1. Brussel Sprouts
Apparently boiling the s**t out of something until they're mushy and watery is not great. Lightly grilled/broiled with some oil and seasoning and they're one of my favorite dishes.
My neighbor (he's 80+ now), told me a funny story relating to this.
He grew up in rural WV. When he was in his 20's, he was doing some odd job work in the city for a woman homeowner.
At the end of a day of work, she offered to cook him dinner. She asked "Do you like steak?"
He said "Yea I guess." She said "How do you take it?"
He didn't understand what that meant. She says "How would you like it done?"
He still didn't get it. He says "Cooked?"
This is the day he learned of doneness for steak. The first time he'd heard of food being able to be "done" by request.
He had never had any meat that wasn't fried to a crisp. He said his mother made everything the same way: Fry it or boil it down. She would put fat in the pan, and fry the meat.
He said this particular steak, and meal, was the best he'd ever had in his life. First time tasting properly cooked food.
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Obviously wasn't a huge veggie fan until I started roasting veggies in the oven as an adult. Roasted carrots are so freaking good.
4. Pretty much everything
Basically everything. My mother was a good person who loved her family, but she couldn't cook for s**t.
EVERYTHING was boiled until it was grey, and the meat was dried to holy hell and the vegetables had the consistency of pudding. Her ONLY move in the kitchen was to put a (not even cleaned of connective tissue) hunk of whatever animal we were desecrating tonight for dinner in a 350 degree oven, in a roasting pan with too much water.
OFTEN FOR THREE OR MORE HOURS. It never one time occurred to her to try lowering the heat or the cooking time, but she always complained that "white meat is dry".
Yeah, because you basically scorched the s**t out of it!
I fired her from cooking duties at 14 and it was the best move I ever made. I'm no Michelin star chef, but I'll make you happy at my table.
Spinach. My dad would only eat canned spinach that was then boiled.
Found out later that fresh spinach is a wonderfully flavorful green and is best either crisp, or cooked until slightly wilted.
6. Pork chops or steaks
Pork chops and steaks were s**t until I realized they should not actually be prepared for use in the NHL. I love my mom dearly and for that, I must keep her out of the kitchen for her safety and that of the world.
7. Vegetables again - I guess this is a common problem.
Vegetables. All of them basically, my mom would boil them to sludge every time.
"Mayo" Didn't realize there was a difference between Miracle Whip and Mayo and my Mom only bought Miracle Whip.
9. Pot roast
Pot roast, I hated how dry and flavorless it was. I actually wrote an essay about it in my English class. The teacher showed it to my mom and she changed up her recipe lol
10. Canned vegetables
Daughter of depression era parents here: grew up with a lot of canned/tinned vegetables.
Jesus, canned asparagus is tough, sinewy and slimy all at the same time. Freshly steamed with a pat of butter is amazing!
Even now when I mention it's one of our favorites, my older relatives gasp and say "you buy it out of season?" like we're billionaires.
11. Mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes. My mom didn't belive in butter.
Turns out Lasagna is much better than nasty burnt Stouffers.
Meatloaf. My parents were in love with a specific **teriyaki** sauce they bought in 2 gallon jugs from Costco and drowned an otherwise plain lump of ground beef with and called that a teriyaki glazed meatloaf... it oughta be a crime.
Flash forward to my seasoned beef/pork mix with italian herbs, parmesan, and just the right amount of a sweet/spicy tomato glaze and it's just a different world we live in.
Parents would always cook it until it was mushy.
Al dente pasta is **amazing**
15. Scrambled eggs
Scrambled eggs. My mother always insisted they have to be “runny”, meaning an eggy puddle with tiny ‘curds’ of solid egg. It looked and tasted like vomit.
She takes it personally that I now cook them differently. Like, it *infuriates* her that I do it “the wrong way”.
16. Everything that wasn't seasoned
A lot of food. My parents were the typical white parents who didn't believe in spices or seasonings. Just throw a burger on the grill or make noodles, etc.
Grew and learned to cook on my own and my palate didn't know what to do with all the amazing flavors the world had to offer.
17. Lasagna and cheesecake
Lasagna and Cheesecakes.... my mom made both with cottage cheese to save money. Once I lived on my own I discovered ricotta and cream cheese.
18. Mac n cheese
Mac and cheese. My mom only made the boxed stuff.
I never knew anything different until I got married and my wife made some homemade for dinner. Game changer.
19. Raw tomatoes
Hated raw tomatoes
Realized that all they were missing was salt, pepper, some toast and a lil mayo. Now I'm obsessed.
My mom just cooked the rice in water, then fried some ground beef without any flavoring and just combined the two with some frozen vegetables. I grew up thinking risotto would be the most tastless food ever.
Until a friend of mine showed me how he first fries the rice with butter and slowly adds consomme-wine mix to the rice and finishes with some pan-fried chicken and parmesan cheese. It blew my mind completely!
Cauliflower! Turns out, I hated steamed or boiled cauliflower.
I love love love it roasted. I liked most veggies growing up - except that one.
Everything. My mother could burn a tossed salad.
I hated cranberries for most of my life because all I ever had was canned cranberry jelly.
Then. A friend of mine had a friendsgiving and someone brought homemade cranberry sauce and it changed everything
25. Liver and onions
Liver and onions. Bear with me please lol. My mom was a great cook, made international recipes, the whole 9.
But when she made liver and onions, you were eating a hockey puck. Cooked it to DEATH.
Fast forward to pregnant me living with my sister in law who made it one night and OMG it was amazing, tender and flavorful, perfectly spiced. I miss it. I never got her recipe 😞
BBQ - didn’t realize how good BBQ could be until I moved to Texas. In Ohio, BBQ it meant smothering A1 sauce on bland meat.
Most mustard based stuff. Mustard on a McDonalds burger, disgusting. Mustard in a stew or on a properly prepared Chicago dog - awesome
Any salad. Turns out, I don't like vinaigrette. I don't know how everyone likes it, I must be the weird one.
Turns out the bun can make or break a hamburger. My mom used to always prepare them with these wheat buns, so I used to never like hamburgers.
Took me a few years to realize they’re really really good with a more standard sesame, brioche, or potato bun. One of my favorite foods nowadays
My mom forced me to eat cream of mushroom soup one time and I threw up after eating it. For the longest time I associated mushrooms with that and so I avoided them until I got to college and discovered that they are actually really good.
Chili— it was watery, bland and had very few beans and had spaghetti noodles in it (apparently that’s a southern US thing). It was a bowl of boring to me.
Some of these foods we expected to be on this list, but others really were a little bit surprising. Turns out that a lot of our parents just couldn't cook as well as they probably thought they did.
Another thing is that children's taste buds are much more sensitive. So, if they don't like some food, they really hate it.
Do you have a dish to add to this list or do you agree with any?