Friday, May 14, 2010

Vote for the Worst Meal Your Mother Made

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment with the worst meal their mother made on the blog entry for May 8, 2010.  The posts follow below.  Please post a comment and tell us which of the posts merit “the worst” award.  Whoever gets the most comments will win the Betty Crocker Party cookbook.

The winner of the contest will be announced on May 19, 2010.  If I am unable to contact the winner by May 23rd, whoever is in second place will win the cookbook.

If no one comments at all I will really be bummed out and just go to McDonald’s from now on.  So there!

Here are the posts for the worst meals mother made.

Lostpastremembered:  “When I was young my mother made a dish called Frank ‘N Bean Mash (frankenbeanmash).  She served franks baked with beans and mashed potatoes and a scoop of cottage cheese on the side.”

Lyndsey:  “My mom had a different version of Snow on the Mountain:  she would layer cooked rice, chow mein noodles, chicken soup mixture, tomatoes, celery, green pepper, green onion, pineapple, cheese and more chicken soup mixture.  This was topped with almonds, coconut and pimentos.”

the country cook said...  My mother was a good cook.  But my grandma, oh man!  I remember one Thanksgiving that we were at her house. She had this habit of putting everything on high to get it cooked.  It just ended up being dried out and burnt. She also loved to shop at the dollar store for ingredients...are you getting the picture?

That Thanksgiving we had burned and dried out turkey.  I had to use a knife and drink lots of water!  She didn't do a wonderful job of separating the parts you do want to eat from the parts that you don't.  On the side we had biscuits with black bottoms -- they could have been hockey pucks!

The most memorable "stuffing" I've ever had resembled throw-up in both consistency, look, and smell. It was all I could do to keep eating everything else with that on my plate. The saving grace were the yams.   She just opened the can and threw on some marshmallows.  Not particularly creative, but at least it was edible.

That night for dinner we were supposed to have leftovers... gross!  I decided the safest bet was a turkey sandwich.  I looked for other sandwich fixings.  Not only had the cheese gone bad, even the mustard had expired!

  My whole family was SO hungry that night that we decided to go to the after Thanksgiving sales.  We said that we just HAD to have the free snowglobes that JC Penney was handing out.  Really, though, we got up at 4am just to hit McDonalds.  Going to those sales has now become a tradition that we do in remembrance of our day of starvation. :-)

Katie @ Cozydelicious said... My mom doesn't spend much time in the kitchen - she never did. We were a take-out family. She learned to prepare a single sophisticated '80s dinner party meal (brie en croute and duck a l'orange), but never quite mastered the basics. One day, when we were pretty young, we wanted mac and cheese from a box. Easy enough, right? Wrong. When Mom tasted the mushy noodles in watery cheese sauce, she thought it 'needed something' so she dumped in sugar. Yes, sugar! And then, since she found it too sweet (duh) she added a palmful of cayenne pepper to balance out the sugar. I choked down a few bites with a huge glass of milk but quickly learned to make my own mac and cheese!

Barbara said... Oh Pam. I'd love the book....but my mother (and grandmother) were really great cooks. There may have been meals we didn't like, but it had nothing to do with a failed recipe. Things other people were appalled we ate (like chicken feet, beef tongue, muskrat and pickled pigs feet, homemade to name just a few) we thought were perfectly normal. And, amazingly, so do my kids!

Emily said... My mother made a risotto dish with mushrooms that looked, tasted and smelled like several people had eaten it before .... shortly before it became sentient.  I have never in my life encountered something equally repulsive and I give my mother all the credit for me being able to have breakfast during a forensic medicine lecture.  "... and here you can see the maggots in the victim's abdominal cavity..."  Yep, just like my Mama's cooking.

Mrs. H. said... My mom did fine, but my AUNT...where do I start? Let's see, the spaghetti dinners where the pasta was not cooked all the way, you couldn't cut it or chew it. It still retained its shape from being curled in the saucepan...  The time I stayed over and she served the boxed crispy taco shells with mayonnaise (yes, just that and nothing else).  Her kids LOVED to come to our house for dinner!

bookoholic1017 said... My mom was and is a great cook, but when I was little, she was working and time (and money) was tight. She would make meatloaf in the microwave in a glass loaf dish. She used Lipton mushroom soup (as a kid I wouldn't even touch a mushroom) and I would watch the yellow fat boiling and bubbling up the sides of the glass loaf pan and the meat going from red to grey....urgh! I can still see it. I ate a lot of canned ravioli back then.

‪buffalodick said... I collect cook books! I grew up eating rice with butter and brown sugar on it- I didn't know that was odd until I was grown…

Failing Relationships said... It's difficult to pick the worst meal. There wasn't anything in the freezer except Swanson TV dinners. One of the most memorable events of my home life was when Swanson added a dessert between the psuedo-vegatable and potato-like glob. My mother considered herself a 5 star chef because of her avant garde idea to add canned peas to her lasagna recipe around the dreaded holidays. After school I made a sandwich every day. I used the only edible stuff in the fridge: mayo, mustard, ketchup and relish. My parents called it hilarious. I called it a misguided active neglect on their part. Thanks for the memories.

‪Amy said... My mom used to make us a "salad" which consisted of jello (usually the red kind), cottage cheese, and mayonnaise (yep. mayonnaise) all layered on a leaf of iceberg lettuce. She also used to make "spaghetti sauce" with a combination of ketchup and barbecue sauce. I had no idea what real tomato sauce was supposed to taste like until high school at least.

‪ ‬(beth) said... Actually, the amount of strange things I ate seemed pretty normal (nobody else got pb-and-canned-frosting sammiches? what?) but my mother very famously loved lemon fluff. She'd make it fairly often and let me tell you - lemon? Sure. It tasted of lemon. Fluff? You could bounce a chef's knife off of that thing - it was like rubber. It was traumatic. My younger brother seemed to be on the path to cook like her - he used to fry eggs in corn syrup. I guess he thought it was an oil or butter substitute? Very odd.

Mari said... My father has always been a creative and (almost all the time) a successful chef in our home. He reads a lot of cookbooks, but never follows any recipe, he just combines and take what he feels like. Most of the time the results are great, but I have a few dreadful memories. Like the time he would experiment with the traditional Norwegian "pickled" herring. Normally, it is made with a tomato or mustard-base, and with onions and spices. Well, my dad tried with strawberries. Vinegar, herring, strawberries? No winner.

Genderwarrior said... My mother made a salad that was lemon jello with raw cabbage inside. She is otherwise good cook, so I have no idea what possessed her.

Shannon L. said... I can't list every strange meal my mother made.  There are too many.  I'm not sadistic enough to share all the culinary atrocities she created.  

I didn't like homemade soups until I left home. That's when I discovered that ketchup was not meant to be a base for soup.  I also learned that most cooks chose to add the pasta at the end rather than at the beginning.   I'd always believed that soups, other than Campbells, which saved me on many occasions, were basically vats of watery ketchup, mushy veggies, hard meat and macaroni the size of your pillow.

Oh, not to mention the thick layer of grease bubbling at the top.  YUM.

  What about mom's favourite 'treat' for me?  Take an old style flat bottomed cone (for ice cream) and fill it with butter.  Then place it in front of your child along with a bowl of sugar.  Dunk it upside down in the sugar and eat dunking every other bite or so.  Revolting.  But not as gross as the fact that my mouth waters remembering it... ugh! 

Then there was the first time she ever tried Shake n Bake.  She's never been one to waste time with instructions.  So after adding the chicken to the bag she added the spice package.  From there, she added a small amount of water, squished it, plopped it onto a pan and threw it into our abused oven.  She then attempted a second new dish for the first time:  coleslaw.

Again, why bother looking up a recipe?  She threw together whatever seemed right to make the dressing:  Miracle Whip (a crime in itself); strawberry yoghurt; green onions; sugar; maple syrup; lemon curd (we were out of lemons apparently); a glob of Cheez Whiz and topped it off with some juice from the jar of pickled eggs.

I consider myself lucky to have survived that one.  

I think I've blocked a lot of those memories.  In particular, the dish that involved gelatin, pickles, pineapples, meatballs; cocktail wieners and peas.

That cookbook looks hilarious!  It's clear that there's a huge need out there for a 'safe space' for kids of all ages to share our mothers' misguided (near poisonous) 'FrankenMeals'. 

 My mother still can't cook.  But that's OK, I make her homemade soup now, and so far... no pillow sized greasy macaronis have landed in her bowl!

By Guest Blogger Randy Ashton
All text and photos are property of The Gypsy Chef


  1. My Mother specialized in overcooking meat. Man, it was tough as old boots. Not good!


  2. Such fun to read! Glad I did not have to eat these dishes; whew! what a relief!

  3. oh my my my... I simply couldn't believe most of these as I was reading, as the women in my family all seem to have a love for the kitchen, making things from scratch, and seem to have cooking in their blood. :) I never knew such atrocities as these existed! Wow... that said, though there are many very good candidates listed on here, I vote for the final entry by Shannon L.

  4. Lyndsey... her's was the most gross... It sounded like what should be dumped after a party. whoa!!!

  5. Hands down this one sounds the worst to me:
    Snow on the Mountain: she would layer cooked rice, chow mein noodles, chicken soup mixture, tomatoes, celery, green pepper, green onion, pineapple, cheese and more chicken soup mixture. This was topped with almonds, coconut and pimentos

  6. Mrs. H. said... My mom did fine, but my AUNT...where do I start? Let's see, the spaghetti dinners where the pasta was not cooked all the way, you couldn't cut it or chew it. It still retained its shape from being curled in the saucepan... The time I stayed over and she served the boxed crispy taco shells with mayonnaise (yes, just that and nothing else). Her kids LOVED to come to our house for dinner!

    I vote this dinner simply because my mother, great cook, but the worst spaghetti sauce maker EVER!!!! It was like red tinted water with some hamburger thrown in. I learned to eat my noodles with butter and parm because of it.

  7. Last entry is a win, imho. Soup with mac cooking inside? Yuck... I feel so sorryfor poor Shannon. ;] But it was definately amusing! :D Keep up cooking for your mom!

  8. Wow there are so many bad meals out there. The best part is when the mom's, aunts, or granny's thought this was normal. What is it with the strange jellos back then, I too remember mom using mayo and lettuce in jello...yuck!

    If I had to pick one...I'm going with Katie @ Cozydelicious. You can't mess up a box of mac& cheese...that's just wrong! :D

  9. my mom made a hot dog casserole once. she found the recipe in the boston globe, and thought it was very "clever." basically it was diced up hot dogs mixed with sauerkraut covered with mashed potatoes. it was not her finest hour.

  10. I can't believe we all cook now! I guess we had to learn young! They are all pretty bad but I can relate to many of them. I would pick one out of a hat!

  11. Katie @ Cozydelicious, definitely. Though ‪Amy's "salad" is a close second.

  12. "Genderwarrior said... My mother made a salad that was lemon jello with raw cabbage inside."

    Gets my vote. Must have been a fad at some point as I remember my mother, usually an excellent gourmet chef, serving that a time or three...

  13. Hey Gypsy & Randy,
    I'm going for Amy's entry. The red jello and mayonnaise is just too horrific!

  14. Oh...definitely Shannon. That ice cream cone thing sounds absolutely traumatic...and yet, I imagine that in a weird way, it could taste good. And that grosses me out.

  15. Here are the votes so far. Shannon seems to have grossed us all out the most. Her story is a fun read too.

    Lyndsey and Katie are tied for second place...

    Here are the vote tallies:

    Shannon 4

    Lyndsey 2

    Katie 2

    Mrs. H 2

    Amy 1

    Genderwarrior 1

    Thanks to everyone who voted. If you haven't voted yet PLEASE DO!!!

  16. Hmmmm, I see a pattern emerging. Foodies come from cooking challenged parents...

    I thought that I hated meat. All meat. Until I met my husband and he showed me that meat doesn't have to be a dried out tough choke fest!

    I'm voting for Shannon L.

  17. Im sorry but I dont think anything beats my grandmothers lime jello with a dollop of mayo on top...

  18. Me too, I'm voting for Shannon. Anyone who had to eat butter ice cream cones... poor thing!

    Pam, thanks for following my travels. It's good to be home and to be able to check in with you.

  19. Tara, I think your onto something. Foodies must come from cooking challenged parents. At one time I thought all vegetables were from a can and had the texture of green slime.

    Kate, It's been fun following your travels. I now miss Italy. When are we going back?

  20. I have to vote for Shannon, and I have to admit I am very tempted to try the butter and sugar icrecream cones...

  21. Can you say microwave gourmet without vomiting in your mouth?? Chicken pieces + oil (no known source) +Lawry's seasoning salt + microwave = rubber ball chicken bouncing off our dinner plates.

    I just vomited from the memories.