Getting Tastebuds Going

james martinWatching my favourite celeb chef James Martin yesterday on TV, he had a guest chef appearing who prepared a meal I hadn’t had for many years, that of beef in beer, or Beef  Carbonade as I know it. My mother used to cook this a lot for us, along with many other recipes using beer, in particular beer soup, a winter favourite using up any leftover flat beer from parties and Christmas.

My thoughts turned back to all the lovely food Mum used to cook when we were children. Friday nights it was always fried sprats. I still love them but daren’t cook them at home but when on holiday abroad, we always head for the nearest fish restaurant to enjoy grilled sardines. Mum also made the best macaroni cheese I’ve ever tasted, and the best spaghetti bolognese and chicken risotto, all three of which I’ve never been able to recreate the taste she managed to achieve. She can’t remember the ingredients and has sadly forgetten how to make them so can’t even pass on her secrets to me.

Food and the smell of cooking always evoke children memories and I sometimes wonder if the term “comfort food” comes more from the meals we remember from childhood than something warming and sustaining during the cold winter months.

It is a truth that recipes come and go, many long forgotten, but who could forget the ubiquitous restaurant meals of the 1960s and 1970s, when it was considered really posh to have prawn cocktail, then T-bone steak and chips followed by Black Forest gateau. And whatever happened to Chicken Maryland, Hungarian Goulash, boiled bacon and pease pudding, or even stuffed onions?


So while you’re salivating over the cake, does anyone even know how to cook these recipes nowadays, I wonder. I’d love to know what were your favourite meals from childhood.

10 responses to “Getting Tastebuds Going

  1. Shepherd’s pie, mac and cheese, apple crumble. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. 🙂

  2. Mum’s apple crumble was to die for, and even more so her apple and or plum strudel cake. Oh, dear, Siobhan, now I really do feel hungry. 🙂

  3. Valerie J. Patterson

    I make Hungarian Goulash, but not quite as well as my mom! My niece just asked how come her recipes don’t turn out quite as well as her mom’s, and I replied that it’s because her mom has been making them longer than she, which is quite true if you think about it. My mom’s goulash is better because she’s been making it longer, knows just the right amounts of seasonings, etc. One day, I’ll get there just as one day my niece will get there as well.

    Comfort food for me is a simmering pot of pork roast, kielbasas, and sauerkraut, which my dad always made the best of. Or my mom’s chili or her homemade chicken noodle soup or her stuffed peppers. It’s food I want when I am having a bad day and need a taste of home and the comfort I always found there.

    Great topic, Kit! 😛

    • Thanks,Valerie. Love Hungarian Goulash but don’t make it now as my Dave wouldn’t eat it – he won’t eat anything spicy or made with beer or wine. Pork roast and sauerkraut – mmm lovely. Mum used to cook red cabbage instead because us kids didn’t like it. Am tasting that chicken noodle soup already. Great food there. 🙂

  4. Well, being from the other side of the pond, I had to look a couple of these up, like sprats and boiled bacon and pease pudding. As for that pudding, it made me shudder. I am a person who cringes at seeing split pea soup, so am guessing this pudding would not be to my taste. But some of the other recipes look scrumptious.
    I have to say, though, that even if your mother could tell you these recipes, it wouldn’t be the same. My grandmother made the most heavenly yeast rolls and invited anyone to watch/take notes of her pinch of this and that recipe. No one has ever been able to duplicate it. I am guessing it’s the extra dollop of love she put in each one. 🙂
    But good memories. And good comfort food, too.

    • No, if you don’t like split peas, you wouldn’t like pease pudding. It’s very much an old London favourite. Have copied many of my mother’s recipes, some work out not so good, others just as good, and some, though I say it myself, turn out even better. 🙂

  5. You had me thinking. In the opening you mention cooking with beer and I remembered the beer bread. Yummy. Maybe my favorite comfort food was the hash my dad made. He’d use left over roast beef so this was usually a Monday dinner. He had one of those grinders you attach to a cutting board and he’d grind up the beef, potatoes and onions. Then season it just right and bake it in the case iron skillet. Like Laurie said I’m sure it was a combination mixed with love that makes it so memorable.

    • Beer bread! I had forgotten that one. Mum used to make it too. Our favourite, which I make most Mondays, is cottage pie using the leftover Sunday roast. Dave’s favourite. And I’ve finally converted him to corned beef hash, which is a great standby for using up left over boiled potatoes, not that that happens very often. 🙂

  6. oh my. That looks divine. AND he’s handsome, too. LOL – I have a goulash recipe I use that my mom still cooks. We love to cook around here so we have some old favs as well as new. Jillian

  7. I agree about comfort food and I’m certain it’s more about the associated memories than the food itself. Your post has gotten my mouth watering, so I’m off to find something edible to enjoy with a nice cup of tea 🙂

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