Our mom passed away a couple of years ago, but she left us no shortage of great memories...up to and including commonly heard phrases, quotes, and what she called "poor food" recipes.

The Kindest of Smackdowns

While eating out with Mom and couple of friends several years ago, she mentioned a nurse that used to work for her. It just so happened that he was a few tables away and heard his name and came over. Mom's reply?

"I was talkin' about you, not TO you."

And of course we all laughed and tried not to choke on our lunch.

Sage Advice for Us All

I don't care how strong you think your memory skills are, EVERYONE forgets something from time to time. That's why I try to write everything down I need to remember. Or, at the very least, I make myself a reminder on my phone. And it's all because Mom once told me the following, and I've never forgotten it:

"The weakest ink is better than the strongest mind."

So, keep a pen handy.

From My Grandmother to My Mother to Me

Whenever somebody would say something funny and we'd all have a big laugh, it was common for these words to come out of our mother's mouth:

"People have more fun than anybody."

This actually embarrassed me one time when I was 12. My grandmother said it front of a bunch of my friends. Today, I use it all the time.

Cussing -- Mom Style

Before we get to the food, let me share with you my mom's version of cussing. She seldom had much reason for exclamation, much less EXPLETIVES, heaven forbid, but when she got frustrated, we'd hear her say one of the following:

"Cricket!" or  "Blame take it, and throw it away."

And I have no idea where she got that last one or what it means. I regret not asking her. Now, on to the recipes.

Mom's 'Poor Food'

Our mother was the child of a divorce. My grandparents split in the late 1940s--practically unheard of in those days--so my grandmother began pinching pennies as hard as she could pinch them. That resulted in what Mom came to call certain meals "poor food," because they fed plenty without costing much money at all.

Egg Sauce on Toast

Jakub Kapusnak/Unsplash
Jakub Kapusnak/Unsplash

Make some milk gravy (quarter cup salted butter, quarter cup flour, 2 cups milk, half teaspoon salt, half teaspoon pepper). Whisk it for three to five minutes as it simmers. Add more milk if it's too thick; simmer longer if it's too thin. THEN, once the gravy is finished stir in chopped hard-boiled eggs and pour over toast. Simple, cheap, and delicious. It's one of my favorite breakfasts.

Mother's Goulash

Kelsey Todd/Unsplash; Canva
Kelsey Todd/Unsplash; Canva

Traditional Hungarian goulash is an amazing dish, but it bears almost no resemblance to this tasty concoction. Once you've cooked up some ground beef, stir in some peas and diced potatoes (yes, I'd recommend canned or frozen potatoes for this recipe, but if you want to boil a potato and chop it up, go for it). Finish it off with some Worcestershire sauce--tasting as you go to make sure it doesn't overpower--and then serve. It's the whole meal. I haven't had it in years, and that needs to change.

Peas in Baloney (Bologna) Bowls


I get the weirdest looks when I mention this one, and I get it. It sounds odd. But when you're a kid, it's a blast. By the way, I'm starting to think peas were very popular back in the day. Anyway, you just fry some bologna, and, of course, it forms a bowl when you do that. Put it on the plate and put the peas in it. See? It's not like they're incorporated or anything. The bologna is the SERVING DISH for the peas. It's a fun dish when you're a kid. And if you like peas and fried bologna (like me), it's a win-win.

What quotes, phrases, or unique recipes of your mom's do YOU still use or remember?

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