Never Tastes the Same

I thought of this while posting about my grandma’s meatballs in another thread.

Is there a dish or food that your mom or grandma (or anyone) made that you have repeatedly tried to recreate but it never tastes like theirs? Or maybe you haven’t even tried making it because you know you’ll be unsuccessful.


Grandma Rose’s spaghetti sauce and meatballs - I make it all the time, but still doesn’t taste like hers. It’s good, but not hers.

Mom’s Italian steak - chunks of round steak coated in Italian seasoned bread crumbs and fried. Every time I try to make this, the coating falls off while I’m frying it.:frowning:

Grandma Rose’s chocolate cream pie - it was like chocolate pudding with meringue on top. I wouldn’t even know where to start.

Grandma Rose’s chocolate cupcakes - As a kid, all I’d have to do is ask for them and she’d whip up a dozen no matter what. She never measured any of the ingredients - just threw them together. So there is no recipe. They always came out perfect.

Mom’s homemade bread & buns - I’m very unsuccessful when it comes to bread dough

Mom’s boiled fudge frosting - tried to make it once and apparently boiled it 1 second too long and it hardened up. Couldn’t spread it - just ate it like fudge.

No one can make biscuits and gravy even half as good as my grandma did. I make a good biscuit, better than most, but still nowhere near grandma’s. I will not even attempt her gravy.

I know you aren’t asking for advice, but a way of preventing breading from falling off is to let what you’ve breaded rest for a while prior to frying. This will hydrate the breading, enabling it to stick better.

Heck, my mom is still making my favorite variety of jam, and even with her making it, it’s never the same. It’s always good, but it’s a little different each time

My mother used to make a dish called “Chicken Smetana,” baked chicken parts with a coating of sour cream and bread crumbs. When I was growing up, it was one of my favorites. I have her recipe and I’ve tried it many times. It never seems to turn out as good as hers. For one thing, the skin doesn’t crisp for me until the meat is overcooked and dry. I don’t know what her secret was.

My mother’s meatloaf. Meat. Toasted bread. Dried schilling onions. Dried schilling parsley. Mustard. Worcester sauce. An egg. No matter what, I can’t make it taste like hers did.

Even stupider - Bisquick pancakes. Bisquick mix, milk, egg. Never tastes as good as hers did.

I could never get my tuna salad to be as good as my mom’s. It seems like it should be simple enough, but I can’t get the proportion of tuna to mayonnaise and lemon juice quite right. (Normally I hate mayonnaise, but tuna needs just a little bit of it.)

My mother’s fried chicken. I’ve tried a hundred times and it’s just not the same.

Skillet fried potatoes :frowning:

Long version of failure

My mother’s (and grandmother’s) pasta sauce - or “gravy” as we called it growing up. Maybe if I was willing to make several gallons at a time and let it simmer with raw homemade sausage for five hours it would be as good as hers, but I doubt it.

I have mastered her Easter Pizza recipe, though. Pretty much indistinguishable.

The wife has tried to duplicate a number of my mother’s recipes, but they never taste right. Probably because my wife is an excellent/superb cook while my mother…got food on the table on time every day, which is a completely different skill set. It took the wife numerous tries to get close to my mother’s potato salad, because she always undercooked the potatoes compared to Mom’s “boil it until you are sure it’s dead”/English style of preparation.

My husband thinks my daughter and I are crazy, but we swear my MIL makes the best tuna salad on the planet. He grew up on it and doesn’t get what the big deal is, but it’s delicious. I can’t replicate it to save my life.

Just curious, doesn’t that make the breading more soggy and less crisp after cooking?

Have you tried a hotter oil temperature?

By the way, “smetana” just means “sour cream” (or a variation on sour cream) in, I think, Czech.

My mother was a competent cook but since she worked full time she didn’t have time to get very adventurous in her regular cuisine. However, when she made pies, they were heavenly. My favorites were her apple pie, her tart cherry pie, and her mince pie (only at the holidays, worse luck). When I used to make pies, I couldn’t get very close; certainly very few bakeries do either. I don’t make pies any more, I would end up eating them all myself.

My Mother made a chocolate cookie that was brownie like with raisins and walnuts. There is no surviving recipe. She had one sister who lived long enough to remember the recipe came from their Mother. But she didn’t have it. Me and my sisters rummaged through her cookbooks and recipes after she died but, alas, no luck. I have been working on it for years. I have gotten close, but not quite there. My oldest sis and me have recently decided even if we had an exact recipe we couldn’t duplicate it as it tasted when we were young. This thread further convinces me. Maybe I’ll quit trying.

Nah. Gotta have them cookies!!:slight_smile:

Same here, but I only tried once. Too messy and she’s still alive. I make her cook it when I see her.

I’m a pretty gosh darned good home cook, and nothing I ever make is ever 100% consistent, except for baking, where I follow a careful chemical process to get desired results. Everything else is prepared without meaningful measurements, and it just works, nearly all the time, if you know enough basics. If I were a restaurant, then of course I’d develop a quality process to ensure consistency, but that’s a PITA at home.

My aunt makes a fabulous ham gravy, and I have no idea how she does it. My hams never have ham drippings from which to make a sauce. She’s happy to share recipes, and most of them are solid, but she says to use ham drippings for ham gravy, and I never get any.

Grandma’s Okinawan donuts (round balls of doughy goodness). I’ve had dozens of others during my lifetime and none are ever as good as hers. I tried making it once and between the trouble and taste, never tried again. Part of the magic of her recipe and technique is that they would roll over in the oil themselves when one side is perfectly browned.

Thanks! I’ll try it. But I don’t remember my mom doing it. I think I even asked her about it once. She was surprised I was having a problem with it!

My mother was never a great cook (not HER fault, my dad was one of those ‘50s guys who thought the supreme cuisine was a grilled steak). But I remember her taking leftover mashed potatoes, beating in an egg, and forming them into cakes that she fried in a pan. Better breakfast potatoes than any hash brown or home fries I’ve eaten.

Every time I try it, they fall apart in the skillet and never brown well.

(Maybe I should also beat in some flour, to toughen the little suckers up?)

I reread the entire thread, which was amusing. I see where I did talk about making biscuits there, but I’ve changed my method significantly. They come out perfect every time using, of all things, a food processor.