Foods from Childhood

Do we have a longing for the foods of our childhood as we grow older? I used to be amused when my mom told me of foods her mother made when she was growing up, then wanted me to prepare them when she could no longer cook for herself. I’d scurry around trying to find the old recipes and the ingredients, even though I wondered why she couldn’t be satisfied with packaged foods or ones that were easier to make.
My mother-in-law tells of the foods her mother prepared. Just the other day she mentioned she’d like some cole slaw like her mother made. Since we don’t have a recipe for it and Mum doesn’t recall the exact ingredients, I can’t duplicate this.
Preference For Simpler Foods
I find as the years go by, I get a longing for some of the foods of my childhood. These often were simple recipes because my mother had to be frugal, because she was a busy farmwife, and because we didn’t have the large selection of foods and ingredients found in grocery stores today. Much of our food was home grown and canned. Our salad dressing consisted of something homemade or mayonnaise from the jar. Peanut butter sandwiches were a standby. Scrambled eggs and creamed potatoes made a handy supper menu.
The other day I found myself desiring a wedge of lettuce spread with mayonnaise…the way Mother served a salad and cold green beans mixed with a bit of chopped onion and salad dressing as my aunt made “Green Bean Salad.”
My husband tells of the chocolate cake his grandmother made and the vanilla pudding pie. We haven’t found recipes yet that comes close to the taste he remembers.
What Are the Foods of Your Childhood?
Do you enjoy the foods of your childhood? Or are they ones you don’t ever want to eat again because your mom prepared them so much you tired of them? What will my daughter and her children remember as the foods of their childhood?
Old Recipe Books
I’m fortunate to have found some of the recipes my mom gathered in a box during my childhood. I’ve also been given the notebook her sister kept of family recipes, going back to those of their grandmother. Their father, a writer, described in a newspaper article, the foods his mother prepared when he was growing up in the 1880s. What are some of these recipes of your childhood?
BLUEBERRY CAKE is one of the recipes of my husband’s mom made and I still do.
Cream 1/4 cup shortening until fluffy. Add 1 cup sugar (Mum often reduced it to 3/4 cup), slowly. Add 1 egg and beat well. Add 1 1/3 cup sifted flour, dash nutmeg, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt alternately with 1/2 cup milk.
Fold in 1 1/4 cup blueberries coated with 2 tablespoons flour and 1 tablespoon lemonade mix. (If using 1 tablespoon lemon juice instead of lemonade mix, add before blueberries.) Do not stir too vigorously if using fresh blueberries or they will get mushy. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. in 8 x 8-inch greased pan, until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

(c) Mary Emma Allen

(In addition to writing cooking columns, Mary Emma Allen writes for children. Her latest book is a coloring book to accompany her childrens anthology, “Tales of Adventure & Discovery”

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