usually just needs a dusting of powdered sugar. Of course, it is an Irish cake.

Posted by: scarry | June 22, 2007 10:35 AM

I agree about recording the family recipes. When my husband and I were married, his aunts gave us a cookbook they'd made with a lot of my husband's grandmother's recipes. Apparently, she'd always been an amazing cook but her health has declined in the years I've known my husband so I never had the honor of experiencing her cooking.

Anyway, the aunts made this beautifully decorated scrapbook full of not just the recipes but also anecdotes that went with each one and copies of old family pictures. For some of the recipes, they even photocopied the handwritten pages where grandmother had written them out years before. It is one of our favorite gifts and we refer to it often. I know my attempts to recreate her recipes will never be quite as good as the real thing but I know my husband appreciates the effort and enjoys reliving those special memories from eating Sunday dinner at grandmother's house.

Posted by: To do it now | June 22, 2007 10:36 AM

I have a very early childhood memory of getting ice cream custard at a polar bear place on Georgia Avenue, back in the 70s. Does anyone from the DC area remember that place? My uncle loved it.

Posted by: Emily | June 22, 2007 10:36 AM

In the late 1950s/early to mid 1960s, we'd drive from Illinois to New York State to visit my mother's family at some point during the summer. Part of that time would be spent in Fair Haven, which sits on Lake Ontario. A special treat was to get up early one morning and drive over to "Stony Beach," where my dad would build a little stone oven on the beach and start a fire in it. We'd collect sticks, wrap biscuit dough around them, and cook our breakfast biscuits over the fire. Don't remember whether the biscuits were any good or not, but the memory of the experience is still with me after nearly fifty years!

Even after spending a year in England in the 1960s, we never got to be Yorkshire Pudding fans, but the Treacle Pudding sure was yummy!

Posted by: Murphy | June 22, 2007 10:37 AM

To Catlady:

The UM Dairy at Turner Lab was up and running the last time I was on campus (last fall for a Terps Football game). I try to take the kids for a cone anytime we're near there.

Posted by: 2girls2boys | June 22, 2007 10:39 AM

Scarry,

Yum, spice cakes! WorkingMomX's recipe looks nice too although, I am not much of an icing person, the powdered sugar version sounds great. I am going to check it out. Thanks for posting about it.

Posted by: Pink Plate | June 22, 2007 10:39 AM

Lemon Coolers are still around.

My three fave comfort foods from childhood:
Mom's mashed potatoes
Mom's chicken noodle soup
Mom's stuffed cabbage

Posted by: pittypat | June 22, 2007 10:42 AM

1. Taffy - usually on a rainy day when my brother and I were too wound up to be inside, my mom would make a batch of taffy and we'd exhaust ourselves pulling it. We'd wrap each piece in wax paper and then bring little bags of it to our neighbors.

2. Ring dings - I was rarely allowed to eat any sweets (no candy, cookies, sugared cereal, juice blends, etc in the house) and I was also never allowed to watch non-educational tv (one hour max each day of NOVA specials or PBS, and I had to read two hours to watch one). But occasionally when my dad was out, my mom and I would buy a box of ring-dings and watch Dallas! Our little secret.

3. My dad's enchiladas. So delicious!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 10:47 AM

John L,

Are you willing and/or able to share the chocolate/oatmeal cookie recipe?

Sounds great; I'd like to try it.

Posted by: pittypat | June 22, 2007 10:48 AM

- Grilled Cheese sandwiches and Tomato Soup

- PBJ sandwhich made with my Mom's home-made raspberry jam - I'd go with my friend's up into the tree house my dad built for us 4 kids and have lunch lunch there - somehow the treehouse always made the sandwhiches taste better!

- Eggs and bacon on Saturday mornings and Pancakes on Sunday mornings - all made by my father, he got breakfast duty on the weekend, and its a ritual I still love when I visit my parents.

Posted by: SDanne | June 22, 2007 10:52 AM

keep the recipes coming! would make a good cookbook...

also a good idea for a potluck party -- everybody brings their three favorite childhood foods.

Posted by: Leslie | June 22, 2007 11:00 AM

You guys are killing me. I've already eaten my orange from my lunch.

Let's see... favorites... my mother's version of stuffing made with rice instead of bread. Anything chocolate of course. My aunt's sponge cake all by itself.

I'm off to find some chocolate now. Thanks guys...

Posted by: MAY | June 22, 2007 11:05 AM

We actually had some of that 'comfort food' last night for dinner. My MIL is deteriorating rapidly, and we went up to see her last weekend. She sent us home with a small container of her dried apple mix (which is the consistency of chunky apple sauce, and spiced like apple pie filling). She takes those cans of inexpensive biscuits (the tiny ones that come four cans to a package) and flattens them, fills them with apple mix, and cooks them like a pancake. OMG they are good - and I'd never had them until I met my sweetie. MIL also makes an applesauce cake that's awesome.

Growing up, we had black walnut cake and pulled pork from my mother's mother to look forward to when visiting them - and salt pork bacon, which I still crave (dry cured, not brined, please!). Dad's mother lived in town, and was like a second mother to me - her grandmother's salad dressing (like a good garlicy catalina), grilled chicken from my grandfather, grilled cheese and cream of tomato soup (Campbells with milk) and Brunswick stew are my favorites. She didn't bake much, but she is the one that really taught me to cook (and is the one I emulate to this day - much to my family's delight).

I too am from an area where insulting your mother's cooking is truly the worst you can do - and so I won't talk about my mother's food. ;-)

Posted by: Rebecca in AR | June 22, 2007 11:09 AM

Hardly the full list, but a start:

Skybars
three-layer cornbread
Vallomilks
strawberry shortcake
toasted almond (Good humor)
chocolate chip cookie bars
crepes
latkes
blackberry pie
Butler's Orchard & Larriland to pick our own fruit
making mustard with the double-boiler (it's the best recipe ever--particularly on ham)

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 22, 2007 11:13 AM

I forgot stuffed grape leaves (Calvert Cafe) and my father's gawumpki.

Oh, and dad's black bean dip.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 22, 2007 11:15 AM

Spice Stout cake

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon aniseed, ground in an electric spice grinder
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
a 12-ounce bottle of stout ( I use Guinness)
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
3/4 cup milk
2 cups nuts of your choice

Preheat the oven to 350.
Butter a glass baking dish
Sift together the flour, the salt, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the spices in large bowl. In a bowl whisk together the molasses, the butter, the brown sugar, the stout, the eggs, and the milk and add the mixture to the flour mixture.
Whisk the batter until it is combined and stir in the nuts.
Put the batter into the baking dish, bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean, and let it cool completely in the dish on a rack.

Sometimes I take a little zest from an orange and mix it in.

I would love to have the rice stuffing recipie. It sounds good.

Posted by: scarry | June 22, 2007 11:17 AM

To Nobody like Mom:

One of my co-workers brought that Taco Salad with the catalina dressing to an office potluck and it was a huge hit. She wouldn't give the recipe but did reveal the catalina dressing part. If you have a recipe, please post! I'll bet my kids would love it.

Posted by: 2girls2boys | June 22, 2007 11:18 AM

Loooooooove the topic. Perfect for a Friday.

Fresh berry cobbler
fried chicken and mashed potatoes
fresh green beans with bacon/ham bits
homemade biscuits
skillet(stewed) fresh corn

Can you tell the Southern influence?

I also craze the outmeal drop cookies - dookies. Does anyone have teh recipe? I haven't had them in 20 years, but adored them as a child.

Posted by: FormerNoVa Mom | June 22, 2007 11:26 AM

I remember the polar bear place on Georgia Avenue! I am a DC native and we would go there for special treats!
I love this topic. To those who have referenced writing recipes down-- I am so glad I got to create some of my favorite recipes with my mom before she died. I also inherited her recipe box. Inside I found a handwritten recipe for lasagna with a note that indicated she had made it to take to my husband to eat while I was on my first business trip away from my husband and baby.

My favorite food memories from childhood.
1. Homemade ice cream. I remember how hard it was to crank the ice cream and we usually took turns sitting on it to hold the ice cream maker down. But the ice cream was fabulous! (I own one now and we tried it out right after we got it. I thought it was great--but neither my husband or my kids are interested in repeating the process--they think it takes too much work--I am still working on convincing them).
2. Juice pops. I loved those too! My mom would use all sorts of juice and they were easy to make.
3. My mom's rice salad. It was chilled with rice and green peas and green peppers and it was delish.
4. Nigerian spinach stew. Spicy and wonderfully filling. My mom learned the recipe in the 1960s from a Nigerian neighbor.
5. On rainy days when we got home from whatever summer or school activities, my mother would have rainy day tea parties with hot tea and milk and cookies.
6. And my top summer favorite. Tomato sandwiches. These topped even my second favorite (BLTs). We would grow tomatoes every summer and I would pick one warm from the garden and slice it up with just bread, mayonnaise and a little salt. Sometimes I would skip the mayonnaise. They were so good!

Posted by: downtown dc mom | June 22, 2007 11:31 AM

Aargh, I'm on a diet, you folks are making me hungry!!!

... for pizza, pizza, ice cream, and more pizza, of course, like any geek.

Posted by: SheGeek | June 22, 2007 11:34 AM

I forgot one!
Strawberry -rhubarb pie. We would grow the rhubarb and my mom would send us out to pick it for the pie. My mom died suddenly two years ago but every time I have any of the foods I associate with her --it's like she's still with me.

One last tradition, I still contine today without her is baking and decorating xmas cookies. She started that with us when we were young and when I had kids I invited her to come bake and decorate with us. Now without her we still carry on the tradition.

Posted by: downtown dc mom | June 22, 2007 11:37 AM

I was diagnosed with diabetes at a young age, and from that moment on my mother treated sugar like it was poison for me. She began reading all these health food articles and feeding me things like wheat germ, sardines, bean soup made with some kind of soybean substitute that she bought in a 10 pound box to save money. I wasn't even allowed to have a piece of birthday cake. Instead, on special ocasions she made me sugar-free jello which wasn't good for me either because it was made with sacchrin that was proven to cause bladder cancer in labratory rats.

My mother was a terrible cook to boot, so for the most part most dinners tasted worse than dog food, and believe me, I know what dog food taste like. To make matters even worse, she cooked my dinners separetely (since the rest of the family could eat things like speghetti and pizza), weighed the portions out on a scale, and acted like a martyr on my behalf because of all the extra effort she put into keeping me healthy. I remember being so hungry as a kid that I didn't mind cleaning up after dinner just so I could eat the watermelon rhynes and the marrow out of the chicken bones left over on my family member's plate. The best part was licking the residual ice cream out of the dessert bowls that I wasn't allowed to have.

And this is the worst part. As a diabetic, I was required to test for glucose in my urine before eating any meal. If the test showed up dirty, I was sometimes punished and food taken away from my meal.

Doggy bisquets, anybody? Woof! Woof! Pant, pant, pant! Woof! Woof!

Posted by: Lil Husky | June 22, 2007 11:38 AM

catlady - speaking of LIVER - ugh. My mother loved liver and onions, she'd order it at restaurants (which we frequented rarely) and I always felt sick watching her eat it. I have never tasted liver to this day.

Laura - My gram was the same way, if she knew I was coming she'd buy deli bologna and fresh baked bread and make me 3-4 sandwiches. She'd also would strain the OJ so there was no pulp - my mother wouldn't do that! Oh - and my grandmother would make dough-dodgers - fried leftover dough with sugar and cinnamon - they were heaven. I must have lived off of the calories from those trips.

And on being a picky eater, sometimes my mother made me sit at the dinner table way after everyone was finished until I would take at least one bite of everything. I'd take the smallest bites of meatloaf or pot roast and the side veggie and slither away. I can't believe I didn't starve, but I do remember my dad taking pitty on me one night and making me a peanut butter sandwich while my mother clucked in the kitchen.

Posted by: cmac | June 22, 2007 11:47 AM

My Grandmother's Flan

Caramel
I cup of sugar

Heat sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and caramelize over medium heat At first, swirl the pan over the heat, but do not stir (this will cause it to clump). After about 8 minutes, when the sugar has begun to liquefy, stir with a heavy spoon. When the caramel turns light brown, quickly (and carefully burns are painful) pour into a 2-quart, high-sided metal flan mold. Tip pan so caramel coats the bottom and up sides of mold. Work fast; caramel hardens quickly.


Custard
4 cups of half and half
10 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
1 shot of rum or cognac
4 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks

Scald half and half, pinch of salt, sugar, vanilla, cognac, cloves, and cinnamon over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer. Do not boil.

Remove from heat and let cool for 10 -15 minutes. Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves.

Mix eggs thoroughly in separate bowl. They should be well mixed but not frothy.

When half and half mixture has cooled, incorporate egg mix until well blended and smooth.

Pour into cooled caramel coated flan mold. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in a hot water bath in oven at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to an hour. Flan is done when it is no longer watery. Do not overbake. You will know that it is done if you can touch it with your finger and not get the film on your finger. It will look very delicate and wobble when you touch it, but it will harden and set as it cools.

Allow to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for a few hours. When ready to serve, run a butter knife between the custard and the flan to loosen. Then take the serving plate (make sure it has some deepness to catch the melted caramel), place it over the flan mold, and quickly invert. Gently lift flan mold to display the flan.

Serves 8

Posted by: Emily | June 22, 2007 11:50 AM

ugh, the shrimp head talk is really gross...

Comfort food as a kid: when mom made pudding cake. Also, I loved her country fried steak and mashed potatoes (incidentally, that was the last meat I ever ate...back in 1992).

Now: going to Cold Stone Creamery with my daughter...getting breakfast burritos with our intern. Think I'll call some in now...

Posted by: single western mom | June 22, 2007 11:55 AM

Scarry,

I should clarify... the rice stuffing is asian based. If you're still interested, I'd be happy to share the recipe.

Posted by: MAY | June 22, 2007 11:56 AM

Small correction on flan recipe:

When ready to serve, run a butter knife between the custard and the flan MOLD to loosen.

Posted by: Emily | June 22, 2007 11:58 AM

Oh my gosh I miss Goodberrys! My husband and I went to college near Raleigh and would drive up there JUST to eat there. He LOVED the sweet cream flavored frozen custard. We now live in Asheville and miss it! At least we have Krispy Kreme here!

Posted by: To EducMom | June 22, 2007 12:03 PM

My mom makes the only rice pudding I will eat. (I have this weird thing about texture--no lumps in my smooth foods, please, but my mom's rice pudding is exempt.) BF and I had unique flavored rice pudding in NYC last year at a place called "Rice to Riches." It was a great idea, and the place was really popular, but I couldn't help commenting that he just HAD to try my mom's hot rice pudding in the dead of winter. Funny thing is, my mom is really a terrible cook, and the rice pudding is easy to make, but for some reason no one else (including myself) can duplicate it.

Bio dad was a fantastic cook, though I really never saw him until I was a teenager. He had the monopoly on fried eggs until after I became vegetarian, when he offered to make them for me, and after the fact I found out he used bacon grease to make them. I haven't touched fried eggs since. I mean, even if you eat meat, who really eats bacon grease? Gross.

Aunt makes the best grilled cheese in the world. Perfect amount of cheese and toasting. Then she goes and ruins it by putting mayonnaise and tomatoes on it.

Man. We ate some really freaking unhealthy things when I was a kid!

Posted by: Mona | June 22, 2007 12:06 PM

I miss the local foods of my native San Francisco Bay Area: extra-sour Sourdough French bread (loved the crusts and the heels), Meyer lemons from a relative's tree, fresh greens from truck farms along the south bay. Now I'm getting homesick.

Posted by: California Girl | June 22, 2007 12:09 PM

Scarry,

I should clarify... the rice stuffing is asian based. If you're still interested, I'd be happy to share the recipe.


Yes, please, my husband won't eat it, but my daughter and I will. I love rice of any kind. My mom makes really good lemon and chicken rice. The one thing that is really bad about being pregnant is that I have cravings for stuff that is made in different states. For example, the pizza burgers from Ohio, Hogi Yogi rice from Utah, Pizza Palace Pizza from Maryland, fresh lemonade from a place in Boulder!

Oh and I forgot one of the most yummy things my grandma made when I was little: homemade pickles. They were the best.

Posted by: scarry | June 22, 2007 12:10 PM

Bacon grease adds flavor. And isn't flavor what comfort foods are all about?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 12:11 PM

"Someone please post to let me know whether it's still there, and if their ice cream is still as wonderful as I recall.

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 10:11 AM"

Yep, still here. Seven years on this campus, and I still haven't tried it. There's now a Coldstone Creamery on Rte. 1, so I probably never will.

And no, I haven't been in college for seven years.

Posted by: Mona | June 22, 2007 12:13 PM

Here's the chocolate-oatmeal no bake cookie recipe.

2 cups sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup cold milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups oats

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except peanut butter and oats and cook over medium heat. Let boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and oats.

Spoon out quickly onto wax paper or aluminum foil. Cookies will harden as they set.


Now, when the recipe says to quickly spoon this stuff on the wax paper, they mean it! The mixture will harden right in the pan and you'll end up with a rather large mess in there.

Posted by: John L | June 22, 2007 12:15 PM

scarry, you might like an Italian favorite with rice: rice balls.

~ You make rice, mix it with a little grated parmesean cheese, cilantro or parsley, salt and pepper, and some cooked peas.
~ Using your hands, form a ball with the rice mixture around a piece of fresh mozzarella cheese.
~ Roll the ball in bread crumbs mixed with more parmesean cheese and bake for 20 min at 375.

Posted by: Meesh | June 22, 2007 12:17 PM

To 2girls2boys,

I hope this helps!

Taco Salad

1 lb. ground beef
1 can kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
1 package taco seasoning
1 8 oz. bottle Catalina dressing
1 package shredded lettuce
2 lbs. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 bag Fritos

Brown ground beef, drain. Add kidney beans, taco seasoning and dressing. Add to lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes; add Fritos just before serving.
Serve with chopped onions and sour cream if you like.

Use a big bowl! Mom always served it in a giant white Tupperware bowl that I took with me to college and lost in a tragic microwave accident.

Posted by: Nobody like mom | June 22, 2007 12:18 PM

Meesh

I love those, but no one would ever give me the recipie.

Thanks!!!

Posted by: scarry | June 22, 2007 12:20 PM

I love Goodberry's! I go every time I visit my grad school BFF.

I also LOVE rabbit. By far my favorite meat.

Childhood favorites:
push-ups (orange sherbet)
Mom's chocolate mayonaise cake
Mom's 7 layer dip (lettuce, mayo, peas, onions, paprika, eggs, and ?)
escargot (I always ordered this out, probably because of the garlic butter!)
boiled crabs
codcakes
scrapple (Phillie Mom)

Posted by: atb | June 22, 2007 12:25 PM

To CMAC: My father thought that too many onions would just ruin good liver :-(

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 12:26 PM

That was supposed to be 7 layer SALAD.

Posted by: atb | June 22, 2007 12:26 PM

Oh, and fresh peas, barely cooked, with salt, pepper, and lots of butter! I'm going to pick peas this weekend, and I plan to eat nothing but fresh peas for days.

Posted by: atb | June 22, 2007 12:28 PM

To Mona: I hope you'll stop by Turner Lab for a cone at least once before you leave for Calif.! Order the chocolate chip ice cream and think kindly of me, OK?

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 12:29 PM

Pies! Definitely pies! I must be my father's daughter, because we both adore pecan pie ... and my mother's rhubarb cream pie (the recipe came straight from the Better Homes & Garden Cook Book and the rhubarb from our garden ... the stuff grew like weeds in No. Ill. ... we gave it away by the armful each summer).

Posted by: Murphy | June 22, 2007 12:29 PM

I bet the 7th layer was bacon...

Posted by: atb | June 22, 2007 12:31 PM

Ooh, Meesh, your rice ball recipie kicked off a whole 'nother host of food-related memories for me.

I had a great aunt who was an amazing cook. Se used to test to see if frying oil was hot enough by putting her finger into it. She was always trying new things, and was the one who introduced us to rice balls, sourbraten and chicken and rice casserole. She also made us kids popcorn cake for all of our birthdays. It was a mixture of popcorn, peanuts and gumdrops, held together with melted marshmallows and packed into a angel-food pan. Though it sounds absolutely revolting, we all loved it. I have every intention of making it for DD someday.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 22, 2007 12:33 PM

Catlady, for you, I SUPPOSE I can be convinced to eat some delicious ice cream. I hope you know the sacrifice I'm willing to make for you!

Heh...I've heard great things about UMD ice cream. They now sell basic flavors in the student union shop during the summer. I can't believe I still haven't had any. But now is the perfect time of year, so I might as well go for it! :-)

Posted by: Mona | June 22, 2007 12:43 PM

For atb and other pea mavens: If you want something different and really easy to do with peas (this works equally well with frozen), try mixing up a (non-corrosive) bowlful of this salad to refrigerate for your next meal.

PEA SALAD

Steamed shelled green peas (main ingredient)
Finely chopped celery
Finely chopped green onions (scallions)
Mayonnaise
Fresh dill and parsley (or dried)
S&P to taste
Fresh mint leaves (optional)

Predominant ingredient should be peas. Use proportions of other ingredients to suit your taste. Mix the veggies, then gently stir in just enough mayonnaise to make the salad creamy but not runny; gently add remaining ingredients. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Non-vegetarians have been known to add a little diced cooked ham or turkey.

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 12:43 PM

All this talk of bacon and now a mention of sauerbraten reminds me. . . I need to ask my mom how to make rouladen. It makes the best gravy to go on mashed potatoes. I made it once years ago, but it wasn't the same as Mom's. It's not quite the right time of year though.

I am able to replicate her peach pie--I'm looking forward to fruit pie season coming soon. The best is when I throw some raspberries in with the peaches. I suppose it's high season for strawberry-rhubarb. It seems to me that it should be made only with home-grown rhubarb though. I've never grown it.

Posted by: Marian | June 22, 2007 12:44 PM

Mona, I'll treasure your sacrifice forever ;-)

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 12:48 PM

Scarry, FWIW, if you try Meesh's rice ball recipe, you probably want to use a short- or medium-grain rice (like they use in risotto) -- since there are no eggs in the recipe, the extra starch that you get out of a shorter-grain rice helps them hang together. Meesh, what say you?

Yoy can also fry them, which is how I learned how to make them -- but baking would be much healthier!

Posted by: Laura | June 22, 2007 12:48 PM

My favorite summertime foods began with my dad making french toast on Saturday mornings...egg-dipped and pan fried, topped with powdered sugar and syrup...with a side of canadian bacon. He is also a whiz on the grill - but when he would fire up the grill ALL meats in the fridge were possible bbq fodder.

Great memories...thanks for today's post.

Posted by: Dad's french toast | June 22, 2007 12:56 PM

Scarry,

Sorry, the WaPo ate my recipe. I'll try again.

Posted by: MAY | June 22, 2007 1:07 PM

Boiled peanuts, anyone? I missed my South Carolina favorite so much I experimented and learned to make them in a pressure cooker. And now people tell me my peanuts are better than the ones down south!

Posted by: Tysons mom | June 22, 2007 1:09 PM

Another memory: My mom used to make a bunny rabbit cake every Easter. I have no idea where she got the template for the cake, since it started out life as plain 8" round cakes - maybe Joy of Cooking? The whole thing was frosted and coated with coconut flakes. Ears were cut from the lid of a foam egg carton, preferably pink, and eyes were jelly beans. I think the tail was a cotton ball. (Without ears, eyes and tail it would look like a shaggy white VW Beetle.) Some years she even dyed some of the coconut green and scattered it around the cake plate for a grass effect.

Posted by: BxNY | June 22, 2007 1:09 PM

the WaPo ate my recipe. I'll try again.

Guess it worked up a real appetite reading all this food chat ;>)

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 1:10 PM

Homemade cream puffs with ice cream and hot fudge. My mom would bake the cream puffs from scratch, and make the 'secret' family hot fudge recipe (which is still my favorite hot fudge). Cut the cream puffs in half, fill with vanilla ice cream, and pour the hot fudge on top. Yummy!

We lived near Sanders stores that made and sold a version of this (metro Detroit area), which is where my mom got the idea. But since we didn't have the money to go out and buy them for the whole family, she made it all from scratch. And it tasted better!

Posted by: CJB | June 22, 2007 1:20 PM

the WaPo ate my recipe. I'll try again.

Guess it worked up a real appetite reading all this food chat ;>)

Posted by: | June 22, 2007 01:10 PM

This one gets my vote for "Post of the Day"!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 1:21 PM

Where is everyone? Did they all get hungry and go out to lunch?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 1:26 PM

the WaPo ate my recipe. I'll try again.

Guess it worked up a real appetite reading all this food chat ;>)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 1:26 PM

I suppose it's high season for strawberry-rhubarb. It seems to me that it should be made only with home-grown rhubarb though. I've never grown it.

Posted by: Marian

Marian,

Rhubarb is SUPER easy to grow. Don't be afraid. Try a raised bed of it. You don't need a lot of room.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 22, 2007 1:28 PM

Back in my day, candy cigarettes and gum packaged to resemble Red Man chewing tobacco was sold to kids at the 7-eleven.

Talk about comfort foods!

Posted by: Lil Husky | June 22, 2007 1:33 PM

Rhubarb recipes at this site!

http://www.rhubarbinfo.com/

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 1:33 PM

ARGH!!! That's twice now... the WaPo must be really hungry!

I'll try again in about an hour...

Posted by: MAY | June 22, 2007 1:35 PM

the WaPo ate my recipe. I'll try again.

Oh no, but you get a A for effort and a vote for post of the day.

Posted by: scarry | June 22, 2007 1:38 PM

Thanks for the encouragement, Maryland Mother.

I've been thinking of making a raised bed for a few simple "crops"--mainly tomatoes and a few herbs. The kids are getting to be the ages where they could be good helpers rather than safety hazards to themselves :-). My understanding is that I wouldn't need many rhubarb plants to get enough for a pie or two.

Fond memory: going out to my aunt's garden with a bowl of sugar. We would break off a stalk of rhubarb and dip it into the sugar to eat raw.

Posted by: Marian | June 22, 2007 1:41 PM

Thanks for the encouragement, Maryland Mother.

I've been thinking of making a raised bed for a few simple "crops"--mainly tomatoes and a few herbs. The kids are getting to be the ages where they could be good helpers rather than safety hazards to themselves :-). My understanding is that I wouldn't need many rhubarb plants to get enough for a pie or two.

Fond memory: going out to my aunt's garden with a bowl of sugar. We would break off a stalk of rhubarb and dip it into the sugar to eat raw.

Posted by: Marian | June 22, 2007 1:41 PM

educmom - even if no one else gets Goodberry's - I DO! We lived near one when we lived in the Raleigh area while hubby was at Duke Law. It is far better than any of the other places that people have mentioned. There is one in Fredericksburg, I think that is the closest one. There is another place called Cookout in the Raleigh area that has the BEST onion rings and excellent milkshakes and malts -
All in all - I would take the Raleigh area any day over DC - if there was just a job for hubby there (there isn't much in his type of law). Also - the Mexican restaurant we have ever been to is there - El Dorado - the best and not expensive. We can't figure out why there aren't any of these real Mexican restaurants around DC - this is the place where all of the Mexicans in the Raleigh area eat - so you know its real!

Posted by: WAMC | June 22, 2007 1:42 PM

Is it true that you can only get Moon pies south of the Mason Dixon line?

Posted by: Lil Husky | June 22, 2007 1:43 PM

Thanks for the recipe Nobody Like Mom...will try this weekend.

Posted by: 2girls2boys | June 22, 2007 1:52 PM

Another good food memory: driving up north with my grandparents to spend time at their cottage on a lake. We would ALWAYS stop at the same truck stop every trip (about 2/3 of the way there) and have coffee (adults), milk (kids) and peanut-covered doughnuts. (It didn't matter if you liked peanut or not, those were the only kind you were going to get). And they are still my favorite doughnut to this day! (well, jelly filled are pretty good, too)

Posted by: CJB | June 22, 2007 1:54 PM

I've seen an ad for growing tomatoes upside-down. Has anyone tried that? Did it work well? I'm very intrigued. It sounds too good to be true. I would love to grow some heirloom tomatoes, get some good fresh buffalo mozzarella and some GREEK olive oil and introduce the kids to great dining. Oh, needs olives too.

Note to self: go to Wheaton Triangle and get olives, apricot paste and sheep milk cheese. I love that cheese--and good blue cheese too.

I'm at least as hungry as WaPo seems to be, eating recipes and all.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 22, 2007 1:55 PM

Last night after working out, I stopped
at my local library to pick up a book on hold. When I left the building, I remembered again that it was the Solstice
and the sun was so bright and the light was so clean and clear and the air was almost warm (I live in N. CA)and I had an overwhelming urge to find a fruit stand where I could pick up some berries and a canteloupe. When I was a kid, and it was summer that meant it was Library Book Club Time. My mom would take all of us over to the little branch library and we'd give our book reports, pick out a whole stack of new books, and then head across town to a fruit stand on the side of the road. The stand featured local produce and was THE PLACE to get the best, in the years before farmers markets came into prominence. I loved those days, almost as much as the "vacations" spent at my grandparents for a week or two each year, esp. in August. It is wonderful to have such good memories from childhood.

Posted by: SF Mom | June 22, 2007 1:56 PM

"I would take the Raleigh area any day over DC "

So would I, in a heartbeat. I never thought I'd love a geographical area so very much, but the whole Triangle area rocks. I'm never leaving if I can help it. I'd rather re-train in a different area of the law then give up living in Cary.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 22, 2007 1:59 PM

SF Mom, could you send me a loaf of virtual extra-sour San Francisco Sourdough French Bread? Please? I really miss it, and the supposed sourdough breads in the East are so lame.

Posted by: California Girl | June 22, 2007 2:01 PM

SF Mom, Could you also pick me up a virtual Mendota melon? (Canteloupe, so sweet and juicy)

Posted by: California Girl | June 22, 2007 2:03 PM

BOILED PEANUTS!!! The best thing to buy on the side of the road! The second best thing is beef jerky in Texas. Yum. (We once had a converstaion about things you buy from the side of the road. Boiled peanuts, jerky, firewood, and puppies are what we came up with.)

Catlady- Thanks so much for the pea recipe! I plan on picking so many I get bored from eating too many, so that will help.

Posted by: atb | June 22, 2007 2:04 PM

Laura, that's right. I tend to overcook the rice to make it a little mushier and therefore easier to form. And my grandmother fried them too, but, alas, we can't do that anymore.

Posted by: Meesh | June 22, 2007 2:07 PM

NewSAHM - I was with you until you said stay in Cary...

he he he...said the arrogant chapel hillian...

Posted by: dotted | June 22, 2007 2:13 PM

Maryland Mother, you wrote "I've seen an ad for growing tomatoes upside-down..."

A few years ago a good buddy of mine suggested that I fertilize my tomato plants with a little V1agra. The tomatos didn't grow much larger than usual, but I sure didn't have to stake the plants. :-)

Posted by: Lil Husky | June 22, 2007 2:15 PM

http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/jump.jsp?itemID=176&itemType=CATEGORY&iMainCat=39&iSubCat=176&viewall=1

Try their candy store too.

I remember Charles Chips delivering to the next-door neighbours...mmm.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 2:17 PM

I have great memories of boiled (pronounced "bahld") peanuts when I was living in Georgia. I encountered them again when we moved to NC and found out that I still love them!! Anything that salty is my best friend. But my brother and mom, having the same fond memories, instantly hated them. Weird, huh? Oh well, more for me!

It's a tough choice between the Triangle and the DC area. I love them both. I'm lucky that I get to live here and visit DC so often.

Maryland Mother, does the place you're talking about in Wheaton carry hallumi (sp?) cheese? Quick Pita in DC makes grilled pita with that cheese and tomatos and I have to get it every time I visit. If you can find that cheese, try it!

Posted by: Meesh | June 22, 2007 2:20 PM

Anyone else remember REAL maple syrup on pancakes and waffles? Mmmm....

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 2:20 PM

I think the WaPo might be a little horney today as well as hungry. It ate my V-I-a-g-r-a post so I had to spell it v1agra.

Posted by: Lil Husky | June 22, 2007 2:23 PM

Dotted, I'm cracking up over here. What is it with people and Cary? The people who live here love it, but people who live elsewhere seem to hate it with surprising intensity.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 22, 2007 2:24 PM

"I've been thinking of making a raised bed for a few simple "crops"--mainly tomatoes and a few herbs."

We did a raised bed this year and we are loving it. The soils in our area are terrible, so everyone told us to either dig it out and replace it or build a raised bed. Ours is 8 x 10, we've got peas, beans, raddish, kohlrabi, tomatoes, peppers, cukes and some squash and it's been wonderful so far. We also have volunteer rhubarb that was here when we moved in and it's growing really well. I'm cutting it tonight for pie and I'm told I might get a second cutting later in the summer too, if I'm lucky.

I say for go for it! Good luck!

Posted by: Megan | June 22, 2007 2:25 PM

Meesh,

shamra.com 2650 University Blvd. Wheaton, MD 20902 Phone: (301) 942-9726 Fax: (240) 337-6468

This isn't the name of the place that I'm thinking of, but it intrigues me anyway.

I guess I'm just going to have to call my dad and get the right name for you.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 22, 2007 2:30 PM

Real maple syrup? You bet! The other thing I remember from my childhood are those little maple sugar figures ... used to find them in my Christmas stocking! Sometimes it was the pilgrim-like figures ... sometimes the Canadian maple leaf. Don't remember if they came in any other shape.

Posted by: Murphy | June 22, 2007 2:33 PM

Thomas Market
(301) 942-0839


2650 University Blvd W
Wheaton, MD 20902


Found it!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 22, 2007 2:33 PM

NewSAHM - ummmm...I'm not sure I really want to answer your question on the love/hate Cary thing. :) Maybe MN can help me out on this one! Seriously, Cary is something people either love or hate. I remember the National Geographic zip code article on Cary turning me off...though I have many friends in Cary who love it. Something to tease each other about. E.g., Chapel hill positives are culture, no big box stores and local schools, CH negatives are high high taxes and high high home costs. You can fill in the Cary positives and negatives!

Back to on topic though:
My kids will remember my sausage spaghetti (extra spicy and thick), sushi rolls, and Curry Laksa.

Posted by: dotted | June 22, 2007 2:34 PM

http://www.wheatonnet.com/virtalph.html

Meesh, you may want to try this site too.

Let's meet up for a virtual meal, or something.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 2:36 PM

Meesh, our local Wild Oats and Whole Foods both carry halumi cheese - it's fantastic stuff. If you have one of those stores in your area you might check there.

Posted by: Megan | June 22, 2007 2:36 PM

KLB - how are things going? Good thoughts headed up your way!

Posted by: dotted | June 22, 2007 2:38 PM

When we lived in Wheaton (after College Park), there was a lady with a cheese and wine shop in the Triangle, Bebe something-or-other (it's been too long). Is that the cheese place you're talking about?

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 2:46 PM

See, and what I like about Cary is the low home prices (compared to DC, at least), culture (Lazy Daze, COncert Singers, etc.), and great schools. Plus the zillions of parks, ton of kid-friendly activities and easy access to pretty much everywhere else in the Triangle.

To each her own, I guess. In all fairness, I haven't visited Chapel Hill yet, except to see the UNC campus.

Posted by: NewSAHM | June 22, 2007 2:46 PM

Best side of the road food:
Fresh picked cherries sold along the road in dozens of places in the Traverse City area of Michigan, during season (which is just starting now). Driving in your car with a sweet bag full and the windows down, spitting the pits out the window.

Posted by: CJB | June 22, 2007 2:59 PM

dotted, WaPO ate my chiding post - you know, the one that says, I travel for a single day and my Chapel Hill friend is turning her nose up at my fair city. *sniff* *sniff*

Perhaps you could make it up to me by providing the recipe for Curry Laksa.

signed Megan's Neighbor, Possessor of
Inside the Beltline Taste and an Apex Budget (home of quality folks like Meesh)


Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | June 22, 2007 2:59 PM

MN, don't you mean "Inside the BeltWAY"? Methinks you've been away far too long!

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 3:02 PM

Great. Now I'm dreaming of fresh figs and paw-paws.

This is not the way to go to a meeting, on a gorgeous Friday in particular. Somehow, a cup of lab swill (community coffee) just isn't going to cut it!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 22, 2007 3:02 PM

Does anyone know the address/phone/hours for the UMD Dairy? Do tell!

Posted by: christine | June 22, 2007 3:05 PM

MN, don't you mean "Inside the BeltWAY"? Methinks you've been away far too long!

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 03:02 PM

catlady, methinks you are thinking of Washington, and I am living in Raleigh, LOL. Washington has a Beltway. Raleigh has a Beltline. Same concept, but much more dramatic increase in home prices and values simply by crossing into the Beltline.

Posted by: MN | June 22, 2007 3:06 PM

MN, I'll dig out the recipe for Curry Laksa this evening. You need to go to an Asian food store for much of the ingredients.

he he he...Never turning up my nose at Cary, just smiling. But if you read that National Geographic article on Cary and how everyone there a) works at SAS and b) plays bunco ad nauseum, you wouldn't want to live in Cary either. Now we both know that article isn't true, but it is still fun to tease you and NewSAHM!

Now Apex...well...Meesh, I know Sunset Ridge and environs, plus some great BBQ place around there.

Posted by: dotted | June 22, 2007 3:07 PM

dotted - if you think of the great BBQ place in Apex, do tell. I can always use a good non-franchised, BBQ recommendation. How are you familiar with Sunset Ridge? I was over there for the first time last week talking to one of the tennis pros about their youth teams. It seemed like a great neighborhood. To dream of, that is.

Posted by: MN | June 22, 2007 3:11 PM

Anyone have an opinion of Jill Hudson Neall's column yesterday on the oxymoron that is family vacations? Or at least an opinion more complex than, "why did you have them if you don't want to be with them," and "you're all rich, spoiled, pedigreed brats".

Posted by: MN | June 22, 2007 3:14 PM

-tomatoes fresh off of the bush eaten like apples
-mom's potato salad
-fresh bing cherries in June and other seasonal fruit from the huckster
-Good Humor
-Water ice (outside of Philadelphia known as Italian ice)

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 3:24 PM

Scarry,

My 4th attempt follows for the rice stuffing recipe. If this doesn't work, I give up.

Posted by: MAY | June 22, 2007 3:30 PM

The lunch report.

Boss's boss had fried soft shell crab and a cup of gumbo.

Boss had a chicken salad (no imagination) but did have a bowl of gumbo

Fred had fried shrimp with cocktail sauce that he made at the table. The waitress (who called us all "darling") brought a lemon wedge and horseradish. The catsup was already on the table.

Cheesecake all around for dessert

And of course, iced tea. (we say iced tea in N.O. not sweet tea)

Posted by: Fred | June 22, 2007 3:36 PM

Oh Fred darling, my lunch was a subway sandwich. I'm the one showing absolutely no imagination!

though shrimp tonight does sound good to me!

Posted by: dotted | June 22, 2007 3:40 PM

Fred, you passed on the softshells? Poor judgment, I tell ya.

Posted by: MN | June 22, 2007 3:41 PM

Rice Stuffing

1 can sliced water chestnuts
2-3 green onions, washed, roots trimmed off
1 bunch cilantro, washed, root ends trimmed off
4-6 chinese sausages (google for picture)
12 dried sh1take mushrooms (soak in water)
2 cups med grain rice, washed
1 can chicken broth
water

Combine washed rice and chicken broth in a pan. Jiggle pan to level the rice. Gently rest tip of forefinger on rice surface. Add water until total liquid volume surface rises to just the first crease of your finger. Cover with lid, bring to a boil, then cook on lowest heat setting until all liquid is absorbed. When rice is done, remove from heat. Remove lid and allow steam to escape.

While rice is cooking, slice chestnuts to form small chestnut sticks. Finely chop cilantro and green onions (use entire green onion). When mushrooms are fully rehydrated, squeeze to remove excess water, remove and discard stems, then thinly slice the mushroom. Dice the sausage by cutting lengthwise once then crosswise down the length of the sausage.

In a pot large enough for all of the ingredients, including the cooked rice, cook the sausage over medium heat until the sausage turns a deep red and is somewhat transparent (compared to when it's uncooked). Add all of the sliced/chopped ingredients and cook until the cilantro is wilted. Add the cooked rice and mix well.

Can be eaten as is or use to stuff a turkey, chicken, or game hen.

Enjoy.

Posted by: MAY | June 22, 2007 3:41 PM

call me a sissy, but softshells never did it for me.

I'm a grouper, shrimp, crab and lobster girl (fried, broiled, whatever)

Posted by: dotted | June 22, 2007 3:42 PM

Dotted, you're not a sissy. You're what I call a perfect dinner companion. More softshells for me! me! me! Your chosen favorites are, of course, also wonderful.

Posted by: MN | June 22, 2007 3:46 PM

MN,

It was a tough choice, the shrimp there is so spicy and delicious! Unfortunately, new big boss is a Russian lady so no food sharing went on! But I did have crabcakes last Saturday.

Posted by: Fred | June 22, 2007 3:49 PM

When I was a kid, I LOVED:
*Tuna Casserole
*My dad's grilled cheese sandwiches
*My grandma's homemade chocolate frosting -- it was so think, we'd peel it off the cake and eat it separately like fudge!
*My dad's homemade rice pudding (FYI, grilled cheese and rice pudding were the ONLY things he cooked)
*Snow cones from the ice cream man

Catlady -- My mom tried to make liver once. My dad hated it and picked up his plate and unceremoniously dumped his down the garbage disposal and went out for a burger. We kids didn't get away with that and had to eat it. Fortunately, it was never served again.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | June 22, 2007 3:52 PM

Oh Fred darling, my lunch was a subway sandwich.

What can I say? I know, the company picked up the lunch tab!

Posted by: Fred | June 22, 2007 3:52 PM

MN--

Her points get lost in her immature language. She uses, "Like, ever" as a full sentence. Is this what passes for a voice in the opinion of WaPost editors? She does just sound spoiled.

I agree that vacationing with young children can be more exhausting than rejuvenating. This is where adjusting expectations comes into play. Our vacations tend to be shorter, less expensive, and closer to home for the time being.

If the author wants to be able to have some time to relax, a picnic on a blanket in a field makes much more sense than time on a beach or by the pool. She might get some time to sit while the boys run around a big field in relative safety and in sight. How could she think she could relax with preschoolers by a pool?

To me, it's asking for trouble to pay day-long admission fees for very young children with little endurance. It's too much pressure to stay beyond the point where kids are too tired to have fun and be cheerful.

Posted by: Marian | June 22, 2007 3:53 PM

Good points, Marian. I struggle with this because a vacation with our kids is, while wonderful as its own experience, not rejuvenating and not a capital-V, Vacation. Struggle is too strong a word. I am aware of the disconnect between needing the relaxing effect of vacation, and not getting it on our trips with our kids.

Posted by: MN | June 22, 2007 3:58 PM

Shrimp, softshell crab, and me here with my instant oatmeal lunch.

WAH!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | June 22, 2007 4:03 PM

Maryland Mom, thanks for the site. I have looked for halumi at my Trader Joes and Whole Foods to no avail. Will check out the sites, though.

Apex is nice. I love Cary too; that's the "city" for us.

The only BBQ connection I have here in Apex is the road near my house called "Apex Barbeque Road." I'm not kidding.

I don't eat mammals, but the one BBQ place my hubby loves is called Ralph's. It's about an hour from Raleigh.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Posted by: Meesh | June 22, 2007 4:07 PM

Well, a happy note on a Friday afternoon. There is a subject on which friendly and sharing discourse can occur on this site! Now, I am going to be lost as to which foods I am making first! Thanks to all of you for sharing. This was a fun one today.

Posted by: FormerNoVa Mom | June 22, 2007 4:23 PM

Also, did anyone ever actually purchase a pecan roll from Stuckey's? Memories of drivin'south to visit my grandmother in New Orleans always involve stopping for a Pecan Roll. And nothing better than shrimp po-boys once we got to NO! Dressed.

Posted by: Former NoVa Mom | June 22, 2007 4:25 PM

junket renet custard, it was pink and squishy and why we liked it I dont know but mom got it in packages at the A&P and made it and poured it into small glass cups. For some reason, we always had it in the summer.

Posted by: june 9 | June 22, 2007 4:36 PM

junket renet custard, it was pink and squishy and why we liked it I dont know but mom got it in packages at the A&P and made it and poured it into small glass cups. For some reason, we always had it in the summer.

Posted by: june 9 | June 22, 2007 4:36 PM

Meech, My grad school BFF lives off Apex BBQ Road! You're neighbors.

Posted by: atb | June 22, 2007 4:44 PM

BTW, Cary/Apex are terrible places to be single. I'm not sure anywhere in the triangle is a good place to be in your late 20s/early 30s single. It's all college kids and married people. Not good for my friend's search. Why she lives in Cary is beyond me. Except for Goodberry's.

Posted by: atb | June 22, 2007 4:46 PM

To MN: Forgive my ignorance re Beltline vs. Beltway. Only been through the NC Triangle area once, so my bad.

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 4:50 PM

1) some stupid american cookie
2) some stupid american burger
3) coke pepsi etc

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 5:27 PM

To MN: Forgive my ignorance re Beltline vs. Beltway. Only been through the NC Triangle area once, so my bad.

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 04:50 PM

silly wabbit. you are never ignorant.

Posted by: MN | June 22, 2007 5:35 PM

I (heart) MN.

Posted by: catlady | June 22, 2007 5:48 PM

Fred's Quote of the Day
(no surprise here division)
comes from: May

"Sorry, the WaPo ate my recipe. I'll try again."

Posted by: MAY | June 22, 2007 01:07 PM

Sorry that the WaPo was so hungry today, I promise that the creepy van will not eat your recipe, it only eats oil!

Posted by: Fred | June 22, 2007 6:25 PM

Thanks MAY!

Posted by: scarry | June 22, 2007 7:53 PM

1. store-bought chocolate chip cookie dough (raw)

2. Tastykake butterscotch krimpets. OMG. mmmmm.

3. corn-on-the-cob and burgers on the grill

4. stouffer's lasagna

5. stella d'oro breakfast treats

Yes, my mother worked. LOL

Posted by: Anonymous | June 23, 2007 8:45 PM

"And I try to make sure that neither my husband nor I are too busy with work to enjoy our children's childhoods."

Guilt! Guilt! Guilt!

Why does someone (Leslie) point out time and time again how happy they are, how balanced their life is, and what a wonderful mother she is? Because she is incredibly insecure that possibly, she is none of these things!!!

Working moms spend so much time defending their decision to work, they waste precious time they could be spending with their kids!!

Words of wisdom: If you feel guilty, you probably are.

Posted by: 0003 | June 23, 2007 10:35 PM

You can still buy Suzie Q's--maybe it's a regional thing (you can only get Chocodiles in the west). I love the pink coconut covered snoballs--and all the other colors for the various holidays.

Posted by: az | June 26, 2007 10:25 AM

Although most people don't like it, I think broccoli should top the list because of all of the beneficial nutrients in it: Vitamin C (more than oranges), Diindolylmethane, Sulforaphane and Selenium.

References:

http://www.diindolylmethane.org/

http://www.activamune.com/

Posted by: Mike D | July 1, 2007 7:26 AM

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