Food from My Childhood

I’ve just finished Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  I just loved reading her short vignettes on everything from signs she came across in the bathroom to thoughts about how quickly people can slip away from us.  Reading this book after Rosenthal’s recent death at such a young age made it all the more profound.

One of her entries was a table (She said she enjoyed creating all sorts of tables) of food from her childhood with notes and reflections about each one.  I loved it, and thought I’d give it a try!  

Food Item Notes
Carnation Instant Breakfast and Coffee Cake Juniors for breakfast.  Sometimes we added a Pop Tart! My stepfather once explained to my sister and me that Carnation Instant Breakfast was supposed to be a whole meal, not just a drink you had with breakfast!
Cube Steaks When mom came home from work after a long day and commute on the train, she would grill up some cube steaks.  We thought it was kind of fancy at the time.
Bananas grilled in butter and brown sugar Dad made these every now and then (for breakfast!).  I thought we had died and gone to heaven.
Jarlsberg cheese and Triscuits A staple then.  A staple now.
Popovers We had our first taste of popovers on a trip to Bar Harbor, Maine. How I loved when they would deflate and then I would fill the middle with butter.  It was like eating a bit of magic.
Fig Newtons The best cookie ever invented.
KFC whipped potatoes They really did taste like styrofoam, but for some reason, I loved them!
Devore’s Muffins I would pick up 4 muffins from Devore’s Bakery and bring them home to be divided among 3 of us.  It was so much fun to try to figure out how best to divide the fourth muffin.
Breakfast for Dinner It was a special night when we could have pancakes, sausage, and applesauce for dinner.  It felt like the day was upside down.
Chicken Paprikash This comforting dish of chicken, sour cream, paprika, and a bit of ketchup (!) placed over warm egg noodles was the very definition of comfort food.  It’s often a request from the girls when they return home for a visit in the fall or winter months.
Karp Burgers We had a neighbor growing up named Marshall Karp.  He would grill burgers and then top them with avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo (Yup…no ketchup).  They were delicious!  A staple summer food. And now a Griffin Family Favorite!

Thank you, Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  Part of your legacy will be to inspire writers like me!


7 thoughts on “Food from My Childhood

  1. I think it was serendipity that led you to this post today! I loved your table…such comfort foods! Might try one of my own sometime.

  2. This is a lovely way to capture memories. I remember carnation instant breakfast and love triscuits. This slice is so easy to relate to. Swedish meatballs and noodles is our family favorite comfort food. Adding AKR’s book to my list to read.

  3. I love this idea of writing about food. You have sparked so many memories from my growing up! Future post? maybe! Thank you also for reminding me about Amy’s book – I need to add it to my TBR pile.

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