Posts Tagged ‘traditional foods’

“We lose things as we age.

That’s the hardest part,”

 Mom said.

Christmas has come and gone and I found myself craving things lost.  Mostly I missed the people I wished could gather round and share our holiday celebration.

But in the days leading up to Christmas, I also had mysterious cravings for foods!  The list began to grow of  favorites I gave up long ago for the sake of health or weight.  Or maybe some of them were simply replaced –  lost for years –  but not entirely forgotten.  And suddenly I WANTED a whole list of Ghost Foods of Christmas Past!

This year I craved Macaroni and Cheese!

Mac & CheeseSupermarket aisles are still full of the old box versions, plus every possible variety dreamed up by the merchandisers.  But, I haven’t had old fashioned, “original” Mac & Cheese in years!   This was one of my early wifely sacrifices since the husband hates cheese!

But I keep dreaming of Mac  & Cheese so now there’s MY personal box in the pantry reserved for cheese cravings, nostalgia, and a carbohydrate boost.  

Country Tip for City Dudes:  Comfort food can be comforting just sitting on a shelf!

Then there’s Orange Iced Sweet Rolls!orange sweet rolls

I wonder if our son remembers Sunday mornings long ago when his Dad made orange sweet rolls and sausage for breakfast.  The rolls came in a cylindrical box you banged on the corner of the sink to open, then set on cookie sheets to bake,  and lastly you coated them with a scrumptious orangey icing.

I used to drive our son crazy trying to wake him up with “Rise and shine! Rise and shine!” and singing off-key, “It’s time to get up.  It’s time to get up.  It’s time to get up in the morrrrrning!”   Mmmmm!  The scent of baking and sausage from the kitchen is what finally worked to get him out of bed.  He blocked out the singing with a pillow over his head.

Guess what we had this Christmas morning?!  And that got Dad and me to talking about other foods we recall from the “olden days” when we could handle sugar overloads with grace.

My Mom used to make Baked Beans and Hot Dogs for dinner!

The beans came out of a can and she simply chunked up the hot dogs and heated both together.  Not the healthiest scenario but who knows?  Lotsa protein anyway.  I’m not craving that meal so much but the memories are huge! Wonder how it would taste with a sprinkle of cheese!

Canned  Brown Bread.

Oh yes, we found it at one of those vintage stores and ordered two cans of date-nut bread!  I used to love canned bread because it worked so well with baked beans and hot dogs.   Guess what?   It tastes the same as it used to.  On the other hand, it doesn’t taste the same at all.  Does that make sense?  Do taste buds change along with facial character lines?

Liquorice Allsorts Licorice Allsorts.

Uh Oh!   My craving for these beauties  never leaves, and my husband loves them too.  I know if we find Licorice Allsorts, the entire box will be gone in a matter of days.  He found some for Christmas!


Was this my little brother’s favorite or my son’s?  The images are beginning to blur.  O.K., I know it’s a brand name I’m giving a plug.  Maybe the brand has become generic for any pasta in a can (like bandaids or kleenex)?  I never really liked SpaghettioO’s but the little fellas in my life always did.  Still, the “O’s” were always a pantry staple at home, and deserve a test again for my elderly taste buds!

Rum Balls.rumball2

Oh, how I loved Mom’s rum balls and usually make them every Christmas.  “Not this year,”  I reasoned, since  I practically inhale every single one!  Nope, this year I will practice abstinence!  After all, a hysterical craving for rum balls is embarrassing, especially when added to all that licorice intake!  Have you noted my admirable will power as proof of total self control.  Ha!

Ahhhh!   How I love Christmas and the Ghost Foods of Christmas Past.

This virtual trip was really unexpected, and wandering down a memory lane of long ago favorites, I wondered if I was alone in craving such lost delicacies.

Have any of my blogger friends been experiencing this odd way of looking at the past?

Have you been thinking of Ghost Foods you would like to try again?


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Chicken Paprikash and “Knuckles”

Today is my birthday.  And tomorrow’s my son’s birthday.    The result is an odd couple of days of happy celebration.   I do love birthdays!

Son and grandgirls are here and have once again requested Hungarian Paprikash for the birthday(s) dinner.  It’s a family tradition.   But this time my husband wants to take us out to eat (what a prince!) and I can’t resist escaping  from the kitchen.  Can you tell I’m feeling guilty?  I may even have nightmares about not living up to expectations!

Still, Chicken Paprikash is a wonderful dish.   My Hungarian Dad taught me how to make it, complete with nokedli  ( mini dumplings).   My little brother and I called them “knuckles” when we were little, because we couldn’t pronounce that word in Hungarian.   We still call the dumplings knuckles.

There is no real recipe for the Paprikash or the knuckles, but I will give it a try to share with you.  Here is my family’s SECRET recipe handed down through the generations!  Oh, the things we reveal for the sake of blogging!


Chicken pieces (with skin) – Your choice – 6 to 10 pieces.

2 Onions chopped

Paprika – Unlimited amount

Butter – 2 Sticks

1)       Melt the butter in a big stew pot.  Add onions and sauté until translucent.  Begin adding chicken pieces.  Place the larger pieces (skin side down) on the bottom.  Spoon over a little of the onions. Then add the smaller pieces (skin side down) on top.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

2)      Now reverse the above procedure.  Move the smaller pieces skin side up to the bottom and the larger pieces to the top, skin side up.  Cover and simmer 20 minutes more.  This recipe will make its own gravy.  I have never had to add water.

3)      After the 40 minutes of cooking you can begin spooning paprika by the tablespoon into the gravy.  Keep adding and adding and stirring in more paprika  until the gravy turns tomato orange.  The gravy should look like it was made with tomatoes – a fairly bright orange.  Simmer 10 or 15 minutes more.

You’re done!  Do NOT add salt or pepper.  Salt will toughen the meat.  Guests can add salt at the table.

Note:  If you are feeding a mob, you will obviously need to add more chicken, more onions, more butter and more paprika.  This recipe is based on 6 to 10 pieces of chicken which will feed up to six people.

Suggestion:  Serve Paprikash with Sour Cream on the Side!  Many recipes include sour cream in the cooking process but my family prefers  to add it at the table or not to have sour cream at all.

HUNGARIAN NOKEDLI (“Knuckles” to Go with the Paprikash)

I never had a set recipe for making these “dumplings” although I’m sure you can find one on the internet.  This was the way I learned to make them as a child at my father’s side.  Knuckles are the best part of the Paprikash feast and I can never make enough of them.

Start with:  4 Cups of All Purpose Flour

2 Eggs

Milk  (Undetermined amount but quite a lot)

Salt and Pepper

1)      Bring a big stew pot of salted water to a boil and keep it at a bubbling simmer.

2)      In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add some flour and a little salt and pepper.  Add milk and begin stirring.  There is no definite amount of milk.  Just pour in about half a cup and start (I use a table fork to do the stirring).  If the mixture is dry, add  more milk.   If the mixture is too wet, add more flour.   Keep adding and stirring and adding and stirring.  Strive for a stiff dough that acts sticky and stringy like taffy.   You can always add more flour or more milk until you reach the right consistency.

3)      Now take a Tablespoon of the dough.  Begin “slicing” bits off the end of the spoon with a butter knife into the simmering water.  Keep dipping the knife into the water to make it easier to “slice” the dough.  The water should stay at a slightly boiling simmer.   Take another tablespoon and repeat slicing until the dough is used up.  Each “knuckle” is about an inch long and half an inch thick when cooked (thumb tip size).   If they look too small or too large, just adjust the size of your dough slices from the end of the spoon.

4)      When all the dough is used up, you’re done.   Let the water simmer another few minutes so the last ones get cooked.    Add the cooked knuckles to the gravy in your Paprikash pot.

Good luck with making the knuckles!  It’s easier than it looks, but really hard to explain.  You can also cheat and use boxed egg noodles or shells instead.  That’s what I did as a young bride.  Packaged noodles are never the same, but still pretty darned good.


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