When we think of our grandmas we might think of homemade meals and love, secret recipes and the good ol' days. We probably think of pie. But many of our grandparents are immigrants, and our families have unique food traditions. I have a Southern grandma and a Chinese grandma, and the former does not make egg noodles and the latter does not bake cookies. So, please chime in with your favorite foods that your grandma makes.
Fruit salad with marshmallows and maraschino cherries: The inclusion of a few unnatural ingredients really elevates average fruit salad to grandmotherly heights. Foods like casseroles with canned cream of mushroom, or seven-layer dip with jarred refried beans, epitomize a certain old style of American cooking that is nice to go home to even after reading Michael Pollan.[jump]
Rice pudding :There used to be a commercial on TV featuring a grandfather giving his grandson his first taste of rice pudding on the porch swing of their white wooden house. It was basically saying, "You think of old people when you see white, soft food, but guess what, young people? It's delicious!" And it is.
Noodle Kugel: I've heard that people marry into families just for their kugel recipes. This Jewish noodle pudding is often sweet, sometimes savory, and served as a side dish. Grandmothers everywhere add their own personal touches, such as (canned) cherry pie topping, cornflakes and golden raisins.
Soup: My grandmother is superstitious about ghosts and thinks that I will permanently damage my brain if I go to sleep with wet hair. She also believes that soup has medicinal qualities and will cure you of anything from acne to obesity. But given her incredible, made-from-scratch chicken soup, this is an argument I don't need to win.
Jello molds: You mean your grandmother isn't a good cook? Don't feel bad. It's not as common as the advertising world would have you believe. That's why they invented Jello molds, those architectural wonders with diced fruit inside and Cool Whip on top. They provide maximum awe and need very little skill. Thanks, grandma!