Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cote Family Reunion - Remembering Family Recipes

(Look at that happy family!)

We all have those recipes that for us just say HOME. They are the dishes that we took for granted when we were kids and they were in the weekly family dinner rotation. In my family there were as many as nine kids living at home eating off a very small family budget. My Mom was of course in charge of feeding this army and before we had Oprah, Rachel or any other various lifestyle gurus my Mom came up with two very smart ideas. Idea one was to post the weekly dinner menu, down to the dessert, on the fridge. This, no doubt, was a result of not wanting nine kids and a husband ask you what was for dinner over and over again. Idea two was that anything could be dinner as long as there were full bellies and some semblance of nutrition.

(My brother Ed and I in the photo to the right)

This weekend my family got together at my sister Celeste’s home to celebrate summer. We decided that to have my Mom “there” and to honor her we would make some family recipes. The first dish I choose was my Mom’s potato salad. More than a few times each summer dinner would consist of cold baked chicken and potato salad. This was usually reserved for when the weather was getting really hot and Mom felt no need to crank up the stove when she got home. The potato salad was usually made a few days in advance and really only gets better as it sits for a day or two. The “secret ingredient” is the Catalina dressing. I do not think I knew that potato salad was usually white until I was in my teens. Till then I always thought it was an odd peachy color.

Helene’s Potato Salad

4 Cups Cubed Cold Boiled Potatoes
1 Tbsp Finely Chopped Onion
Nature Seasons to Taste
¼ Cup French Catalina Dressing (the secret ingredient)
¼ Cup Imitation Mayonnaise (Miracle Whip)
3 Hard Boiled Eggs Cut Up
2 Tbsp Green Relish
1 Tbsp Diced Pimento (optional)

Blend together and chill for a few hours before serving.

Jay’s Tasting Notes: “So this is pretty much potato salad made with Big Mac special sauce instead of mayonnaise?”

Margot’s Reply: “Yeah. I never realized that till now…no wonder I love it!”

The second recipe is one from my grandmother “Mimi” who would make this green pepper dip for special occasions. I honestly NEVER saw it or had it with anything other than green peppers for dipping, though I am sure it is tasty on other vegetables. I tried this recipe based on my mother’s recollection for years but never got it right. Recently I found the recipe card in my mother’s recipe box, in Mimi’s hand writing. Turns out my mother always left out the tobacco sauce and that the onions needed to be “finely” chopped. This time it came out perfect.

Mimi’s Tangy Sauce – Green Pepper Dip
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/3 Cup Chile Sauce
2 Tbsp Horseradish
1 Small Onion (fresh) chopped fine
1 tsp mustard
Dash Tabasco Sauce

Mix together and chill a few hours before serving. Serve with crisp green bell pepper strips.

Ahhhh, memories. Do you have any recipes that bring you back home? Remind you of someone you love? Please, share them…..

A photo journal of sorts from the party can be found below. It was so nice to see many of my family members enjoying some laughs and good food.



( chillin' & chattin' )

( Eloy & Cody )

( a beer & burger, what else do you need? )

( the Bhuttos )

( Ed & Alice )

 ( more talking, more laughing, more food? )

( why do I look so serious on the left? )

( that's my family!!! )

( Jay and his #1 wine fan, Celeste )

( Sauce & Al )

( and that's how the night ended. I love my family )


Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers said...

Lovely. I had this "duh" moment just this week when I realized how important food is to a family history; how it really connects what can sometimes be a disparate group of people. This is very sweet... Nine kids?? Sainthood, for sure.

My next post is sharing a family food memory/history too. Is there a little nostalgia in the air?

My very best, Pam

Torviewtoronto said...

lovely reunion

Lisa | Authentic Suburban Gourmet said...

What a great reunion! It is funny how food, scents and music bring memories to the forefront of your memory instantly. Thank you for sharing!!

Kate said...

Great story, Margot! Made me think of three things. One is the cockeyed cake from page 92 of the I Hate to Cook Book (it's actually a great cookbook!) which we had for most celebrations. Second is the rice my grandmother made - I have no idea other than it was kinda pink so must've had tomato juice in it... And, third is the budget stretching corn fritters Mom made some Sunday nights. Long before anyone worried about cholesterol. YUM Thank you for the memory nudge :-) Kate

Anonymous said...

Love the stories and the connection to your Mom and family through food and recipes. One of my frugal family recipes from my Mom is she would use Catalina dressing as BBQ sauce on chicken. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Great stuff Margot! My grandmother and mom too used Catalina dressing as a sauce for many things. Especially on steak tips...still do it to this day.

Mangia Margot said...

Pam- I am looking forward to reading your family food post. I had the same type of moment myself.
Kate- I would love to see that recipe for the Cockeyed Cake and that book sounds interesting.
Monica and Meredith - Catalina dressing has so many uses...who knew?
Thanks for all the nice comments everyone!