Food Talk And Fabulous Finds Recipes, Healthy Cooking, and General Food Topics

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Old 06-04-2009, 05:34 PM   #16  
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I remember my mom cooking VERY few things. I'm sure she did when we were smaller, but as we grew up the kitchen time was less and less....lots of frozen pizzas and hot dogs. The occasional spaghetti.

A lot of the problem came when she started working in the school cafeteria. She cooked for hundreds of kids every day, and hated cooking at home. We ate cafeteria leftovers for dinner. Then after the cafeteria, she had a second job at a deli, then Dairy Queen, THEN a barbecue place that turned into full time. The older we got, the more we ate frozen dinners and fast food. food MAYBE once a week, and I cook as healthily as possible. Lots of chicken, less ground beef than before, vegetables every day, etc.
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:03 PM   #17  
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Mom worked nights, so dinners were either Dad's perogative or "pick up" dinners of leftovers. USUALLY, we had soup and sandwiches, or melted Velveeta cheese on white bread, or Velveeta cheese on toast broiled until the cheese burned, or macaroni and cheese with -- you guessed it -- Velveeta cheese, or fried rice with an omelet cut up over it (I know, I ask myself WTF about THAT one every day), or fish cakes and french fries, or Hamburger Helper, or hot dogs, or frozen pizza (McCain's Deep Dish, but whatever you do, DON'T add any veggies to it. Just Velveeta cheese.) That's about it.

When mom was on Kitchen Patrol, we had "Blue Ribbon Meatloaf" (meatloaf with Velveeta cheese in the middle) or canned ham (right out of the can, without scraping the gelatin off) and iceberg lettuce salad with Kraft French Dressing. I still can't look at the stuff.

But HOLIDAYS, oh MY!!! Perogies! Cabbage Rolls! Roast Beef! Yorkshire Puddings! Mashed potatoes and gravy! MMMMmmm

So basically, I grew up with a general cornucopia of crap with great treat meals scattered in between.

Result? It has taken me years to figure out HOW to eat, and to actually motivate myself to eat that way. My kitchen now? Lean proteins, romaine and spring salad mix, fresh fruit, green beans (seriously, my favorite!), potatoes, whole grains, and yes, some sugar and treats, because I'm worth it!!! Oh, and no Velveeta cheese...


Last edited by kiramira; 06-04-2009 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:25 PM   #18  
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kiramira, you made me laugh.

my mom is a really good cook. we always had some sort of baked chicken breast (skinless) with steamed veggies and brown rice. we went out to dinner quite a bit, but it seemed like we usually went to "sit-down" places where there were healthier options. neither of my parents are overweight, and neither of them have any eating issues.... they just eat what they want in moderation!
like a few other people on here, i didn't have pot roast until i went to college. my roommates my sophomore year put me in charge of making it, and i ruined the crap out of it. i was so mad; i had never made it, so why did they ask me to? apparently they hadn't believed me when i said i had never had pot roast. i also had never had hamburger helper until i was in college, either. my parents like food too much to waste their time on that icky stuff.

to contrast, my boyfriend grew up eating hamburger helper, walking tacos, fried chicken, etc. he is slightly overweight, but he actually craves healthier foods. while i am a huge fan of spinach salad, sometimes i really want a big fat cheeseburger.

my kitchen is home to fresh veggies, frozen chicken breasts, some hamburger, yogurt, wheat crackers, cheese, fruit, etc. there are some chewy chips ahoy in the cupboard (not my purchase!) but they are up high so i can't reach them.
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:58 PM   #19  
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My mom is a great cook now but childhood meals were disasters. We ate a lot of chicken leg quarters because they were cheap. Venison, goulash, sketti, tuna casserole, hamburger helper. Vegetables always came from a can and were usually corn, peas, green beans or carrots. Any fresh veggies we had we ate raw and those were rare. Fruits were usually out of a can, too. We had frequent desserts because if mom didn't bake something I did. I don't remember ever having to eat salads. Our fryer was frequently used. We were encouraged to belong to the clean plate club because those starving children in Africa would have been glad to have our leftovers.

Now mom eats meatless meals once or twice a week. There is always fresh fruit and veggies galore. They have salads daily.

All in all though I don't blame my mom at all. I had skinny friends in high school that could out eat me twice and never gain a pound. I was active enough then that I was only heavy. It wasn't until I moved out and started living on ramen and mac and cheese and getting NO exercise that I started packing on the pounds. Then when I met and moved in with my DH we ate fast food nearly every day.
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:41 AM   #20  
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...I've been cooking for myself since I was about 11, so I don't even remember a whole lot of my mom's cooking. We never ate out much, but that's mostly cbecause the only restaurant in town was a McDonald's. I do remember that she simply could not cook meat. Any meat. She would inevitably overcook it. I think she was a bit phobic of food poisoning or something, but I remember pork chops and chicken breasts like tumbleweeds in the desert. She always baked really well, though - great cookies and cakes.
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:38 AM   #21  
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My mom only cooked Kid Cuisine meals and fast food. That was until she left when I was 11, then I lived with my dad and all the others were either over 18 or moved with my mom. When I turned 11 I learned how to cook. I really did cook fairly healthy. Lean meats, salads, grains. I tried to keep my dad healthy, but he always wanted something special. Fried potatoes where his favorite, and chocolate cake. I have honestly always cooked fairly healthy for my husband and I with the exception of portion control, and not having energy to exercise, and our Sunday morning breakfasts at the diner after church. Well the portions have changed, the energy is getting better now that I have figured out what it was thanks to my doctor and started medication, and we come home after church and have a nice breakfast here with the added bonus of not having to listen to the noises of the diner.
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Old 06-05-2009, 02:16 PM   #22  
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One thing I forgot about because it was such a long time ago. My mom used to make the best cinnamon rolls ever. It is one reason I never liked commercial cinnamon rolls including Cinnabon, they all tasted inferior to my mom's rolls. She wouldn't make them very often but occasionally on a weekend she would

One other thing is that we never had things like hamburger helper or anything really boxed/processed. I think I had a frozen dinner once when I was young and it made me sick.
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:34 PM   #23  
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This subject is close to my heart. I have reflected a lot on what I ate growing up & some of the food habits & traditions in my family.

My mother came from an extremely poor family. She married when not quite out of her teens, & she & my father moved in with his mother, a rather better-off & more educated woman. My grandmother was a snob. In her youth, she had worked in service to a wealthy family in Auburn, NY. A lot of their habits had rubbed off on her. Including their rather tasteless, High Edwardian based diet. Though my grandmother also made ethnic Eastern European foods like pierogies, haloupkis, kielbasa, paska & etc. My mother learned this repertoire.

When my mother had time, on weekends & when her job was less low-pressure, dinner was generally a hunk of meat, a potato & two vegetables. Sounds healthy, but my family never liked a crisp, naked vegetable. Generally they were boiled & buttered till the butter pooled on the plate. The meat was rather heavy. Roasts, chops, steaks, pork butt, liver, kidneys, etc.

As time went on & my mother took better-paying & more time-consuming jobs, and convenience foods proliferated, we got more Hamburger Helper beef stroganoff, spaghetti & meatballs (less often her own sauce, more often Prego from the jar), or pizza from Pizza Hut. Also what she called chili con carne (ground hamburger with onions & kidney beans, seasoned -- pronounced "konkarney," as if it were an Irish dish) and sloppy joe type stuff.

Basically, I have spent the last 10 years of my life trying not to cook like that & educating myself about food & glorying in my discoveries of various ethnic cuisines. Now I eat like a middle- or upper-class Manhattanite, rather than a suburban ethnic girl of a poorer, average American background. Whenever I visit her, or she visits me, I have to think about her palate & adjust my cooking accordingly. Maybe make a small portion of vegetables that I overcook & put butter on. Maybe do something where she can pick out more pieces of meat than I probably would have.

Last edited by saef; 06-05-2009 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 06-06-2009, 07:31 PM   #24  
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I love this thread! It's so interesting and inspiring to see people learn healthy habits.
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:31 PM   #25  
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This thread was interesting to me, too. My mother, homemaker, cooked what you might call basic fare for my adolescence -- a meat, a starch, a veggie and often a salad as well. At first the meats tended toward not quite particularly lean (ie meatloaf) and the veggies were often canned. The starch might be mashed potatoes. Portions were just right, though, and none of us kids were overweight. We would almost always have this balanced type of dinner, except for when she made spaghetti, or when we had pot roast or homemade pizza.

By my early teens (circa early to mid 90s) she got very into the lean recipes promoted by Oprah and various low-fat cookbooks. The meats got significantly leaner and the veggies were more often fresh ones, though not always. Spaghetti with meatballs was still around, but rotated with pasta in a lemon-based sauce with fresh herbs and vegetables. Pot roast and pizza stayed the same; they were never unduly fattening for what they were, anyway. Mom lost 40 lbs and us kids stayed thin. This is how they still eat; Mom tends toward the leaner but still makes it all.

I eat more vegetarian-based than my parents. I eat more asian-inspired. I more often than not cut out the dinner starch. Salad is it's own dinner twice a week and I don't usually make in addition to our dinner unless other people are over or I need more calories that day. But I make chicken (or tofu, or fish) with a steamed vegetable side. So, similar. But how did I get fat? I think it was the one-pot meals and the emphasis on starches that my husband and I had at first, on our own. Trying to make 'nice' dinners with little money and perhaps at least beginning to imitate the portion sizes at restaurants. This must be common?

My mother-in-law is a big time carnivore and they didn't really eat vegetables growing up (she, to this day, doesn't eat fruits and vegetables in general, and will state this herself like a vegetarian will say they don't eat meat). My husband said that occasionally she would get a kick about how the kids should eat vegetables, so she'd serve the meat or meat-starch dinner with iceburg lettuce and salad dressing. I thought that was funny. Not a lot to get out of iceburg lettuce.
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:39 PM   #26  
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I grew up with my grandparents and my mom, both my grandma and grandpa where AMAZING cooks. They introduce us to a wild variety of vegetables, meat, roots and fruits. My grandpa had land and he cultivated a lot of what we consumed. BUT, they were business owners (supermarket/bar) and there was not control for me and my cousin regarding sodas, candies, and ice cream we would eat them with no supervision, there was always soda at the time of eating. Also my grandma would give us coffee (a MUG!) every morning for school. My grandfather hated fast-food and he always was making jokes about how they called "food". My grandma sometimes would take us to BK, but very rarely.

I guess I picked up my bad habits on my own and I really give thanks to them for introducing me to all that variety of food at a young age, I find that instead of changing completely my eating habits I just needed to get rid of some bad ones since they always taught me to love fresh and REAL food.

Last edited by Renacer; 06-08-2009 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 06-08-2009, 05:02 PM   #27  
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My mom loved spaghetti, and it's super cheap, so we ate that a few times a week. A typical dinner otherwise was chuck roast from the slow cooker, boiled white rice and frozen veggie mixes. My Mom tried to make mostly healthy stuff, but we would have splurges occasionally. Kraft mac and cheese was a main stay though.

We never had soda, chips or fruit snack/gummies in the house growing up. My Mom was trying to teach me healthy habits, but I just ended up craving all of that junk as a teen and young adult. I've since gotten over that (for the most part).

I used to take my lunch to school and I remember my Mom making me take an apple every day even though I didn't really like them. So I would just give it away to one of the hungry boys in my class.

My Dad always made breakfast on the weekends though. Everything from fresh biscuits, to waffles, chorizo and eggs, to the best breakfast burritos you've ever had. I miss those breakfasts, but not the calories!!!!!

I miss my parents.
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:42 PM   #28  
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I remember eating alot of spanish rice,pasta w/meatballs,Beans&pasta.Mashed,baked,fried potatoes.Steak,chicken or shrimp very rarely.Salad,cooked veggies,once in awhile.No soda was ever in the house,or snack foods. JUst things like fresh fruit,raisins,or dried fruit.Yuck!

Last edited by Tracy; 06-08-2009 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:03 PM   #29  
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Tracy, yuck to fresh fruit, raisins and dried fruit?
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:59 PM   #30  
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My mother is and was a wonderful cook. It is a part of her identity. She made relatively healthy meals with salads, veggies and meat and fish. And she baked. My parents would have tea and something sweet after dinner. It would be fruit or cookies.

While the meals were not unhealthy it was the attitude behind them. I would hear constantly how overweight I was. But then she would stick a spoon into my mouth with a "taste this" directive. And if I liked it and wanted more then I was fat and greedy.

Makes for some issues, ya know?

Now I try to have two veggies at the dinner table along with a protein. Sometimes I will have a starch but often not. We will have meat and meatless meals. We usually have fruit or occasionally a little sweet after dinner. But i do not serve dessert until the green veggie has been mostly eaten.
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