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Flashback Friday ~ Food 4 Thought

It is time once again for Flashback Friday with Linda of Mocha With Linda. This is the meme that takes us back in time. In Linda’s own words:

This meme’s purpose is to have us take a look back and share about a specific time or event in our lives. It will be fun to see how similar – or different – our experiences have been!.

Participating in this meme and reading everyone’s answers is one of my weekly highlights. Grab the button and the link and come play along. Linda’s theme this week is:

What is food to one man may be fierce poison to others.
Lucretius (1st century BC)

What were meals like when you were growing up? Did your mom (or dad) cook (and was it from scratch or from a box?) or did your family eat out much of the time? Did you eat together as a family or was everyone on a different schedule? What did you call meals? (Dinner vs. supper, lunch, etc.) What were some of your favorite things that your parent fixed? What did you dislike and vow never to fix once you grew up? Did your family have any food traditions, things that were a must on certain occasions (such as Sunday dinners or holiday meals)? Did your parent teach you to cook or did you wing it once you were grown? How similar or different are your family’s eating habits today than when you grew up?

My grandmother was many wonderful things but “cook” wasn’t one of them! For one thing, my Gram was a saver and she never bought what she could make herself.  Shortening was something she could make.  Whenever she cooked bacon or ham she poured the grease through a strainer and into a can.  Gram then used that grease in anything that called for shortening.  That’s why I was 17 years old before I discovered that Snickerdoodles shouldn’t taste like bacon.

Gram and I ate all of our meals together.  Even if lunch was just a sandwich we sat down at the table and ate it from a real plate.  Every meal included a fruit or a vegetable.  Every morning for breakfast I was given 4 ounces of juice.  Amoeba was raised the same way so that is what we do with each other.  Rarely do we eat in separate rooms, and no matter how his music and performance schedules change our meal times, I still try to prepare an evening meal we can eat together.

In town our meals were called breakfast, lunch and dinner.  On my uncle’s farm we had breakfast, dinner and supper.  Mostly it didn’t matter what they called it, as long as they called me when they were serving it.

Most family meals were eaten at my aunt’s home.  She wasn’t a wonderful cook, either, but she had a few set holiday dishes that were wonderful.  She made a shrimp salad that I loved.  I was thrilled to later learn that the salad was my mother’s own recipe.

On my birthday I was always allowed to set the menu.  What I chose will probably baffle most of you.  I loved Tuna Gravy (our name for it, other’s folks call it tuna in white sauce).  I would ask for Tuna Gravy over homemade biscuits with peas.  To make Tuna Gravy just make a pan of white sauce and stir a large can of tuna in.  I know it doesn’t sound good, but really it is.  I still make it on rare occasions — not often because we try to avoid the white sauce.

When I was a kid Gram taught me to make cookies and cakes and I was baking by myself by the time I was 10 or 11.  Other than that, I didn’t cook.  Then, when I was 17, my step mom had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital.  My dad told me I was in charge of cleaning the house and cooking the meals.  I told him I didn’t know how to cook and he showed me a whole shelf of cook books above the refrigerator.

I learned to cook.  My dad very patiently ate some horrid meals. I made baking powder biscuits three times in a row and they simply would not raise.  Every time dad was kind and ate the flat weird little things.  The 4th time I made them dad said if I was going to keep making crackers maybe I should serve stew.

The 5th time I made them I risked getting in trouble and made a long distance phone call to ask my sister for help.  She had me read her the recipe I was following with religious precision.  It called for only one teaspoon of baking powder.  My sister said she was certain that was wrong and suggested a recipe in a different cookbook.  I tried it and got big, beautiful, fluffy biscuits — and of course I had made stew.


  1. I went into our marriage not knowing how to cook. Poor Art. His mother had a reputation for being one of the best cooks/bakers on the Big Island, and then he married me. It’s a good thing he knew how to cook.

  2. Sounds like the first buns/rolls I made. It´s a Mennonite tradition that every housewife should bake “buns” (rolls) for the weekend. So dutifully I tried to do it. I was living in Canada, with no mom there to help me or call.
    The first batch came out so greasy, that when I took out the baking sheet from the oven, the buns all slid to one end. And they were so shiny from too much oil. 🙂 I tried a few more times, but they just never came out good.
    Fortunately an aunt had pity on me and baked them for me. I just needed to pick them up. Much easier. 🙂
    Sometimes I still try to make them, but you can never be sure of the outcome. Sometimes they are good, other times NOT.

    1. Betty — to this day I can’t consistently make tall fluffy rolls, either, but I’ve never had them come out greasy. Just short!

  3. I love biscuits with stew! What a fun story.

    As for the Treet sandwich, I’ll pass LOL And I’ve never heard of tuna with gravy. But my mom made tuna casserole a lot. I made it for years until eating it when I was pregnant and sick half of the nine months cured me!

    And I forgot about the grease strainers! My mom had these little metal cans and she would put a napkin on top of the can’s strainer and save and reuse her oil when she fried chicken, etc.

  4. .
    This was interesting, Quilly. I will tell you why farmers have breakfast, dinner and supper.
    They also have lunch, sometimes two of them. The wife brings it out to the field a little after three and if two, then in the morning around ten. It wouldn’t do to call the first BIG MEAL of the day lunch as well.
    Rmember I was a farm kid and loved my lunches in the field. They usually were a sandwich or two, a common fruit, and a few cookies. There was ice tea to help wash it down followed by a cup or two of hot coffee. Then the wife left a new jug of ice water.
    This was also called lunch because we only had ten minutes off work to eat and drink it all.
    Have fun on the Big Isle. I’ve spent a week and a half there, it is nice (sort of like Texas) with more expensive and more famous beaches.

    1. Jim — I was often a deliverer of such snacks. We just called it “break”. The jugs of iced tea was always appreciated and often when Grandma Hull was supplying the food, the morning break was donuts or popovers or some other such yummy, and the afternoon snack was sandwiches.

  5. .
    Oh yes, I’m back with a zillion problems to cure, things that went wrong while gone on holiday. It will slow down my blogging a bit plus Mrs. Jim is still in London doing Granny Nanny duty. She will count how many blogs I post before I report all that things are ship-shape here.

  6. When we were growing up we called the meals Breakfast, Dinner and Supper as well. Wonderful Story Quilly. If you ask for a Biscuit out here at the Stores, the clerks look at you really funny. They call them Scones here which basically means the same thing. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Ohhhhh GAG me! I can not STAND lard! No no no no no…. ohhhhh bacon flavored snickerdoodles… ewwwwwwww! I don’t even eat BACON – much less bacon GREASE! Coagulated bacon grease… ugh… thank goodness for the redeeming efforts of FLUFFY biscuits and stew! I can handle that!!! (you didn’t make the STEW with bacon grease, did you???)

    1. Melli — you’d have hated Gram’s eggs then. I certainly did. She deep fried them in bacon grease. And, no I didn’t make the stew with bacon grease. Gram and my dad didn’t live in the same house.

  8. Snickerdoodles shouldn’t taste like bacon..cracked me up!
    as long as they called me when they were serving–I’m with ya.
    tuna in white sauce–yeah!
    I still make salmon gravy… 🙂

      1. it’s probably me (and the peculiarities of the local cuisine) but i will never understand how anyone can eat gravy with almost anything

  9. LOL @ tge bacon[flavored Snickerdoodles!

    We make that with tuna but call it creamed tuna, and I love it over rice, though my family isn’t crazy about it.

    Sounds like the sink or swim method of learning to cook! But sounds like it worked. I think cooking is a lifelong learning experience. I couldn’t make gravy for years, but then one day it just clicked.

    1. Barbara – -we have our creamed tuna over toast. I might like it better with rice. i am not a fan of soggy bread.

  10. My grandmother on Dad’s side was a wonderful cook and was said to be able to make a meal out of a dishcloth! I could cook when I got married but have become a better one 36 years on. 😉

  11. My husband had to teach me to make pies. I knew how to make cookies, but as a child I had mostly been used as a spice and other ingredient fetcher.

    1. Karen — Gram wasn’t much into teaching me how to do anything. It was just faster for her to do it herself. That’s why I found myself learning through trial and error as a teen!

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