My mother had a few recipes that I couldn’t stomach. Mom loved the odd cuts of meat (like organs) and learned how to cook them from her mother and grandmother. I don’t remember many of our neighborhood moms cooking the same things.
I liked her chicken hearts that were dusted in flour and fried. But I passed on gizzards.
Beef tongue was a hard pass.
Mom’s beef heart I could handle. She’d stuff the heart and bake it in the oven. Then she sliced it and I’d have a thin ring of heart around delicious stuffing.
The oxtail soup I shied away from until I hit junior high. Then I discovered oxtails were the most tender delicious meat I’d ever eaten and the broth was rich but so flavorful. Years later, I made oxtail soup for my “at the time boyfriend.” I overheard him telling a friend that he had to marry me because of my oxtail soup.
“How can she make something so amazing out of !!#!??”
My dad’s side of the family had some oddball dishes too. Christmas meant Lutefisk and fish head stew. I could not get myself to stop staring at the eyeballs staring up at me from the stew. It definitely killed my appetite.
If you haven’t heard of Lutefisk this is from Wikipedia:
Lutefisk is prepared as a seafood dish of several Nordic countries. It is traditionally part of the Christmas feast; Norwegian julebord and Swedish julbord, as well as the similar Finnish joulupöytä.
Finnish: lipeäkala [ˈlipeæˌkɑlɑ]; literally “lye fish”) is dried whitefish (normally cod, but ling and burbot are also used). It is made from aged stockfish (air-dried whitefish), or dried and salted cod, pickled in lye. It is gelatinous in texture after being rehydrated for days prior to eating.
Besides the recipes I mentioned, my mom also served us canned Chef Boyardee ravioli, Swanson’s TV dinners, Space Food Sticks and Tang.
What are some of the foods you grew up with? Did your family cook anything odd?
Nothing really odd in my history I think. Dad liked liver and onions, which I wouldn’t eat. He hunted also but I did eat the venison my mom cooked. I’m not sure I’d jump onboard with anything containing eyeballs looking at me either so your fish stew wouldn’t be on my favorites list! I do remember Swanson TV dinners fondly- we ate them on TV trays in the living room just the way it was supposed to be done.
My mom cooked liver and onions too which I refused to eat. We ate our Swanson’s dinner on TV trays too. That was such a treat!
Liver done in a cast iron skillet, slobbered in onions….yeah, that works for the wife and I!
I guess I should buck up and try it sometime.
I am mostly a vegetarian and just like vegetarian dishes the most
There’s nothing odd about that 🙂
Nopes, it’s not odd.
Is that like being “mostly” pregnant? I always figured you either were, or were not.
Haha! Mostly mean that I’ll eat chicken sometimes. I’m not vegetarian because of any conviction, I just don’t like meat.
Wow – you have an interesting heritage. My mother is Italian, the only thing she would make that we didn’t like was liver / onions. Although, when I finally tasted it, I didn’t mind it, but it did have a different taste. In Italy the relatives made rabbit stew, I just could not eat it.
My mom made liver and onions too. I never tasted it. Rabbit stew? No thank you!
So no Thumper?
Nope. That reminds me, we have a friend who hunts and he gives us venison that sits in our freezer. Once at Christmas with the extended family I wanted to use the venison and I was told “We won’t eat Bambi.”
LOL — or frog legs!
My dad used to eat pickled pigs feet and we tried making dandelion wine on our farm in the Catskill. Rhubarb pie was delicious and something I miss. My mom left me a recipe for potato cake but I don’t make it as it is made with flour and we still follow a ‘dirty keto’ so we don’t eat as many carbs, mostly. I have some odd eating habits picked up over the years of diets, trends, and just needs for something like mayo on everything.
Wow. Pickled pigs feet? ! My mom baked rhubarb pie too. I still make it. What a wonderful flavor.
Herring, also, we had often as my father was of Swedish heritage and liked herring on New Years. He made a great Vichyssoise.
My dad is Finnish. My grandparents moved here in the 1930s. We had herring, too!
I can attest to these weird eating habits. Anybody who likes Sushi with ketchup or Tofu and Peanut butter are just immune to taste clashes.
Sushi with ketchup, noooo…maybe a sandwich with peanut butter and tofu!
I don’t know about weird but we used to eat liver (Weight Watchers used to require that once a week). It was gross. My grandmother made apple fritters but I ate so many once that I got sick and could never eat them again. I guess you could say the raw hamburger sandwiches that we used to eat as kids was weird. Also probably unhealthy but we knew the butcher.
My mom did Weight Watchers too and made liver. I’m sorry you got sick from apple fritters. I bet they were delicious.
And this is why it is a good idea to always keep a good old box of mac and cheese available. Shin of Beef and Oxtail are best left to the Jackals. Growing up, my folks loved to serve Aspic. I hated that stuff, but they were convinced they could change my mind. They failed.
I remember aspic at church pot lucks. Thumbs down.
I enjoyed my mother’s smothered liver and onions as a kid but never learned to make them. Dad enjoyed eating cow tongue (not going to eat something that could potentially on some level taste me back — no I’m not!), pig’s feet, and menudo (which is tripe) which was supposedly good for hangovers. Certain family members will put ketchup on their eggs and just the smell of that turns my stomach! I’ve never had oxtail anything, but the way you describe it, I’d be willing to try that! Mona
You made me laugh about not eating something that could taste you back! My mom went to a deli when she was visiting us and brought back a tongue sandwich. A piece of tongue dropped to the ground and the dog — a lab who eats everything — wouldn’t touch it! I’ve tried menudo but I’m not a fan.
Lots of red sauce. Lots of meat. No organ meats. But nothing really odd
We ate a lot of beef, too. Meatloaf, steak, roasts — and organs.
I don’t remember anything quite so exotic as you experienced but my grandmother made pig’s tails and sauerkraut which I thought sounded awful but was delicious.Thanks so much for following Judith and Me at A World Apart. I always enjoy your blog! Chris
Pig’s tails sound pretty darn exotic to me! I’m enjoying your blog!
I grew up poor. My dad hunted and fished. We ate a lot of wild game and fish. My sister had huge issues with this. She only eats fish and chicken bought from the store as an adult.
When my mom and dad were first married they lived on game and fish too. I got sick of salmon as a kid, but enjoy it now. Thanks for your interesting comment.
Mother cooked traditional Italian or basic American. I did really like the stuffed artichokes and all vegetables except lima beans. There was a kitchen table screaming match continuously as she never stopped serving them and I never understood why. Now I’ve never had them since I left for college 55 years ago !
My husband’s uncle (in the photo) was from Palermo and his cooking and screaming matches were incredible! He’s in his 90s now.Stuffed artichokes sound delicious.
You may know about some of the (Jewish) delicacies that were not uncommon in my Bubbie’s home. Have you eaten kishka or gefilte fish or homemade chopped liver or home rendered chicken fat?
Yes I have, but I have not tasted kishka or rendered chicken fat. We had many Jewish friends in our old home town and a great Jewish deli.
Did you say chicken heart? Oxtails were a staple in my family <3
I love chicken hearts and oxtails.
I grew up with Mac and cheese in the US then a lit of Malaysian and Lebanese dishes once we went to Lebanon. I’ve heard of the odd “organ” dishes. My grandmother made them for my dad but I never ate them.
I loved Kraft Mac and Cheese. My college roommate and I lived n it, but we added canned tuna to give it protein.
Mac n cheese is so good. I haven’t had it in years.