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Was your mother a good cook?

My mom wasn't interested in food and couldn't be bothered to cook a decent meal. Most dinners consisted of burned meat, lumpy potatoes, and canned vegetables. Seasoning was never used not even salt and pepper. She complained that the food was bad even as she was eating it! I'd ask her why she kept eating but mom would shrug and say she had to eat something. I think that's why I became a fat whore. When I grew up I indulged in all the delicious food I'd been denied as a child.

by Anonymousreply 65November 23, 2022 10:25 PM

We are glad you indulged, fat whore! Now go get a box of Little Debbie’s!

by Anonymousreply 1November 18, 2022 8:58 PM

All the great cooks were my great-grandparents' generation, and the ones still around when I was a child were too old to cook. Neither of my grandmothers' loved cooking, but they had a few specialties between them. My mother cooked 3-4 nights a week, but it out of duty, not passion. Greasy chicken cutlets, burnt pork chops, London broil, lots of pasta. Only the pasta was edible. I cook with the same frequency and not only is the food better tasting, but I'm eating more vegetables now than I had over the entirety of my first 18 years.

by Anonymousreply 2November 18, 2022 9:02 PM

Any result from any endeavor will always be much more favorable when enjoyment and genuine desire are realized in pursuit of said result.

by Anonymousreply 3November 18, 2022 9:06 PM

No. My mother had an epic menopause that arrived in time for my adolescence. She fired the cook who did cleaning and cooking two or three times a week, claiming the only thing worse that food smells, any food smells, was another woman in her house. She mostly stopped cooking and put me in charge of dinner, outside steaks night after night for years. Eventually she crawled back into the kitchen but what small enthusiasm she had for it was gone and she contented she had forgotten how to cook for two or three people (she had never cooked for more than 4 people on a regular basis, so the claim was a bit suspect.) The post-menopause mother burned everything, or left out a key ingredient, or otherwise failed to bring a meal or its components together with any acceptable level of success. After that her repertoire shrank from a very limited one to four or five dishes. Alzheimer's polished off her cooking career when she took to turning the stovetop on and melting pots.

Her style of cooking was very 'down home' with a layering of Betty Crocker and Family Circle recipes: fried chicken was her one triumph (before The Change) together with some satisfactory Saturday morning baking. The list of foods I never tried until I went away to college was fairly enormous and I took to anything exotic to my background. I also learned to cook for myself early on, both with all those damned steaks and the food I would cook when left on my own for an evening or for a few days while they vacationed.

The words 'ḧome-cooked̈́' and other such claims usually raise more questions than delight in my mind.

by Anonymousreply 4November 18, 2022 9:18 PM

God you sound like an asshole R4.

by Anonymousreply 5November 18, 2022 9:26 PM

Mine born in 1930, a WASP. Her generation associated home cooking with the War and rationing, making do and standing over a hot stove three times a day. The 1950s promised the ease of convenience foods so she could do other stuff, like making 4 babies in 6 calendar years. And hang out at the bowling alley, attend art class, play cards with girlfriends, and go to the movies.

Everyone of us kids could have whatever Swanson TV dinner we liked. We didn't know any better, and my dad didn't complain.

by Anonymousreply 6November 18, 2022 9:33 PM

Between my mom and my grandmother, I was privileged to eat very good food growing up. Meat heavy(it was the 50's and 60's) plenty of fresh vegetables though, a salad with every dinner and always terrific baked goods. My Italian grandmother truly understood: how food "works," what went with what else; what seasonings were best with a particular dish and plenty of old school faves. There were homemade pastas, natch, but she wasn't above making ham and cabbage fr'instance, various stews and casseroles as well. Her meatloaf was outstanding, and always a different "shade" depending on what she and her Osterizer™ blender came up with. If she had been a caterer she's have made a million bucks. Mom cooked mostly on the weekends, since she had a job outside the home, grandma did the weekday meals since she was retired.

It wasn't until I went away to college that I was exposed to shall we say "lower levels" of food prep which varied in taste and appeal. I feel sorry for those who had little recourse but to eat substandard meals.

by Anonymousreply 7November 18, 2022 9:59 PM

Like most Moms of the '60s, mine boiled the hell out of frozen and/or canned vegetables. I don't remember much fresh vegetables but she would make fresh collard greens that were delicious. She made a mean marinara (learned from the woman who shared our brownstone in Brooklyn) and made delicious proteins and starches. Creamiest mashed potatoes without lumps and properly seasoned. It makes sense since she wanted to be a housewife. She was pretty good at it. RIP, Mom. Nobody made turkey gravy from scratch like you as well as ordinary, cornbread stuffing.

by Anonymousreply 8November 18, 2022 9:59 PM

Except for a brief period when she went full-on Julia Child (Quiche, French onion soup, lots of seafood dishes), no. She hated to cook. My father kept us going with Italian food, and finally they both gave up, and the freezer was stocked with TV dinners and Banquet boiling bags.

by Anonymousreply 9November 18, 2022 10:03 PM

My mom was an excellent cook, probably because my grandmother had help and didn't do much.

She subscribed to those 60s Time Life international cookbooks, so we had a variety of foods- Americanized but still not as boring as the regular things my friends had.

Also, growing up in SoCal there was exposure to good Mexican and Vietnamese which my mom replicated.

by Anonymousreply 10November 18, 2022 10:06 PM

My mom didn't make too many things from scratch, used convenience over homemade...but I liked her food. I especially enjoyed the leftovers, pot luck dinners that always tasted good. That's all I knew, but I had no complaints. I remember when she made homemade spaghetti sauce....and would start in the morning, with sauteing onions and garlic. That aroma was amazing when I woke up. Then later...she used jarred Ragu sauce, when it came out in the markets.

by Anonymousreply 11November 18, 2022 10:13 PM

Yes. I grew up on a small dairy farm with a very large garden where we grew all of our own vegetables, which Mom canned. Since we had milk on hand, we only had to buy eggs, cheese and occasionally ham, bacon as well as fruit in season. Mom was a great cook of what I call "down home cooking." Nothing too fancy, but all was tasty because the ingredients were top notch. She was famous for her cakes and cookies.

by Anonymousreply 12November 18, 2022 10:13 PM

She was passable.

Her cookies were quite wonderful.

Her lasagna was an embarrassment.

by Anonymousreply 13November 18, 2022 10:15 PM

Everyone on Mom's side are/were good cooks. Male and female. No one on Dad's side can/could cook, though my Dad could put something together so we didn't starve those nights when Mom worked.

by Anonymousreply 14November 18, 2022 10:16 PM

Very hit and miss. She won’t follow a recipe, or measure anything, so the food is always different.

Keeping that in mind, I still miss her cooking and look forward to it whenever I go back home. It isn’t objectively good, and I probably would be embarrassed for her to cook for my friends, but, still, I grew up with it and love it all the same.

by Anonymousreply 15November 18, 2022 10:19 PM

A friend of mine (who owns and runs a fancy restaurant, he's a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris) says that if the world's best chef doesn't have fresh ingredients, the grandma down the street who does will produce better meals.

The 50s/60s/70s heavily peddled processed junk to consumers, which American housewives couldn't buy enough of, and that's probably the main reason for all these lousy cooks.

by Anonymousreply 16November 18, 2022 10:22 PM

Most likely depends on the meal. I'm still betting on the trained chef.

by Anonymousreply 17November 18, 2022 10:33 PM

Mi dispiace molto, r15.

by Anonymousreply 18November 18, 2022 10:36 PM

[quote] Most dinners consisted of burned meat, lumpy potatoes, and canned vegetables.

Lol. We had the same mother. But the difference is, since I grew up on it, I liked the cooking and never developed a taste for fancier dining.

by Anonymousreply 19November 18, 2022 10:36 PM

Best cook ever. All 5 of us "kids" learned from her and we are all pretty exceptional cooks too. Still cook several of her recipes that friends request.

by Anonymousreply 20November 18, 2022 10:49 PM

My mother couldn't cook for shit. As my father earned a good living, we had cooks.

by Anonymousreply 21November 18, 2022 10:56 PM

R17 - There's a surprising number of people who prefer well-presented crap. This is why certain restaurants in places like Las Vegas and Miami do so well.

by Anonymousreply 22November 18, 2022 11:04 PM

I grew up in the 80s with a stay at home mom. She assembled food but wasn't a cook. We ate fish sticks, Kraft Dinner, pork chops, spaghetti and meat balls (canned sauce), Old El Paso tacos, and Shake 'n Bake chicken. All that bland food made me want to learn to actually cook.

by Anonymousreply 23November 18, 2022 11:05 PM

She was pretty good. I mean, she made a few things that I wouldn't eat if anybody else made them, like meatloaf. I was shocked the first time I was served meatloaf at somebody else's house and it had big hunks of Wider bread sticking out of it. My mother used breadcrumbs. I was even more shocked when I discovered some people put oatmeal in their meatloaf!

by Anonymousreply 24November 18, 2022 11:06 PM

Not really, but she was a whiz at making reservations.

by Anonymousreply 25November 18, 2022 11:06 PM

No! Dad and I begged her not to cook for us.

by Anonymousreply 26November 18, 2022 11:07 PM

Wider = Wonder

by Anonymousreply 27November 18, 2022 11:07 PM

Yes, but she didn’t do it often.

by Anonymousreply 28November 18, 2022 11:08 PM

My mom had a british dad who loved to bake she emigrated to the US from Peru where she always had maids and cooks. When she got married n the US she taught herself Peruvian and American food. Excellent cook - we were lucky that even though she had a full time job she cooked every night. I learned so much from her.

by Anonymousreply 29November 18, 2022 11:10 PM

Your mom Was depressed.

by Anonymousreply 30November 18, 2022 11:42 PM

No, she wasn't good at anything. My grandmother, however, was a sensational cook.

by Anonymousreply 31November 18, 2022 11:47 PM

Yes, she is. One of her few good qualities

by Anonymousreply 32November 18, 2022 11:49 PM

Everything out of my mom’s kitchen could have come from her ass.

by Anonymousreply 33November 19, 2022 12:09 AM

My mother’s cock is none of your business.

by Anonymousreply 34November 19, 2022 7:10 AM

Yes, my mother’s a perfectionist Capricorn & was a stay at home Mom until I was about 14, so we had perfect home cooked meals every night. Iirc she burned one dish & never let it go, like she was some sort of failure as a cook. I think one of her pies turned out so-so& she acted like it was the biggest disaster.

My grandmother was an excellent cook as well, I only remember one of her Marsala dishes turned out wrong, she put like 2 cups where it should have been 2 tbsps. When I walked in her house I asked if she’d made pancakes because it smelled like maple syrup, & I remember she was so dejected, I felt terrible, not knowing she’d made a rare cooking mistake. I cleaned my plate & told her it was great, even though it was a bit too sweet, & I knew she knew I was lying.

It’s amazing that over the thousands of meals they made those were the only glaring examples of them messing things up. Oh, post-surgery my grandma called one of our relatives a “shitty cook” right to her face, I guess it was her way of calling someone the C word. Our relative burst out laughing & said “everybody knows that!” Because honestly nobody could compare to their cooking.

by Anonymousreply 35November 19, 2022 7:51 AM

No she was not. Her mother was a good cook, however. Starting in the 1960s it became acceptable for many average housewives to be functional cooks at best, and to use lots of the new industrial foods and ingredients. My grandparents never fell into that and lived extremely long, active lives.

by Anonymousreply 36November 19, 2022 8:34 AM

No, neither of my parents like to cook or are very good at it. While I was growing up I frequently ate fast food or frozen dinners or occasionally at a low-tier sit down restaurant. It probably shaved years off my lifespan, but like many others in this thread, it made me really enjoy good food, and I do enjoy cooking now.

by Anonymousreply 37November 19, 2022 8:38 AM

Mother was a great cook and had spent extensive time in France.But my father had extremely pedestrian tastes, which meant a disappointing roster of very basic fare.

by Anonymousreply 38November 19, 2022 9:09 AM

Mother spent extensive time living next door to Fermilab yet knows nothing about high-energy particle physics.

by Anonymousreply 39November 19, 2022 9:39 AM

Yes, excellent. Italian immigrant along with Nonna and they made wonderful from scratch food daily which as a kid I didn't appreciate.

I envied my friends and the processed convenience crap of the 1960s/70s served at their homes. I wanted their tv dinners, Banquet boiling bags, baloney sandwiches on Wonder bread, and Jello 1-2-3 and not the homemade cavatelli, meatballs, braciole, prosciutto on crusty bread and cannoli and biscotti at my house.

by Anonymousreply 40November 19, 2022 10:36 AM


by Anonymousreply 41November 19, 2022 10:41 AM

My mom was a great cook, but not every night.

Like R23 said, it was the '80s, so weeknights were assembled frozen convenience foods. Weekends, she would get into it: red sauce simmered all day, roast chicken, brisket, steaks, casseroles, from-scratch desserts. She was good enough to be a pro baker.

But I don't blame her for not doing that shit seven nights a week. Especially in those tiny '80s kitchens. They weren't the giant Viking-range palaces everyone seems to have today.

by Anonymousreply 42November 19, 2022 11:02 AM

Your dinners were EXACTLY like ours. I had to double check that I didn't post this. Although if the meat wasn't overcooked you can BET it was underdone. Our potatoes came out of a box too. Alas, now I am fat.

by Anonymousreply 43November 19, 2022 11:10 AM

R42, my Mom cooked dinner 6 nights a week. Saturday night was something we could buy (chicken, pizza, fish sticks, pot pies) or hot dogs and hamburgers. I don't know how she did it. I spent time with her and helped her cook so that I could learn like she learned from her mother.

I have chicken probably 2 or 3 times a week. Mom managed to make something different 6 nights or make the leftovers into something that seemed and tasted like something new. I am still in awe of how she did that.

Baking was something she never mastered, though. Her pie crusts were horrid so she used frozen. Cakes were from a box and frosting from the store but she made it look pretty. She picked up Woman's World and a magazine whose name escapes me (was it Family Circle?) that both had recipes in them, try them and improve them.

by Anonymousreply 44November 23, 2022 1:25 PM

If she could cook meals, she could bake a cake from scratch. She was likely not interested in baking, or trying to save time and effort.

by Anonymousreply 45November 23, 2022 1:28 PM

My mother is excellent cook, at her 70s doesn’t like to cook anymore but when she does it is very good. As a child we always had home made lunches and dinners. We were spoiled with delicious dishes. I am rather good cook, too, but lazy.

by Anonymousreply 46November 23, 2022 1:33 PM

Yes, my mom was an incredible cook. Totally self taught,. She made sure my brother and I could cook as well. I am so thankful she took the time and made the effort to teach us.

by Anonymousreply 47November 23, 2022 1:40 PM

My mother is an excellent cook. Her lasagna, mashed potatoes and macaroni salad are the best. My aunt (her twin sister, who passed away) was a marvelous cook, too. My family was in the restaurant business; I'm part Greek. Naturally, they made pastitsio, grape leaves etc.

by Anonymousreply 48November 23, 2022 1:41 PM

What year is this? Do you guys all still think that cooking is completely the mother's responsibility?

Why don't you ask if my dad was a good cook? [He was, by the way -- and still is, at 86.] My mother worked 2nd shift (and made more $ than my father did), and my father often cooked dinner for us three kids.

Yes, my mother was a decent cook, when she had the time; but my father cooked as well, and better.

by Anonymousreply 49November 23, 2022 1:46 PM

Good solid home cooking and baking. And she spoiled me, always serving the stuff she knew I really liked. It's good to be the son!

But yes, vegetables were boiled to mush and pork chops fried hard as leather. But I think that was generational, not her in particular.

by Anonymousreply 50November 23, 2022 1:53 PM

Yes, my mom was a great cook. Miss her and her food.

by Anonymousreply 51November 23, 2022 1:59 PM

Mom was an exceptional cook. Unfortunately, she worked so most weeknight meals were prepared by my grandmother who lived with us and she was terrible. The smartest thing I ever did was to visit my parents for a weekend before they died so that I could sit with my mother and write down her recipes (which were all in her head). I then sent them to my siblings. My nieces still use some of Mom's recipes like Sunday sauce and stuffing. What I wouldn't give for just one more of her Thanksgiving dinners.

by Anonymousreply 52November 23, 2022 2:18 PM

Her living through the depression and rationing, and being a shanty Irish catholic, I never had a fresh vegetable until college. Everything was canned or thrown on a baking pan and into the oven. She did cook a turkey at thanksgiving and a roast beef on Sundays. But nothing ever had spices. Boiled peas and tater tots were staples. I'm still a basic meat and potatoes guy.

by Anonymousreply 53November 23, 2022 2:30 PM

R45, you may be right. Baking is a science; cooking is much more forgiving.

by Anonymousreply 54November 23, 2022 3:10 PM

Yes…beef tenderloin or roasted almond duck for Christmas…oyster stuffing at thanksgiving. Cheese cake, soufflés, pate…god I miss her.

by Anonymousreply 55November 23, 2022 3:10 PM

No. My mom was a single mother with a full time job in the 80s, so dinner was just another chore. Roast cooked to gristly liquefaction in the Crock Pot, Rice-a-Roni, Velveeta shells and cheese, Spam, pan fried hamburgers placed on Wonderbread which quickly deteriorated from the grease, fish sticks, canned veggies (except for lima beans, which were bought fresh), etc. Meals ended with a salad of iceberg lettuce and tomatoes with Wesson corn oil as dressing. She did make really good fried pork chops and home fries, bKed mac and cheese (holidays only) and potato salad (holidays only).

Growing up and getting out into the real world was a culinary revelation. I could not get enough of fresh veggies and different cuisines. All that said, at least once a year I fix fish sticks and butter noodles for dinner for comfort.

by Anonymousreply 56November 23, 2022 3:16 PM

My Ma was great with piecrust, bread, homemade noodles, pot roast, chops, but her idea of a salad was a wedge of iceberg lettuce, a sliver of tomato, and a dollop of mayonnaise. We were poor (hence so many carbs), but she cooked every day for us for thirty years or so. She reached the point where she would throw down the supper plates as soon as we got home from school and then announce that the kitchen was closed. But I loved her and mostly her cooking was from the heart.

by Anonymousreply 57November 23, 2022 3:27 PM

R56, same for me with vegetables. Mom boiled Brussel sprouts and asparagus until they were unrecognizable as vegetables. I wouldn't even eat them at other people's meals due to PTSD.

Fast forward about 40 years, and I decide to try roasting them in the oven. What a sweet revelation! I had roasted Brussel sprouts last night for dinner. I enjoy sauteeing asparagus with olive oil and garlic. Next stop, cauliflower. I still haven't tried it. Maybe my New Year's resolution for 2023.

by Anonymousreply 58November 23, 2022 3:39 PM

[quote] Baking is a science; cooking is much more forgiving.

People keep repeating that baking is a science. Because there's leavening involved and a set oven temperature & time? I don't see the big deal about baking. Don't leave out your leavening (egg, baking soda, baking powder). Make sure your oven's set at the right temperature. Take it out of the oven after __X__ minutes.

In some ways, it's easier to bake than cook. You're using sugar, butter, flour ... people love desserts.

by Anonymousreply 59November 23, 2022 5:01 PM

I appreciate the memory of my mom’s cooking now that she’s dead. Her mom was an excellent cook but my mom preferred setting a beautiful table to being a creative cook. Still, she cooked dinner every night, which I realize now was quite a feat. We never had processed slop—she always made an effort.

My brother and I just exchanged a few of her Thanksgiving recipes yesterday. All on index cards written in her distinctive hand. Made me weepy and sad I didn’t appreciate the effort she made more when she was alive.

Hope all DLers are having a happy Thanksgiving and have some good memories of your moms.

by Anonymousreply 60November 23, 2022 5:19 PM

Every time she tried to cook the smoke alarm would go off.

by Anonymousreply 61November 23, 2022 5:21 PM

R59, baking is less forgiving. It's not just because of the leavening agent or oven temp. You can't fix the flavor of a cake or non-flaky pie crust after it's been cooked. You can fix something cooked before it is served.

by Anonymousreply 62November 23, 2022 5:44 PM

My mother was a good baker, but she was just an ok cook. She did better at some things than others. She definitely boiled the hell out of vegetables. She used to nail soft boiled eggs. She overcooked meat because she was afraid we would get all sorts of diseases that had basically been eradicated by the time I was born. We could never convince her of that. My father was much better at cooking meat.

She was in many ways ahead of her time. In the 1970s when everyone was having frozen TV dinners and instant mashed potatoes, my mother insisted we have fresh or frozen vegetables, a salad with every dinner, whole grain bread, fresh meat and seafood once a week (often frozen fish), etc. She would let us have treats every now and then (a TV dinner, frozen fish sticks) but it was considered a rare treat.

As I wrote above, though, she was a very good baker. Her pie crust was amazing. All my friends would beg me to ask her to make her chocolate chip cookies if we had a school party. She made all kinds of tasty baked goods, which for me as a kid with a sweet tooth was just the best! We always had cookies in the cookie jar, or some sort of cake or sweet bread. Her banana bread was delicious, as was her apple crisp. We needed a good dessert after eating her overcooked meat!

by Anonymousreply 63November 23, 2022 8:45 PM

"Well if you want to get trichinosis go right ahead and eat it that way!"

by Anonymousreply 64November 23, 2022 9:11 PM

She had been mordibly obese at 16 and later in life became anorexic so that tells you everything you need to know. I have no recollection of anything she made since I spent a lot of money in therapy erasing her memories.

by Anonymousreply 65November 23, 2022 10:25 PM
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