Saturday, August 1, 2009

Do you cook like your mother did?

Had an interesting and thought provoking conversation with my mother this morning. We were watching the Food Network and one of the cooks was making a homemade pizza. She started out by rolling out a frozen, store bought pizza crust and forming it into the pan. Where by, my mom says, "That's not cooking! She's using store bought pizza crust!"

I've been thinking about this because I love the Food Network and I wondered if all our mothers feel that way about our cooking since many of us working, single or not single moms don't have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen making things from scratch.

About a month ago, I told my mom I was going to make some chili beans. My son and daughter love my home made chili beans and they're also a big hit with my son's friends during Super Bowl Sunday!

I was getting my ingredients together while my mom watched and she asked if I wanted her to make the chili for the beans. I told her, "Nope! It's easy mom, see this little packet? It's Taco Bell seasoning." She said, "What's that for?" I told her it was the seasoning for the meat. I then pulled out two big cans of canned beans, one pinto and also a can of white beans. Again she said, "What's that for?" So I told her those were the beans I use. "You don't cook your own beans???" my mom asked in shock! "No mom, I don't make my own beans. I don't have time to sit at home all day waiting for beans!"

Now I know that you can put beans on to cook in a crock pot all day. My sister does this. But we don't eat many beans. It's just my son and me. So opening a can of beans is good enough for us. So I made the chili beans and while they were stewing I pulled out a box mix of corn bread. Well I won't even tell you what my mom said then! But of course she was in shock! Corn bread from a box?

Once my homemade chili beans and corn bread were done, my mom tasted them and said they were good, for beans from a can with Taco Bell Seasoning and hamburger meat in them!

When my mom makes chili beans, she makes beans fresh in a pot. She cleans them and puts them to boil. Throughout the day she boils water and will only add boiling hot water when more water is needed so that the beans don't get dark and they stay light and pretty. I have to admit, it works. My mom's beans are beautiful. I can remember her making beans like this since I was a little girl and I remember always having to replace water in the bean pot with boiling water.

Mom also makes her own chili for the beans. She takes dried New Mexico Chile's. She likes those as she says the New Mexico ones are a bit more flavorful and a little more spicy than the others. She takes the dried Chile's and cuts off the stem, slits them down the middle, cleans out the seeds and puts them in a pot with boiling water and blanches them for a bit. Then she puts them in the blender with a few cloves of fresh garlic and various other spices. I have no clue what they are. She puts some of the hot water that is left from boiling the Chile's and grinds them all up into the sauce.

She then browns her ground beef, adds fresh beans and the Chile sauce she's ground up in the blender and adds more salt and other seasonings to taste and lets them boil so the flavors all come together. Let me tell you. . . they are mmmmmmmmmmmm, wonderful. I love my mom's beans and when she's invited to a potluck her beans are what people request that she bring.

And when she goes to all that trouble to make chili beans she also makes these small breads we grew up calling "panecitos". They're small round bread that's made like tortilla's except they are not rolled out flat like tortillas but are left about the size of a hamburger bun. When the weather gets cooler and my kitchen is not 140 degrees I will do a blog of my mom making panecitos. Remind me!

And that is why my mom says my chili beans are not home made! Hers, in her eyes are homemade! So I thought about this all for awhile and then asked my mom what her mom would have said if she had been invited to dinner and my mom had made homemade Chili Colorado and beans and then she had pulled out a package of store bought tortillas? Wouldn't her mom have commented on why my mom didn't make homemade tortillas and not store bought? And trust me, we know how to make homemade tortillas, just watch this video?

I then told my mom that someday, my daughter and my nieces will watch their daughters put a small pill into a bowl of water and it will automatically turn into chili beans and then I will make fun of them and talk on and on about my homemade chili beans with Taco Bell seasoning and canned beans!

I guess my point is that no one cooks like mom cooks. Homemade like moms made in the 40's, 50's or 60's or homemade like my sister and I cook our children, it's mom's food and nothing tops that!

What do you make that your mom would tease you about if you called it homemade?


  1. No - I don't cook like my Mother. Mainly because I don't cook a lot of the things she would cook. I am like you, in that I also use a lot of the convenience items. I like good food and don't want to be in the kitchen cooking a lot. My Mother use to make comments about the way I cooked or what I cooked, but she sure did enjoy eating it. :-)
    Thanks for stopping by. I got the plain white, unscented candles, and the rubons at Hobby Lobby at 50% off. A whole lot cheaper than buying tham already decorated. If you have a HL, you can google their weekly ads to see when they are on sale - which is often.

  2. Where did your mom learn to use NM red chile pods to make her chile sauce? I am from NM and make my chile colorado exactly this way, except I use steak for my meat. This is the way northern NM cooks do it. I was taught to cook by both my mom and grandmother, and I still rarely buy processed foods from the grocery. I prefer homemade. Yeah, old school. That's not to say I haven't used a can of Manwich for my sloppy joes or a box of hamburger helper before. Kids see commercials on tv and are greatly influenced by them. But fresh and homemade still tastes the best to me! LOL :-) Sue

  3. I would like to be your mom's neighbor...make that her favorite neighbor. Her beans and chili sound wonderful!!
    I don't cook exactly like my mother but there are methods I use that she used.

  4. Your mother sounds quite a character, and you are a good daughter.


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