Working Moms

s/o re meals/cooking - what did your mom (or dad) cook when you were a kid?

In some ways, I think I lucked out that my mom was a little bit of bad cook and working mom b/c she made lots hamburger helper type stuff/add a can of soup, etc. so she didn't set the bar very high for me in terms of cooking.  But, I also think b/c that's my frame of reference for family meals, I always fall back on it.

Just kinda curious what other people's parents made and if your mom worked or not. 

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Re: s/o re meals/cooking - what did your mom (or dad) cook when you were a kid?

  • My mom rarely cooked... and yes, she worked...

    I rarely cooked either until about 8 months ago when I started pinterest.  Now my husband almost has to fight me to be able to cook every once in a while lol... 

    ETA: My dad was the cook of the family... and we had a pretty wide range of variety, but my favorites were honey baked ham, pork chops, and chili. 

  • Good question. My mom was a SAHM and did a good job of always having a "balanced" meal, and staying within a budget. Canned grean beans and hamburger hotdish were a staple. We had a decent variety, but it was all very basic: hamburger, pork chops, chicken drummies. I admire her ability to make us kids eat what was put in front of us; I'm much more lax with DS and he's becoming a bit picky.

    I'm trying to reinvent what I make at home. DS is 4.5 and I still usually make him his own meal and then DH and I eat after he's in bed. He's still eating lots of "kid" food- hotdogs, chicken nuggets. I just never have time to cook when I get home from work. I've heard of families who have a schedule for meals: Fridays are pizza, Mondays are spaghetti, etc. I'd actually like to do this. I think it would be easier to shop and I could prepare things on the weekend and reheat at night.

  • Haha...that's my mom too. She started working later in our childhood...so work wasn't an excuse. She honestly thinks that if it's homemade it's healthy. I grew up in NM...so typical meals include something fried...but they were "healthy" because she made them. :) It has been a struggle expanding my limited culinary skills. I rely on steamable vegetables and lean cuts of meat I typically have my husband grill...because if I cook it I do it until it's leather. Apparently I can make a mean potato in any form...only problem is we try to limit potatoes. I'm trying. I go on www.allrecipes.com a lot and get recipes from there...so far successfully, because I only choose things that seem easy enough where I'll actually do them, and with ingredients I know we'll like. I also trick us into thinking we're having a fancy slaved over meal by buying fresh tortellini, meatloaf, stuffed peppers, or other ready made meals or sides from Sprouts and Whole Foods. I love baking, but cooking is another animal.
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  • image MirandaHobbes:

    Good question. My mom was a SAHM and did a good job of always having a "balanced" meal, and staying within a budget. Canned grean beans and hamburger hotdish were a staple. We had a decent variety, but it was all very basic: hamburger, pork chops, chicken drummies. I admire her ability to make us kids eat what was put in front of us; I'm much more lax with DS and he's becoming a bit picky.

    I'm trying to reinvent what I make at home. DS is 4.5 and I still usually make him his own meal and then DH and I eat after he's in bed. He's still eating lots of "kid" food- hotdogs, chicken nuggets. I just never have time to cook when I get home from work. I've heard of families who have a schedule for meals: Fridays are pizza, Mondays are spaghetti, etc. I'd actually like to do this. I think it would be easier to shop and I could prepare things on the weekend and reheat at night.

    Mine too...:)

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  • When we were little my mom SAH so she cooked what I consider "Sunday dinners" every day - roast, chicken, pork loin, vegetables, rolls, etc.

    When she went back to work, my dad cooked because he got home earlier. We had easier meals - soup, baked potatoes, grilled cheese, rotisserie chicken, BBQ, pasta.

    I am somewhere in between the two. I do a lot of pasta, chicken, and crockpot meals. We don't ever eat out of a can or box and a freezer rarely, but I certainly don't cook hearty, homemade meals every night.

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  • My mom cooked every night.  Twice a year we'd get KFC takeout.  She was a working mom and the primary wage earner in the household.

    Meals were meat, veg, potato.  Stews used up leftovers and were served with regularity.  I can clearly remember her grinding her own beef to make meatloaf.  We sat at the dinner table every night.  It was the 70s-80s.

    Compared to her, I fail at family meals.

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  • My mom stayed home with us until I was in HS and my brother was in grammar school, but she did go to school at night during part of this time.  She cooked us "home cooked" meals every night of our lives, give or take. 

    She's Colombian and my dad is Mexican and he's very picky about his meals.  He also comes from a time and place where women just cooked for their husbands so he never cooked in our house.  So we ate traditional mexican/south american meals every night.  A lot of white rice, beans, meat, stews, salsas, etc.  

    We never ate hamburger helper type foods and rarely ate out on week days.  We did eat out on weekends a LOT.  It's my parent's "thing".  My dad has always said that when you die you don't take your riches with you but take your experiences.  Or something like that, and food is really important in our house.  In fact my husband was appalled at how much $ my parents spent eating out, but it's just what they do. 

    Anyway back to the original question yeah I suck compared to my mom she always had real food for us and it was damn good.  I do my best but will never be able to cook like her.  Although she also grew up cooking and had 6 brothers and sisters and a cook in the house and everything helped out.  I feel like her generation of women in Colombia just knew how to do sh**. 

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  • My mom was "working" in that she had five of us and occasionally worked weekends, which is a hell of lot harder than my full time two kids gig...but anywhoo..my mom cooked every night--meat, potato, veg and milk pretty much every night.  Sometimes, spaghetti and sometimes grilled cheese or mac and cheese.  Ironically, my father is a trained chef (CIA) and when he cooked fancier stuff, we shamefully never appreciated it! 
  • Someone on Parenting the other day asked "Do you cook or do you make food?" I make food and so did my mom (although, I "make" better than she did lol).  We did the hamburger helper thing, supremely dry pork chops, equally dry chicken various ways, mealoaf, etc.  We almost always did boxed potatoes, which I also use but I shake it up and also make rice, rolls and actual potatoes/sweet potatoes.  Her veggies were strictly canned or frozen and I've got to say, we rarely eat those.  I was amazed at how much better veggies tasted when they were fresh and sauteed or roasted.

    On Christmas I made brussels sprouts and almost forced one down my brother's throat.  They were pan seared with garlic and he about fell off his chair.  My mother only ever made the boiled.  No seasoning.  No wonder they were nasty lol 

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  • My mom was SAH until I was in about 3rd grade or so, then she worked in the school system so she was home early.

    Typical meals (almost always included a veggie and a starch with the protein): shake 'n bake chicken with veggie and starch, fish sticks, chicken or beef stew, baked beans and hot dogs with brown bread, shepherd's pie...

    So basic stuff and mostly homemade, with some cans involved. We NEVER went out to eat or had take out. Due to the cost and the fact that we lived in the middle of nowhere :o)

    I guess my cooking style is similar. Before LO, we mostly ate grilled meat and veggies, but now I try to shake it up more and add a starch for LO.  I don't really enjoy cooking. 

    (ETA: oh, and we ate hamburger helper growing up too!) 

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  • My mom is a really good cook. She was SAH and felt like part of her "job" was to cook restaurant quality meals at home on a daily basis and pack up the leftovers so my dad would have a perfect lunch the next day. She would make things like coq au vin and bouillabaisse on a nightly basis.

    When my parents ask me what I planned for dinner tonight for H, I can feel them cringing though the phone when I say "uh, leftover pizza". Embarrassed

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  • My mom was a chef for a good 5 years, which meant she basically wanted nothing to do with cooking when she got home. :P We had a lot of stuff like pasta + ground beef + prego or similar things, or picked up takeout. When she did cook more it was usually traditional Greek food. I started cooking at a  young age, so I also did some of the dinners. My parents were divorced.

    I lived with my grandparents till I was 10, and my grandma cooked every day, traditional from scratch/Greek food.  

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  • Both parents worked. Dad traveled something like 75% of the time. 

    Dad made awesome weekend dinners. Saturdays were stuff on the grill usually. Sundays were always like pot roast or chicken and dumplings.

    We ate a lot of leftovers. When we were under 10, we did kids eat free at a local place on Tuesday nights.

    Fridays were always pizza nights.

    My mom can make tuna casserole (gross), spaghetti and jar sauce, and mac and cheese. So we ate a lot of that other than leftovers.

    MIL was an outstanding cook and I have grown up to love to cook, so luckily I come in somewhere between my mom and dad/MIL!  

  • My mom SAH until my youngest brother was in HS. She cooked every night. We didn't have anything fancy, meatloaf, Salisbury steak, pasta, chicken, pork chops, steak always with a veggie and starch. Veggies always from a can. Never had hamburger helper until i met my H. I still love her food! 

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  • My mom worked at home (running a family child care) until I was 15.  She made dinner almost every night - mostly meat, veg, starch.  Classics were things like shake n' bake, pork chops, London broil, American chop suey, chicken cacciatore...

    What I didn't appreciate enough growing up was the fact that my dad was a huge gardener, and even though we lived in the 'burbs, we had a big vegetable garden.  All of the veggies we ate in the summer and most the rest of the year were from the garden.  My mom made her own tomato sauce from scratch and froze green beans, carrots, corn, etc.  We also grew strawberries, blueberries, and apples.

    I was a picky eater and absolutely hated weeding or any other garden-related chore.  Of course now I realize how appreciative I should have been!

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  • my mom always cooked a big sunday dinner (meat, potatos, veggie).  we had those leftovers during the week.  my dad was in charge of weekday cooking...he made a lot of homemade hamburger helper type meals over pasta and broiled chicken.the meals were usually pretty plain (possible our request as kids)..during the spring/summer we had a lot of hotdogs and hamburgers...

    I cook 90% vegetarian and I think I am a pretty good cook. I had a few years hanging out with my dh's noni before she passed, which helped me pick up a few tips and tricks (she was a good cook and a fabulous woman)

  • My mom SAH and always made dinner.  We would only eat out after church on Sundays. 

    She made lasagna, spaghetti, tacos, steaks, potatoes, turkey, chicken, soups, anything my brother and dad hunted (deer, goose, duck, fish), and always had a veggie, meat, and grain on the table.  Her meals were much more balanced and homemade than mine are. 

    I fall back on spaghetti and chicken breasts a lot if I don't have any better ideas.

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  • We had a home cooked meal 95% of the time. My mom worked most of my childhood.  I remember a fair amount of stews, meatloaf, casseroles, tacos, spaghetti, etc. I make about 50% of what my mom did. I never liked stew and so I never make it. I gain weight if I eat to muhc pasta so I make it rarely. I do make tacos all the time though.

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  • My mom SAH, and is an excellent cook.  We're Chinese, and it was always 4-5 different dishes for dinner.  I'm used to that type of food, so that's what I try to make, but I'm lucky if I get out 1-2 dishes.  And we eat leftovers a lot.  I don't remember ever eating leftovers when I was young.
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    My mom learned to cook from her MIL who was a very very good cook. My paternal grandma was from Poland, so my mom learned how to make a lot of traditional Polish (stuffen cabbage, polish meat balls, various roasts) and other eastern European foods. She was a SAHM and we often had dinner guests. My mom didn't like seafood, so it was beef, pork, veal and chicken.  I don't ever remember having had hamburger helper as a child. Dinners always includes a veggie and starch with meat.

    Now as a WAH mom of 3 (ages 7, 4 and 1), I do a combination of making food and cooking food. I try to avoid prepacked because I know it's not healthy, but I personnally love the enchilada hamburger helper Stick out tongue I do a fair amount of planning each week so that I can make food (e..g recipes off pintrest, collecting slow cooker recipes, etc). I also try as much as possible to cook once, eat twice (so we have leftovers at least 2 times a week).

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • My mom worked. She would cook but it was always some thrown together stuff. I can't ever remember her making me breakfast or anything like that.

    As a result, it has been important to me to prepare my children a hot breakfast almost every morning.


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  • My grandmother is a true Italian mother. She stayed home and cooked huge meals every night for her family of 9. This gene skipped my mother. Bless her heart but it did. She worked the majority of my childhood. She had her staples that she would make regularly but as I got older and it became harder to round everyone up for dinner at the same time, she did a lot of Hamburger Helper type meals. 

    This had two different effects on my siblings and I. My sister and I are hot messes in the kitchen. My brother is a 5 star executive chef at a fancy hotel downtown. Hahahaha 

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  • My mom was a single mom so she worked but she was a very good cook so we didnt have a microwave and never ever ate anything frozen...I give her credit for that except she never taught me how to cook. I mean she was so good that later in life when my youngest sister started kindergarten she opened a restaurant yet the running joke is that she asked me to mash pinto beans for her and i tried to do them raw....true story but it sucks because I cant cook to save my life. Also she now will cook for DD when i bring her by a few times a week and DD eats it up but wont eat what I make :(
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  • My Mom stayed home or worked only part time, and she was/is an amazing cook! And I am super lucky, because I learned from her, and I am a pretty darn good cook, too! We were so spoiled - we would come home from school/sports to homemade apple pie, homemade bread, lots of yummy stuff like lasagna and roast chicken and lots of stuff from her garden! We sure did eat well! And my family eats well, now, too!
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  • Both of my parents worked FT and my mom went to school in the evenings and weekends. My dad did a lot of boxed meals during those years.

    My DH works 2 jobs (one of which is at night). So, nights are pretty hectic with it being just me and the girls. While I don't do a lot of boxed meals, we usually make 1 or 2 meals during the week that are easy and fast to reheat for dinner.

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  • My DH and I grew up totally opposite as far as food goes - his mom made basically 7 meals in rotation, just was the way she was raised, she never learned to cook more than that. My dad, on the other hand, would get out the cookbooks every Saturday and choose a variety of meals for the week, with a variety of proteins, ethnicities, etc., and we almost never had the same meal twice within a month or two. (Sidenote: my dad did the meal planning and my mom did almost all the cooking. That would drive me crazy but it seems to work out for them). I think this was a great way to eat, but it did give me the family reputation for being picky, because I didn't like things like falafels and beef stroganoff (I used to hate mushrooms). I wanted pizza every Friday like "normal people" ate. 

    DH & I eat more like my family, but sometimes he comments that we don't have enough "family favorites" - he says a lot of times we'll have a really good meal but then we never have it again, and he would like to. 

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  • My mom was a SAHM for the most part and she'd always cook and we'd always have a meat, veg, and carb at dinner.  I appreciate growing up in a household where we would all sit down for dinner every night, but when I first got married and later had DS, I think she had unrealistic expectations about me serving a fresh dinner at 5:00 every night.  Now that I've gotten better about meal planning, freezing meals, crock pot meals, etc. I think that she admires the fact that I can work and still cook dinner and will even try and modify some of her meals for me to make and freeze or make in my crock pot.
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  • Mom worked from 3pm - 11pm as a nurse, so she didn't usually cook our dinners.  Instead, she would leave meat thawing in the sink and a note about what (canned) vegetables to have with it.  Dad, when he got home, would decide how to prepare the beef/pork/whatever.  Sometimes she left a note to heat up frozen fish sticks & french fries, or $ for a pizza (very rare).

    On days off she liked to do a pot roast or something in the electric skillet.

  • image superned:

    My mom worked at home (running a family child care) until I was 15.  She made dinner almost every night - mostly meat, veg, starch.  Classics were things like shake n' bake, pork chops, London broil, American chop suey, chicken cacciatore...

    Funny that this was our menu too and I'm also from Maine. Maybe some regional/cultural stuff at play there too...

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  • My parents both worked and my mom hated to cook, so my dad did the cooking until I was about 11. (He moved for work and they divorced.) At that point, my sister or mom would cook and when she went to college, I would help with the cooking.

    I don't really remember what we ate when I was a kid, but I do remember macaroni, canned tomatoes and ground beef. My mom rarely bought hamburger helper because my sister and I didn't like the fake potatoes - ha. I think we also had a lot of barbeque stuff - I'd barbeque before my mom got home (after my dad left).

    When I was a teen, my mom became diabetic - we had a lot of salads and chicken and occasionally ground beef. A typical dinner would be salad, lemon chicken and rice pilaf. That's probably why I am not so into salad.

    Since we pretty much eat vegetarian at home, I don't really cook what my mom did. I have a few recipes that I have modified to be vegetarian, but that's about it.

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