What foods and recipes do you remember fondly from childhood, and where are you from?

Joined Oct 6, 2010
My family comes from NW Montana, near the Canadian border, and a part of Montana that really ought to have been Idaho.

In our family, we loved potatoes of any kind - but most especially mashed.  A meal wasn't hardly a meal if it didn't include potatoes.  A meal was all about "meat and potatoes."  My grandfather, born in Sweden and an indifferent Lutheran from birth, always offered the same irreverant grace before meals:  "Here's the spuds and here's the meat, so why in the heck don't we eat?"   

At family get-togethers, there was pan-fried chicken, northern cornbread (sweet and cake-like), corn-on-the-cob, buttermilk mashed potatoes, peas or carrots, and for dessert some kind of pie or cake.  If you were really lucky, someone would bring a rare and expensive treat - a pie made from huckleberries.

I went huckleberry picking once.  You climb mountainsides that are so steep you have to hang on to the bush with one hand to keep from falling down the hill while you pick with the other hand.  And you keep your eyes peeled and make lots of noise because the bears like those huckleberries an awful lot too.      

Huckleberries are bigger and more purple than blueberries, and more tart.  They only grow at certain elevations, and in certain conditions.  They have yet to be commercially cultivated, as far as I know.      

Your turn!  What recipes say "home" to you, and what foods?  And where is "home" for you? 
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Joined Jan 5, 2007
My mother's venison casserole.

A wonderful Aberdeen Angus roast of beef with all the trimmings

Grouse with game chips and Cumberland sauce

Mince n tatties!

Mutton pies

Scotch broth soup

fruit pies

Black bun



Drop scones


Tipsy Laird

And too many more dishes to mention.

We also lived around the world, Singapore dishes, Italian, Greek - and even some German!
Joined Nov 5, 2007
One thing that I remember fondly from childhood is chicken wings.  Sure, you can get hot wings, teriyaki wings, bbq wings at any number of places these days.  This was back in the late fifties, early sixties.

My mother would bake trays of wings that were topped with sour cream and some sort of green herbs.  They were quite tasty and a lot of fun to eat, a real interactive, get your hands dirty ( and face and table and .. ) meal.  Mom's mother ran a restaurant for a while [Lutz's Country House] so perhaps my mother picked up some skills from her.

Sad to say, Mom died from breast cancer in 1964, at the ripe old age of 37.  I still wonder what the seasonings were on those wings.  My father, who passed a few years ago, was no help.  He didn't cook, unless it was grilling burgers and hot dogs in the back yard, so he didn't know how the wings were made.

Joined Aug 13, 2006
My grandmother's recipe for tordelli - large home-made ravioli with ground meat (veal, beef and pork), onion, carrot, all cooked in butter till browned, then with lots of chopped spinach and loads of parmigiano, with a slow cooked meat sauce.  I kept up the tradition for a while, but then have slacked off. 

Fried rabbit (breaded and fried).  We grew our own rabbits, and though I implicitly knew i was eating them, i pretended I didn't.  FOUR drumsticks, how could I not. 

And I loved opening the fridge during the week and slicing off a piece from sunday;s roast beef, with tons of pepper on the outside.  Black pepper was one of the things i loved about the tastes of home.  I still use a lot of it. 

Those green small pointy peppers sold in vinegar as "peperoncini" in the states, on a sandwich with cold cuts like capocollo and sharp cheese and a crusty roll.

I must say I didn't like most of my mother's other cooking - and she would complain so much about cooking it, you had to feel guilty! 

But my dad would make pancakes and waffles, and candied apples and ice cream (hand cranked), cornbread, and oatmeal cookies, and those were made with pleasure and we ate them with pleasure. 

Sorry, i came back to edit - forgot to add that I'm originally from near Boston, and about 35 years ago in my twenties I moved to Italy (where my parents were born, though they moved to the US as children with their parents) . I used to think I was an Italian till I lived here many years, and I realize more and more how much I'm culturally really an American in the end.  Italian American, at most.
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Joined Sep 8, 2010
Apple pie.  My grandmother was born in 1888, had a 4th grade education and became a farmers wife in 1906.  She would get up at 4 a.m. and start baking pies to go with the hearty breakfasts for the menfolk after they finished their morning chores.  My mother learned how to make apple pies from her mother.  And I learned from my mother.  

Whenever I came home from school and Mother was covered in flour and apple slices I knew that someone had either died or was ill.  Mother's apple pies went to so many people and they all loved them.  And she loved making them and giving them.  It's a simple recipe - mounds of sliced tart apples, sugar, cinnamon, flour and dabs of butter all baked in a double crust.  So simple. So delicious.  So full of kindness and love.  So like my mother.

We lost Mother in 1993 but we didn't lose her pies.  My sister and I both still make them but they're not as good as Mother's were.  Maybe we don't love making them as much as she did.  The love is what made her apple pies the best.

My 30-year old daughter doesn't show much interest in cooking or baking.  I would love to teach her how to make apple pie with this 100-year old recipe.  It's a legacy of love.
Joined Oct 6, 2010
What beautiful, heart-warming stories!  Thank you all so much for sharing these stories!  

I've come to believe that food is always about the heart. 

How interesting to see, we have posters not only from all over the U.S. but also all over the world!  What a wonderful site this is!  
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Hi Homecook,

You are right - food does come from the heart.  If it doesn't, it can fail horribly.  I have those days where I lose my cooking "mojo", but catch me on a good day - oh I love it /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif

Unfortunately I did not have the experience of meeting my grandparents - various countries and wars and pogroms, so, they were gone before I began.

My parents, however, are great home cooks, even in their 80s.  The favourite things I love from my dad's cooking: pizza and lasagna. Oh, and his curries and dumplings in apple sauce. My mum's cooking: sauerkraut with debrecini suasages cooked forever until it all melds together.  Also a dried fruit compote  (apples, apricots, prunes, apples with a tonne of sugar, stewed for a couple of hours) served with Greek yoghurt.  And her roasts - lamb, beef or pork, any of the above.  Oh yes /img/vbsmilies/smilies/licklips.gif

I've been pestering them for their recipes for a while now as they are not getting any younger, but I don't want their recipes to fade away.I would like to use them and hand them down to my family.  I've gotten close to what they make, just not quite there.

But my Chicken in Red Wine beats theirs /img/vbsmilies/smilies/bounce.gif  (same as Coq Au Vin, except it's a hen)
Joined Aug 6, 2010
The dish that reminds me of childhood the most is fried venison. My father and I hunted a lot when I was younger, so we always had a deep freeze full of deer and other wild game. My mother would take thick slices of backstrap (tenderloin), soak it in milk, then deep fry it. We always ate it with green beans cooked with bacon, potatoes, and sugar. I can remember so many times eating this meal. Just thinking about it takes me back to when I was younger.
Joined Oct 2, 2010
I will always remember from time to time, when coming from school, in cold and rainy autumn and winter days, opening the backdoor and immediately smell the waffles being made.

The dough was always made with fresh yeast from the bakery and allowed to rise and spread a wonderful aroma. Also the baking in a black cast iron wafflemaker spread a fantastic smell.

Some butter and soft darkbrown sugar...

I even have memories of my grandmother making them with a primitive wafflemaker -also in cast iron with very long handles- that fit in the opening of her coalstove. Must be at least 50 years ago!
Joined Aug 27, 2010
My mom made the best spaghetti and meatballs from scratch. I still make it today. Her meatballs had paremesan cheese in it. Yum. I am originally from New Orleans. She also made paneed meat which is basically breaded pan fried veal cutlets. Although my description does not do it justice.
Joined Dec 15, 2010
So funny I just came across this post, I was just talking about this with the owner of the restaurant I chef at today. I grew up in California, my mom's side of the family from Puerto Rico, my step dad first generation American born Italian, my dad's family native American.

Fondest food memories are from my grandmas. I spent a lot of time with Grandma Alice. She was from Puerto Rico, and as an after school snack she would make fried plantains. She had a tree in her back yard. Smashed with garlic, she'd fry them up, sprinkle with salt and that is it. Whenever I am missing her (She still lives in CA, we live in Texas now) I make them. Takes me back to her kitchen with the yellow and white tile counter and her very old cast iron skillet that came from her when she and my grandpa moved from Puerto Rico. For dinner we'd have Arroz con Pollo, and she'd add beans to the rice. We'd usually have fried plantains with dinner too. I have been making Arroz con Pollo for my boys lately, it never tastes the same as hers, but still brings me back.

Growing up I hated my step dad, but LOVED his mom and dad. They were the nicest people, and his mom was the classic Italian grandma. Whenever they would visit (they lived in New York) she'd make homemade spaghetti with red sauce (from scratch) and it was just amazing. Also at Christmas she would make struffoli  and we'd eat it by the tray full. I still make struffoli for Christmas (my mom got her recipe before she passed) and it makes me remember her.

My great-grandma on my dad's side of the family was an amazing cook, she and my great-grandfather had a ranch in northern CA where they raised free range organic chickens (before there was even a name for it) They had a huge garden where they grew tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, carrots, grapes, lettuce, blackberries, raspberries, (I could go on and on) She would make her own grape juice, pickled jalapenos, jams. They also had fig trees, walnut trees, apple trees and plum trees. She'd make her own ice cream sweetened with honey (which came from a local beekeeper that attended their church) But her dishes, Chili Colorado, Honey Biscuits, Spice Cake, and pickled jalapenos take me back. I have her recipes for honey biscuits and pickled jalapenos (which my husband and I have continued the tradition of growing our own jalapenos and carrots for) and I think of her when I make them. Pretty much any time I do my canning (which is for a good month solid out of the summer) I think of her. I remember spending countless summers standing in her canning kitchen stirring giant pots of jam, filling jars for pickles etc.

Great post subject!
Joined Apr 3, 2008
Sorry, i came back to edit - forgot to add that I'm originally from near Boston, and about 35 years ago in my twenties I moved to Italy (where my parents were born, though they moved to the US as children with their parents) . I used to think I was an Italian till I lived here many years, and I realize more and more how much I'm culturally really an American in the end.  Italian American, at most.
It's a strange feeling to be from 2 different cultures isn't it?  When I'm in the states I feel like I am perceived as greek.  When I am in greece I am perceived as american.  I'm neither and both.  I can choose my own characteristics of both cultures. 

Growing up in virginia my Mom used to throw tons of dinner parties.  My favorite part was the leftovers the next day.  Among the usual suspects in the left over category were spinach pie, pastitsio, roasted potatoes, and my mom's famous chinese fried rice with bacon, green/red peppers, onions, scallions, and egg.  It was all wonderful with a dollop of left over tzatziki.

And eventhough my parents were greek they owned a lunch counter where they sold hot dogs and north carolina style bbq.  I still make that bbq from time to time and I still refuse to eat a hot dog without raw onions and cole slaw on it.  One of these days I need to get my folks' hot dog chili recipe to complete the dog but it was very time consuming to make.  I'm in NY now where people think they know something about hot dogs but alas I refused to eat a boiled kosher dog topped with onion "sauce" and sauerkraut.  The mere thought of it is horrifying.
Joined Aug 21, 2009
 My mom was not the best cook but in her defense my dad was not easy to cook for.  He would not eat poultry or fish at all, and they had completely differing tastes when it came to food.  One dish I do remember fondly was what we called "noodle night"  The recipe itself came from the Horton Township cookbook and it is macaroni, stewed tomatoes, onions, cooked ground beef, salt and pepper and it is topped with breadcrumbs then baked.  That was one of the best things she made.  She also made another dish that I loved... southern hash.  She got the recipe from a friend of hers and it was beef, onions, tomatoes and potatoes cooked together in an electric skillet.  She did make the best beef potpie ever.. she would start it in her electric skillet and let it go on low for most of the day and then bake it in the oven.  I make that all the time and the kids and hubby love it. 

I'm from Canada.. Hamilton Ontario.  I was born and grew up  here then I went to school in TO and now we're back for cost of living reasons. 
Joined Nov 23, 2009
I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas.  Our Sunday dinners were mostly fried chicken, but there was roast beef (well done, of course) every second or third weekend.

I had two aunts that raised chickens, so our chickens were "free range" before anyone was aware or the term.  We would take a bucket of feed into the checken yard, and a burlap bag to put the hens in when we caught them.  I won't go into the butchering process, but "running around like a chicken with it's head cut off" still brings back a visual memory.  The chickens were scalded in a big pot and picked before we took them home.

The most prized piece of chicken was the "pully bone", and me and my brother  would pull the two ends of the bone until it broke after the meal..  If you got the long end when it broke you got to make a wish, which would most assuredly come true. 

The fried chicken was cooked in lard in a big cast iron skillet, and served with cream gravy, mashed potatoes, Kentucky Wonder green beans from the garden  in season, and biscuits. I try to duplicate that meal occasionly today, but my rendition can't come close to the memory. 
Joined Jan 8, 2010
There are just too many dishes that come to mind...

My mam was a competent cook, but she didn't enjoy cooking very much.

She made 2 dishes that I really liked, Hachee (sort of a spicy stew) which we would eat with rice, salad and a meatball and she made a very nice bean dish with apple and sausages, topped with breadcrumbs and baked in the oven.

She didn't mind baking though. She taught me how to make cakes, apple pies etc.

My dad loved his cooking. He never uses a recipe, so to get some of his recipes you have to go sit down in the kitchen and write down whatever he uses. A pinch, a little bit of, a tiny bit, very accurate measurements /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

I was close to my dad and would follow him around. So I started cooking, wood working etc etc at an early age!

I've always been impressed with his timing etc. doing dinners for 10-12 people, he would just sit in the living room, talking with everyone, having a tipple and would only go to the kitchen occasionally and out would come this 3 or 4 course dinner!

My favourite dish: full blown Indoneasian rijsttafel. I just love it (and my dad does a great one /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gif)

Me, I grew up in the Netherlands, so did my mam. My dad was born in Dutch East India.

I keep thinking what a change my mam must have gone through. When they met, Holland was all about potatoes and potatoes and potatoes. She had to learn to eat rice, spices etc etc. Must have been totally weird!

Even when I grew up, pasta and rice were still considered very exotic dishes.....

How times have changed!
Joined Jan 5, 2007
Rijsstafel?  One of my favourite things about visiting Holland was eating these dishes at a great restaurant in Amsterdam and another in The Hague.  I had a number of Dutch friends who studied in the UK and about 30 years ago I spent a lot of time in Holland and have many happy memories of long, lazy evenings taking hours to finish a meal!
Joined Jan 24, 2011
While growing up, my parent never really cared for cooking.  I had a grand parent, and Potato Salad was probably the best dish I remember.

I sort of assumed the role of cooking in my small family, since I enjoyed cooking, and the parent didn't. 
Joined Jan 8, 2010

The Hague is were most of the returning dutch/indonesians/indo's (mixed) went to.

To this day that's the best place in Holland to get a good rijsttafel!

Although there are some other nice little gems
Joined Jan 5, 2007
They were always such a part of my trips to the Netherlands - great food, and so cheap, too - although friends tell me that is no longer the case (a bit like Indian food here in the UK).
Joined Jan 19, 2011

I'm from México and I'm very fond of "carnitas" wich in chef's terms will be a pork confit (Delighfull pork, the whole thing cutted in big pieces, chunks and cooked in lard on a cooper huge pot that we call "cazo") I can't get enough of it but I rarely eat it because is a sure way to get an artery clogged/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif, specially since my favourite pieces are the skin just taken out of the boiling fat before getting crispy and placed on a fresh made tortilla./img/vbsmilies/smilies/licklips.gif

My mum told me that my dad (A former military raised in a ranch as a tough cowboy) fed me with carnitas before getting one year old, and that's supposed to be too heavy for a baby stomach, but as you can see it wasn't bad enough to kill me, but I think that my dad faced the death itself when my mum found that he fed me with such a hard to digest stuff/img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif. Of course I don't remember that episode but for some strange reason since I was a very young boy I wanted to eat carnitas all the time, and still when I pass nearby to a butcher shop (One more fun fact about carnitas... The very very traditional way, is that it's cooked outside the butcher shop by the butcher himself and not in restaurants) that is cooking carnitas in an old neighborhood or an small town, it brings me very nice memories of my childhood and the times when I had nothing to worry about.


Luis J.
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