Favorite Childhood Food Potluck

Birthday streamersAs part of the month of birthday experiences, I threw a Favorite Childhood Food Potluck. The rules were that you could bring the actual item or a grown up rendition of it. It was a tremendous amount of fun, but not clearly thought through. Why? Because everyone’s favorite childhood food was a dessert.  We had an entire table of sweet, sweet desserts.

There were two notable exceptions. Liz Gorinsky made a homemade version of Stouffer’s frozen macaroni and cheese that was a god send in the midst of all that sugar. It vanished very quickly. My favorite visual memory of the evening came after everyone had left and Rob picked the giant serving spoon, scraping the edges of the tin to get out the last of the mac and cheese. The spoon was so oversized that he totally looked like a small child.

The other exception was one of my favorites, shrimp cocktail.  Apparently, when I was very little, I loved it. Mom tells this story about putting away my sweater after some part and discovering, in the pockets, handfuls of shrimp. Upon questioning, I explained that I was saving them for later. Fortunately, I didn’t feel the need to recreate that entire dish: Day Old Shrimp with Finely Shredded Cotton Fibers.

Other favorite foods included Katie Menick’s homemade girlscout cookie Samoas, Fabulous Girl’s Mother’s Lemon Poundcake, Jennifer Jackson’s grandmother’s coffee toffee bars. There were flapjacks, Capri-suns, Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes. (My idea, via Martha Stewart, to combine two childhood favorites in one) Graham Crackers and White frosting, and… somewhere in there a sugar coma set in.

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14 Responses

  1. Kai Jones

    Huh, my favorite childhood foods aren’t desserts: sausages with fried apples’n’onions, German pancake with lemon juice and powdered sugar (still sweet, though), and my family’s salad dressing.

  2. Mike F

    Those cupcakes sound good! That is a great party idea.

    One of my childhood favorites (that I still make sometimes) is fried bologna on toast smothered in creamed corn. I know it sounds gross, but it isn’t bad. Once you get past the looks, that is.

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal

      Oh wow. I’d totally forgotten fried bologna until you mentioned it. I used to looooove that and just the thought brings back all these taste memories. The addition of creamed corn is not something I would ever have thought of.

  3. Kai Jones

    It’s a sweet vinaigrette: oil, apple cider vinegar, sugar, garlic, Worstecershire sauce, salt and pepper. A big bowl of leaves and vegetables, seeds, nuts, fruit tossed in dressing, then good French bread to soak up the leftover dressing in the bottom of the bowl. It’s the whole experience!

    Tizzy’s Dressing is a family tradition; it’s one of the recipes my grandmother included in her wedding gift to me of a handwritten recipe book with illustrations she drew.

  4. -e-

    I too loved shrimp cocktail- once ordering it impatiently as a famished 5 year old when the waitress came to take our “cocktail” order at a kosher restaurant with my grandparents (oops!)

    Other faves were canned black olives , hard boiled eggs (the whites only, must have made my mother crazy), and -I cant believe no one brought this- good ol’ spaghetti with tomato sauce and parmesan

      1. -e-

        Well, I was a pretty cute 5 year old, and an only grandchild to boot, so yes, I was eventually forgiven… Count your blessings Rob had the sense not to bring spaghettio’s

  5. Michael Curry

    It was a fun time, and I’m sorry I couldn’t stay longer. As it was we made it to the venue just in time to snag a couple of the few remaining seats.

    I didn’t bring a childhood favorite because they all seemed so obvious that I was sure someone would bring them, rather than the many homemade treats that actually showed. I’ll admit that later in the evening when I was having dinner it seemed nice to have something that wasn’t a dessert. I think I over-sugared myself. I was trying to be good about not wolfing down too many of Jenn’s coffee toffee bars, but that just led to eating other delicious things.