My mom, Myrtle C. (below), learned a lot about cooking from my father, Paul, who was a cook in the Army, and from his mother.
Mom learned to cook healthy and delicious meals while stretching a dollar to feed our family of six. My dad often worked two jobs so Mom (who prefers to be called Billie) could stay home with my brother, two sisters and me. Now that I’m an adult, I really appreciate the effort and love it must have taken to prepare three meals a day on a budget.
The food was always satisfying and plentiful, and Dad, even when he worked two jobs, pitched in a lot—especially when Mom hosted her annual spaghetti dinner for family and friends. Everyone remembers those dinners as being really fun.
My mother’s spaghetti is the centerpiece of what I consider her best meal. Her Herbed Mushroom Spaghetti Sauce is thick, meaty and rich. When I visit her and Dad, who have retired to Florida, I always look forward to having spaghetti. I usually eat so much that I can’t move!
As a before-dinner appetizer, Pineapple Cheese Ball hits the spot. I love the crunchiness of the green pepper and walnuts. It’s great for a large crowd or during holidays.
Nine-Layer Salad is loaded with wonderful flavors. At family events, we like to tease my youngest sister, Chris, that she has a lifetime assignment to bring this salad. Although the recipe says to refrigerate overnight, I make it and toss it right before serving.
There’s no better end to this mouth-watering meal than Mom’s Lattice-Topped Apple Pie. It’s so pretty that you hate to cut it. But the crust is soft and flaky, and the filling is fruity with the right touch of spice. I told Mom that she has ruined me for any other pie.
Mom recently typed up all her recipes into cookbooks for us kids. It’s great to be able to make all the dishes I grew up on. They’re still among my favorites!
My mother taught me many cooking basics while I helped her in the kitchen. I probably did more cooking than the other kids because they had more after-school activities than I did, but we all had assigned cleanup tasks. Mom would have me start a roast and peel potatoes so she could get dinner on the table faster. Now when I visit, I still help Mom in the kitchen…and so does Dad.
I really enjoy preparing from-scratch dishes for my family, too. My husband, Dennis, is the director of security for a distribution facility in Columbus, Ohio. We have one young son, Robert. I’m a nurse and do administrative work at a local hospital.
We grow a garden every year, and like Mom, I enjoy canning and freezing the harvest. Last year, I put up tomatoes, jelly, relishes, spaghetti sauce and applesauce as well as freezing fruits and vegetables.
It’s difficult to name one dish I make all the time, since I’m forever trying new recipes…thanks to Taste of Home. But I always include some of Mom’s recipes on my menus. I hope you’ll try them, too!
More Spaghetti Recipes »