Monday, September 1, 2014

Mom's DIY Kitchen vs. Store Bought


Yesterday I made peach fruit leathers. Today Beren sampled one, burst into tears, and exclaimed, "They don't taste like anything!"

The fruit leather took far longer than the online recipe stated. However, as the recipe said, they were less expensive than the store bought ones, which serve as a frequent on-the-go snack for Beren. With a kitchen sink full of dishes covered in peach slime, our family will probably enjoy the next batch of peaches fresh and continue to buy fruit leathers.

I like the idea of do-it-yourself. I like when we grow our own food and manage to preserve a shelf-worth of vegetables. And then Beren says, "Let's make salsa like they have in the store."

I always liked my Mom's cooking better than anyone else's. At my grandparent's (Mom's parents), they used Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise as my Mom did. I really disliked tuna fish with Miracle Whip sandwiches at Grammie and Pop-pop's. For holidays, my Grandma (Dad's mom) would prepare a Polish feast -Gołąbki (cabbage stuffed with ground meat, onions, and rice cooked in a tomato sauce), boiled carrots, and kielbasa. Grandma boiled the kielbasa, and I preferred my non-Polish Mom's kielbasa - baked or fried until crispy. After traveling to Poland and eating in Philadelphia's Polish neighborhood, I realized that boiled is the way they do it - at least these days. Still, I love that crispy kielbasa. 

There were three things that I thought the local grocer's deli did better than my Mom. They all came from the same family of foods - potato salad, macaroni salad, and cole slaw. Store bought cold salads were sweet and tangy. I now know the deli's secret was sugar and maybe vinegar or some preservatives. I still have a secret love of those sweet salads, but I prefer to gobble up my Mom's salads. They are better.

After a sleepover at a friend's house, my friend's mom made crepes filled with grape jelly for breakfast. She sprinkled powdered sugar on top. They were delicious and memorable. I never had that mysterious, sweet treat again until I married a man who made the Hungarian version - palascinta

Cole slaw and crepes aside, Mom's cooking was the best and still is. For Beren, perhaps his exceptions to Momma's cooking being the best will be salsa and fruit leathers.

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