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Old 04-01-2008, 06:05 PM   #1
McCall St. Brewer
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Default The "good" old days?

Reading about all of the interesting recipes here to me to thinking about how much things have changed in my life when it comes to the food we eat. When I was growing up in the midwest back in the 60's we had plenty of good, cheap high quality food, but it was all pretty much the same. Lots of it was canned, too. (The same went for beer back then, come to think of it. You had a lot more national and regional brands, but they were all pretty much the same. Kinda like if instead of having to choose between Coke and Pepsi you had about 27 different colas that were all very similar. But, I digress).

A typical dinner when I was growing up would have been something like this: pork chops, seasoned with salt and pepper and baked in the oven, baked potatoes, a canned vegetable, such as green beans, peas or carrots, and canned fruit, such as pears or peaches. Another nice would be a beef roast with mashed potatoes and gravy, some other kind of canned veggies and maybe jello with canned fruit in it, or some other sort of salad.

Frozen vegatables were new and expensive. In the summer we would have fresh fruits and veggies (especially tomatoes) while they were in season. We would also have burgers, hot dogs, steaks, pork chops, etc. on the grill.

Ethnic foods? Well, spaghetti, lasagna and chop suey were about as close as we ever got to that.

The biggest thing that strikes me, though is not so much the lack of varied ingredients compared to today, but rather how our meals tended to be set up. With the exception of the occasional time saving casserole (most of which my brother and I dreaded and despised) most meals had a plain meat entree, a potato (baked, mashed or fried) and a vegatable, and they were almost never mixed together. My mother, both of my grandmothers, and almost everyone else I knew cooked like that.

No sauces, very few spices or seasoning other than salt, pepper, and the occasional onion. In some ways it was very good, but it was bland, bland, bland.

Lunch? Sandwiches with Oscar Meyer cold cuts, Campbells soup, chips, oreos and milk.

Breakfast? Cold cereal with milk, or oatmeal, or toast with butter and jelly. Sometimes doughnuts from the store. O.j. to drink, coffee for adults. On weekends we would have eggs and bacon or pancakes fairly often.

In short, we ate good, but man oh man would that be boring to eat like that today. I'm not saying that every day at our house is a gourmet adventure (in fact, given what picky eaters SWMBO and our two teenage boys are, it's usually far from it). Even so, though, there are an awful lot of things served in our household during an average week that we would have never dreamed of having 40 years ago.

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Old 04-01-2008, 06:35 PM   #2
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I definately see a difference in the way I eat, compared to what I ate growing up, but I tend to make alot of the foods I grew up with just because I enjoyed them so much.

The biggest thing that bugs me today about meals is the number of conveinance foods there are. Meals in a bag, meals in a box, drop and bake cookies. Too many people really don't know what it's like to cook anymore. I find myself using pre-made cookies and biscuits way too often, and the sad thing is that it really isn't that much more difficult to make them from scratch.

The biggest change in my house was probably moving to Hawaii and then adopting two children of Asian descent. We eat quite a bit more oriental type foods that I never had when I was growing up. The closest thing to Asian back then for us were those canned chow-mein meals.

Sometimes I wander through the grocery store and wonder what people from poor nations would think if they saw the amount and variety of food that we have. We have really become spoiled with the amount of conveinance foods out there, which probably also explains why Americans are becoming more obese as well.

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Old 04-01-2008, 07:42 PM   #3
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Right! And big pot roasts with really over-cooked carrots and potatoes.

Regrettable foods

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Old 04-01-2008, 08:20 PM   #4
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Yeah, it's amazing that our ancestors (I am originally from USA) managed to build the most powerful nation the world has ever seen without the use of Hommus, Haberneros or Shallots!

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Old 04-01-2008, 08:36 PM   #5
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Lol. Well as always, it's all in technique. I contend that there aren't really many bad foods, just people have no clue what to do with them. Nightmares of Liver, Aversions to Broccoli are often childhood imprints from improperly prepared food. Now I agree, not everyone likes the taste of Liver or Broccoli, but I believe that if someone had known to flash cook the Liver in the pan (instead of cooking it for 45 minutes until it was hard, gray and chalky) or had the understanding that Broccoli (and many other similar foods) produce copious amounts of DMS when they are overcooked (resulting in a sulphur-gas-like flavor and texture of mushy peas) that there would be a good deal fewer cases of adults despising these foods.

But you're right, the palette we can paint from is far broader these days.

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Old 04-01-2008, 08:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebisch01
Nightmares of Liver, Aversions to Broccoli are often childhood imprints from improperly prepared food.
I agree.

I hear a lot of people say "Oh, I don't like seafood." No, you just don't like the seafood that your mom made when you were younger. Try this delicious, properly-cooked-and-seasoned piece of salmon. Now, isn't that better?
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:48 PM   #7
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I don't care how you prepare brussel sprouts, I will never eat them again! Gross...

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Old 04-01-2008, 09:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulcahey's Brewing
I don't care how you prepare brussel sprouts, I will never eat them again! Gross...

That's Funny, I LOVE them! SWMBO thinks I am crazy, so I buy them and make enough for myself... she has no idea what she's missing!
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:01 PM   #9
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Brussel sprouts kick axx.

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Old 04-01-2008, 10:05 PM   #10
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warm brussels sprout salad
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20998322/

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