My mother was an amazing cook. We didn’t have a lot of gourmet meals or fancy finger foods, or feast on anything too unusual or exotic, but everything she made was delicious and satisfying. Today I stopped by for a visit, and there she was, at 79 years old, thumbing through old Better Homes and Garden and Family Circle magazines. My brother joked that she was organizing them by decade, but she quickly corrected him and informed me she was looking for recipes to type up on the computer.
As she ages, I’m noticing a feeling of urgency in me to jot down her recipes before it is too late. Some of them she has written out and shared, and others, some lovingly prepared so many times, are tucked away in her memory.
Growing up with four siblings, we couldn’t afford to go out often, so on our birthdays we got to choose what my mom would make for dinner. I always chose lasagna and strawberry shortcake served with homemade sweet biscuits. To this day, I still have strawberry shortcake on my birthday, not on angel food cake or pound cake; it must be on a big, sweet drop biscuit.
There are times when I’m feeling nostalgic, disconnected or lonely, and I’ll whip up some lasagna or one of her other specialty dishes like bar-b-que chicken, chicken and dumplings or sloppy joes. Whichever one I choose, it’s always the perfect cure and comfort needed to soothe my soul.
In honor of my mother, who taught me to love cooking, I’m sharing a recipe that’s an old dish with a new twist. Her sloppy joe recipe has an unusual ingredient that I’ve never seen in any other recipe; a can of vegetable soup. I’m not sure of the recipe’s origin, but I can imagine her thumbing through a Better Homes and Garden magazine in the 1960s looking for something new to prepare for her young family. I’ve modified it by adding garlic and Worcestershire sauce and giving them a new twist by turning them into sloppy joe sliders.
I hope you enjoy one of my favorite childhood dishes, and that it will inspire you to dust off some old recipes and breathe new life into them. I invite you to share your old dish with a new twist.