Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten On Tuesday prompt is 10 Favorite Foods Your Mom Used To Make. My mother didn't enjoy cooking very much, but she did prepare dinner for the four of us almost every night. She was happy to hand off some of the food preparation to my sister and I when she got a job, and I appreciate her infinite patience when I called her at work to ask for instructions on how to make meatloaf. Even though cooking wasn't her favorite thing, childhood foods that Mom used to make have a special place in my heart.
  1. Chef Boyardee Pizza - This was a kit with crust mix, sauce, and "cheese" topping that came in a box. I remember that the crust was difficult to stretch out and it probably wasn't the world's best-tasting pizza, but my mom, sister, and I made these together, so the camaraderie was part of it.
  2. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese - The classic stuff in the blue box with the bright orange powder was a childhood staple. The only time I didn't like it was when Mom put sliced-up hotdogs in it. Hotdogs should be served alongside macaroni and cheese, never in it. 
  3. Tomato soup - My father traveled a lot and when he was gone, my sister and I alternated choosing what to have for dinner. I almost always picked delicious Campbell's tomato soup; my sister chose bean with bacon (yuck!)
  4. Grilled Cheese - You have to have grilled cheese with tomato soup, and my mother's grilled cheese were the best. .
  5. BLCT Sandwiches - This was the ultimate choice when my father was away - bacon, lettuce, cheese, and tomato sandwiches, served on Wonder Bread, of course. I didn't know the classic came without cheese until I was a teenager.
  6. Fish sticks - Call me crazy, but I liked them. Maybe it was the tartar sauce.
  7. Spaghetti - In our house this was plain spaghetti with Ragu and Kraft grated parmesan in the green container, but sometimes not fancy is good.
  8. Meatloaf - This was the one meal that my mother prepared without a recipe, and I do it the same way. Your choice of ground meat, a couple eggs, some ketchup, and whatever else you feel like throwing in.
  9. Magic Carpet Cookies - My mother might not have enjoyed the drudgery of day-to-day dinner preparation, but she was the queen of Christmas cookies. She made dozens and dozens, storing them in huge Charlie Chip cans. (Imagine my surprise when I searched for a link and found the company is actually Charles Chips! We always called the delivery guy that came once a week Charlie Chip.)  My favorites were Magic Carpet Cookies and Mom made them for me every year. It wasn't until I grew up, inherited her recipe box, and made them myself that I appreciated what fiddly, pain-in-the-butt cookies they were to make. 
  10. Martha's Company Casserole - This was honestly not one of my favorites, but it's indelibly linked with my mother. I have no idea who Martha was, and I've only made this twice in the past 35 years, but the second time was just last Saturday because John requested it. The spots and stains on the recipe card have to mean something!

I grew up in the 60s, so it's probably not fair to judge these foods by today's standards. My grandmother always said that everything tastes better when someone makes it just for you, and I think that is certainly true with all these favorites that Mom made for us.

What are your Mom-made favorites? I'm looking forward to some childhood deliciousness and maybe even a few new recipes!


  1. Your dinner table looked a lot like ours! My Mom wasn't particularly fond of cooking either -- but she did have some specialties. (I'm still trying to figure out how to duplicate her potato salad. . . )

  2. Tomato soup and grilled cheese in my house meant it must be Sunday night and time for The Wonderful World of Disney. My mom was no fan of cooking either, and most times things were burned pretty horribly. But, my mom was an avid reader and was often lost in the land of her story! Priorities, you know! :)

  3. My mother loved to eat, but hated to cook. But to this day I still love Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the blue box (don't tell anyone!).

  4. I share some of these memories and I remember that pizza kid in the box. Wasn't it called Apian Way or something? Or maybe that was a different brand. To this day Dale prefers Kraft mac 'n cheese over my homemade.

  5. Fish sticks - these were a staple in our house too. Especially on nights that my dad had to work late in the city. Great list!

  6. I love the blue box too. But these days I eat Annie's and it's pretty darn good too! I think I would love Martha's Company Casserole. I'm a fan of that kind of food. Little fact...Dan would have been Martha had he been a girl!

  7. My mom's first love was baking and I grew up eating homemade breads, rolls, cakes and pies. Mom loved casseroles. I think she never met a casserole she didn't like. She didn't know about Martha's!

  8. oh my goodness! my mom made a version of that Martha's Casserole and it was one of my favorites... I didn't include it on my list because I couldn't think of what it was called. thank you for the recipe!

    Sounds like your mom was fun in the kitchen - I love that she let you and your sister choose the meals (and cracked up that your sister loved the bean and bacon soup - I'd say yuck too!)


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