Top Ten Tuesday

I am shamelessly stealing the idea for today’s post from here (and yes, you should go read it; it’s totally worth the time).

Top Ten Tastes From My Childhood

  1. Swanson’s Frozen Chicken Pot Pies–When our parents went out for the weekend, my mom always popped three of these beauties into the oven.  I used to watch them bubble and brown under the lights until it was time to risk burning my tongue on the recently removed treats.  We never ate these any other time, but I still love a good chicken pot pie.  Ironically, I now make them from scratch rather than from the freezer, and two out of my three children do not like them.
  2. Chocolate Meringue Pie–My great-grandmother was an incredible farm cook.  I’m fortunate to be able to clearly remember her and the holiday tables laden with food that she spread out in her clapboard house.  The pie was my favorite.  I can still taste it though it’s been over thirty years since I’ve actually eaten her version.
  3. Homemade bread–In addition to the chicken pot pies, date night for my parents also usually meant a visit from Mrs. Matthews.  And a visit from Mrs. Matthews meant a loaf of homemade bread.  She even gave the recipe to my mother, who never actually made it.  In high school, I taught myself how.  Unfortunately, my children are missing out on this experience because I haven’t made the time to turn out any of this since soon after I got married.  Ahh, another item for the “to do” list.
  4. Frozen Cranberry Salad–another holiday staple and one you have to fight for around my house on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This one comes courtesy of my mother, cool whip, cranberry sauce, bananas, and pecans.  It’s much, much better than that sounds.
  5. Salmon Croquettes with Macaroni and Cheese–It’s evidently not possible to have one of these items without the other.  Cholesterol levels be damned!
  6. Butter pecan ice cream–My great-aunt loved butter pecan and always had it on hand.  She lived right down the street from my grandmother, and I often got the chance to spend the night when our visits brought us to town.  We’d sit at her antique wicker table and chairs in the breakfast room and eat out of the shiny metallic ice cream dishes.  Both the treat and the company felt special.
  7. Chicken Fried Steak–and not just any chicken fried steak.  The chicken fried steak with cream gravy on the lunch special at Roy’s Cafe in Corsicana, Texas.  There is no equal.  And don’t get me started talking about the hot rolls.
  8. Holly Clusters–there’s no sneaking early tastes of this holiday tradition.  Or actually, there was, but our green teeth always ratted us out to Mom.  Think rice krispie treats with cornflakes instead of rice krispies, green food coloring, and red hots.  Who could ask for a better Christmas tradition?  And yes, green teeth seem to be an inherited trait!
  9. Pancakes and bacon–Speaking of inheritance, I now proudly own my mother’s griddle–the one that turned out perfect pancakes Saturday after Saturday.  I fire it up myself fairly often, but I still haven’t mastered the funny face version my mother proved so adept at.
  10. Chocolate “Sheath” Cake–a Texas tradition evidently “misheard” by my great-grandmother.  It took me years to realize the recipe was likely for a chocolate “sheet” cake.  Lots of chocolate, a secret hint of cinnamon, a box of powdered sugar in the icing.  Perfection!  And the inspiration for my husband’s question early on in our marriage–“Does your family have any recipes that aren’t for desserts?”  Umm, no.  At least not any worth having!

So, what foods say “childhood” to you?  I’ll be signing off now because I have to go make some grocery lists!

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