Remember the good old days, before you were an adult, when you got no say in what you ate and were expected to devour whatever they put in front of you? Nostalgic for those days?
Yeah, me neither.
This piece is based on an AskReddit thread. Link on the last page.
My mom liked to make spaghetti. That’s not weird!” I hear you say. It wasnt the dish – it was what she put in it. She didnt use spaghetti sauce or even meat. Instead, she would just boil the noodles, then throw in a bunch of dried out old raisins. Just cooked spaghetti and rehydrated raisins on a plate.
She was very proud of this dish and didn’t understand why we hated mom’s day to cook.
2. Salad shouldn’t involve mayo.
“Asparagus salad” which consisted of 5-6 limp, cold pieces of canned asparagus served on a bed of iceberg lettuce with a glob of mayo on top.
No broth. No solids.
Boiled water with pepper and paprika.
At some point frugality becomes a mental illness.
4. Eat through the pain!
My mom used to make a Vietnamese noodle dish called bun rieu but didn’t always have time to make it from scratch, so she often used a canned broth.
I am allergic to peanuts and every time she made this dish I would complain to her that I didn’t want to eat anymore because my lips were swelling up and I was itchy.
She is having none of that sass obviously and makes me eat the whole bowl.
Few years down the line she decides to read the ingredients label on the back and just says “eh….you probably should stop eating that.”
5. Back in my day…
As was the custom in the 1950s-1980s, when my parents were coming of age, my parents only ate vegetables boiled and unseasoned. So, boiled carrots, boiled Brussels sprouts, etc. No salt, no pepper, no olive oil or butter.
This led me to believe that vegetables are supposed to taste bad. Later in life, I discovered seared, roasted, caramelized, and seasoned vegetables and those things are the best. Every day, I’m caramelizing or roasting a veggie.
6. Those words belong nowhere near each other.
When they were younger, my mom and her siblings were forced to eat cream of mushroom soup sandwiches. Her dad would slice the soup like cranberry sauce and spread it across the bread.
7. No cats were harmed.
My mom made (and still makes) a dish called Cat Heads. It’s basically chicken with cream of celery, some vegetables, and a bit of stew inside two rolled up crescent rolls. It looks exactly like a shaved, cooked cat’s head, so she called it that and we have it every Christmas.
8. Mmm. Meat fruit.
My parents would wrap bologna around a banana and that was my snack.
I don’t know where the idea came from, but I hated it. I just don’t know guys.
I grew up to become allergic to bonobos.
9. How do ya like them apples?
My mom would mix cooked mac and cheese with applesauce in a bowl and give it to us.
10. I like mine dry.
A dry ketchup sandwich. It was old stale bread that was broken in half for the two pieces of bread for a sandwich with ketchup in between them. No meat. No cheese. Just ketchup. If we were lucky, the bread wasn’t too stale and the taste kinda resembled french fries.
11. Milking it.
We grew up dirt poor, and relied heavily on the area soup kitchens and food pantries. There were five of us kids with a stay-at-home-mom, and my dad was unemployed for a few years, so we rarely could afford basic things like fruit.
To keep us healthy, my dad would regularly fill an empty skim milk jug with water and add powdered milk + powdered vitamin tablets (the type with the capsule) and shake it up, then put it in the fridge. We never really knew whether we were drinking actual milk or the vile false milk until we tasted it, since skim milk has the same appearance.
To this day, my dad maintains that doing what he did kept us all healthy as none of us got sick during his unemployment.
12. Duck and cover.
My grandmother made this soup called Czernina. Noodles and duck meat floating in a deadly mixture of broth, duck blood, sugar, and vinegar. Sometimes it also had prunes in it. It looks as unappetizing as it sounds. Everyone seemed to like it, but it grossed me out so much.
13. She’s on fire.
My mom loved making pork chops, but cooked the HELL out of them, so it was like eating rubber. We ended up calling the dinner ‘Shake and Incinerate’.
14. Can’t imagine what she thought baking soda was.
Soda milk. Exactly what it sounds like. My mom didn’t want to give us straight soda so she would mix soda and milk. We thought it was normal and evidently liked it. No idea how I haven’t been committed.
15. Spoiled brats.
My mom, God bless her, was not a very talented cook. She tried, but she just wasn’t interested and didn’t have the knack. At least I got a home-cooked meal most nights, so I can’t complain.
Mom used to buy these awful Polish sausages. She would take a few and throw them in a pot of water with a head of cabbage. Let everything boil for a while and that was dinner. Mom called it “bratwurst.”
I lived in fear of “bratwurst” my whole life until I was in college. There was a German festival and all of my friends were like, “Oh boy! Let’s go get some brats!”
I thought they were crazy. Then someone handed me a real brat on a bun with spicy mustard and sauerkraut and I realized that I had been all wrong about the true nature of bratwurst. That was probably the best thing I learned in college.
16. YOU CAN TASTE WHEN YOU’RE DEAD.
My parents have become great cooks now, but when my sister and I were kids, she was a total brat and a picky eater, so we’d wind up with plain unseasoned chicken breasts and steamed broccoli and plain white rice way too often.
And I wasn’t allowed to put salt on it because salt was bad for me, and I guess it didn’t occur to them to provide any kind of condiment or something to give that crap some flavour.
17. White privilege.
Mom would make frozen whitefish – baked in an oven until it was overcooked and just dehydrated shrunken fillets of white fish. Then she’d serve it with boiled cauliflower and white rice.
White entree, white starch, white vegetable. All served on a white plate. What did we drink? Yeah, milk. White milk.
My dad got into a phase of watching Emeril and it inspired him to try and be fancy.
I’ll never forget. He made these hamburger patties and put chunks of bread mixed in with the raw meat. But the bread just absorbed all the blood. They looked like huge mushy, bloody warts hanging off the meat. It was absolutely repulsive looking.
19. Going ham.
My parents didn’t regularly make food and would eat left overs well past their pull date. Recent example, my dad is still eating a ham he bought pre-cooked in October. *shudders*
20. Overcook or die.
Let me preface this by saying that my mother is in no way Hispanic. She is one of the whitest people I know. She grew up mainly in central Florida and the upper Midwest, rarely if at all coming into contact with Latin American culture except at the occasional restaurant.
Despite this, she would routinely make “arroz con pollo” for dinner. This consisted of chicken cooked until it was tough and chewy (to ensure it was “cooked through”) and rolled in flavorless breadcrumbs from a can, served with a side of mealy, aggressively underseasoned rice.
Did I mention that there was almost no salt in any of this, because salt was “unhealthy?” It was so unpleasant that I threw it right back up a few times, once even at the table.
Somehow she still wonders why I barely eat anything when I’m home for Thanksgiving.
21. Playing Ketchup.
My parents didn’t force this on me – in fact they tried to talk me out of it. When I was in grade three, I refused to eat anything but bologna and ketchup sandwiches for lunch. Every. Single. Day.
22. Do me a flavour.
My mom was from the “boil the ever loving crap out of everything” school of cooking. Carrots boiled to sad orangish lumps. Broccoli steamed beyond any recognition.
Corn may have started fresh but by the time she was done with it, it resembled creamed corn but lacking any possible flavor or texture. Bbq chicken? Boil that thing COMPLETELY before you blacken it on the grill, lest you and everyone you love die horrifically from salmonella. The things she would do to a steak are crimes against humanity.
Combine all this with an 80s desire to avoid salt at all costs, and my dad’s pathological fear of bad breath resulting in a blanket household ban on onions and garlic, and mealtime was a greyish, disappointing place. I now take cooking very seriously.
23. Who is cauliflower FOR?
My mom would mush up steamed cauliflower and tell us it was mashed potatoes. Not the worst food ever but a despicable betrayal.
24. If cooks could kill.
My mom was/is seriously the worst cook. The only time I ever ate anything good was when we had weekends with my dad and he took us to restaurants and let us order whatever we wanted. For a kid, I could eat a hell of a lot of lobster.
My mom made these disgusting casseroles with fried spam, velveeta mac and canned peas. Then it was topped off with those Kraft singles slices and crushed up bbq potato chips. She thought that was the ultimate in cooking. I still feel sick when I think about it.
Sometimes for dinner we would have chipped beef on toast which is a disgusting salty great depression kind of food. And if it wasn’t chipped beef it was some kind of soup/tuna mixture over toast.
If it came in a can, we probably ate it. This is probably why I taught myself how to cook. I went back home to visit last year and I cooked dinner every night because I saw my mom pulling out the Spam and Velveeta and there was no way I was going to let that happen.
My dad didn’t want me to leave after the fourth salted caramel apple pie I made.
25. Leave Mexico out of this…
My mom made us something she called “Mexican beef” which was ground beef, onions, raisins, and rice served with a dollop of mayonnaise on the side.
Yeah. I’ve been to Mexico and nowhere did I see this grey bull on a menu. Thankfully mom turned into an awesome cook, but I want to go back in time and burn whatever bullshit 1970s cookbook she found this dish in and burn it.
26. Keith gets called out.
At first we had pasta, pesto and chicken. Every night because we were broke.
Then she met my step-dad who was about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. He was very controlling and whatever he put in front of you you had to eat it. If you didnt, he would put a food ban on you.
Two of his culinary achievements which spring to mind are liquidised steak poured over undercooked potatoes, and a sweet and sour chicken lasagne with egg instead of lasagne sheets.
Keith, your cooking was garbage.
27. I ham what I ham.
One time my mom made a big ham, and we ate as much as could be expected. Then we worked on the leftovers the next night. But there was still so much ham left! And we were sick of it. So she decided for some reason that the best way to get rid of the ham was to sneak it into other dishes.
BY GRINDING IT UP IN THE FOOD PROCESSOR UNTIL IT WAS A FINE HAM PASTE.
She put that ham paste into spaghetti sauce, she spread it on my sandwich for lunch, she put it into fried rice. I no longer like ham to this day. On Easter, there is always a turkey breast cooked just for me because I hate ham too much to even stomach it for one meal.
WHY HAM PASTE, MOTHER? WHY HAM PASTE???
28. Going green.
My mom liked to improvise recipes.
Once when my brother and I came home from school we found that out mother had made sweet and sour meatballs. These are my brothers favorite food. We were about to eat when we noticed something strange about the meatballs. They were tinged green.
Like, if you held them up to the light or under a light they looked green. It was really weird. AS such we didn’t want to eat them for fear that maybe something was wrong with them. We ended up waiting till my mother came home from work which was almost 4 hours later before asking her what was up.
It turns out that she’d used a different kind of ketchup. I don’t know how many of you might remember but Heinz had a purple and green ketchup for a brief period. I’m not really sure why. Its not like kids need an incentive to eat ketchup. Anyway, my mother had used the last of the green ketchup she’d bought for the sauce for the meatballs.
They never did taste quite as good as when they were made with regular ketchup.
29. Fibre evidence.
My mom puts Brussels sprouts in literally everything the makes. She knows I hate the things but she insists on putting them in every single damn meal because “they’re full of fibre.” Well no kidding mum, I discovered that when the world practically started falling out of my backside two hours after eating them.
30. It’s a medley!
About once a week, mom made a meal comprised of random leftovers about to go bad and tucked in the back corners of the fridge.
The reasons they were leftovers in the first place was because they were not very popular to begin with. The meals were so random and consisted of things like two chicken nuggets, part of a hamburger, a little spaghetti, and some rice.
Coca-cola porkchops. It’s exactly what it sounds like. She got it from some Andy Griffith cook book. The worst.
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