Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Improper Poll: Nasty Mom Food

Sioux over at Sioux’s page has some entertaining reflections on bread worth checking out. She reminded me about Friendship Bread. Remember that? You had to “feed” it and keep it warm, and it was supposed to bubble and grow before you cooked it. That was way too Little Shop of Horrors for me. I like my food to be a little more subdued. 

Coincidentally, I had just been thinking about my own family’s history with food. My grandmother was a perfectly lovely person and a wonderful cook. But every now and then, she would eat…are you ready?...pickled pigs feet. I know this because I once opened her refrigerator and discovered a jar that belonged in the back of a science room. The ones where intact animal parts float suspended in murky liquid. In her refrigerator. I literally screamed and ran.

My mother’s nasty mom-food was sardines. She would hide them and cover them up, but still—you knew they were lying in wait side by side in their little can.

And then the other day I bought…I’m embarrassed to admit this…Vienna Sausages. My grandmother used to give them to me when I was little, so I bought them for old time’s sake, but it struck me as I was sneaking them that they are, in fact, my version of nasty mom-food. After all, who knows what they really are, not to mention what that gelatinous substance surrounding them is? And any meat that has to hide in a jar or a can is just afraid it won’t really qualify as meat.

So 'fess up.  Or am I the only one who eats disgusting food?


  1. As an aside, I used to eat a can of Vienna sausages and a Payday candy bar every day for lunch, when I was in 6th grade. Now you could not pay me enough money to eat them (okay, a slight exaggeration). That gelationous gunk would be the first thing that would make me upchuck.

    I was a quirky eater when I was a kid, so things like deviled eggs (still disgusting to me) and mayonnaise were things I avoided. (Unfortunately, I now adore mayonnaise, much to the dismay of my gut and hips.)

    My mother wasn't fond of anything like pickled pigs feet (Did they have any flavor?), but my grandparents ate Spam, and as for me...When there was nothing chocolate-y to eat, I would sometimes take sour cream and add sugar and cocoa. (Desperate times call for desperate measures.)

    Thanks for the link, Tammy.

  2. When I was a child, mother used to stuff and cook beef heart. And all my life, my mother and grandmother would order liver and onions in restaurants. Yucky dad-food in my family would have been haggis, which my father and my grandparents ate. Brrrr.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  3. My dad loved some kind of cheese---probably Limburger---that sent me running from the house. I always only knew it as "Daddy's stinky cheese." Ugh. How can you put something into your mouth that smells so nasty? It literally smelled like stinky feet x 1000. He also ate anchovies, which I know a lot of people adore, but I cannot tolerate them. I did actually try pickled pigs feet once. . .they were, uh, pretty much what you'd expect of pig's feet. Ick.

  4. Well, I LOVE Vienna sausages! So do my kids! My dad ate head cheese, which is totally disgusting to me.

    At first I thought you meant nasty food that your mom cooked for the family, because I can tell you a lot about that! It's for another post, I think.

  5. What? I LOVE sardines and liver+onions. Vienna sausages loll about in my pantry until somebody craves them. My son makes me pour off the jelly, though. It's done by rinsing them with hot water while still in the can. He must have them turned out onto a plate so he can peel them apart. My grandpa was a regular consumer of pickled pigs feet. He told me they would put hair on my chest, so I avoided them. My other grandpa and grandma ate head cheese like it was goin' out of style. They even made it when they butchered a hog. Sorry, I don't have the recipe.

    My mom eats green bean sandwiches. That is just wrong.

  6. Funny post - my mom ate sardines too, only I was envious and wanted to eat them. She'd reluctantly let me have one out of the can. Blood sausage was my favorite disgusting sounding food. Sliced thin, fried until it was super crispy and then eat it with a piece of jelly bread. Mmmmm.


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