Friday, October 17, 2008

Favorite childhood meals … in the 40’s


My 76 year old sister e-mailed me recently and mentioned that she was making “Shrimp Wiggle” for supper. This is a favorite recipe that her 80 year old husband remembered from his past and that he brought to their marriage. In the 30’s his mother would make this simple concoction ... white sauce, cooked shrimp and baby peas. heat to thicken and serve over crackers.

It brought back sentimental memories of a favorite meal that my mother used to make. You have to remember that I was brought up shortly after the depression and “thrift” was our middle name. I don’t ever remember having a steak or roast beef or anything of that sort until I was in my teens and things were a little easier money-wise.

Anyway, this recipe was only possible during the harvest months since the main ingredient was ripe, right-off-the vine, tomatoes. We would cut them into cubes, combine with Russian dressing (or a home-made dressing of mayonnaise & ketchup) & salt & pepper to taste & put in the refrigerator to marinate. At supper time we would have two big bowls on the table. One bowl contained steaming hot, white rice with chunks of bologna and the other was the bowl of chilled, marinated, tomatoes.

It sounds strange in these days of plenty ... but that was a feast as far as we were concerned. We’d heap our plates and always came back for seconds.

Over the years I’ve tried to reproduce that recipe but it’s never been a success. I don’t know if our tomatoes tasted better then or if it was just the fun of us all being together. Whatever it was it was unforgettable.

During MY years of trying to stretch the weekly budget I invented a dish that my kids dubbed “Mom’s mish-mosh”. It was merely combining all the leftovers in the ‘fridge and adding rice or pasta. Baked with a liberal topping of cheese seemed to make it palatable ... but I’ve noticed that none of my children have sentimental memories about it ... nor have they ever tried to replicate it !

9 Comments:

Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Although it's very different, it reminds of one of my mother's dishes based on tomatoes and bread crumbs. In fact, I plan on trying it next week.

8:04 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

I never had anything like that, but it sounds good to me. My mom always had plenty of food on the table, even when money was short, so I never knew that we were on the poorish side, until I was older. She was good at concocting meals like that!

7:29 AM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Ginnie--there's many a dish that had its origins in times of lean pickings. Today, they bring back fond memories to some of us (ahem) older folk--while younger people wrinkle up their noses.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Scott W said...

There is just no way I can eat raw tomatoes. They just absolutely gross me out. Now as far as white rice with bologna, think I will pass there, too.

4:05 PM  
Blogger RoyalTLady said...

We have special rice menu called Tomato Rice

3 cups basmati rice or any rice - clean and toss
4 ripe tomatoes - sliced
1 cup fresh milk
2 cups water
1 Tablsp.lime juice
2 Tabsp.tomato sauce
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamoms
3 cloves
2 star aniseeds
4 cloves garlic - sliced
4 shallots - sliced
2" ginger - crushed
2 Tbsp.butter
Salt to taste

1. In a pan or rice cooker, heat butter. Add in garlic, ginger, shallots and spices.
2. When they give aromatic smell, add rice. Turning gently (not frying) till it changes color.
3. Add water, salt, milk and tomato sauce. Leave to boil.
4. Add sliced tomatoes after 10 minutes. Gently turning rice and leave to cook on slow fire if using stove. When using rice cooker, it would cook on its own.
5. Serve hot with chicken curry or any poultry dish you wish.
6. Sprinkle chopped celery leaves on the rice,if you like

8:20 AM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

The tomato dish sounds good. It is definitely a comfort food as well as cheap.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

How about those fried green tomatoes? Those are really good. My mother made stewed tomatoes. I always liked them. You're a gem Ginnie.

4:51 PM  
OpenID Big John said...

I can still 'taste' the tomatoes my dad grew on his little vegetable patch in WW2 London. They made our meagre cheese ration go a long way.

7:32 AM  
Blogger RoyalTLady said...

Someone here...has not collected an award from my blog...

check it out...

10:45 PM  

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