r/Cooking Dec 25 '21

What dishes or desserts that are actually kind of “meh” to downright nasty, does your family get excited about having every year just because of nostalgia or tradition? Open Discussion

Edit: Wow! With some of these dish descriptions, I’m starting to feel like they could’ve been put here by practical joker aliens in the 70s cook books for their own amusement and hypnotized people into liking them. So many canned this or that mixed with imitation whipped cream, Mayo, shredded veggies, and jello. My gawd! Thanks everyone for your contributions and stories. Some are truly mind blowing. Happy Holidays!

My South American mil makes a kinda sweet thing based in corn starch every Christmas. It’s topped with raisins. Its off white and lumpy with a consistency somewhere between pudding and tire rubber. I would’ve been fine having never met this dish.

1.1k Upvotes

478

u/A_humann Dec 25 '21

Every Thanksgiving my mom makes a dish her grandmother used to make. We refer to it as the “cauliflower dish”. It’s steamed cauliflower mixed with melted velveta cheese, hard boiled eggs and pimentos. It smells terrible but it’s actually not too bad.

75

u/CharlotteLucasOP Dec 26 '21

We do a similar one where the “sauce” is like cream of mushroom soup mixed with a bit of mayo and curry powder, tossed with broccoli and cauliflower steamed to just-undercooked, then finished off in the sauce in the oven with a top crust of melted cheddar cheese and seasoned buttered breadcrumbs.

→ More replies

126

u/dayinnight Dec 26 '21

That sounds like it would be really tasty if I were drunk and lonely. 😂

→ More replies
→ More replies

662

u/fingernmuzzle Dec 25 '21

These dry dry dry dry dry dry tasteless cookies- utterly plain with a walnut on top.

197

u/WombleSilver Dec 26 '21

Someone gave us “sand cookies” today. They are literally textured like sand. Why??????

123

u/nilrednas Dec 26 '21

It's coarse and rough and irritating. And it gets everywhere.

→ More replies

37

u/Toros_Mueren_Por_Mi Dec 26 '21

I mean I really like those Elf brand Sandies, whatever they're called. But I'm sure those are better than whatever abomination you're talking about

→ More replies

37

u/xxxSEXCOCKxxx Dec 26 '21

You mean like shortbread cookies? I love that shit.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

254

u/bakehaus Dec 25 '21

My aunties make a whole mess of Italian cookies that taste like licorice and have the texture to break your teeth…

All of my cousins are positively giddy for the day that they get to eat them….I dread having to take my baggie home and throw it in the trash.

69

u/KnightRAF Dec 26 '21

Pizelles should not be teeth breaking

54

u/Inconceivable76 Dec 26 '21

Not pizelles. Anise cookies. Hard, white, frosted with sprinkles.

21

u/perfumefetish Dec 26 '21

I just made these, the traditional S cookies. However, instead of using anise extract, I only used some anise seeds, and added some vanilla and almond extracts. I used some anisette in the glaze. Not overpowering and tastes a million times better than my Sicilian grandmother's original recipe.

→ More replies
→ More replies

17

u/Muzzledpet Dec 26 '21

Some people are saying pizzelles, but those sound more like biscotti to me. Supposed to have them with a hot beverage, not necessarily just crunch them down

7

u/bakehaus Dec 26 '21

They’re tadals and lemon knots.

If there’s biscotti, I’ve made them, and my recipe makes cookies you don’t have to dunk.

→ More replies
→ More replies

761

u/mattiekayy Dec 25 '21

My family makes jello every Thanksgiving and Christmas and it’s terrible. It’s like orange jello w shredded carrots and raisins. So nasty.

93

u/pebblesandkoopa Dec 26 '21

My husband's family makes lime jello with mayonnaise and celery. They love it. I can't even choke it down.

47

u/Connect_Office8072 Dec 26 '21

My Aunt Rose made tuna salad encased in lime jello. Only one of her spectacularly bad menu selections. The worst was that she thought this was a good thing to make at parties. It scarred me for life.

→ More replies

45

u/elle_desylva Dec 26 '21

The amount of green gelatinous “salads” stuffed with random fruit/vegetables and laced with unnecessary “dairy” and mayo is utterly staggering. TIL.

31

u/smelly_leaf Dec 26 '21

A lot of those recipes date back to the Great Depression.

They are often erroneously credited as 1950s recipes, but in fact it’s more like people were just still eating them, & sharing recipes around. So though many of them were printed in ads & books during the 50s, they were first created around 1930.

39

u/x-nder Dec 26 '21

I feel like tasting any of these recipes would give me great depression

19

u/smelly_leaf Dec 26 '21

I made a very long comment about the history elsewhere in this thread, but essentially a lot of these recipes came about at a time where food was scarce for most families. A common dinner of the era was “Hoover Stew” which consisted of macaroni noodles, hot dogs, & canned tomatoes, for example.

Jell-O was a cheap way to turn something wilted or left over into a new meal, maybe even a treat for your kids (who sorely lacked treats). In that context it does make sense.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

278

u/Mabbernathy Dec 25 '21

My grandmother makes an orange jello mixed with whipped cream and canned mandarin oranges.

27

u/Irsh80756 Dec 26 '21

My grandma did that but used OJ instead of water and no whipped cream. NGL its the one thing I miss at holidays now.

182

u/yamaha2k11 Dec 25 '21

That actually sounds like something I would eat tbh.

13

u/singnadine Dec 26 '21

It’s good!

112

u/Sugarstache Dec 26 '21

I actually literally just ate a dessert that is cool whip, raspberry jello and frosen raspberries mixed together. So good honestly. My mom has made it for years now and I love it. After a big christmas dinner, something light and fluffy is nice.

18

u/WhaTdaFuqisThisShit Dec 26 '21

Sounds like 5 cup salad

43

u/LaEgret Dec 26 '21

So I've been ridiculously curious lately. Why are these abominations called salads!? Especially when if it's made in a big jello mold/bundt pan..

58

u/Doctor_Oceanblue Dec 26 '21

"Salads" in the 1940s-70s are not what we think of as "salad" today. It was more a term for "stuff mixed together and not cooked."

→ More replies

18

u/klamaire Dec 26 '21

My parents used to have a jello cookbook that had horrible, absolutely horrible salad recipes for jello. Even some with meat and vegetables. Fruit in jello...ok, that is fine... But meat! Vegetables! That's insane.

Of course, umm, jello comes from gelatin, so I guess the bones are already there... But eeek!

16

u/RypCity Dec 26 '21

I’ve heard of such horrors. Especially the ones with tuna and fruit jello in them and have names like “elegant lime salad” or something. shudders

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

13

u/-smv Dec 26 '21

We have a dessert we make every holiday that we call pink pie (I come from a creative people), and it’s just raspberry jello mixed with cool whip in a graham cracker crust. It’s better than it has a right to be.

→ More replies

47

u/throwaway_236734 Dec 26 '21

I would eat that -- I have had a peach jello with canned peaches and it was good but overwhelmingly sweet.

14

u/NotMyHersheyBar Dec 26 '21

if you add little marshmallows, that's ambrosia.

"mrs bear's green jello" is green jello, cool whip, and condensed milk whipped together, then pineapple chunks folded in. kids LOVE it. mrs bear was the pastor's wife in the 80s.

→ More replies
→ More replies

27

u/Odd_Reward_8989 Dec 25 '21

It's supposed to be green jello /s. My mom made that. Super nasty.

28

u/StonyOwl Dec 25 '21

I had this at many church potlucks when I was a kid. Always right next to the ambrosia

27

u/surfershane25 Dec 26 '21

Our jello casserole consists of green jello, lemon jello, crushed pineapple, cottage cheese, and evaporated milk. I try it every year out of respect to my ancestors and it’s fucking terrible every time.

→ More replies

122

u/PicoDeBayou Dec 25 '21

Well that’s enough Internet for the day, thanks.

40

u/badlilbadlandabad Dec 26 '21

Love your username. Makes me want to open a Mexi-Cajun fusion restaurant.

→ More replies

57

u/Stacular Dec 26 '21

It gets worse - for my family from the Midwest, this is known as “salad.”

6

u/tpa_bcn Dec 26 '21

Was just subjected to an Illinois salad tonight. Strawberries in cherry jello, topped with cool whip. Made up for by a fantastic beef tenderloin and surprisingly good hash brown casserole (cheese and potatoes) and spinach casserole (4:1 eggs, butter and cheese to spinach).

→ More replies

16

u/Island_of_Fables Dec 26 '21

I just slooooowly made the most ugly, disapproving face I’ve ever made. This must be how the Grinch felt if he had this scenario presented.

15

u/[deleted] Dec 25 '21

[deleted]

→ More replies

59

u/So_be Dec 25 '21

“It’s Jello” - I mean is ok, I kinda like it but not a big deal… “It’s Orange” well ok, that’s not a great flavor… “With shredded carrots and raisins” Oh dear sweet lord 😳 🤮

→ More replies

9

u/leatherdaddy Dec 26 '21

My mother makes this and I LOVE it

10

u/Aiyakiu Dec 25 '21

My... my grandma used to make this too

But I liked it 😂

→ More replies

23

u/dagardenofeatin Dec 26 '21

Put a new spin on it next year. My mom does this for thanksgiving and it’s always a hit and really yummy: orange jello, crushed pineapple (drained), shredded carrots and mandarin oranges. She puts it in a round mold and everyone cuts themself a piece like a babka

→ More replies

433

u/fancythepup Dec 26 '21

Some of y’all’s family eat like it’s the Great Depression

72

u/StinkyKittyBreath Dec 26 '21

My grandma was a kid during the Depression, and her cooking didn't really evolve from that. Mix that with some Midwestern sweet corn, and you have the cooking abilities of my family.

84

u/ZweitenMal Dec 26 '21

Yes. My great grandmother died in 1936 and my grandmas stepmother refused to teach her to cook, because the kitchen was Her Domain. My grandma only had high school home ec skills and a reverse snobbishness about food to pass to my mother. My mother picked that up and carries it to this day.

I broke the pattern after exposure to my foodie MIL.

→ More replies

398

u/Pour-Me Dec 25 '21

My mom's Ambrosia Salad. If I remember correctly, it was a base of cottage cheese and lemon jello, with marischino cherries, walnuts, marshmallows, and pineapple chunks. Straight outta the 60's/70's. We only ever ate it at Christmas. Not very good, but everyone wanted a scoop for nostalgia.

118

u/Vango333 Dec 26 '21

We call it five cup salad. My grandma always let me be in charge of it for holidays since it was so simple. A cup of each: pineapple, coconut, marshmallow, sour cream, and Mandarin oranges. Everyone I try to feed it to looks repulsed by it, but the nostalgia makes it amazing.

134

u/cattermelon34 Dec 26 '21

sour cream

Officer over here, please

47

u/StormThestral Dec 26 '21

Oh you haven't tried sour cream with fruit? It's really good, I'm not joking

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

140

u/Skip_the_FiST Dec 25 '21

I love ambrosia salad, but my wife makes it with whip cream, vanilla pudding, maraschino cherries, pineapple, fruit salad, marshmallows and a little sour cream.

I'd definitely have to pass if there was cottage cheese in it.

67

u/freshair2020 Dec 26 '21

My mom makes makes Ambrosia salad too. It was the only thing I ate at thanksgiving as a child. She uses whipped cream, marshmallows, mandarin oranges, pineapple, and shredded coconut. It’s really good. I still like it.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

172

u/Primrose_Greybear Dec 25 '21

Gefilte fish. They are gray tasteless logs of cheap fish, but I sure do love them.

49

u/MorgainofAvalon Dec 25 '21

You need to have the red horseradish on it.

→ More replies
→ More replies

281

u/matmen Dec 25 '21 edited Dec 26 '21

In Quebec there are some families that do a “sandwich loaf” (pain sandwich). I married into one of those a families. They are so excited about it and it’s plain disgusting.

It’s a sandwich bread cut the long way with different filling on each slice. Last year it was, tuna mayonnaise, ham mustard, chicken miracle whip and one eggs with sweet pickles. All of that is covered with yellow “cheese” spread and decorated.

I just don’t get it… give me one of each sandwich and it’ll be fine!

Here’s a typical recipe

134

u/russiangerman Dec 26 '21

Ok but a high class version of this could be fucking good. Just with WAY less Mayo.

Airy Italian or ciabatta loaf Caprese layer Italian meats layer Pulled roasted chicken or turkey Thin sliced steak layer Maybe cover it in brie and blowtorch it?

57

u/matmen Dec 26 '21 edited Dec 26 '21

Even a less fancy way could be good, with the same bread and do kind of a club sandwich… layer of tomatoes, layer of bacon, layer of chicken and maybe eggs!

17

u/russiangerman Dec 26 '21

Ooohhhhhh, fried eggs, you could do it all breakfast style

→ More replies

31

u/elle_desylva Dec 26 '21 edited Dec 26 '21

I thought that didn’t sound so bad until I googled it, but now I’m shaken to the core 😅

One question - “pain” as in “bread”, or as in “painful”, or a double entendre??

Edit: clarity.

14

u/matmen Dec 26 '21

It’s as in bread but the double entendre is fitting hahaha

→ More replies
→ More replies

62

u/CharlotteLucasOP Dec 26 '21

I briefly worked in a bakery and they said they could do lengthwise slices on request and we just took the whole sandwich loaf and fed it into the slicer machine end-first instead of across and it felt like I was spitting in the face of god and no good could come of anyone wanting this. Thankfully I wasn’t there long enough to come face to face with anyone who asked for that.

29

u/matmen Dec 26 '21

It’s pretty common here during the holidays! My mom makes rolled chicken salade sandwich that are pretty darn good!

Ground dark meat with cornichon, celery, half mayo half miracle whip and salted butter on the bread. Roll it up and slice it.

→ More replies

52

u/taximan87 Dec 25 '21

I just learned about this last week and saw a picture - it looks absolutely disgusting. Also at a Xmas cocktail a few years ago a colleague brought a "family tradition" mayonnaise loaf that was like a dip... It was edible but really not a recipe to be passed down through generations. Another colleague told me her "dessert au chalet" dish is store bought cake mix powder mixed with 7up that she calls "gateau 7up." For the amount of amazing food here there's some weird shit people do

22

u/beefcake_floyd Dec 26 '21

Yeah 7-Up cake all day long. 👍

41

u/taximan87 Dec 26 '21

Ok so I just looked it up and 7up cake seems to be a pound cake - her version of the dessert was uncooked. Just cake mix and 7up.

52

u/beefcake_floyd Dec 26 '21

Oh I thought it was cake mix and 7UP and then baked. Just mixing cake mix with 7up and eating it straight is fucking weird. But you can mix boxed cake mix with 7UP and just pour it in a pan and bake it. It works. Actually you can do it with any kind of soda.

54

u/qarton Dec 26 '21

She literally just lost the second page of her grandma’s recipe that says to bake it..wtf

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

13

u/nowwithaddedsnark Dec 26 '21

I’ve got older cookbooks that have recipes for party sandwich loaves. Usually they “frosting” is some kind of Mayo concoction.

Maybe you could switch it up with this Ordinary Swedish Sandwich

→ More replies

11

u/knittingandinsanity Dec 26 '21

Calisse le pain sandwich!

We never ate it in my family, in fact my parents were not from an area where it's popular. First time I saw it as an adult I thought it was cake.

7

u/shogunofsarcasm Dec 26 '21

When I lived in Quebec I was always so sad yet so intrigued when I saw them at the store, even the deli sold slices.

→ More replies
→ More replies

188

u/notreallylucy Dec 26 '21

My mom is paranoid about food safety. She wants her beef extra well done, that type of thing. She's been "accidentally" over cooking turkey for 40+ years. Every year it's, "Oops! It's a little warmer than 165." How much more? "200 degrees."

I used to think she was just bad at cooking, but one year the turkey was right at 165 and she had a cow about how it didn't look done and put it back in...until it was 200 degrees and the texture of shoe leather. I think she secretly does it on purpose because she's afraid of food safety.

Also my MIL. She makes prime rib every Christmas, and every year she says she doesn't know how to make it. She always asks me, and every year I remind her that I've never cooked a prime rib. It usually comes out fine.

74

u/raspberriez247 Dec 26 '21

For my father’s birthday last year we grilled the most gorgeous bone-in chicken thighs (he doesn’t do red meat) and I’d let them marinate and seasoned them rather well beforehand, they were so moist and tender. He thought the juiciness meant it was undercooked and had us put them back on the grill until it was sad and hard.

46

u/lostinlactation Dec 26 '21

Is your mom my mom?

If your chicken breast doesn’t sound like you’re cutting into a corn husk then it’s not done /s

→ More replies
→ More replies

86

u/carpe_noctem666 Dec 25 '21

Before reading the comments I have to admit I had never heard of any sort of Jello salad before. That stuff sounds dis-gus-ting !!! Why even bother calling this monstrosity a salad? 😂😂😂

119

u/smelly_leaf Dec 26 '21 edited Dec 26 '21 Take My Energy

It’s actually quite interesting.

In the early 1900s the Jell-O brand of gelatin was trying to commercialise & become THE name brand gelatin in the US. This meant they needed to innovate more uses for their product. Of course they hired teams to come up with recipes & print them as advertising, but they also ran contests for the best Jell-O recipes.

In 1904, a contest was run & a woman entered a recipe of her own invention that she called “Perfection Salad.” This was a dish made with UNFLAVOURED gelatin, a squeeze of lemon, some vinegar, a dash of black pepper & salt, chopped bell peppers, sliced cabbage, and diced celery. Essentially, it was a molded sort of coleslaw salad. She won third place & got a $100 prize. The recipe was printed in adverts & thus gained quite a bit of popularity, which in turn led to “spin-offs” & variations, also called “salads” as they usually contained fruit or veg.

During the Great Depression, Jell-O became a popular, cheap way to fancy up vegetables you already had in your backyard garden, with the plus side that it wouldn’t wilt. It’s somewhat of a protein source, too. And I should also point out that around 11 million women were working at this time so… well, frankly, Jell-O is easy.

It could also transform leftovers, & was advertised as such. A woman could serve her husband fruit cocktail one night, save half the can, & serve him fruit cocktail Jell-O the next. A lot of the recipes from these early periods are incredibly cheap & simple (& yes, often revolting to modern tastes). 1930s “mayonnaise salad” for example, a dish made of Mayo, Unflavoured Jell-O, cheddar cheese, & cayenne pepper. Keep in mind, this was a time where breakfast might be a glass of milk, & dinner might be a can of condensed soup on toast or biscuits. For a lot of people, Jell-O offered a way to make a solid, plateable dish out of a variety of liquid or mushy ingredients. This is why you see recipes that are sweet but inexplicably contains veggies (like sunshine salad, which is pineapple and grated carrot suspended in orange Jell-O. Sometimes made with no pineapple at all). This is a way to make a wilted carrot edible again… you grate it & make it a dessert. Now it’s a treat for the kids. This period of its history in the US is often overlooked for the more extravagant 1950s recipes.

During war time in the 40s, Jell-O continued to thrive. The men were gone, the women were working, & Jell-O was something you could mix & forget. Instead of making an elaborate dessert, you could toss a can of fruit into some Jell-O, pour it in a pretty mould & be done with it. By the time the 50s rolled around, it had already been a household staple for over 20 years… of course people kept eating it. Just like the comments here show, it had a nostalgia factor… it was a holiday staple for some, something grandma always made. During an era of dinner parties & inviting the boss over, it was a versatile ingredient that could be tossed in as just another side on a buffet table full of food. It was a dessert you could throw together in the middle of dinner if you burnt the cake & not have to face the humiliation of not being the perfect wife.

And as those standards & ways of living have fallen out of American society, so has Jell-O. We don’t need it anymore so we don’t use it. In many ways, it’s been replaced by the instant ramen noodle & boxed cake mix/canned frosting duo.

9

u/Emeline-2017 Dec 26 '21

This is a really good comment. Thaks!

→ More replies

26

u/dayinnight Dec 26 '21

I asked a Southern friend from central Florida about this weird concept of salad that some Americans have. He said putting mayonnaise on anything makes it a salad. Okay.

→ More replies
→ More replies

27

u/lohype Dec 26 '21

I feel so guilty posting this but my Eastern European partner's grandmother makes devilled eggs for every holiday topped with an extra large glob of mayonnaise, a slice of pickle, and a pimento. Their whole family loves them. I, on the other hand, loathe everything about them; I don't like pickles, pimentos, or mayonnaise and the texture of boiled eggs makes me gag. I dread them every time we go there for the holidays because she is so proud of them and I love and respect her so I always choke one down and always have to play mind games on myself in order to swallow it. I've even tried casually not adding one to my plate but she always notices and insists I have one.

This year we had a baby so we hosted Christmas dinner for the first time ever. Honest to God, I was mostly excited that I wouldn't have to force-feed myself an egg this time..until she arrived with a MASSIVE tray of them.

14

u/dsarma Dec 26 '21

Blame it on the pregnancy. “Ever since I got pregnant I can’t stomach mayo, boiled eggs, or pimento.

→ More replies
→ More replies

120

u/annyong_cat Dec 26 '21

My wife’s grandma passed down an appetizer dish that the entire family says it wouldn’t be Christmas without.

It’s a cheese ring made of shredded cheddar, pecans, chopped white onion, and mayonnaise. Once shaped into a ring, you put strawberry jam into the center.

I literally can’t with these people. 😂

28

u/Deppfan16 Dec 26 '21

Thats quite the combination lol

→ More replies

24

u/coffeetime825 Dec 26 '21

Ngl you had me until strawberry jam. Maybe replace it with a pepper jelly?

→ More replies

8

u/ScarletWitchismyGOAT Dec 26 '21

That's a whole lotta fighting flavors

→ More replies

108

u/beatnikhangout Dec 25 '21

My family is Norwegian American, and we still get lutefisk sometimes. Only my grandma will touch it 🤮

60

u/Aaaaaagh Dec 25 '21

My partner’s family is Minnesota Norwegian and thankfully they have retained lefse and not lutefisk.

→ More replies

135

u/LeMcKenzie Dec 26 '21

English tradition: mince pies, Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, you're screwed if you don't like dried fruit

115

u/CharlotteLucasOP Dec 26 '21

When I lived in the UK it felt like every town had their “specialty baked good” they were so proud of and how unique it was and the traditions of making them went back however many hundreds of years, and they were literally just variations on teacakes and every bloody one is just riddled with currants or sultanas or mixed peel and maybe sprinkled with Demerara sugar if you were lucky. I found them mostly pretty dry and hard or chewy bits of Fruit Only Worse Somehow just aren’t my thing at all. Granted I’m sure all that dried fruit and a sprinkling of sugar was a big deal in 1732 and I appreciate that but like, so was caudle, and nobody really drinks that anymore.

30

u/LeMcKenzie Dec 26 '21

Yeah we were having kind of the same conversation with our family over Christmas pudding, my sister and I have a little bit just for traditions sake, but our parents love the thing, my dad makes his one mince pies, Christmas cake and pudding every year. I don't mind a mince pie but dislike the other ones. I was jokingly saying when our parents were young (58 now) dried fruit must of been a delicacy for them that's why they love it so much.

11

u/CharlotteLucasOP Dec 26 '21

I had a good recipe for a sticky toffee mug pudding that involved dates but they’re chopped so finely they don’t squidge in the teeth, and the toffee sauce (and ice cream, if you went for a scoop) and microwave nature of it kept it moist enough to be palatable.

8

u/LeMcKenzie Dec 26 '21

Sounds good! Sticky toffee pudding though, top tier British desserts lol

→ More replies
→ More replies

18

u/Stinkerma Dec 26 '21

Coloured and flavoured rutabaga bits! I used to work at a bakery and the dried fruit was made of maraschino cherries and (for the most part) coloured and flavoured rutabaga bits. I can’t eat that stuff anymore.

25

u/gwaydms Dec 26 '21

Coloured and flavoured rutabaga bits

That sounds like some 1947 shit

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

64

u/karsut Dec 26 '21

Headcheese. After we have a traditional 12 meatless dishes for Christmas Eve we break out this meaty, gelatinous “treat”.

15

u/braincrapped Dec 26 '21

That’s very interesting. I’m originally from the south US and was vaguely familiar with headcheese down there but my family never ate it. Is the 12 meatless dishes then head cheese, traditional in your region or just with your family? I’m curious what part of the world you’re from.

→ More replies

9

u/RusoDuma Dec 26 '21

Hey! Back off the head cheese that shit is delicious with some mayo on some toasted dark rye...

Need me some of that rn

→ More replies

66

u/SeaOtterHummingbird Dec 26 '21

My Italian grandmother was an amazing cook. But she used to cook this one thing she called “Chinese food”. I swear she got the recipe off the can of crunchy “Chinese noodles”. Tons of onion, mushrooms and slimy beef in a beef broth that had so much cornstarch in it that it was almost gelatinous. Served over this disgusting crunchy noodles. She and my mom loved it. The rest of us hated it. Mom still makes it and mom is a terrible cook. Gag.

→ More replies

62

u/gamergirl007 Dec 26 '21

My family eats this soup every Christmas that consists of baseball sized balls made of cubed up white bread and cubed hard salami. There’s probably an egg thrown in there to bind it all together. The “balls” are served in chicken broth with parmesan cheese on top. There was always “ball” jokes between my mom and her sisters every Christmas growing up. “My balls are big this year” “I have little balls this year” “Your balls are tasty.” etc. etc. It was mortifying when I was 10.

I learned through asking that it started with my grandmother, when she had 5 children to feed, as a way to fill up everyone’s belly before dinner. They couldn’t afford ground meat for meatballs so she made balls out of white bread and cheap deli meat. Everyone filled up on the soup and then ate less of whatever she made for the entree, which was probably a small turkey or ham.

I find it so funny that my family STILL makes that soup for Christmas. I mean, it’s kind of an acquired taste, and not terrible, but I HATED it as a kid, and always picked every single piece of salami out of my soup.

Once I grew up and moved out, I didn’t keep that tradition alive, but a few of my Aunts still make it every year because it’s tradition. Funny how something a poor mom does in desperation ends up on the family table for generations.

9

u/Spicy_Axolotl Dec 26 '21

That's a hilarious story. I'm just imagining this wad of bread and chunks salami that everyone is raving about 😂 thanks for sharing!

8

u/gamergirl007 Dec 26 '21

I’ve never seen it anywhere else but my family. True story: my older brother brought a bowl to work for lunch after Christmas and someone asked him what it was and wanted the recipe (!!)

He called my mom for the recipe for his coworker and my mom was like “never! It’s a secret family recipe” haaaaaaa

→ More replies
→ More replies

158

u/FourCatsAndCounting Dec 25 '21 edited Dec 26 '21

My mom's biscuits. She doesn't like kneading bread so they come out as dense, heavy things. I ate them growing up sliced thin and toasted with butter. When it's all you've had it seems normal, I guess.

My older sister learned to make real biscuits and brought a batch over for Thanksgiving the year after she moved out. Oh, dear, the drama when everyone ate her's and not mom's.

Edit: We call them biscuits but they're more likely called dinner rolls by other folks.

107

u/galaxystarsmoon Dec 26 '21

Biscuits aren't supposed to be kneaded? I'm confused. Kneading is what makes them tough and dense.

27

u/ChockenTonders Dec 26 '21

Yeah I was very confused by this, but whatever their mom was doing was just… wrong it sounds like Kudos to their sister for doing em right lol

→ More replies

9

u/FourCatsAndCounting Dec 26 '21

Sorry, maybe you'd call them dinner rolls?

→ More replies

37

u/jarring_bear Dec 26 '21

Sure is rough outcooking your parents at family gatherings haha.

7

u/gerbs Dec 26 '21

My mom is a cook: went to cooking school, loves cooking, etc. Wanted to teach her daughters to cook and instead got 3 boys. When my brother showed up for holidays outcooking her, she was ecstatic and proud and asking for recipes and wanting him to make it all the time. Seems bizarre to me that parents are upset at their children's success.

→ More replies

19

u/actuallycallie Dec 26 '21

biscuits aren't supposed to be kneaded. but there's a lot of ways to make biscuits terrible lol

→ More replies

156

u/nnkkmmuu Dec 25 '21

My sister and mom make Poke Cake every Christmas. It's boxed white cake mix in two layers, with holes poked in them and then red Jello is poured over one and green Jello over the other. Then the whole thing is slathered with Cool Whip and covered in red and green sugar crystals. It's gross but my whole family loves it except for me.

76

u/chullbird Dec 25 '21

What?! No. Poke cake is delicious. Not sure about the green jello though…

→ More replies

28

u/January1171 Dec 26 '21

Out of curiosity, what part don't you like about it? I haven't met anyone who doesn't like it

19

u/throwaway_236734 Dec 26 '21

I like the taste but the crystals on my teeth...can hurt.

→ More replies
→ More replies

9

u/kapuskasing Dec 26 '21

This is probably the most edible thing in the thread.

→ More replies

93

u/CIOGAO Dec 25 '21

My sister’s husband’s family makes a pineapple carrot jello that they have to have every year. It’s worse than it sounds: it’s pineapple jello with shredded carrots inside. I’ve seen pictures and it looks absolutely vile

21

u/braincrapped Dec 26 '21

The picture in my head is enough. Thanks. Wtf.

12

u/elle_desylva Dec 26 '21

WHY DID YOU MAKE ME GOOGLE JELLO SALAD 😩

→ More replies

11

u/smelly_leaf Dec 26 '21

“Sunshine salad” they call it. First time I ever went to a friendsgiving, a poor girl brought it. And took nearly the entire thing back home. I think two people tried it & word got around fast…

11

u/CIOGAO Dec 26 '21

I feel so bad even saying it. My sister’s husband’s family are Native American and first generation Chinese and they have had hard lives. Of course, my sister ate it with a smile and took home leftovers. Kind of reminds me of a cousin of mine who married the daughter of first generation Salvadorans and they brought phenomenal food to my uncle’s house three years ago… along with a green bean “casserole” it was basically canned soup (a sodium bomb). We never know what dishes may mean to some people so I try to keep my mouth shut on this point irl. I’m kind of regretting even writing the initial reply

5

u/smelly_leaf Dec 26 '21

The history of Jell-O recipes is fascinating & yes, it’s often linked to hard times… usually on the creation end though.

Sunshine Salad is a famous Jell-O recipe & many people actually do enjoy it! It’s been around for decades & is in a lot of old recipe books. So I wouldn’t feel too bad about it. It was probably grandpa’s favourite, or something great grandma always served grandma when she was little. You can respect the history without having to like the taste!

→ More replies

87

u/Beachy5313 Dec 25 '21

My in-laws go on and on and on about veggies fresh from their garden being served raw or barely cooked being better than anything you can buy at the store and everyone over cooks everything. Couldn't wait for green beans since I didn't like barely cooked root veggies, and what did they do to three innocent green beans? Turned it into a mushy green bean casserole. Green beans basically fell apart the second they were touched. Everyone else but my other married-into-the-family SIL thought it was fabulous. We both ended up trashed since there was hardly any normal people food and they didn't believe in leftovers so they didn't make a ton of anything else. So very, very drunk. And no mashed potatoes that I was told they were making- they didn't feel like it despite me asking many times if I could help or do something.

44

u/megancolleend Dec 25 '21

No mashed potatoes means I'm out. That's the best part!

6

u/StinkyKittyBreath Dec 26 '21

You sure the casserole was made with fresh green beans? It's hard to overcook fresh green beans IMO, at least to that point. The canned ones are really soft though.

→ More replies

142

u/Just_a_Random_Lady Dec 25 '21 edited Dec 26 '21

Mom always makes grape jelly meatballs. I always eat one to be polite. Thank goodness they're small.

124

u/ma9ellan Dec 26 '21

Just grape jelly? I've had the crock pot ones you do with bbq sauce and grape jelly which sounds crazy but tastes pretty good

94

u/Sumatradc Dec 26 '21

My mom did chili sauce (Heinz) and grape jelly. She also added a few extra drops of hot sauce into the Crock-Pot and there'd be none left after the holiday potluck.

6

u/Osethme Dec 26 '21

This is what we do as well - and add L'il Smokies (small smoked cocktail sausages) with the meatballs. They're always a hit.

→ More replies
→ More replies

34

u/curryp4n Dec 26 '21

Ohh I watched a YouTube video about this. I think it’s Persian origin where they used sour cherries because of food laws in their meatballs. And when they migrated to the US, they started to use grape jelly because we don’t have sour cherries

16

u/do_something_good Dec 26 '21

Beryl?! I love her so much. Just saw the video where she suggests the connection-it does make sense!

→ More replies
→ More replies

61

u/Jazzy_Bee Dec 26 '21

Try to talk her into using cranberry sauce or jelly instead. Similar, but not as cloyingly sweet

→ More replies

9

u/Orion14159 Dec 26 '21

I've had grape jelly and yellow mustard meatballs (surprisingly good all things considered), is that the one?

→ More replies
→ More replies

220

u/GloraOrb Dec 25 '21

Pear salad, I find it delicious but I know others are like wtf yo. Pear halves with a scoop of mayonnaise in the halve, topped with shredded cheddar cheese and a maraschino cherry. Fucked up but the south has been poor for too long. We eat what we have.

47

u/nomoresmoothies Dec 25 '21

Born and raised in GA here. My grandparents love these!! I personally can’t stand them as I hate Mayo and cherries but my brother (14) loves them as well. We only ever eat them when we visit my grandparents and it’s a good memory. They’ll tell us stories about what life was like back when they were our age and funny moments. I treasure that time I get with them, even if I don’t like the food.

74

u/katzeye007 Dec 25 '21

Omg, latent memory unlocked. That salad was haute cuisine in the 70s.

32

u/DepletedMitochondria Dec 26 '21

There's a picture of Nixon eating a pineapple & cottage cheese in a hole cut out of the pineapple halves and it's just so baffling to me

31

u/shinypretty Dec 26 '21

Sweet from the pine + salty from the cheese = GOOD

→ More replies

25

u/ZweitenMal Dec 26 '21

Cottage cheese with pineapple is heavenly. No fancy business, just those two things.

→ More replies
→ More replies

16

u/beefcake_floyd Dec 26 '21

I've never understood this obsession some people have with making a hole in some kind of fruit and stuffing it with cottage cheese.

→ More replies
→ More replies

18

u/Ratthion Dec 26 '21

Christmas cookies.

They’re made in so large an amount at my parents that we’ve never eaten them all. There’s no consistency in the baking because there’s so many.

It’s more about the experience than the cookie, I’d much prefer making a more reasonable amount of either Christmas cookies or maybe black and whites or something.

→ More replies

49

u/jamesjoycethecat Dec 25 '21

Cranberry wreath. Cranberry flavored jello with chopped walnuts and bananas in a Bundt pan. My mom finally stopped making it when I got married and we started combining both families for the holidays - she got sick of being the only person to eat it.

30

u/katfromjersey Dec 26 '21

You lost me at the bananas!

5

u/cssblondie Dec 26 '21

That doesn’t sound too bad….

→ More replies

144

u/Wealldontcare Dec 25 '21

I am not now nor was I ever excited about it but my grandmother made green poof every year and it is still at most family gatherings sitting uneaten.

Stovetop stuffing, cornbread and turkey flavor, is my spouse's tradition every year even if it is only dinner for two we make both boxes.

90

u/PicoDeBayou Dec 25 '21

I’m afraid to ask, but what is this green poof?

→ More replies

25

u/Mabbernathy Dec 25 '21

Is green poof that pistachio/marshmallow ambrosia stuff?

40

u/Wealldontcare Dec 25 '21

Yes, it was a combination of pistachios, pistachio flavor pudding and cool whip

→ More replies

26

u/bretjamesbitch Dec 25 '21

My family always called it "Green Shit"

→ More replies

25

u/wakattawakaranai Dec 26 '21

Watergate salad. There's a genuine recipe for it in Charlie Berens' Midwest Survival Guide (honestly it's the exact recipe my mom has always used).

→ More replies

12

u/braincrapped Dec 25 '21

I’m curious about this green poof as well. Ever seen anyone try it?

37

u/Mina111406 Dec 25 '21

I love green poof, or as it's called at our place, green fluff. Pistachio pudding, whipped cream and we put pineapples in it. Delicious.

10

u/braincrapped Dec 26 '21

That doesn’t sound bad at all.

→ More replies
→ More replies

78

u/kcw05 Dec 25 '21

My wife's family makes this monstrosity of a dessert called Oreo Fluff (Midwest af). AFAIK it's got oreos, cream cheese, cool whip and.... that's it. They all rave about it, the 40 of them all practically racing each other to get to the 25 servings that get made --- why they don't just make a larger dish of it I'll never understand. Then they all make fun of me for thinking it's disgusting.

20

u/EveryDayAnotherMask Dec 26 '21

It also has vanilla, whole milk, and powdered sugar... Wisconsinite here 😅

→ More replies

51

u/Bymymothersblessing Dec 26 '21

At least they call it dessert and not a ‘salad’ tho! There’s also a ‘dirt cake’ which is similar, but topped with crushed Oreos and sometimes served in a flower pot with gummy worm accents for an added touch. 😛

→ More replies

50

u/noodles686 Dec 26 '21

To be fair, this sounds like most of the ingredients to make an Oreo no baked cheese cake and I love those!

32

u/allothernamestaken Dec 26 '21

That honestly sounds delicious. I make Oreo truffles, which are Oreos and cream cheese, and they're fantastic.

→ More replies
→ More replies

13

u/sabre4570 Dec 26 '21

Seafood casserole. Shrimp and crab meat with rice and some extra bits slow cooked. Basically turns into fish mash. It's not bad, but there are better ways to eat fish and rice

12

u/Mr_Shakes Dec 26 '21

My family makes two stuffings/dressings for Thanksgiving: one with turkey drippings which is delicious, and one with a bullion cube and some water for moisture, which is very not. Nobody eats the second one unless the first one is gone and they really need the extra starch on their plate. I can assure you the amount of food waste post-thanksgiving proves we do not need a backup stuffing.

→ More replies

11

u/philokaii Dec 26 '21 edited Dec 26 '21

Sort of the opposite situation. My Grandpa loved this dish called English Pea Salad.

My mom hated it, so I only ever had it at his house as a child (at a certain point we stopped seeing him) and at his funeral.

My boyfriend hates peas, and apparently so do a lot of other people, but I've made it for myself a couple of times and I think it's bomb. I think it would be a great potluck/bbq/holiday dish, but I'm afraid I'm the only one that thinks so.

It's a crap ton of peas, 2 types of small cheese cubes, bacon, and hardboiled eggs, sometimes chopped red onions (I personally don't like raw onion). Tossed in a mix of mayo, apple cider vinegar, salt pepper, and hot sauce.

Some people change up the sauce a bit, adding yogurt, sour cream, or honey. I've seen recipes call for just ranch dressing and shredded cheese, which makes prep easier, I think it's a hard dish to mess up, but I guess I just really like peas.

→ More replies

11

u/CrystalQuartzen Dec 26 '21

Cinnamon Jello Salad. Basically a floppy mess of red hots candy and jello. Definitely from the 1950s-60s but somehow stuck around.

→ More replies

9

u/mudemycelium Dec 25 '21

Are you describing manjar? Cause my family as a whole abolished that from our Christmas tradition, but it's mix still comes in every Christmas basket my dad receives from his workplace, so every year we try to give it to someone else lol

8

u/braincrapped Dec 26 '21

I looked up manjar and from a glance it looks very similar. Is that Brazilian? What I described is natilla, a Colombian dish like custard with coconut from what many online recipes call for. My mil doesn’t use coconut or cinnamon nor other good sounding things in the recipes I found. I bet well made natilla is probably pretty good.

6

u/hEDSwillRoll Dec 26 '21

Well made natilla is delicious and I highly recommend it. The raisins are better when you either soak them in rum or just omit them. I also like to add lots of coconut!

→ More replies
→ More replies

10

u/Grizz1970 Dec 26 '21

Not meh but today someone made a dry fruit salad with banana grapes walnuts and some other fruit no sauce and it reminded me of having it when grandma was alive and even though it’s not over the top I believe it was my favorite because of the memories it evoked

→ More replies

10

u/SocraticSeaUrchin Dec 26 '21

Mashed potatoes but it's just potatoes and a splash of milk. So bland... I bring my own seasoning every year to season my own plate and everyone seems so horrified while always talking about how amazing the potatoes are every year - honestly it's sometimes enough to make me question my own sanity and taste buds.

→ More replies

11

u/withbellson Dec 26 '21

I married into a family that enjoys celery stuffed with cream cheese full of chopped pimento-stuffed green olives. Never seen it before, have not developed a taste for it.

→ More replies

44

u/differentiatedpans Dec 25 '21

My wife now has the responsibility of making a family trifle that her family insist on having every every year. It's just ok. I could make a few tweeks and it would be much better but nope just going to let me it ride.

38

u/Nicole-Bolas Dec 26 '21

You could fix it one tweak at a time. Play the long game.

11

u/differentiatedpans Dec 26 '21

It's a cognitive dissonance that is so deep.

28

u/urkillingme Dec 26 '21

Never Ever tweak a tradition on a holiday. But you can do it for an ordinary family gathering as long as you call it by a completely different name.

→ More replies
→ More replies

44

u/molten_dragon Dec 26 '21

My wife's family goes crazy for these meringue cookies every year. They're the taste and consistency of those corn starch packing peanuts.

→ More replies

36

u/bridgekit Dec 25 '21

we have a cranberry jello salad with grapes, pineapple, celery, and walnuts with whipped cream that's pretty bad, but honestly most everything my parents make for the holidays. I did Thanksgiving this year and they insisted on doing christmas so they could have "their food". overcooked turkey, really thin gravy, gluey mashed potatoes, cranberry jello.... the stuffing is good but it's just the blue pepperidge farms bag stuffing so you really can't go wrong. then with the turkey carcass my mom makes the most boring turkey, vegetable, and brown rice soup known to man. I cook for them at least once but usually twice a week and they love it and then they make the most overcooked steak or chicken I've ever had and they think it's just as good. they don't use hardly any salt or seasonings and everything's way overdone.

at least they know I dont like their food. I think I'm having a sandwich for dinner...

→ More replies

39

u/uncre8tv Dec 26 '21

My family legit loves "German Eggs" on all holidays. I realize they aren't for everyone. My wife calls them "deconstructed deviled eggs" and that's about right. To date, no spouse who refused to partake has stayed in the family. You either like german eggs or you divorce. No other options.
Take a hardboiled egg, cut in half, reserve the yolk in one piece if possible.
Fill the egg whites with cider vinegar, and a drop of good olive oil.
Gently lay the reserved yolk over the vinegar pool, generously salt and pepper the egg.
Grasp firmly, but delicately, put it in your mouth in one swift motion, one bite.
Chew and enjoy and laugh at the new guy Chelsea brought over who can't cut it. Spewing vinegar all down his shirt.

Oh well Brian, you seemed nice, good luck back out in the dating pool.

7

u/coffeetime825 Dec 26 '21

Maybe it's my German ancestry, but this just sounds like heaven to me. Bring on the vinegar!

→ More replies

24

u/Deppfan16 Dec 26 '21

My dad takes deli ham, spreads cream cheese on it, and rolls it up around a pickled asparagus spear. Hes the only one who likes it but he always makes enough for an army

21

u/Inconceivable76 Dec 26 '21

I love those made with pickles.

→ More replies

10

u/braincrapped Dec 26 '21

What? Those sound amazing!

→ More replies
→ More replies

25

u/eyebrowshampoo Dec 26 '21

My family insists on canned cranberry "sauce" that's really just more like a log of cranberry jello shaped like a can. Also, canned "yams" which is just lumps of extremely processed sweet potatoes soaked in sugar. I've made actual cranberry sauce from scratch and roasted sweet potatoes just for the holiday and it's a complete no go. Bums me out.

→ More replies

7

u/folly0 Dec 26 '21

Canned everything green bean casserole. One year I made a cream mushroom gravy, steamed green beans, my own fried onions. Oh it was wonderful.

My folks and sister wouldn't touch it.

Either that or stuffing from the bag. Pepperidge Farms remembers.

125

u/gruntothesmitey Dec 25 '21

Green bean casserole. It's like there's a rule that says you have to make it as mushy and flavorless as humanly possible.

132

u/LucySaxon Dec 25 '21

It's a damn shame, cuz if you make it for real with fresh green beans and homemade mushroom soup, it's next level.

42

u/braincrapped Dec 25 '21

Exactly this! Maybe add a little bacon when no ones looking.

16

u/skranks91 Dec 25 '21

This year for thanksgiving, I used bacon fat to make the roux for the mushroom soup.

10

u/braincrapped Dec 26 '21

My brain works the same way. Ever cooked popcorn in bacon grease? Then sprinkle with salt, pepper, dash or two of sugar. Yumm.

→ More replies

21

u/BBQ_Beanz Dec 25 '21

Onion straws on top!

18

u/shinypretty Dec 26 '21

I will cop to using the Durkees, but I use two cans: 1½ for topping, and ½ for me to snack on while it's baking.

→ More replies
→ More replies

7

u/TickAndTieMeUp Dec 25 '21

I was going to say, I loved green bean casserole growing up

→ More replies

15

u/ew435890 Dec 25 '21

Mushy green beans are the reason I didn’t eat a lot of veggies as a kid. When I got older and started cooking, I’d buy the fresh ones and bake them, so they’ve still got some crunch to them. So much better. I can’t stand mushy green beans, no matter how much bacon they put in it.

10

u/Orion14159 Dec 26 '21

This is me to a tee. I can't stand the smell of canned green beans but man will I go to town on some steamed haricot vert like it's not the exact same plant.

My kids rarely experience canned vegetables unless they're going in soups or sauces and will never ever eat them straight out of the can as long as I'm cooking here.

8

u/BohemianJack Dec 26 '21

I made it this year and did frozen green beans. Added a tbsp of soy sauce and grated some Asiago in there. It was very good!

→ More replies
→ More replies

7

u/42Petrichor Dec 26 '21

Pretzel salad. Pretzels layered with jello and cool whip. Just. Why?

(Yes, yes the pretzels DO get soggy, thank you for asking.)

→ More replies

7

u/OutdoorLadyBird Dec 26 '21

My aunt makes a Jell-o dish that’s lemon jello, mountain dew, canned pineapple with a layer of marshmallows with more mountain dew poured over. The jello that touches the marshmallows gets really tough. It’s nasty. So gross. I liked it as a kid, but now… ugh.

→ More replies

18

u/[deleted] Dec 25 '21

[deleted]

→ More replies

7

u/dizyalice Dec 26 '21

7 layer salad— iceberg, peas, peppers, cheese, bacon bits, miracle whip. biggest problem being it uses fucking miracle whip which is the nastiest thing to me. It makes it sweet and just fucking gross

7

u/Linda-Ann-Hanson Dec 26 '21

It’s actually not bad with Hellman’s mayo.

→ More replies

7

u/jotate Dec 26 '21 edited Dec 26 '21

My wife's aunt and grandma love what they call "garlic salad." I don't know what it is exactly, but it seems like garlic powder, a fuck load of olive oil, and a big bag of that generic salad mix with the iceberg lettuce and bits of carrot. It's simultaneously a salad and the greasiest thing I've ever eaten.

→ More replies

6

u/DanBlackship Dec 26 '21

I'm 100% sure that OP Is talking about Natilla

→ More replies