The first garden peas and new potatoes with a cream sauce(real butter and real cream, my grandparents had a dairy farm).
Green beans cooked with salt pork, salt, pepper, and a dab of sugar.
Creamed corn(again with butter & cream).
All cooked on a coal range.
My grandmother on my father’s side was Italian and her best side dish would be a homemade pizza. It was always served as a side dish rather than a main meal becuase there wouldn’t be enough oven space to make pizza for all of us as a meal. It wasn’t like your typical homemade pizza… it was very similar to what is offered at Pepe’s.
My grandmother on my mother’s side was African American and she made a lot of the traditional "soul food" type of meals. I recall that every time she made fried chicken she’d make buttermilk biscuits along with it which were the best I’ve had.
My grandmother Dorine was not known as a great cook. But her baked beans were masterful, and always her purview when covered dishes got assigned. She insisted she didn’t have a recipe and was completely incapable of telling what her proportions were.
Basically, though, she pressure-cooked dry beans (usually small white ones)until tender, then dumped them into a casserole dish with molasses and/or sugar, a ham hock, salt and pepper, and then baked them til they were done. Nothing super-secret, but everyone always said that nobody made beans like her.
My dad and granddad poured lots of vinegar on theirs.
First, a thank-you for the topic and to FT for his tribute, which applies to my grandma, Gam:
Actually, any memories associated with her are special. Thanks NYNM for rekindling my memories and love for her, beyond her food.
All the green bean recipes remind me of my maternal grandma’s; I don’t think my paternal grandma ever cooked anything at all! Gam was a veteran of the Depression, during which her husband, Dandy, was a country doctor who was often paid in food as well as a serious hunter. She cold cook anything! Her venison CFS was to die for, as was her rabbit with white gravy.
Gam’s green beans were cooked with some ham or a ham hock, a little onion, maybe a little vinegar, and S & P. They came out withered, not mushy, and with a very intense flavor.
I’m running on here. My very favorite recipe was her salt-rising bread. Kind of like durian in that it has an offensive smell while in preparation but an exquisite flavor when done. I can probably find the recipe if anyone wants it.
My American grandma’s best side dishes were her mashed potatoes with gravy, her summer squash sauteed with brown sugar and onions, and her slow cooked green beans.
My German grandma’s were her spaetzle with brown gravy, her cucumber tomato and onion salad with dill, and her Rot Kraut.
I would love to be in either of their kitchens again enjoying their company and soaking up the aroma!
Butterbeans! I found out her secret not long ago. A teaspoon of sugar right before serving.
granma made macNcheese from scratch and when served with her salmon croquettes…….. it seemed like family members dropped from the sky and crawled out of the woodwork when that was the menu
Thanks mbrookes to the tip. The wife puts green beans in boiling water for about
ten seconds and then serves them. I’ll make a batch for myself using your tip.
Delicious canned leisure pea salad.
Fieldthistle, There is a secret to cooking green beans to death with out turning them to mush.
Use just enough liquid to come almost to the surface of the beans. Cook Veeery slowly. You want the liquid to barely bubble, but not cause the beans to move.
Don’t stir, That breaks them up. Turn over with a spatula evry half hour or so.
Works every time. I sometimes cook them for 3 hours one day and about that long the next.
"Baked" Spaghetti-we had it at every picnic and family gathering for the last 50 years. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Boil 1 lb of angel hair and drain. Mix into that pasta 3-6oz cans of tomato paste (mix well until all pasta is coated). Grate 1/2 lb of sharp cheddar cheese and mix in half of that with the pasta. I prefer Cabot, but use whatever works for you. Pour pasta mixture into a glass casserole dish (11×13) and spread our evenly. Sprinkle remaining greated cheese on top. Pour 1/2 cup milk evenly over spaghetti(to keep moist in oven). And then to the SECRET ingredient: sprinkle cinnamon-sugar (like you would make for cinnamon toast) liberally over the pasta. I use about 5-6 tablespoons of it. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Serve and enjoy. Goes great with hot dogs, hamburgers, bakes beans, and potato salad.
Carrot tzimmes and knaidle.
Fried pumpkin flowers and polenta with meat sauce (Italian Nona).
My grandma was Hungarian (that’s "nagymama"), and she made a dish of egg noodles with cabbage that was both addictive and volatile ([:I]). I know how to pronounce the name of the dish, but I couldn’t spell it to save my life!
She also made a soup from caraway seeds that was amazingly delicious and complex, but simple to make: saute a couple of teaspoons of caraway seeds in about a tablespoon of vegetable oil until fragrant. Add a tablespoon of flour and cook another minute or two. Add 2 to 3 cups of water (you want something just slightly thicker than broth), and bring to a boil. Correct for salt/pepper and serve sprinkled with croutons (the real, homemade kind … don’t even THINK of using storebought or "seasoned").
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