When I was about a year into my marriage, I decided to try out my new-found love of cooking by baking a real treat for my husband: my mother's world-famous brownies.
I called her up, got the recipe, and made a great, big batch. They were good, but surprisingly, they weren't perfect. Something was just not the same about mine. This went on for a few years, with me making a batch every so often, and while my husband was appreciative, he just didn't understand. These weren't Mom's brownies. What was different? The water? The quality of flour on the east coast versus the southwest? What??
Then somewhere around year five of being married, it hit me.
My Mom baked with margarine, even if a recipe called for butter. When she said butter, she meant margarine. I made a batch using margarine instead of butter and voila! My mom's brownies. Finally!
I had grown up on margarine, but when I married my husband, I converted. His family were die-hard butter users, and that was that. I never looked back. Now, other than the occasional batch of my Mom's brownies, I never use anything but butter.
I also grew up on Miracle Whip, and converted to mayonnaise. I don't think I could go back now, though it's not a big loss - I don't eat much mayonnaise anyway. My family drank Pepsi growing up, whenever we had soda (which was usually only vacations or special occasions), and I converted first to Coke, and then to Diet Coke. I'm now not a big fan of Diet Pepsi and will usually order Iced Tea instead if I'm at a restaurant that only has Pepsi products.
Those are just the basic, mundane things. Things I outgrew or married out of or whatever. For every one of those, there's something else I used to eat (or drink) that will never cross my lips again, so help me God.
For instance, my mother used to make grilled cheese sandwiches with Miracle Whip. The though of it turns my stomach now. We also used to eat canned corned beef hash on white Wonder bread with (you guessed it!) Miracle Whip. I hated it then, and I can't even imagine having to choke it down now.
My Mom used to make iced tea so sweet, you could have put it on pancakes. To call it sweet tea would hardly do it justice. I think you could have chewed the stuff. I still like my tea sweetened, but lightly, and Splenda does the trick for me these days.
I used to love to drink buttermilk with my Dad. Yeuggh. The thought of it now is just appalling. Soured milk. But I loved it then. Go figure.
I have a whole list of things that I vowed I would never gag down again once I left my parent's house, and with very few exceptions, I've honored that vow. One of the perks of growing up - you get to say no to foods you can't stand.
On the flip-side - my Mom never served broccoli or brussel sprouts when I was growing up, because she and my Dad both loathed the taste and the smell of them. It turns out that they're two of my favorite vegetables and I eat them quite frequently now.
I made a large batch of steamed broccoli with dinner just last night. I watched my daughter push hers around her plate and my son dunked his in ketchup before he swallowed his down with a resigned look.
"Mom, can't I eat corn instead?" My daughter asked, mulishly.
"No, I made broccoli." I replied. "Besides, broccoli is better for you than corn."
I stuffed a large bite into my mouth, ooohing and aahing with relish. My daughter rolled her eyes and said, "I can't wait till I'm an adult and never have to eat this stuff again."
I guess I shouldn't hold my breath for the day when she's all grown up and asks me for the recipe to "Mom's Broccoli".
Well, at least I made it without Miracle Whip!
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