As I was scrolling through Pinterest this morning, looking for new and exciting recipes to WOW the family with, I had a thought. Certain recipes were popping up as I put in One Pot meals or Instant Pot meals and I realized there are so many childhood memories, which are triggered by recipes I grew up with.
The first one is, “Beef Bourguignion.” Translation? Beef burgundy but if you say it like that, the charm instantly evaporates. This delicious and rich stew was a delight when I was growing up in NYC. A warm, filling meal on a chilly day always made me happy. The leftovers were even better. What really sends me back to 1982, is my mom cooking from the famous Julia Child Cookbook, and chanting (in her best Julia Child voice), “Save the liver!” I believe Saturday Night Live was doing a spoof on Julia at some point and my mom found that absolutely hysterical. What I love about my mom is that no matter which Julia Child recipe she was making, she always repeated, “Save the liver!” My mom was always good for beating a joke to the ground. Maybe that’s where I get it from?
The second is from the New York Times Cookbook, by Craig Claiborne. Now I’m going to tell you the 2019 version of this cookbook is not the one we used. Recipes have been removed and others have been added. I was desperate to find the 1961 version. I actually found it at my cousin’s house years ago and pocketed it, much to her dismay. She almost had a breakdown but I was that desperate for the book. I’m ashamed of my behavior and have since been punished, because I can’t find the darn book since the last move.
The meal is, “Sherried Noodles with Chicken.” A luscious and creamy combination of spinach pasta (called green pasta in those days), juicy chicken bits and a full bodied sherry flavor. This was the first meal I ever made for a crowd when I was young. I was so proud of myself! Whenever this meal was made, I would smile on the way home from school knowing there were leftovers in the tiny Manhattan fridge. BUT, I must warn you! This recipe is difficult to find, and it’s soooooo good. I can’t understand why it was removed from the original book! I certainly can’t ask Craig, G-d rest his soul. If you happen to run into a used bookstore or find this older copy at a garage sale, grab it!!! I finally found it on Amazon for seven bucks, sold by ThriftBooks.
The third recipe is a Passover staple, but at my grandmother’s house it was available all year round. Matzo Ball Soup! I have tried to recreate Grandma’s recipe for thirty years! The problem? She didn’t measure; she didn’t have exact details. The balls were always fluffy and delicious. The chicken soup was homemade, of course. At one point as a child I remember her adding seltzer to an empty egg shell and pouring that into the matzo meal mixture. What the….???? I know all Jewish girls say this, but my grandmother could have won an award for her soup. It was like a cure-all, an elixir, a remedy for all afflictions. I swear it even doubled as a truth serum. Am I wrong?
What are your childhood recipe triggers? Are they positive? Negative? Let’s hear your story.