Winter Lunch

comments: 246


Thank you for all the "balancing" suggestions the other day. I can't tell you how fascinating that was to read — people are so different. Wow. I'm printing all of them out and clipping the ones that seem like they will work for me. I went and got some really pretty little notebooks, a cool to-do list, and a new address book yesterday. I can at least get organized on paper. I have never been a notebook-carrying type (I start out strong, then forget, then lose the notebook completely), but I knew someone who was, and she was very calm, so maybe. . . .

I've worked on the computer like crazy for the past couple of days. The cozy antidote to computering is Campbell's cream of tomato soup with noodles, one of the classics of my childhood. Also one of my very favorite lunches. Now they make tomato bisque, which has little pieces of tomato in it, and I like it better, but oh was it hard to switch (oh, and these noodles are supposed to be Creamettes, but they never carry those at my grocery stores, rats). You don't mess with the family classics! I don't know how this soup compares to "real" tomato soup — but for me that's hardly the point. Family-faves are successful in ways that are specific only to their creators. So much of the appeal of this soup is that it tastes exactly the same, every time, as it has for the thirty-five years I've been eating it for lunch.

Much of its appeal is also that it is just one of those quirky Ieronemo-family lunches (like envelopes of Lipton's chicken-noodle soup [with those little slabs of powdery boullion] to which we always added tiny bow-tie noodles and a pat of butter) that I make when I want to feel like everything's connected. I wonder if my sisters or my mom still make these. I was at my friend's house the other day and I mentioned these family-foods to her, and she immediately said, "Oh yeah, Triscuits with the thinnest layer of margarine and a little bit of garlic salt, toasted! My mom always made those and I loved them! I should make those!"

What are yours?


Toasted english muffin with margarine and, preferably THIS Sue Bee honey: (, but any honey will do and even real butter is better now, actually.
I tried to go healthier last week and buy some whole wheat english muffins. It was SO sadly dissappointing.
My brother and I are the nostalgia freaks in our family and we just had a talk the other day about how, for him, no egg salad sandwich could ever compare to the ones from a little brown baggie with his name handwritten by our mom, that had sat a few hours in a backpack, and were eaten in the ski lodge after a morning on the slopes.
My brother is awesome.

I just HAD to go toast an english muffin. The not-so-healthy kind, of course.

karaalison says: January 13, 2008 at 11:19 AM

I'm late to this lovely list, and glad to be. It's given me a chance to read through all these sweet stories at my kitchen counter with a smile, reminiscing with you all. Food memories = home.

Back in the days before all this global warming stuff made a real winter rare in eastern Pennsylvania, we'd have a good 3-5 snow-days off from school a year. We ran rough-shod over several major sledding hills nearby with our friends, but not until (not EVER until) we completed a marathon family game of Monopoly with a huge fondue nearby, bubbling in its rust-colored enamel pot sitting in the faux wrought-iron stand. Sometimes it would be a traditional swiss recipe, or in later years, Dad would doctor up boxes of Welsh Rarebit from the freezer with spices and sauces and even a little booze. A big loaf of crusty bread torn into pieces. Little bottles of ginger ale. And me always buying Mediteranean & Baltic Aves., because I felt bad for the little purple streets no one else wanted. :)

My mom always made cream of chicken on toast. Basically it's condensed cream of chicken soup cooked with a hardboiled egg chopped in and then plopped on a piece of buttered toast. Yum! It always made me feel better when I was blue.

This is SO MUCH FUN! I haven't gotten through all the comments, but I'll add my two favorites from home...

Toast with peanut butter, topped with thin slices of Velveeta, melted *just a little*. And chicken braised in Dorothy Lynch dressing, which I can't get here in Baltimore. My mom has to bring it with her when she flies out to see me.

Oh my gosh, I was trying to read through all these but I gave up! Jogged my memory though.
Some favorites from my mom include peanut butter and banana sandwiches, collard greens cooked with bacon or ham, or cinnamon toast (someone mentioned a bear shaker - we had a football player shaker. Still do. My brother and I have joint custody of it).
Also dip-it eggs, which was just over-easy eggs served with buttered toast. Break open the yolk and dip the toast in.
And of course pork-chops-rice-and-gravy, which is just pork chops cooked in a can of campbell's cream of mushroom with some milk to thin it a bit, then served with rice and a can of LeSueur baby peas. I had a tendency (and still do) to cut up the pork chop and mix it with the rice and gravy, then make a mound and put my peas on top. YUM!
From my step-mom, I always loved her version of grilled cheese which is with mustard and slices of fresh tomato. Oh! And they always had okra around, stewed with tomatoes. She'd make homemade pizza and use the okra as one of the toppings.
Oh yeah, and my dad's granola. Okay, I'll stop now..

I've been reading your blog for over a year now and had to comment on the fabulous post that everyone else has gotten a head start on.

My favourite childhood foods were in no particular order:

*Cheese noodles - cooked macaroni with melted cheddar cheese on top and stirred around with chopsticks til it was a nice amalgamated mess.
*Red jello or banana cake (I believe most people call it banana bread) with milk - served in a tall glass and a spoon.
*HARD hard-boiled eggs cut in half and drizzled with soy sauce.

Mmmmmm... childhood calls. Thank you.

These comments are making me tear up a little bit! I love these memories. My mom made tuna burgers which were essentially a patty made from tuna, crushed up crackers, egg and a little milk. Served on toast with tartar sauce. My dad's specialty was goulash, basically hamburger macaroni soup. But my oldest most favoritest food is Cambells Bean with Bacon soup. I remember it from preschool. I don't eat if often but when I do it is like I'm eating with my 4 year old self and LOVING every bite.

Gosh - it is so interesting to read about everyone's comfort foods! I love Braunschweiger on a kaiser roll with mayo, thin sliced onions, salt and pepper. I also love radish sandwiches with butter and salt in the summer. Man, all this talk is making me soooo hungry!

Mom's homemade meatloaf with mashed potatoes. But what really does it for me are baked potatoes. For some reason, the scent of a baked potato baking in the oven and then slathering the thing in butter and salt and pepper after it comes out of the oven really brings me back to my mid-western roots. My dad also used to make us cinnamon toast that he'd cut into fingers and cheesetoast (two pieces of toast with a slice of American cheese smashed between them -- the sandwich has to be smashed though). Lipton chicken noodle soup (the kind that comes in the packet, the thin tiny noodles...). Chicken a la King -- does anyone remember Chicken a la King? My mom used to make that and I just loved it; it was like chicken stew on top of hot buttered toast. And I can't foget tuna fish casserole (egg noodles with tuna and cream of mushroom soup) heated up on the stove, then baked for a few minutes in the oven.

Banana milkshakes or Campbell's Cream of Mushroom (1/2 can of milk instead of the full can) mixed with a can of tuna over toast (frozen peas optional) or homemade chocolate malts or Bisquick pancakes (for dinner!) or sugar bread (white bread slathered with soft butter and thickly coated with white sugar) or cheddar cheese with pepper on top melted on slices of bread under the broiler.

Now I'm hungry.

It's very interesting that many people find the same foods so comforting. I too, enjoy many of the same foods.

Here's several of my own favorites:

My mom always baked extra pie crust for me when she baked pies. She would cut it into srips and add sugar and cinnamon. Pie crust has always been my favorite part of a pie.

When I was young and visited my grandmother, she would always have her homemade "apple cobbler" waiting for me. The apples were picked from her own orchard and she made it with several layers of cinnamon, spices,sugar and apples between several layers of pie crust dough (NOT CAKE)cooked in a deep dish. I would rather have my grandmother's apple cobbler than any other type of dessert.

My mom and I also were the only one's in our family that shared a love for a glass of buttermilk stuffed with big chunks of cornbread that was made in a black iron skillet.

In later years, I've discovered that a warm bowl of mashed potatoes, with cheese, bacon bits and a dollop of sour cream on top, have a real comforting effect on me.(probably all those carbs) If I don't have sour cream, a dollop of "Hellmann's Real Mayonaise" is a great substitute. Of course, I recommend this type of comforting to be used sparingly for obvious reasons.

This post was on my mind on and off all weekend when comfort foods I'd forgotten about resurrected. (This is my second post-- i couldn't help myself!).

My great grandma Eva lived across the street from the St. Lawrence river. When I would stay with her in the summer I'd wake to a fresh made plain doughnut and a glass of milk. Other comfort foods from stays with her: pistachio pudding (from the jello brand package) and Ovaltine.

... I can still smell her front room overlooking the river where I'd eat. Polyester carpet and sunshine. Thanks for jogging my memory!

My miserable, home-sick, comfort food is Campbell's (condensed) Chicken Noodle soup and a grilled cheese sandwich with Kraft singles. It's the ONLY thing I want when I'm feeling under the weather.

Cinnamon rolls from the can with the orange icing. Wonderful! And, Wheat Thins with cream cheese and Pick-a-Peppa sauce. Cinnamon toast too.

egg sandwiches, and my grandmother would make grilled cheese sandwiches (velveeta, of course) and spread strawberry jam on the top. savory and sweet and yummy. I still make these, but now with fancy extra sharp english cheddar, multigrain sourdough and organic jam ;-)

My mom taught me to love a breakfast of rice, raisins, sugar, and milk (just had some for lunch!). And Saturday mornings, my dad would make us cinnamon French toast with apple butter. My grandma made the most magical "Marguerites"--marshmallow sandwiched between Ritz crackers with margarine, broiled until crispy, melty, and golden brown. (We stored our microwave dishes in our broken oven for most of my childhood, so Grandma's broiler was a thing of mystery and wonder.) Last but not least, my best friend's mom would make her peanut butter and brown sugar sandwiches for lunch and sometimes pack an extra for me. I make my sweetie angel hair pasta with olive oil and lots of black pepper and parmesan. Different food, but it still says "Love!"

Grilled cheese sandwich smashed flat from the grill side of the waffle iron. (Fluffy grilled cheese just won't do.)With Campbell's tomato soup of course.

We got to pick our dinner for our birthday and without fail every single year for me it was my grandmother's fried chicken, mashed potatoes with cream gravy made with the bits stuck to the pan from the fried chicken, green salad and homemade chocolate cake. Since she's been gone I can't bring myself to even try someone else's fried chicken.

Also she would make real hot chocolate in the pan with milk and cocoa and a bit of sugar. With homemade whipped cream on top.

And my mom's chocolate chip cookies, which came out fat and cake like. I still can't replicate it.

And my dad's dressing which is used to stuff the holiday turkey. He got the recipe from my grandmother (of fried chicken fame).

And his homemade minestrone soup.

And his pancakes on Sunday morning. His were perfect every time.

When we were sick we got the Lipton chicken noodle soup,and sherbet or a popsicle.
On cold mornings, loved oatmeal with butter and brown sugar.
I think the ultimate comfort food has to be Toll House choc chip cookies fresh out of the oven with cold milk.

Creamed tuna & peas on toast!

I had stop reading the comments after about 50 of them because I started craving all sorts of strange things!
I've never heard of Creamettes!! Where the heck have I been?
When we were children and living in the US my mother often made Campbell's Tomato, or Chicken Noodle, or Cream of Celery or Cream of Mushroom soup, and we loved them all.
When were sick we got "milk toast" for breakfast (toast with butter melted on top and warm milk poured over it).
A favorite we picked up from our father is lots of thick slices of bread with mayonnaise to accompany minestrone.
Gotta go eat something, anything!

So then I had to go make a family cookie recipe because of this post. Then, of course, I had to blog about it ;) Sadly I didn't start liking soup till adulthood so I have no fond soup memories from childhood.

What a wonderful post! It brings back so many memories... Soft boiled eggs cut up with cubed buttered toast all mixed together. Mac and cheese made with velveeta cheese with cut up hot dogs baked in the oven.Banana and Tunafish sandwiches on toast. Chicken breasts stuffed with cream cheese, butter and chives, wrapped in bacon and baked in the oven.Yum- I love sharing these with my own children!
Thank you!

I loved reading these posts!
Mine are...
1. Grilled cheese, avocado and turkey sandwiches.
2. Cream of wheat with milk and brown sugar.
3. Rice cakes with peanut butter and banana slices on top!

I know I'm getting in to the game late here, but I thought I'd add one of my comfort meals: cooked buckwheat (comes out about the consistency of fluffy rice)with lots of butter and salt and homemade applesauce on the side. I guess my parents were sort of hippies in the food department. My mom also tricked all of us nine children into thinking that a dish of homegrown sprouts with tomato juice poured over the top was a great treat.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at