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Old 10-19-2014, 06:09 AM   #1
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Remembering Grandma's Cooking

Hey guys, for whatever reason, I woke up at 5am today thinking about my grandmothers cooking ( even though she had passed away 20 years ago). I began thinking about what meal/ dish/ recipe , of hers, was the one that reminded me the most of her.

Grandma Rosie used to make Hungarian goulash served over egg noodles, with a Ba-Tampte pickle on the side ( I know kinda strange coming from a vegetarian, but it was good ). Being honest, she wasn't the greatest cook. She had many restrictions. Having grown up during the depression, she used the basic of basic ingredients. She never travelled, so her cooking experiences were strictly based of what her mother made back from the mother country ( Eastern Europe). She was kosher. In addition, she had arthritis which limited her ability to prepare certain things, and an ulcer which was why she avoided anything spicy , acidic or even salty. So, when we found out we were going to grandma's for dinner, we would throw a fit. Unless she was making her goulash ( and pickle). In addition to that, she made a killer vegetable soup ( kinda like a mushroom barley ( undersalted of course). Which as a vegetarian, I still make to this day.

Grandma Ruth, on the other hand , although a similar background as far as where she came from, she wasn't kosher, travelled worldly, didnt have any health issues to worry about and also came from money, so this didnt prevent her from doing whatever she wanted. The dish I remember from her was some kind of Greek meatball. Instead of breadcrumbs she would just rip pieces of white bread up and mix them in. The sauce was a basic tomato/ white wine sauce. And, she used to make the meatballs more football/ sausage shaped than round. Im pretty sure she would brown them first in a pan, the n cook in sauce until done. In addition she was a great baker too, but the Greek meatballs were what we lookde forward too most.

Ironically, both recipes I was most fond of are meat ( Im now a vegetarian, for those who dont know). I never had the pleasure of having cooked with my grandmothers , cause at the time, I wasn't into cooking as I am now. Both grandfathers passed away before I was born, which is why I didnt bring them up.

One thing in addition. Although Grandma Rosie was frugal as a result of the depression, I remember she would go to the kosher butcher to get her meat, and she would spend a fortune ( $30 +, and this is going back 35 years) on the cut of meat she wanted. That was the only thing she spent money on. Also, when I became a vegetarian, she would always try to sneak meat into the vegetable soup, thinking I wouldnt realize it

So, my question to you guys is to skip a generation, and share what your favorite dish or signature dish was from a grandparent of yours.

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Old 10-19-2014, 08:13 AM   #2
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Grama Vera, use to make the most awesome salmon patties and no one yet has made them or found a recipe to match. Funny thing, She would make plain boiled potatoes and they were so good and my mom never got them to taste the same, when I started cooking I discover the difference she put butter on them , my mother is a margarine lover. Butter a good thing !!
Grama Martha, one heck of a cookie maker, she was a basic home cook, lots of comfort food. Everything tasted great no matter what.
Both are gone but always with us.
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Old 10-19-2014, 09:05 AM   #3
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MawMaw (mom's mother) used to make the best fried chicken, biscuits and chocolate meringue pie. They lived on a farm, grew tobacco as a cash crop, but kept a few cows for milk and later slaughter, a few pigs to slaughter each year, chickens for eggs and later eating, and had a large family vege garden. We'd get strawberries, tomatoes, corn as long as we'd pick them. I loved her fried chicken and fried steak on the rare occasions she'd make the steak. Her other pies were always great too. She's the one that got me interested in cooking good food. Mom was an okay cook but nothing special since she was always tried from working when she got home, was in what was considered a high-stress job for a women back when I was younger.

Let's just say the other grandmother was a fan of the can and plain fried or oven roasted her proteins, which were always overcooked and dry. She was a great lady and always paid the g-kids lots of attention but cooking was definitely not her forte. She was able to finally teach me to crochet, which my mother was unable to do, kind of like teaching your kid to drive, and got me interested in needlepointing and other crafts.
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Old 10-19-2014, 09:19 AM   #4
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I don't remember my city grandmother ever really cooking or eating much of anything. When we went to her house she would have a cocktail or a cup of tea and we would have a treat from the local bakery or candy store. When we stayed with her for a few days she would always take us out to lunch in a fancy department store restaurant, that was pretty impressive to a kid from the sticks!

My country grandmother was not a very good cook and my mother always believed it was due to the fact that she had scrimped and cut corners all of her life to stretch the food needed to feed her family. My best memories from her kitchen were simple things like leftover potatoes that were fried or creamed, fresh shelled peas cooked in milk with butter and black pepper, creamed codfish over baked potatoes, corn fritters and maple syrup. I learned a lot about simple country cooking from my grandmother and spent a great deal of time with her when I was not in school.
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Old 10-19-2014, 09:35 AM   #5
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I never met my paternal grandmother. She died two years before I was born.

My maternal grandmother was Emma. She was an excellent cook. Her specialty was German fare, although she could cook pretty much anything. And I do mean anything. Having grown up on a farm, she believed in using every single part of the animal, and would often have meat-type items in her fridge that I couldn't identify.

The one food that always reminds me of her is sauerbraten. She would pickle a roast for days with her own blend of spices. I wish I had taken the time to get the recipe from her before she passed. I've been unable to duplicate it myself. It was heavenly food.
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Old 10-19-2014, 10:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
I never met my paternal grandmother. She died two years before I was born.

My maternal grandmother was Emma. She was an excellent cook. Her specialty was German fare, although she could cook pretty much anything. And I do mean anything. Having grown up on a farm, she believed in using every single part of the animal, and would often have meat-type items in her fridge that I couldn't identify.

The one food that always reminds me of her is sauerbraten. She would pickle a roast for days with her own blend of spices. I wish I had taken the time to get the recipe from her before she passed. I've been unable to duplicate it myself. It was heavenly food.
Steve, both my paternal grandmother and grandfather died before I was born, as well as my maternal grandfather. My maternal grandmother was born in 1893 and passed in 1977. She was German and the dish I remember most and asked for quite often was her sauerbraten and potato dumplings (kartoffelkloesse). She made sure to make extra dumplings to slice and pan fry the next morning for breakfast. The dumplings were about the size of a tennis ball and stuffed with a little surprise in the center, a stuffing she made with homemade croutons (the size like in commercial turkey stuffing mix) with onions and celery.
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Old 10-19-2014, 11:04 AM   #7
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great stories everyone!

and a great idea for a thread. thanks, larry.

sadly, i only met my paternal grandmother and only a few times as she was in her 90s by the time i remember anything. she only visited once or twice a year from flatbush with an aunt, with whom she lived.
she never cooked, but she used to pull the white hairs out of her hairbrush and chase us around the house, saying she was going to stuff it in our mouths. we'd squeel and scream and run and hide. scared the crap out of me but it was fun.

lol, ireland is the world's largest open air asylum in the world.
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Old 10-19-2014, 11:04 AM   #8
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I don't remember much of my Grandmother's cooking. I do remember fatty roasts of pork that I thought were gross. My grandparents were farmers who basically survived on what they produced themselves, so the food was very plain. Meat and potatoes, mostly. Desert was a bowl of molasses with a hunk of white bread. They did their best, I figure.

My father's mother was already passed before I was born so I don't remember eating there at all.

Kind of depressing, now that I think about it. Although, we moved away to another community, when I was two, and were raised in an English speaking town, so when we did visit, which was rarely, I didn't feel any sense of commonality, nor did I have any fond memories. There was nothing to feel sentimental about. Certainly not the pork roasts.....
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Old 10-19-2014, 11:27 AM   #9
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I'm enjoying these stories of grandparents and trying to picture the scenes you are describing.

I never saw any of my grandparents. They never made it to America. I did have an extended family on my mom's side and have some fond memories.
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Old 10-19-2014, 05:30 PM   #10
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All my grandparents pre-deceased my birth. The closest I ever had to a Grandma was my maternal grandma's sister. Nana lived with us the last eleven years of her life, during which time I went from age 7 to 18. She was our house baker, although she did cook a few meals. She would let me sit with her and watch her technique, then have me duplicate it. She made the world's best pie crust. Some days when I make a pie I think "there's Nana" when the edge of the crust explodes into tiny, delicate shards of goodness. Most times, her crust is just a memory.

I do remember one dinner she made that was historic. It was beef soup. During the colder weather, Dad would put a little cold frame over our parsley bed so we could pick fresh most of the winter. Nana brought some in and added it to the soup. During dinner I turned to my Mom and said "there are tiny flies in my soup". At first Mom said it was pepper, but when I kept bringing it up I got the "we'll discuss this later" look. Apparently, Nana did not soak-and-rinse the parsley good enough. Extra protein in the soup! Mom always made sure she also rinsed the parsley before Nana got to put it into anything after that.
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