I'VE SPENT part of my life teaching college-level nutrition classes and taste-testing for a federal research lab. But my fondest food-related memories center on my mother's kitchen.
My mom, Sarah C., taught school for a short time before I was born. From then on, she was devoted full-time to caring for her family—me; my brother, Donald; and our dad, Frehn, who was a chemical engineer.
There weren't a lot of convenience foods back then, so Mom made everything from scratch. I liked to help her, and I learned to cook in the process. I learned other things, too—I remember her reciting poetry while we washed dishes.
On Sundays, our big meal was served at noon, and Mom often cooked a roast. Her best was Pork Tenderloin with Stuffing, served with fresh peas, Zucchini Apple Salad, Parsnip Pancakes and Raspberry Squares.
Pork Tenderloin with Stuffing was so special-looking that Mom served it for company, too. (If you like, prepare it with her stuffing recipe or use one of your own.)
I think she came up with her refreshing Zucchini Apple Salad because the colors looked so pretty in a glass bowl.
Mom liked parsnips, so at times she substituted them in her potato pancake recipe to make Parsnip Pancakes. Parsnips, rutabaga and other root vegetables were plentiful in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where we lived at the time.
A friend gave my mother the gelatin dessert recipe. She'd make it when neighbors came to play bridge.
It was the Depression era, so Mom made the most of the food we had. She'd grind up leftover roast from Sunday dinner with gravy for sandwiches.
She also made simple but delicious desserts with common ingredients. At lunchtime, my brother and I looked forward to rice pudding with raisins and brown sugar or bread pudding topped with meringue.
Dad was Pennsylvania Dutch and liked shoofly pie for breakfast. In the winter, Mom made scrapple and served it with homemade applesauce or apple butter.
Our parents made sure that my brother and I went to college. I got a master’s degree in nutrition and taught at UCLA before working at an FDA research lab when the first frozen vegetables were being developed.
I inherited Mom's love of cooking and still enjoy preparing meals when my own children visit. I have two daughters, a son and five grandchildren.
I hope you and your family will enjoy my mom's menu as much as we have.