My mom is the greatest cook.
I’m sure you’ve heard that before.
It’s not uncommon to hear people rave about their mother’s dishes or compare them to the ones sitting in front of them at the dinner table. “My mom made her Portuguese bean soup with watercress, not cabbage.” “My mom didn’t use so much mayo in her potato mac salad.” “My mom’s gravy was waaaaaay better.”
Even if what our mothers — and sometimes fathers — whipped up in the kitchen would never be served at a five-star restaurant, there’s something nostalgic and wonderful about the foods from our childhood.
“What do you want to eat?” my mom would ask. (It’s almost always the first thing out of her mouth.)
“Hmm. Let me think about that.”
I pull out my mental checklist: Rainbow Jell-O (top), cheese omelet, pork and beans and gravy, homemade sloppy joe, vinho d’alhos (above), Spam and pineapple (long story), grilled cheese sandwiches, waffles she makes from scratch, cinnamon rolls she makes from scratch and — a family favorite — chocolate cream pie (below).
Even though I have all of her recipes, I can’t ever recreate these dishes exactly the way she does. (I think she’s holding back on a few ingredients.) It’s just something she does, some kind of magic or love she sprinkles into the food. Everything just tastes better when my mom makes it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my family lately — see yesterday’s post — and see these recipes as a way to perpetuate these little (but meaningful) traditions. It’s important to remember — and sharing is really the next step.
So what are your favorite Mom- (or Dad-) made meals?
And, more importantly, do you know how to make it?