Mom’s Favorites

One of the projects that I’ve been planning since I started this blog is to compile my mom’s favorite recipes. I can’t fit them all in one entry, but here’s the beginning. I’ve already posted her all-time favorite, the Pasta and Broccoli “Quick Stuff,” which we adapted from a recipe in The Greens Cookbook.

Daddy and I regarded some of her choices as downright odd. This, for example, from a letter to me July 15, 1978: “I usually eat a garlic sandwich (made with George’s lettuce on Pepperidge Farm’s sprouted wheat bread – with a little mayonnaise) for my lunch – our parsley isn’t really flourishing or I’d add some chopped parsley so that I do not offend my relatives – friends – husbands.”

As I’ve also mentioned, bluefish figured significantly in our diet from spring through fall. The classic recipe appears in “Frugal Living: Cheap Eats.”

Some variations on the theme of bluefish. I don’t think I ever tasted this one, which she wrote up in a July 17, 1982 journal entry. It involved marinating the fish in ginger, orange juice, grated orange peel and cooked with mint and orange slices. From Oct. 25, 1986: A friend brought her a bluefish, told her “it hadn‘t been out of the water for more than a few hours, that it had been swimming around in the Sound at 3:00 a.m. – delicious! delicious! delicious! I rubbed it ever so lightly with Mazola, sprinkled it ever so lightly with seasoned salt and pepper – sprinkled it with lemon juice. Stuck it in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes – then put it under the broiler for another 10 – and voilà, the most delicious piece of fish I’ve ever eaten.”

Once she realized that giving up meat did not lead directly to malnutrition, she became a convert, though we continued to eat every variety of fish and shellfish. I spent years searching for her recipe for Crab and Shrimp Casserole. Eventually it surfaced in her journal on July 30, 1984. She said it came from Make It Now Bake It Later by Barbara Goodfellow, Trident Press, NY 1965, a division of Simon and Schuster.

1 1 /2 lb. lump crab meat
1/ 2 lb. small shrimp
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 c. cooked rice
1 1/2 c. mayonnaise we use Hellman’s
2 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen peas
1/3 c. parsley, chopped

2 pkgs frozen peas, thawed but not cooked

Salt, pepper,

Toss ingredients lightly. Place in a greased 3 quart casserole. Refrigerate, covered until ready to bake. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serves 6.

She added parsley. I add 1 onion, chopped, and Old Bay, probably about 1/ 2 tsp. for those with delicate taste buds, a full tsp. for all others

We were not big eaters of desserts, though we did indulge others. (“Time to Make the Mincemeat.”) But on special occasions Mother pulled out all the stops. She seemed to enjoy repeating the recipe for pound cake, though I never did find complete instructions. Here are two versions.

Saturday, Dec. 15, 1984: had a small birthday celebration for H. Bush yesterday – made an old-fashioned 1-2-3-4 cake for her birthday. 1 of butter, 2 of sugar, 3 of flour and 4 eggs – and a boiled frosting – actually it’s 2 2/3 of flour not 3 – but the result is the great classic birthday cake – egg whites beaten separately and folded in last. the result is the great classic cake, fine crumb, marvellous flavor, had not made one of these cakes in years. (This is the cake that my grandmother Bertha used to make.)

A year later Sunday Dec. 15, 1985, Mother added an unhelpful note:  Yesterday … made a birthday cake – plain – unfrosted – used the classic 1-2-3-4 recipe – 1 of sugar – 2 of butter- 3 of flour and 4 eggs – well there’s also baking powder and milk involved. But it makes a lovely cake and it isn’t quite 3 of flour.

And just to add to the frustration, here’s another recipe without baking instructions. Sept. 13, 1986. zucchini bread – …

4 eggs – 2 cups of sugar – 3 cups flour

1 cup mazola – 2 tsps baking pwd

1 tsp cinnamon – 1 tsp. baking soda – or is it 2?

2 cups zucchini, grated

1 cup walnuts, 1 cup raisins

To be continued. …


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