Do you know the origin of your ‘Secret Family Recipes’?

I had a friend that had recently gotten engaged and I was invited to a Thanksgiving potluck. I asked what I should bring, and the fiancé, having heard I was a “good cook”, requested an asparagus casserole his grandmother used to make. It included cream of mushroom soup, canned asparagus (which I didn’t even know there was such a thing), and breadcrumbs.

I really, really wanted to remake it using fresh ingredients (being in California), but that is what he wanted (Alabama boy), so I made it his way. He was very happy and now also thinks that I’m a good cook. It’s all about the memories. :wink:


Good point. There are a few things I can make from scratch, but I no longer do because it takes too much time. This is particularly about sauce. I can make a few sauces from scratch, but rarely do so any more.

That’s so funny, because sauces are one of the things I always make from scratch. Once I got the good saucepans and a good whisk, I found it very easy.

I am, however, a big fan of frozen French fries.

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Grew up i the Philippines where there is no asparagus but canned ones, which were very expensive. She always buy the white asparagus, but only for special occasion,
My mother , who was a very good cook, would make chicken soup with white asparagus.
She looked the whole chicken ( no such thing as chicken breast or thighs, just whole chicken that we had to dress ourself) with ginger, spring onions, and then when cooked, add her spices and lowered the asparagus gingerly, taking care not to break them, only to warm them up.
Very tasty with a bowl of rice.


Interesting, interesting. So what don’t you make from scratch? I guess I understand making pasta sauce from scratch because it is so impactful. For many other smaller quantity of sauces, I don’t. For example… like terayaki sauce… things that I used like once or twice a year…etc. I do like to make broth and stock from scratch and try to not use store broth, but not totally against them when I run out of mine.

I also use store broth when necessary, though less so now that I have an InstantPot.

Are you asking why I don’t make French fries from scratch? Because I don’t like frying, and the few times I made fries from scratch, it wasn’t worth the effort.

We eat steak frites about once a week, and dinner is so much quicker with the frozen, which honestly taste so much better than my attempts.

No no… not French fires. I get it. I mean… since you make sauces from scratch, is there anything else you don’t make from scratch? (beside your French fries).

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I don’t make my sauces from scratch anymore. I don’t make my own butter!!!

I don’t make butter either! Or pizza or pasta. Many things.

However, if we are talking sauces, I have no problem making a quick white or brown sauce, and variations thereof. Most Asian sauces, I do make from scratch, teriyaki included, but not (obviously) soy sauce, or oyster sauce or hoisin; though I am interested in trying a homemade hoisin. Granted, I make Asian inflected food fairly often, so I use the sauces regularly.

I’ve never bought bottled salad dressing, but I think Hidden Valley Ranch dried powder packets are brilliant, and the dressing made from those is unlikely to be equaled in a home kitchen (believe me, I’ve tried).


Childhood memory of family food is not necessarily the best ingredients. On my husband side, he and my BILs are crazy about their mother’s cooking. It is indeed good. But after years cooking of observing and sometimes helping her out, I discovered that in fact she used a lot of ready made sauces, salad sauces, even ready made cheese sauces, dried herbs, frozen seafoods. The products are not the premium quality, but the way she adds a lot of extra different ingredients that is not called in original plates make that exceptional, a signature, in a way. I am not surprised that your friends insist with the canned asparagus.

I did not grew up with her food, while many of food are good, for example her grand couscous royal with at least 7 types of vegetables with chicken and lamb and kefta is splendid. But I am not hot at all with her baked cream seafood rice, I hate the frozen seafood she used. LOL!


I love your phrase-" I am not hot at all with her baked seafood rice."
I wonder if marriages and family relationships work better when cooking roles are clearly defined?
We had some really good fights, mostly during holidays, and invariably consisting of my wife and her mother, neither who could cook a lick, coming into the kitchen and hovering, while offering unwanted and unneeded suggestions. At least my FIL had senior status to boot their rears back to the living room.


(naf looks around and makes sure H doesn’t read.)
Oh, it’s well defined. When we visited her, MIL is the boss, she decides what we eat, I never interfere, just a helping hand, and mostly dishwasher. (the in-laws live in other city, so we usually stayed a few days or a week). She thought I like rice dishes, tries to please, but I don’t like that creamy thing, it is impolite to tell her that I dislike that.

You are right that family meals can trigger fights. SIL tried to cook a birthday party for her 2 yr old and invited family, she never cooks anything in her life. MIL hated her food and the presentation, didn’t speak with each other for months! Very dangerous to criticise holy family recipes!


Wow this reminds me of some old school Chappelle! Do you remember wayne brady’s quote? “Is wayne brady gonna have to…” I won’t put the rest but you may remember that classic skit. Lol

I’ll write some things but I’m going to watch some Chappelle now :slight_smile:

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My husband was indeed one of the nicest person and best friend . I miss cooking for him and getting his usual nod of approval and appreciation. Of course it was difficult cooking for him as he had gluten enteropathy but he never ever complained about my cooking except that his eggs are not runny enough! Well, my son is different, no sour cream, no mushroom, no cream sauce etc!

Speaking of rice seafood, want to share with you a recipe from a dear old friend, who is Yugoslavian. I do not know the origin of this recipe. I used to make it, but my son, though he loves certain cheese, would not eat comte gruyere for some reason as well as your sour cream.
Precook rice ( in my case, in the rice cooker)
Precook seafood ( mostly squid, shrimp, fish fillet , with white wine, and herbs,( fennel, bay leaf, basil. marjoram etc) cooked lump crab when in season
Stir sour cream and cheese into the cooked rice, season to taste. Amount depends on your taste Add the seafood and crab meat ( optional- we have plenty of crabs when in season), stir, add more cheese Bake in oven for a short while as the rice would be a bit wet at this stage.

It is really good. the amount of sour cream and cheese all depends on your taste.


Thanks, this tastes good, especially with the crab!

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