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Old 08-05-2017, 04:27 AM
minlokwat minlokwat is offline
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On Grandmother's Cooking: Which Dishes Were Misses?

The chicken pot pie thread here got me thinking about this.

When reminiscing about my long-since departed grandmother, I remember as much as anything, her skills as a cook. I know this is a common enough sentiment but really my Nana was universally regarded as top-notch.

Nonetheless there were a few clunkers in her repertoire. Iím not talking about a one-off dish that didnít come out right but rather some that never worked.

Exhibit A was the home-made chicken pot pie. This she made from scratch, cooked it in one of those black speckled, oval baking pans that you donít see around anymore and it seemed to be a daylong affair.

What I most remember is that when it was served, after roasting for hours in the oven, it came out incredibly, scalding, mouth-burning hot. I donít think grandma believed in allowing foods to cool so we sat at the table and it was a full ten minutes before you could even attempt to try a forkful. Then after all of that, it was only to discover that the finished product was just as bland as bland can be. Those were the days of the clean-plate club so you glumly finished your serving and didnít bothered with seconds.

The other dish of hers that was in the fail category was her turkey. Yep the centerpiece of every Thanksgiving and Christmas was cooked too long --every. single. time. There was always a fight for the dark meat since that was the only section that didnít come out absent any semblance of moisture. If you were stuck with white meat, you had to lather it fully with a heaping glob of gravy.

So how about it? Did your grandmother (or mom or dad) have any dishes that never seemed to turn out right?
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  #2  
Old 08-05-2017, 08:12 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Hamloaf ... for some godawful reason Mom would pick recipes out of Better Homes and Gardens or some other womans magazine and try them. Horrible, horrible version of meatload. What I vaguely remember was you take a picnic ham, grind it, bind it with egg and breadcrumbs and pretty much nothing else, then plop it into a loaf pan, and top it with some version of a mustard glaze, then bake like a meatloaf. Holy crap was it aweful, it was the one meal I can vividly remember refusing to eat and sitting for hours in front of ... this was in about 1968 or 69 ...

The one thing of hers I wish I could have her make again was salmon croquettes - canned salmon, bread crumbs, eggs and not sure what else. SoOunds horrible, but was very tasty.
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Old 08-05-2017, 08:21 AM
Scumpup Scumpup is offline
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Lima bean soup with noodles. It is, I think, a mutant version of something that was eaten back in Ukraine. I've actually never seen it outside my extended family. It starts with the big lima beans, canned or dried, and manages to actually get worse from there. The final product is vaguely like a meatless navy bean soup (which I also hate) with bowtie pasta floating around in it. She always put vinegar on the table to season it. Thankfully, this culinary gem was only served on fast days, so I didn't have to gag it down too often.
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Old 08-05-2017, 09:33 AM
DummyGladHands DummyGladHands is offline
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Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
Hamloaf ... for some godawful reason Mom would pick recipes out of Better Homes and Gardens or some other womans magazine and try them. Horrible, horrible version of meatload. What I vaguely remember was you take a picnic ham, grind it, bind it with egg and breadcrumbs and pretty much nothing else, then plop it into a loaf pan, and top it with some version of a mustard glaze, then bake like a meatloaf. Holy crap was it aweful, it was the one meal I can vividly remember refusing to eat and sitting for hours in front of ... this was in about 1968 or 69 ...

The one thing of hers I wish I could have her make again was salmon croquettes - canned salmon, bread crumbs, eggs and not sure what else. SoOunds horrible, but was very tasty.
Holy crap!!! My mother made the same goddamn thing and it's a family legend! My Dad, who usually just scooped food into his mouth and never said a word in fear of her wrath, finally gave up. We threw it all into the dog's dish who wouldn't touch it.

Grandmother? Swiss steak. Who the hell eats this anyway? Awful stuff. Once when my uncle got back from a deployment and wanted a real steak, he bought the best he could find, the kind you broil or grill or whatever, but NOT the kind you make swiss steak out of, which is exactly what my Grandmother did.
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Old 08-05-2017, 09:46 AM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
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I can't recall a single thing my grandma ever cooked, and can't recall a single failure on my mom's part.

Everything she did (does) is pretty damn good. Liver and onions? Sure! Mexican? Chinese? All great. Every now and then, she'd whip up some strange, "special" deal that took all day. Pigs-In-Blankets, this bean-thing. Always good.

I didn't like the lamb, but its not because she screwed it up. I just don't like lamb. Foul-smelling, greasy meat.

EDIT: I totally failed at answering this, didn't I?

Last edited by Gatopescado; 08-05-2017 at 09:47 AM..
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Old 08-05-2017, 09:49 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
The one thing of hers I wish I could have her make again was salmon croquettes - canned salmon, bread crumbs, eggs and not sure what else. SoOunds horrible, but was very tasty.
I call those 'fish cakes' or 'salmon cakes'. Add seasonings and mayo. Form into patties, refrigerate for half an hour or so, and fry in oil. Of course it's easier just to use Zatarain's Salmon Cake Mix. Use red salmon (instead of pink) if you can.

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Swiss steak. Who the hell eats this anyway?
Swiss steak was in mom's rotation. The beef was OK (though always a bit tough), but I didn't care for the vegetables. I haven't had Swiss steak since I was a kid.
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Old 08-05-2017, 10:02 AM
Brodi Brodi is offline
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For a time my dad would murder pasta.

He would dump pasta into a pan with water, then dump in whatever seasoning he saw on the shelf. He would never smell/taste them, so it got interesting at times.
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Old 08-05-2017, 10:20 AM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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Lima bean soup with noodles. It is, I think, a mutant version of something that was eaten back in Ukraine. I've actually never seen it outside my extended family. It starts with the big lima beans, canned or dried, and manages to actually get worse from there. The final product is vaguely like a meatless navy bean soup (which I also hate) with bowtie pasta floating around in it. She always put vinegar on the table to season it. Thankfully, this culinary gem was only served on fast days, so I didn't have to gag it down too often.
That sounds HORRIBLE!!!

My grandmother was French Canadian and made the (white) pea soup, which I didn't care for, the texture wasn't right to my childish mouth. And she made the pork pie a time or two, very labor intensive, ground pork and...cloves? encased in a pie crust. It was very heavy and greasy and made me kind of nauseated. Her apple and mincemeat pies were also old fashioned and heavy, with thick crusts. But those dishes were only made on special occasions, otherwise, she was a fine plain cook.
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Old 08-05-2017, 10:53 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Originally Posted by Scumpup View Post
Lima bean soup with noodles. It is, I think, a mutant version of something that was eaten back in Ukraine. I've actually never seen it outside my extended family. It starts with the big lima beans, canned or dried, and manages to actually get worse from there. The final product is vaguely like a meatless navy bean soup (which I also hate) with bowtie pasta floating around in it. She always put vinegar on the table to season it. Thankfully, this culinary gem was only served on fast days, so I didn't have to gag it down too often.
To be fair, pasta-and-beans is not without precedent. Not that such a thing made with lima beans sounds like something I'd like, but the concept isn't too bizarre.
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Old 08-05-2017, 11:32 AM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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I can't remember ANYTHING my mother's mom or dad made that wasn't absolutely delicious. They made a great ham loaf, too.

My father's mother, however, should never have been allowed near a kitchen. She served me scrambled eggs once that were unidentifiable as eggs.
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Old 08-05-2017, 11:58 AM
wolfman wolfman is online now
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Fudge. It was basically a hardened, grainy, chocolate-sugar sludge. I think it's how she liked it, and for the first ten years I thought that was what fudge was supposed to be. But when I bought some gourmet fudge on vacation one day, I thought the smooth creamy stuff a was huge mistake by the cook. By the 4th bite I realized my error, and that that Grandma just made bad fudge.
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:00 PM
Two Many Cats Two Many Cats is offline
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My mom was an okay cook. She was German, so the only seasonings or herbs she used were salt, bullion cubes, bay leaves, and parsley. Maybe some basil if she felt adventurous.

She was from the Northern Europe 'Boil It Until You're Sure It's Dead' Culinary Culture, though. No eggs were harder boiled than hers. You might mistake them for tennis balls with the green part inside.

I'm a slightly better than okay cook, and she regards my skills with awe, like I'm the reincarnation of Julia Child or something because I use broth and fruit and spices in my cooking,

My eggs are better too.

Last edited by Two Many Cats; 08-05-2017 at 12:01 PM..
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:01 PM
Dale Sams Dale Sams is offline
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I need to get off youtube....I immediatly read that as "On grandmothers cucking", and got a horrible image.
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:10 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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The only things I didn't like much at grandma's house were boiled swiss chard and boiled kohlrabi. I'm sure they were cooked fine, but the flavour was too strong for my picky youthful tastebuds.
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:32 PM
dalej42 dalej42 is offline
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Fried catfish.

Ketchup on fish is a crime against humanity and that is how my grandfather had to eat it.
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:40 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
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My grandmother came off the boat from Greece in the 1920s, and her only real fault (if you want to call it that) was that she never did learn to speak English all that well.

She had incredible cooking skills. She just seemed to know what things worked well together and knew exactly what proportions things needed to be. She never measured anything, which made it all but impossible to get a recipe out of her.

Us: How much of that do you put in?
Grandma: Enough.
Us: What's enough?
Grandma: <shrug?> Enough.

The only way you could get a recipe of sorts out of her was to carefully watch everything she did and guess how much "enough" was for each thing she put in. She wasn't secretive about her recipes like some old women I've known have been. She would gladly show you what she did. It's just that since she never measured anything, you really had to watch carefully everything she did.

Her recipes weren't fixed, either. If she didn't have something, she'd just use a bit of something else and maybe something other than that as well.

The amazing thing was, nothing of hers ever missed. She never had too much of this or too little of that. Everything was always spot on.

Mrs. Geek has tried to make some of her recipes, and can never get them right. It's not that they taste bad, it's that they are usually just a little off. We could never get exactly how much "enough" was for every little thing that went into her cooking.
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:46 PM
CairoCarol CairoCarol is online now
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I never had grandparents to speak of (too old/ill on one side, estranged on the other) but my mother was, for her culinarily-challenged era, a pretty good cook. But she made one dish quite regularly that would have been terrible enough if she did it right, but I'm pretty sure that she was making a mistake that caused it to be even worse.

Given that this is the 1960s we're talking about, of course it was a jello salad. The ingredients were, I kid you not: lime jello, mayonnaise, cream cheese, onions, and walnuts.

The thing is, I am pretty sure that the cream cheese was supposed to be smoothly incorporated into the gelatin and mayo, creating a smooth, mousse-like texture. However, my mother left marble-sized LUMPS of cream cheese suspended in the salad. I guess they kept the walnut and onion lumps company. Whatever, it was gag-worthy.

To this day I can't believe anyone would dream up that dish, much less prepare it and eat it. But my dad loved it so we had it fairly often. As I grew up in a family where helpings were served to me and I had to clean my plate, my heart always sank when I saw it.

Ham loaf, on the other hand ... I remember that! My friends and I really liked it and were always delighted when it was served (it was a company dish at our house). Salty, meaty goodness with a sugary-sharp tang from a sauce made with mustard and brown sugar. Either my mother's recipe was better than the ones used upthread, or there is no accounting for taste.

.

Last edited by CairoCarol; 08-05-2017 at 12:48 PM..
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Old 08-05-2017, 12:52 PM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is offline
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My grandmother didn't bake. The iconic picture of a white-haired, apple-cheeked matron pulling a pie or a tray of cookies from the oven was just a fantasy in my youth.

She made amazing soups, and Thanksgiving and Easter at her house were spectacular. But she didn't bake.

Then again, she didn't have to. My grandparents lived within walking distance of several wonderful bakeries - one of which was owned by the Mikulski family (cousins of the Senator, I believe.) My grandfather would go to whichever one my grandmother designated and come back with bread, pies, cakes, donuts, buns, and incredible baked goods of every description.

The only time I remember her trying to bake, she made cookies from the roll of dough. She burned them.

My other grandmother didn't even pretend. She used her oven as a pantry for store-bought cookies. Lucky for me, my mom learned how to bake and taught me, so if I ever have grandkids, they'll have proper cookies!
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Old 08-05-2017, 01:37 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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Roast beef. My grandmother believed you cooked meat until you were absolutely sure it was dead. Her roast beef was half way between very well done and beef jerky.

Donuts. My grandmother would fry up donuts and I would gobble them down because I was a kid. But these were just fried rings of dough. I never associated them with the kind of donuts you'd get at a donut shop. But years later I was visiting my cousin and his wife cooked up a batch of donuts and it was a revelation; for the first time I realized home-made donuts could actually taste good. And I realized in retrospect that my grandmother's donuts had been terrible.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:21 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
Mrs. Geek has tried to make some of her recipes, and can never get them right. It's not that they taste bad, it's that they are usually just a little off. We could never get exactly how much "enough" was for every little thing that went into her cooking.
You're an engineer. Use the scientific method.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:21 PM
LVBoPeep LVBoPeep is offline
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Swiss steak was in mom's rotation. The beef was OK (though always a bit tough), but I didn't care for the vegetables. I haven't had Swiss steak since I was a kid.

Funny, my mother made some super fantastic Swiss steak- always tender and that tomato, rice , cube steak mix of flavors just really was one of my favorite meals as a kid ( I even requested it for my birthday at least once). We were talking about things she used to make recently and she admitted it was one of her least favorite meals. She is an amazing cook - now even more so knowing she could make things she didn't like still taste fantastic. Her only miss was green enchiladas- it involved spinach and some kind of cream cheese or ricotta. We were pretty spoiled by her cooking at that point so we never let her forget and and she never made it again. We were pretty miserable about it IIRC- she even tried to bribe me at one point to finish the leftovers but I refused (and it was so bad that I got the ice cream cone anyways).

Not a lot of misses in my family- my grandmothers were both very different but very good cooks. My Northwestern born grandmother- only complaint is she was a mincemeat person so as kids we'd shy away from her gravy especially but I do remember it tasted fine. My Southern born grandmother never had a miss at all and she was crazy for kitchen devices. The only real miss was my grandfather- he liked to char the hell out steak. I still liked it but thinking back, it was well-done and burnt. I was in my early twenties before I tried medium rare anything and it may have changed my life.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:27 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Given that this is the 1960s we're talking about, of course it was a jello salad. The ingredients were, I kid you not: lime jello, mayonnaise, cream cheese, onions, and walnuts.
...

To this day I can't believe anyone would dream up that dish, much less prepare it and eat it.
My mom made a version of that. She got the recipe from one of my aunts, who got it out of some '50s women's magazine.

Lime Jell-O, Lemon Jell-O, mayonnaise (mom probably used Miracle Whip), diced red apples, diced green apples, walnuts, and cottage cheese. If Pepto-Bismol were green, that's what the salad looked like. Mom called it 'crap salad', because it has a bunch of crap in it. (Kind of shocking, really, since mom was not prone to profanity.) The thing of it is... it was actually tasty. I wouldn't miss it if it did not appear for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I always ate it.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:29 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Funny, my mother made some super fantastic Swiss steak- always tender... cube steak...
Mom used sirloin that she pounded with a mallet. Not enough, usually.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:33 PM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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Well I considered Nana's fried okra a miss, but in retrospect, if I'm going to eat okra at all (and as an adult, nope), it would have to be Nana's fried okra or nobody's.

But I came in to say that she once promised, when I got married, to share her recipe for fricaseed owl. Thankfully she never did share it, nor in my lifetime as far as I know did she cook it. I think this must have been some survival dish from her youth. I frankly wish she had never even mentioned it at all. That might have been the first indication that she was losing it.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:50 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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My mom's mother was an excellent cook. She was active in the Eastern Star and often cooked for their functions. We loved going to her house for Sunday dinner. She'd always have two main dishes, like sliced ham & country fried steak with gravy. Four vegetable dishes. Two kinds of pie.

It was a wonderful meal. Like going to a restaurant.

My dad's mother was the wife of a sharecropper in the 1920's and 30's. She never used very many ingredients. Always trying to stretch food to feed many mouths.

That was necessary when they didn't have any money. But she never changed how she cooked. If a stew recipe called for 2 cups diced carrots, she used 1/2 cup. She always added water to things.

The old joke, company is coming! Add more water to the soup! Defined her cooking.

Meals at her house weren't very good.

Last edited by aceplace57; 08-05-2017 at 02:54 PM..
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:58 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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My mother was a good cook and an outstanding baker. Her fails were liver and onions, and a dish called creamed peas and new potatoes. It was served in a silver chafing dish on occasions like Thanksgiving, and it was the blandest glop I can of next to that Elmer's glue some restaurants try to pass off as gravy.
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Old 08-05-2017, 03:39 PM
psychobunny psychobunny is offline
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Her chocolate chip cookies. They were like hard dry rocks. They literally did not spread out at all, just remained lumps. You could break a tooth. Unfortunately, the true recipe has been lost. I have one that I wrote when I was about ten that when tested provides totally different cookies. My cousin has one that is completely different that I haven't tried but it uses Crisco which I am positive she never used. If it sounds like I am nostalgic for them you are right. To anybody else they would be horrible cookies but I would gladly eat them again in memory.
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Old 08-05-2017, 03:47 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Well, if you want hard chocolate chip cookies, there's always Famous Amos.

I like them (even if I do like to call them 'Heinous Anus' ).
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:25 PM
Urbanredneck Urbanredneck is offline
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Yeah, mine boiled and overcooked everything to. Plus you cant have enough grease.
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:41 PM
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My mother was generally a VERY good cook, but boy could she murder a fish, whole house stunk for 2 days. I grew up thinking I didn't like fish. Turns out I just don't like smelly old fish.
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:44 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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The only screw-up I remember in Gramma's kitchen was strictly a one-off: She had some garlic butter in the fridge, in preparation for making garlic bread, and due to a mix-up of tubs, it ended up getting used on waffles. Which worked about as well as you'd expect.
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Old 08-05-2017, 05:27 PM
delphica delphica is offline
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My grandmother (an immigrant from Eastern Europe) was known as a great cook, but the one thing she couldn't master was hamburgers. I think part of the problem is that she didn't really get what the finished product was supposed to be.

She would mix ground meat with breadcrumbs and onion greens, and make patties that were too thick. And not uniformly thick, but thick in the middle and thin around the edge, like a meatball that got pinched around to look like a flying saucer. She would cook them in a skillet on very low heat to cook through the middle, and the result was very soft, grey and greasy. I've wondered if maybe the meat mix was similar to something she would use for pyrizhky, and she figured it would also work as a hamburger. She had it in head that kids loved hamburgers, so she would make them for us as a "special treat."
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Old 08-05-2017, 05:32 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Breadcrumbs in burgers are not unheard of. I'd even say they were somewhat popular. A cousin made burgers when we visited a couple/few years ago, and she had breadcrumbs in it. It's a tim-honoured way of stretching the meat. I don't mind them.

That said, if it has breadcrumbs in it, it's a 'meatloaf burger'.
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Old 08-05-2017, 05:42 PM
delphica delphica is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Breadcrumbs in burgers are not unheard of. I'd even say they were somewhat popular. A cousin made burgers when we visited a couple/few years ago, and she had breadcrumbs in it. It's a tim-honoured way of stretching the meat. I don't mind them.

That said, if it has breadcrumbs in it, it's a 'meatloaf burger'.
Yeah, totally. I've heard other people talk fondly of the burgers that their grandmothers made using breadcrumbs to stretch the meat. Just somehow in this case ... it wasn't working out.
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Old 08-05-2017, 05:46 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Undoubtedly, it was the shape.
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Old 08-05-2017, 06:06 PM
delphica delphica is offline
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Undoubtedly, it was the shape.
The onion greens were also problematic.
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Old 08-05-2017, 06:33 PM
StarvingButStrong StarvingButStrong is offline
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Something my grandmother made and I've never seen elsewhere: baked butter beans. Yep, those HUUGE dried overgrown lima beans. The thing is, I'm prettysure there was nothing else in the recipe. Nothing like onions, definitely no bacon or ham hocks, I don't even think she added salt. She'd dump an entire pound bag of the beans into a bean pot, fill it to the top with water, and then bake it for several hours, topping up the water level as it evaporated, giving it a stir now and then.

The final result was a pale yellow mush flecked with the empty skin left after the beans disintegrated.

I'm not sure it tasted *actively* horrible (beans are pretty bland after all, and there was nothing else to taste) but the texture with those limp nasty skins everywhere.... ick.

I always thought that that was the 'gruel' that orphans got fed in Dicken's novels.
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Old 08-05-2017, 06:37 PM
Biggirl Biggirl is online now
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My grandmother was a great cook. Some things she made that I didn't like because I was a kid. Bacalao salad had fish AND starchy yucca AND gross guinero bananas. To my mind, they named it yuck-a for a reason. As I grew older I learned to appreciate it. Never loved it, though.

But the one thing she could not cook was pork chops. She learned that under cooked pork would give you worms, so she fried her pork chops until they were dry and crumbly. Not even the circle in the middle was edible. They were so bad I thought I hated pork chops until I got married and my husband wanted some. So I found a recipe and followed it and OMFG! Chops are DELICIOUS!
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Old 08-05-2017, 06:43 PM
Sattua Sattua is offline
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My mother's mother is a hybrid Southern/German cook in Ohio River Valley tradition, and she was good. Fried chicken, roast beef, homemade bread, and pies were her specialties. My mom claims that, growing up at home, grandma had some strictly original interpretations of newfangled things like pizza (she topped it with cottage cheese), but I was never served any of them.

My dad's mother, on the other hand, was a midcentury cook. If it didn't have cream-of-X soup, Lipton onion soup mix, cream cheese, food coloring, cheez product, or jell-O in it, it wasn't on the table. Someone tipped her about putting coffee in gravy to make it brown. Mostly it made the gravy taste like coffee.
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  #40  
Old 08-05-2017, 06:49 PM
nightshadea nightshadea is online now
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heh heres my favorite cooking blog midcenturymenu.com..... relive the horror!
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  #41  
Old 08-05-2017, 06:55 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Originally Posted by Sattua View Post
grandma had some strictly original interpretations of newfangled things like pizza (she topped it with cottage cheese)...
Years ago, someone posted that his or her mother put American cheese on delivery/take-out pizza. 'They charge for extra cheese!'
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  #42  
Old 08-05-2017, 07:38 PM
longhair75 longhair75 is offline
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Originally Posted by Scumpup View Post
Lima bean soup with noodles. It is, I think, a mutant version of something that was eaten back in Ukraine. I've actually never seen it outside my extended family. It starts with the big lima beans, canned or dried, and manages to actually get worse from there. The final product is vaguely like a meatless navy bean soup (which I also hate) with bowtie pasta floating around in it. She always put vinegar on the table to season it. Thankfully, this culinary gem was only served on fast days, so I didn't have to gag it down too often.
My wife has told me many times over the years that her mom made something the family called Friday soup. Lima bean soup with noodles is exactly what it was. She just read your post and said that her mom made the noodles from scratch and also put stewed tomatoes into this dish. All of her siblings talk about how gag inducing this mess was.
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Old 08-05-2017, 07:40 PM
minlokwat minlokwat is offline
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Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
The amazing thing was, nothing of hers ever missed. She never had too much of this or too little of that. Everything was always spot on.

Mrs. Geek has tried to make some of her recipes, and can never get them right. It's not that they taste bad, it's that they are usually just a little off. We could never get exactly how much "enough" was for every little thing that went into her cooking.
OP checking back in.

My wife's grandmother made an out-of-this-world potato salad. I had never had its equivalent and my wife wrote down the recipe as it was dictated to her by her Ukranian grandmother who seemed eager to pass it on.

After many failed attempts, she realized it wasn't in the assortment of ingredients but in that one little touch that her grandma had failed to mention.

The potatoes had to boiled and then allowed to soak in very salty after-bath. A fact that the grandmother never thought to mention.

End of story: my wife has now perfected the recipe and I'll say that it is far superior -with a taste that POPS!- that old Bubby could ever dream of.
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Old 08-05-2017, 08:47 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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My grandmas were sweet old people (well, at least on my mother's side), but I can't remember either of them preparing any food which was memorable (in some instances, it was doubtfully edible).

The most pervasive memories I have of eating over at my maternal grandparents' house are of a machine that converted a decent-looking cut of steak into tubular pink rivulets of tissue, and of my grandfather slurping down a large, revolting bowl of borscht containing unidentified floating objects.
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Old 08-05-2017, 08:57 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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From Malcolm In The Middle:
Mmm, I'm starving. What's for dinner? Leftover parfait.

It's even worse than it sounds! Once a week Mom cleans out the fridge. Anything that doesn't have something growing on it gets served for dinner. Did we have spaghetti or Chinese food on Thursday? Neither. Ah! No digging! (SQUELCHING) Sunday, Saturday, Friday. It finally happened! The fifth level of this week's leftover parfait is last week's leftover parfait!
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:58 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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Originally Posted by minlokwat View Post
...one of those black speckled, oval baking pans that you donít see around anymore...
Walmart.
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  #47  
Old 08-06-2017, 09:22 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by Two Many Cats View Post
She was from the Northern Europe 'Boil It Until You're Sure It's Dead' Culinary Culture, though. No eggs were harder boiled than hers. You might mistake them for tennis balls with the green part inside.
My mom was similar in her treatment of meats (except for her love of steak tartare, go figure), but we also had a tradition of soft-boiled eggs, which were delicious. That said, when they were hard-boiled, they invariably had that green/green-grey exterior to them that put me off hard boiled eggs for the longest time. Chalky texture, sulfurous smell, blech. What I can't believe is how many restaurants I've been to where I see overcooked hardboiled eggs like this. Maybe it's because of my mom I'm ultra-critical about hard-boiled eggs and notice it, but I'm astounded at how many times I've come across this. Just ruins the egg for me. It's really not at all difficult to do it right.

And Swiss steak (or smothered steak) is delicious! Which reminds me, I need to make it this week for dinner, as it's a dish everyone agrees on. (And, to be honest, the lima bean dish sounds good to me, but I love lima beans, and don't quite understand why they have such a bad reputation. I mean, it's pretty much a bean like any other, just bigger and creamier.)
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  #48  
Old 08-06-2017, 09:23 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minlokwat View Post
cooked it in one of those black speckled, oval baking pans that you donít see around anymore
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Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
Walmart.
Or Amazon
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  #49  
Old 08-06-2017, 09:24 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DummyGladHands View Post
Holy crap!!! My mother made the same goddamn thing and it's a family legend! My Dad, who usually just scooped food into his mouth and never said a word in fear of her wrath, finally gave up. We threw it all into the dog's dish who wouldn't touch it.

Grandmother? Swiss steak. Who the hell eats this anyway? Awful stuff. Once when my uncle got back from a deployment and wanted a real steak, he bought the best he could find, the kind you broil or grill or whatever, but NOT the kind you make swiss steak out of, which is exactly what my Grandmother did.
You are the first person who seems to know what I am talking about =)

I will do swiss steak, beef stroganoff and even salisbury steak but tend to vary recipes [for one thing I am deathly allergic to mushrooms] and it can be tricky getting the right flavors and mouthfeels - beef can be a pain in the rump to cook sometimes [too fast and it is rubber, too slow and it is mush]

Quote:
Originally Posted by CairoCarol View Post
I never had grandparents to speak of (too old/ill on one side, estranged on the other) but my mother was, for her culinarily-challenged era, a pretty good cook. But she made one dish quite regularly that would have been terrible enough if she did it right, but I'm pretty sure that she was making a mistake that caused it to be even worse.

Given that this is the 1960s we're talking about, of course it was a jello salad. The ingredients were, I kid you not: lime jello, mayonnaise, cream cheese, onions, and walnuts.

The thing is, I am pretty sure that the cream cheese was supposed to be smoothly incorporated into the gelatin and mayo, creating a smooth, mousse-like texture. However, my mother left marble-sized LUMPS of cream cheese suspended in the salad. I guess they kept the walnut and onion lumps company. Whatever, it was gag-worthy.

To this day I can't believe anyone would dream up that dish, much less prepare it and eat it. But my dad loved it so we had it fairly often. As I grew up in a family where helpings were served to me and I had to clean my plate, my heart always sank when I saw it.

Ham loaf, on the other hand ... I remember that! My friends and I really liked it and were always delighted when it was served (it was a company dish at our house). Salty, meaty goodness with a sugary-sharp tang from a sauce made with mustard and brown sugar. Either my mother's recipe was better than the ones used upthread, or there is no accounting for taste.

.
Don't know, maybe it was the recipe? And we did ham in other ways that was just fine, even a mustard glazed baked ham, just the hamloaf was disgusting.

Jello [compound] salads can be a pain, and yes the mayo/cream cheese/cottage cheese is supposed to be whipped in to make a mousse. When properly made they can be excellent and when not done right, nasty.
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  #50  
Old 08-06-2017, 09:41 AM
Loach Loach is offline
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I'm not old enough to have enjoyed my grandmother's cooking. The torch had been passed for family gatherings by the time I could remember. From what I was told by my mother she was a wonderful cook. Traditional Italian cooking for the most part. She had too many organ meat dishes in her repertoire for my liking. One would be too much.

My mother attempted to replicate some of my father's favorite meals from his youth. His mother died when he was quite young. Corned Beef and cabbage. Rice and bread puddings. Various soups and stews. She failed miserably.
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