Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mom's Cooking

I had a mom who worked "outside the home" while I was growing up. She didn't have much choice, being a single parent, but she worked three days a week until I was ten or so and four days a week until I was in eighth grade, at which point she went full-time.

When we were younger, Jindi was at the house when we got home if Mom wasn't there, or the Stay At Home Dad (who was in junior high then) and Dimpi (his sister) took us on the bus back to their house. When I was in the Upper Form at CSH, I wore my house key on an orange yarn hair ribbon under my uniform, and ate graham crackers with milk while watching The Brady Bunch in the afternoon.

No and I always called Mom when we got home. Sometimes she asked us to put the potatoes in the little oven and turn it on, since they took so long to bake. Mom would come home and turn on The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and put together the meat and vegetable parts of dinner. We had a lot of three-part dinners, often a potato (baked or boiled, or very occasionally frozen french fries), a piece of chicken or beef, and a vegetable. We often had broccoli, but in the spring had asparagus or artichokes. Mom would garnish our 60's modern plastic dinner plates with a piece of parsley, which we never had to eat (thank goodness, I don't like parsley to this day!). For dessert, which we ate at least half an hour later, we usually had fruit cocktail or ice cream.

Mom made one casserole, which she called Irish-Hungarian Goulash. From my friends who grew up in the Midwest, I understand versions of this are called Hot Dish, though one friend told me that if it doesn't include cream of mushroom soup it isn't Hot Dish. We hardly ever had this casserole, probably because Mom wasn't the make-on-Sunday type and she got home from work after 5pm. Of course, I love it, and consider it comfort food. Maybe you do too.

Mom's Irish-Hungarian Goulash

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped up
1 can stewed tomatoes
oregano, basil, and salt
cooked elbow macaroni
grated cheese for the top

Brown beef with onion until cooked through. Add the can of stewed tomatoes and the herbs and stir. Combine in deep casserole pan with macaroni. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake at 350F until heated through. Serve with broccoli to happy children.

I am thinking about all this because recently I have been eating the way I ate when I was a kid. KT had a baby two weeks ago, and Mom and I have been spending a lot of time at my brother's house. Mom has been cooking for the new parents, and a lot of it is tried and true classics from back in the day. They're also relatively fast meals so Mom can hang out with the new parents and the grandchild. It's been fabulous.

1 comment:

Saipan Writer said...

Nice baby--very long/tall!

It's odd you call that casserole Irish-Hungarian. My paternal grandmother was Irish. My maternal grandfather came from Hungary (although German by ethnicity).

When my mom made the same style casserole, we thought it was Italian! haha!