I had a flashback experience last night over dinner.
Husband is away on a golf trip for a few days, so at dinner time, I nosed around in the refrigerator to see what I should make for my evening meal. I had set some salmon aside the day before, so I grabbed that. I grabbed the asparagus in the vegetable drawer, and then I saw it—a plastic container of leftover mashed potatoes.
My mother was raised during the Depression, so she never threw out a single spoonful of food. She saved everything and figured out how to use it the next day or the day after that, and sometimes the day after that. I remember one of her rare cooking instructions when I was a teenager, and she thought I needed to know how to make potato pancakes.
With this container of leftovers, I followed those instructions from more than 30 years ago. I mixed the potatoes with a beaten egg, some diced onion and some bread crumbs. I formed them into little pancakes, fried them in oil about 4 to 5 minutes per side over medium heat and drained them on paper towel. While this was going on, I broiled the salmon and asparagus, and within ten minutes, I had a delightful dinner for one.
I threw a little seasoning at the pancakes, just a dusting of a combination of paprika, oregano, basil, onion powder, garlic powder, salt pepper. I sat down with a glass of Reisling and my lovely dinner and took a bite of childhood.
I don't cook like my mother very often. I can never seem to pull off corn bread or coconut cake or fried chicken or fried fresh corn the way she can, but now I know I can pull off a batch of potato pancakes—fluffy on the inside but crisp and brown on the outside.
What do you cook that you learned to cook as a kid?