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 !