You have Aunt Hazel's legendary apple pie and Grandpa's maple sweet potatoes -- family recipe treasures passed down from generation to generation. And then you have the family disasters. Mayo-based salads that represent crimes against food. Macrobiotic horrors from the early 1970s. Canned meats.
I polled my friends for their least favorite family food traditions, dishes they wish they could forget. Be sure you have fully digested your Thanksgiving dinner before reading any further!
Bologna burritos -- My Mexican-American mother was raised in Houston, Texas by a single mom. Even through she was exposed to Mexican classics cooked by her relatives, she still remembers feeding herself bologna burritos, sometimes with crushed Frito chips if she was lucky. For some strange reason she never fixed us these burritos when we were kids.
Gravy toast -- This Depression-era, Utah dirt-farmer classic has been handed down by my husband's family. Use leftover bacon grease to make a white sauce with flour and milk. Pour over a slice of toast and crumble a hard-boiled egg over everything.
Pineapple fancy salad -- A scoop of Miracle Whip mixed with cottage cheese placed inside a canned pineapple ring atop an iceberg lettuce leaf. A dash of paprika was sprinkled on top for color. Two of my friends, totally unrelated to each other, were subjected to this salad as children.
Tuna waffles -- Waffles topped with canned tuna fish with canned apricot syrup.
Homemade soybean burgers -- Jill reports that her mother went through a macrobiotic phase: "She would soak soybeans for three days before turning them into soybean burgers -- which were horrid!! I caught on to the timing, and always made sure I had an invite from a friend to join her for dinner."
PB&M sammies -- Peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches.
Olive sandwich -- Minced black olives mixed with Miracle Whip on white bread.
Fatty lamb sandwich -- Allison's father would make her sandwiches with "chunks of butter and a slab of fatty lamb on white bread for my lunch. I'd sooner starve than eat it."
Hot dog hors d'oeuvres -- Sliced cold hot dogs with lime and coarse salt. Served with toothpicks for that touch of class.
Bread and milk -- Chunks of bread in a glass with milk to the brim.
Corned beef sandwiches -- Anyone else remember corned beef from the can?
Cream of mushroom soup-based casseroles -- According to Kurt, the most vile was "tuna, broccoli, and cream of mushroom soup, with bread crumbs on top, baked until there was a hard brown crust around the rim of the casserole dish."
Ketchup as salsa substitute -- I can't believe how many of my friends were raised pouring ketchup on their tacos instead of salsa.