It Ain’t Nothin’ Like Mama’s

One of Mimi’s favorite foods is beans.  She gobbles them down in any shape or form (Which can make life rather…um…aromatic…at times) Her most favorite beans, however, are my World(ish) Famous Baked Beans. As I was preparing to make a batch of them for the weekend’s festivities, Mimi insisted on helping me make them. She desperately wanted to know what magic ingredients I used to create my unusual ambrosia.  The only problem with her thinking. is that I don’t really have a recipe.  I just toss in the same basic things as I remember them, doing a little tweaking here and there. 

Mimi’s enthusiasm to duplicate my baked beans, reminds me of myself when I decided that I wanted to make my mother’s potato salad.  I feel badly for those poor souls in the world that haven’t had their lives enriched by savoring a spoonful of Mom’s potato salad. It is, truly, the best in the world. 

I can remember standing at the kitchen counter with Mom carefully cutting the potatoes in to bite size chunks, trying not to mangle the eggs too much  as I sliced them and sneaking bits of sweet gherkins into my mouth.  I’d help my mother by mixing together the  mayonnaise, mustard and various other seasonings to create the sauce and then gently folding it in with the potatoes.  It was heavenly. 

After I grew up and lived on my own, I knew that I, like my mother before me, would make Potato Salad my Signature Dish.  Only…I couldn’t do it.  I would follow her simple recipe to the letter (Which, for me, is a huge feat!) only to have it fall short.  Actually, it didn’t fall short, it fell flat. Completely flat. Time after time, my infamous potato salad was the only full dish sitting amidst platters that had been practically licked clean at the end of a gathering.  Apparently word had gotten around.  I was crushed. 

I’ve since switched to my World(ish) Famous Baked Beans as my Signature Dish. (Happily, they nearly always disappear first.) Still, deep in my heart, I wanted to be known for my potato salad.  After all these years, I think I may have finally found the perfect recipe. It involves such odd items as sugar snap peas, dill weed and olive oil.  Despite the fact that it’s nothing like my mother’s potato salad, it was the first dish to be licked clean and everyone was raving about it and begging for the recipe.  I just may have dethroned the Potato Salad Queen. 

When I told my mom about my new recipe and all the trials I’d had to recreate her dish, she was astonished as she had no idea how much I had agonized over her salad. Then Mom reminded me of all the times she had tried to recreate her mother’s famed Glorified Rice. Hmmm…there seems to be a trend going on here.  

Apparently, I need to tell Mimi to give up on my beans right now.  She needs to know that no matter how hard she tries, the chances are that they won’t ever taste like her mama’s.  Although, knowing my child, and all the women before her in our family, she probably won’t listen…

Don’t worry Mimi, you’ll eventually find your own Signature Dish…

This entry was posted in Cooking, Family, Food, Humor, Mimi, My Dear Mother..., Traditions, vegan and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to It Ain’t Nothin’ Like Mama’s

  1. Mama Hen says:

    My mom has a shrimp dip she created that everyone asks for and loves! she has noot given anyone that recipe yet! I make a lot of dishes because my mom was such a great cook. Your beans sound yummy! I would say I got my mom’s wonderful chicken recipe! That is delicious! Have a great day!

    Mama Hen

  2. Peggy says:

    My mom doesn’t really have a signature dish – or at least something, anything I remember with longing. She cooked and didn’t suck at it but there was no desire to cook there. Cooking was like laundry, it had to be done. From what I gather my maternal grandmother was a great cook but she had moved to a condo and taken up bridge by the time I came along and her cooking days were over. Older cousins tell stories of sugar cookies that would make the angels weep.

    Anyway, I cook and I cook a lot! I have always cooked and liked cooking. I can’t decide what my signature dish is as I do so much cooking. Maybe carrot cake is it. I’ll have to take a poll of family members and get back to you.

  3. Kathy Ariano says:

    Ahh baked beans — the dish that keeps on giving! My mom’s potato salad is wonderful, too, and no matter how I try, mine never tastes like hers.

  4. Lynne says:

    I don’t suppose you happen to share this word famous Susie Bean recipe? Sugar snap peas in baked beans??? Dill weed? 😉

  5. I find it encouraging that each generation of your family reinvents the most coveted dish. Anyway, wasn’t Mimi the creative cake maker a year or so ago? Or was that KT?

  6. Sabrina says:

    Ah, there will always be a dish that your mother just can do the one and only “right” way and when you or someone else try to cook it, it’ll never taste the same. Good, but not close enough to Mum’s creation, whatever the recipe.
    In my family, this applies to green beans, when Mum cooks them. Pork schnitzel à la Dad. I tried it so many times, it tastes really yummy… – but just “not quite” the same. Disappointing, but I guess that is just part of everyone’s life. Murphy’s Law or whatever.

  7. Mike says:

    Hopefully, one day, when my kids are older, they’ll have the sense not to even try to re-create my dishes—which are mostly the 5-minute noodles, fried eggs (although “crunchy” is better to describe it) and canned corned beef

    Hope you’re enjoying the sun and having a great summer.


  8. Tree says:

    That is so true!! There’s just something about “mom” making the dish that always tastes better than our own. LOL I actually have come close to my mom’s baked beans recipe as well, and the funny thing is….I don’t eat them. 🙂 Everyone else LOVES them though.

    Thanks so much for stopping by from Lady Bloggers today to visit me and to follow! I’m a returning the “follow” luv, and look forward to more posts from you!

  9. I cannot make my deviled eggs taste like my MIL’s–no matter what I do!

  10. Patsy (mom) says:

    Maybe we should have another “you help me make potatoe salad” visit. I just love your baked beans. and Glorified rice, darn I sure wish I could figure out what I do wrong, Your Aunt Aleta can’t make it right either. I wonder if I could make a Vegan version of that potato salad? no eggs – I doubt it.

  11. Ashley says:

    Thanks for visiting today – I’ve taken the stance that I’ll never be able to recreate any of the family recipes and allow my husband to do the cooking! Actually I once tried to recreate my MIL’s ham dip, except I was convinced that I could make a low fat version…it wasn’t nearly as good.

  12. AngieB says:

    Oh, yes! My grandmother’s dumplings, my mother’s cabbage rolls . . . I’ll have to ask my boys today what they think my “signature dish” is. If they mention Rice Krispie Treats they are on their own for food this weekend 😉 Stopping by from Lady Blogger Tea Party – have a great weekend!

  13. It all sounds delicious!

    My mum was always known for her Lemon Cheese Tarts. It’s lemon butter in this really light sort of cake that melts in your mouth, and you sprinkle icing sugar on top. The first time I tried to make them, the lemon butter was superb, but the tarts? Disaster. It took me YEARS to try again.

    I am happy to say I can now make them quite well. But funnily enough, all three boys don’t like them. Yet, anyway.

    But that’s ok…I’m happy to have them ALL to myself. 😉

  14. Katina Rice says:

    Hey there! Thanks for visiting Peaceful Divas! My mom’s signature dish is macaroni and cheese! I have just given up on perfecting it, but my dish is strawberry cobbler. You are right, we all at least get one “signature dish”.

  15. Tylor says:

    I wonder what Mimi’s dish will turn out to be.

  16. choochoo says:

    it’s weird how nothing ever tastes like our mothers made it, not even if we do the exact same things in the exact same room at the exact same time of day, while wearing her damn apron, even. Alright, so my mum doesn’t exactly wear an apron. And she does weird things in the kitchen, like adding celery to tacos, so…yeah, maybe I’ll just focus on my own cooking.

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