Things Mom did that I would not do.

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Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Jon Peterson » Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:44 pm

My Mom did most of the cooking for Dad and my sister and brother. She did many things that, at the time, we're perfectly understandable - she was Mom, after all.
But now, as I look back, there were things that were unexplained; things I'd never do.
For example, after washing fresh mushrooms, Mom peeled them. I can't believe she had the patience to do this let alone a good reason. Maybe her Mom did it.
Did your Mom (or anyone else) do anything like this?
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Jenise » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:13 pm

Hmmm, interesting question. I look back and am surprised to realize that there's almost nothing of the sort you mention that I would consider odd even now. About the only thing that comes to mind and it's not really like peeling mushrooms, is adding baking soda to her tomato bisque to reduce the acidity. I love the acidity and though I still make a soup similar to hers I don't include that step. What I remember more is stuff seen at other people's houses. Like a friend's mom making salad, who removed the spines from romaine leaves. Or my first mother in law dredging round steak (ugh) in salt, pepper and flour and putting it on to fry--before she started peeling the potatoes for the mashed potatoes. Shoe leather? Yup.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Karen/NoCA » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:44 pm

Honestly, I have never even heard of peeling mushrooms, nor have I seen a reference to it in any recipe. Peeling asparagus is another strange thing to me. I have never done it nor has it been needed for any asparagus I have ever cooked. I saw a recipe the other day which suggested peeling white asparagus. I have cooked a lot of white asparagus and it is very tender.

Off the top of my head I cannot think of anything strange that I might do or that mom did. I did have someone get after me once for keeping my moist pet food in the fridge. When I make stock, I strain out the ingredients, then sort through it, picking out carrots, and meats. I freeze 1/2 cup portions and label it dog food. I mix a few carrot slices and the meats with my dogs kibble. I keep open cans of moist food for my cat and my dog in the fridge in small zip lock bags in the bottom shelf, in a corner that is dedicated to these foods. The person was horrified to see the pet food in there. It took me down a notch, for sure, but I composed myself and said, "exactly what is it that you are afraid of?" She could not answer....case closed!

OK, so I thought of one thing, I cannot understand why some folks make green salads and leave the cherry tomatoes whole. I hate biting into a cherry tomato and having it explode in my mouth. The only ones I leave whole are no larger than the tip of my little finger. The others are cut in half.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Rahsaan » Sat Sep 22, 2012 7:10 am

Karen/NoCA wrote:The person was horrified to see the pet food in there. It took me down a notch, for sure, but I composed myself and said, "exactly what is it that you are afraid of?" She could not answer....case closed!


Odors travel don't they?

OK, so I thought of one thing, I cannot understand why some folks make green salads and leave the cherry tomatoes whole. I hate biting into a cherry tomato and having it explode in my mouth. The only ones I leave whole are no larger than the tip of my little finger. The others are cut in half.


I get your point, but the downside to cutting the tomatoes is that depending on how long the salad will sit before being eaten the insides may bleed out and muddy the rest of the salad.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Jon Peterson » Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:35 am

I do remember a story about a Mom cutting part of the Thanksgiving turkey off before placing it in the oven. Doing this almost became ceremonial and had, apparently, been passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter. Now the great granddaughter was watching her Mom prepare the turkey and, noting the solemness of the occasion, asked the Mom why she did and the Mom, having not thought about this before, said she did not really know. To find out, they called Grandma, who also did not know so they called Great Grandma, was still living. Her answer: To allow the large turkey to fit into her small oven. :shock: Sure makes one wonder why we do some things.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Jenise » Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:43 pm

Jon Peterson wrote:I do remember a story about a Mom cutting part of the Thanksgiving turkey off before placing it in the oven. Doing this almost became ceremonial and had, apparently, been passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter. Now the great granddaughter was watching her Mom prepare the turkey and, noting the solemness of the occasion, asked the Mom why she did and the Mom, having not thought about this before, said she did not really know. To find out, they called Grandma, who also did not know so they called Great Grandma, was still living. Her answer: To allow the large turkey to fit into her small oven. :shock: Sure makes one wonder why we do some things.


That's funny. And, no offense to your forebears, fairly bizarre: I cannot imagine doing anything just because someone else did it and not asking why!
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:01 pm

My mother didn't have any really offbeat kitchen tricks that would make great stories, but as my younger brother and sister and I grew up during the early years of the Baby Boom, I'd say she was an extremely early adopter of convenience technology. We excitedly tried TV Dinners (and were horrified, thankfully), but she quickly embraced frozen vegetables, orange juice concentrate, fish sticks, even canned biscuits. I honestly don't recall often seeing fresh vegetables in the house because frozen was so convenient. Some of our childhood dishes don't appeal to me any more, like grilled Velveeta sandwiches or tunafish casserole, but I could probably go for a bowl of chicken tetrazzini right now, if I could maybe substitute Gardein for the bird. :mrgreen:
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Karen/NoCA » Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:08 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote:
The person was horrified to see the pet food in there. It took me down a notch, for sure, but I composed myself and said, "exactly what is it that you are afraid of?" She could not answer....case closed!

Odors travel don't they?


There is no odor escaping into my fridge, the pet food is sealed into freezer zip bags. Besides, since some of the food is home made and the other is organic, all natural high end food, there would be no more odor than the human food, which is always in sealed glass containers.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Fred Sipe » Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:23 pm

Canned vegetables.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Redwinger » Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:41 pm

Two words:

Wonder Bread

We now bake virtually all of our bread products. On the very, very rare occasion we go "store bought" it sure isn't W-B.. I'm always amazed when I walk down the bread aisle at the local supermarket, that there must be at least 25 brands of white paste bread.

My Mom still subscribes to the school of cooking that advocates that any recipe with more than 5 ingredients is "too complicated". I'm surprised at this, since my Grandmother had a deft hand around the kitchen.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Mark Lipton » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:10 am

My mother was and is an excellent cook (who taught me a lot of what I know about cooking) and didn't have many quirks. The one thing she did that I don't is to "dumb down" her cooking for a picky eater in the household (i.e., me). When I look back on some of the meals my mother made when I was growing up, it's pretty clear that she wasn't always cooking for her own tastes. Yes, the frequency of spaghetti and meatballs with a sauce that she made from a packet also probably owed something to family finances, but I think that given her druthers she'd have cooked quite different meals (as she did in fact when I outgrew my "picky eater" phase).
Since I now cook for a picky eater, I can contrast my own approach with hers. I cook meals that Jean and I want to eat. Most of the time that includes food that Andrew will eat, but on those occasions when it doesn't, such as when I cook paella, I will simply prepare an alternative meal for Andrew rather than not eat paella and other goodies. That is certainly more effort at times, and my mother might very well argue that she preferred her arrangement to our own, but it's worth it for me.

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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Jenise » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:16 pm

Oh, I thought of something: Kitchen Bouquet. She boosted all her gravies with it, so turkey gravy tasted like beef gravy tasted like--well, you get it. Would have been far better to use a real meat broth instead of water with the flour (she only made gravy one way) and never let that KB stuff near it.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Redwinger » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:18 pm

Jenise wrote:Oh, I thought of something: Kitchen Bouquet. All her gravies tasted the same.

That stuff was so awful my Mom only tried it on us two or three times. I think Dad mentioned something about divorce.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Karen/NoCA » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:06 pm

I had some Kitchen Bouquet once, threw it out. Now I have Bovril Liquid Seasoning and Maggi and wondering why I bought them. The Maggi is so salty, a drop of it on my tongue is overpowering. The Bovril has never been opened because it has two plastic bands around the neck with some sort of locking device. They must be removed in order to twist the lid off. Apparently, I could not remove the darn things because I see signs of trying to destroy them. Gene must not have been around when I wanted to open it and it has been sitting in my pantry, out of sight, out of mind. I just put it out on the counter to see if my hero can remove them. I'm sure he will with a flick of the wrist. I did a little reading about it and found out that some folks love it on their toast???? My own secret weapon lately, for a beef soup or stew that does not quite measure up to my expectations is a little good balsamic. Sure makes a difference. :)
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Jenise » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:31 am

Bovril, from what I understand, has got to be a super close cousin to Kitchen Bouquet. Maggi, however, I remember using though I've long since discontinued use of it, having developed better technique for enhancing flavor than relying on something like that. For what it is, though, a better flavor enhancer than the Kitchen Bouquet I remember any day. Salty as you point out, which may suggest that a lot of foods we think are underseasoned are merely lacking just a slight increase in salt.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Peter May » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:29 pm

Karen/NoCA wrote: I cannot understand why some folks make green salads and leave the cherry tomatoes whole. I hate biting into a cherry tomato and having it explode in my mouth. .


I love that :)
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Carl Eppig » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:31 pm

I don't want my Mom rolling over in her grave, so I won't say anything. My paternal Grandmother ran an inn too, and she was a fantastic cook. She did things I won't do if only for the expense and bother. She demanded Spanish Almonds for her Christmas cookies, and I'll take any almonds that come along.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Dale Williams » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:23 pm

I'm from South. I generally wouldn't cook vegetables as my mother (and grandmothers) did- boil until mushy. That said, some pork always made those veggies taste good.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Frank Deis » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:47 pm

Fred Sipe wrote:Canned vegetables.


That's exactly what I was thinking. But in the 1950's everyone's mother was opening cans.

And what goes along with that is cooking vegetables to a pulp. When we had fresh vegetables (string beans) she'd put them in the pressure cooker with a ham hock and cook them to a pulp. The ham flavor was nice but the texture wasn't.

When we had Brussels Sprouts the smell of the overcooked sprouts was memorably awful.

I seem to remember that Julia Child played a part in the texture revolution -- that it was OK for your asparagus to be a little crunchy.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Doug Surplus » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:23 pm

Salmon loaf (from canned salmon). :(
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Jenise » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:27 pm

Frank Deis wrote:And what goes along with that is cooking vegetables to a pulp. When we had fresh vegetables (string beans) she'd put them in the pressure cooker with a ham hock and cook them to a pulp. The ham flavor was nice but the texture wasn't.


I hate mushy vetables, but there are two exceptions: green beans and ham hocks, and summer squash cooked until it just falls apart.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:48 pm

My Mom served vegetables from cans, too. I recall lots of Shake 'n' Bake, too.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Fred Sipe » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:15 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:My Mom served vegetables from cans, too. I recall lots of Shake 'n' Bake, too.


Makes me shudder and quake! But I remember that too.
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Re: Things Mom did that I would not do.

Postby Jenise » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:07 pm

Mom didn't use many shortcuts at all (and canned veggies, never), but I do remember one other thing she used, Lawry's Spaghetti sauce mix. And her sauce was great, she didn't use the recipe on the packet but used it to boost the flavor of her sauce, and I now realize what it had that we couldn't duplicate any other way: porcini mushroom.
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