By Tammy Trail
There are certain memories from childhood that everyone can relate to, and one of them is food. My Grandmother Quigley didn’t make anything fancy, but what I remember most is her ability to feed a lot of people on a limited income. We make more money than both my grandparents ever imagined, and yet I can scratch my head after a trip to the grocery store, and I wonder where all the money went. One thing she did make that we all often reminisce about is her lumpy potatoes. Grandma Quigley used to make those potatoes with a masher, not an electric beater. I prefer them the same way.
My Grandmother Milem, on the other hand, was a pretty good cook. I wish I could ask her how she made some of her dishes. Like her Macaroni Salad. I know it’s easy enough to make. There’s just something missing when I try to recreate the recipe. My cousin and I tried it one summer and we never did get it right. I think perhaps the missing ingredient was that it was not made by Grandma.
My own mother used to tweak recipes to her liking as well. When my husband and I were first married, I suggested meatloaf for dinner. He gave me an emphatic no. I asked him why. He told me that his mother made it once and it was awful, and if I made it he would not eat it. I made a deal with him. I would make the meatloaf the way my mom used to make it. If he didn’t like it, I would never make it again. So, we struck the deal. I still make meatloaf to this day, just the way mom did.
In my husband’s family, his dad was the one who often cooked the meals. My kids loved his banana pudding. He made it for all the holidays, and family reunions. A few years after he passed away my daughter asked me if I knew how Grandpa Trail had made it. I had to admit I had no idea. So I went searching for a recipe and found a good one. It’s now a standard side dish at Thanksgiving. In fact, one year I skipped it and made something different. My kids won’t let me forget it to this day.
Everyone has their favorite dish. When I need a go-to for dinner more often than not, I make chicken and noodle casserole. I have made it so often I don’t remember if I made up the recipe, or if I found it on the internet. It could also be a combination of recipes that I found. I took something I liked from one, and added it with another recipe for the same dish. That way I make it my own. I might try different herbs, or basic ingredients, with my family as testers until I get it the way we like it. Food is a pretty important part of our lives when you think about it. Aside from its nutritional value. Look at all the memories it gives reminding us that someone loves you enough to feed you well, and make you happy.
Chicken and Noodle Casserole
2) Cups of Chicken. Either canned or leftover will do.
1) 14.5 oz. can of Cream of Chicken soup
1) 14.5 oz. can of Cream of Celery soup
1/4) cup each of diced celery and onion. I usually sauté this in a little butter till they are tender.
- 12 oz. Container of Egg noodles cooked until tender.
1/3 cup of milk
- 8oz. bag of shredded cheese. I use a Colby/Monterey Jack blend.
½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash Table Blend for seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the soups together with the milk until smooth and creamy. Add all the other ingredients, except the cheese. Once in the 9 X 13 baking dish add the cheese on top. Cook at 350 degrees for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until it’s all bubbly and the cheese has melted nicely on top.
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Grandmothers are a special breed of people. Share a memory from your childhood that involves your Grandmother and food.