Country Kitchen: Remembering Father's Favorites

Country Kitchen: Remembering Father's Favorites

By Mary Emma Allen

Do you know the favorite foods of your dad, grandfather, and/or husband? These could be foods we prepare for them on a special day or pass along with nostalgic stories to our children and grandchildren.

Some dads like to cook these dishes themselves, particularly when it comes to barbecuing. Others enjoy having them prepared.

Like Mother Used to Make

However, when it comes to letting a new wife know what their favorite foods are, a husband should refrain from telling her, "You need to learn to make it like Mother does."

Jim went without Lemon Meringue Pie for years because he inadvertently raved about his mom's pie to a newly wed wife. After 43 years, we now laugh about it. But, as a new wife, I took offense.

That first year of marriage we lived near his parents and money was very tight. So Mom often sent home some of her cooking whenever Jim stopped by.

One day he arrived with half a lemon meringue pie and announced, "You've got to learn to make this like Mom does." If Mom hadn't been such a good cook and my meringue always fell, it wouldn't have been so bad. Jim wasn't criticizing, but I interpreted it as such.

So for years, I didn't even attempt to make this favorite pie, even though I'd produced many of them when I was growing up. My family ate my pies, flat meringue and all.

Now our daughter makes the pies with fluffy meringue!

My Father's Favorites

When I think of my dad, bread and milk comes to mind. Almost every night, no matter what we ate for supper, Father usually finished the meal with a bowl of bread and milk. He tore two or three slices of white bread into small pieces, not crumbs, and added milk, let it soak and enjoyed.

I wish now I knew why this after supper, and sometimes mid-day, tradition originated. In all likelihood, when Father was growing up at the beginning of the 1900s, and money was very scarce on their farm, bread and milk was the supper dish. Or it stretched a meager meal to fill growing boys' (Father and his brother's) stomachs.

Whenever Mother cooked rice for a meal, Father never ate it with the meat and vegetables. Instead, he put his rice in a bowl, added milk and sugar, perhaps a dash of cinnamon. This was a dessert, a simple type of rice pudding which he enjoyed.

Your Family's Favorites

What memories do you have of your father's favorites? Your grandfather's? Your husband's? Uncles, sons, and son-in-laws? When I began experimenting with unusual recipes in my teen years, my uncle, who lived with us, sometimes was the only one to enjoy these dishes, non-traditional to our farm family.

Collect some of these favorites into a booklet. Perhaps add a story about their origin or the occasions when they're served. Sketches and photos also could accompany this collection. What recipes would you include? Would you interview Dad or Grandpa?

Create a Father's Day heritage by collecting these recipes and memories of the men in your family's life.

BAKED PORK CHOPS comes from the Allen family recipes: Mix together 3 cups bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 large beaten egg, and 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning. Add enough milk to moisten. Place 4 trimmed pork chops in an iron frying pan or baking dish with stuffing on top.

Bake at 350 degrees about 3/4 hour or until chops are done. If mixture begins to get too brown, place foil over the top.

(You can use box stuffing mix prepared on the stove, then place over the chops. You also can add chopped onion and celery to the stuffing.)

(C) 2003 Mary Emma Allen

About the Author

Mary Emma Allen has been writing her "Cooking Column" for newspapers and online publications for 30 years and has compiled a family cookbook. SheÂ’s currently compiling a cookbook/story book, "Tales From a Country Kitchen." Visit her web site for more cooking articles. Contact her at

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