Cooking

Mealtime Nostalgia

Food has a powerful influence over many childhood memories. The smell or taste of a certain dish can jet me back to ten years old, watching my Grandma Jayne make homemade fried chicken. There are a few memories in particular that warm my heart and most of them have to do with my own parents.

My Dad was famous for his breakfast food. Many a Saturday morning, he would turn up the tunes and plug in the skillet, and as the smell of breakfast wafted through the sunlit house, we’d gather around the table in our pjs to put in our orders. He was the master at turning out plates of perfectly crisped bacon or spicy sausage patties. Then he would make large quantities of scrambled eggs, tossing all the bacon grease and crunchy bits into the mix, creating the best eggs you’ve ever tasted. Sometimes he would go the extra mile and add a stack of golden pancakes or waffles to the fare, always made with Bisquick and always topped with Mrs. Butterworth’s thick sticky syrup. Other times he made biscuits and sausage gravy, just like Grandpa Charlie’s. I remember the first time he had me stand next to him at the skillet, stirring and stirring the gravy so the milk wouldn’t burn. I still use this recipe because it is everything that biscuits and gravy should be.

Of course my Mom had a few food legacies herself. Her mashed potatoes were to die for, buttery and fluffy and filling. They were even better when spread over her Shepherd’s Pie. Her chili was a major success too. (It is still the only way I will voluntarily eat beans.) Sometimes she added spaghetti, which was our favorite. One particular time she accidentally made it with taco meat instead of regular beef and we all thought it was delicious. Then there was the chicken casserole. That magical chicken casserole that we asked for every birthday or special occasion. The one with the hard boiled eggs and corn flakes. That casserole makes me little again, with the blue castle birthday cake. It took me too long to get the recipe from her and now that I have it, I want to make it weekly. I’m not sure where she got this recipe but I thought I should share it. Taste a little bit of my childhood.

Mom’s Chicken Cornflake Casserole

Filling:
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup celery, chopped
¼ cup onion, diced
1 cup cooked rice
3 chopped hard boiled eggs
3/4 cups mayo
1 tsp lemon juice
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup, undiluted

Mix all ingredients together and put into 9×13 ungreased pan.

Topping:
1/2 cup corn flakes, crushed
1/2 cup potato chips, crushed
2 TBSP unsalted butter, melted

Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl. Crumble over filling and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Enjoy!

What kinds of foods make you nostalgic?

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