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Much like our genes, recipes embody a heritage that traverses generations. While we can’t control the genetic legacy we receive, we do have the power to select which culinary traditions we uphold and which ones we evolve beyond as we venture away from our mother’s dining table.
Someone on an online forum asked 90’s kids what meals their moms made for dinner growing up that they haven’t had in ages; and why it’s no longer a favorite.
1. Tuna Noodle Casserole
Noodles, a can of tuna, and cream of mushroom… a genius combo or disgusting? An online contributor says this was “an abomination” that they’re thrilled to never have plonked down in front of them again.
2. Salisbury Steak
A close relative of the Hamburger steak, the Salisbury steak was a stable of the ’90s. An online user gives it a comeback every million years just to remember how bad it was.
Someone agrees with them, “My stepmother invited us to dinner and made the family-size box of Salisbury steaks. She’s only about 4 years older than me. No nostalgic taste for me, just embarrassed and sad.”
3. Beanie Weenies
This common mixture of baked beans and chopped hotdogs isn’t a big winner for many people today, but it was for many broke mommies.
A contributor says this was “A childhood (no money) staple.”
Another commenter who loved the meal says she recently learned that they only made it when they had no money–which was a lot of times.
You can try and whip it up for a quick camping meal. If you hate it, remember, it’s nutritious (kind of).
4. Sloppy Joes… and Toms?
We have yet to meet a meal with so many variations. Since it was a mistake from it’s inception, different people remember it being done in different ways, and they continue to butcher the recipe to their liking.
An online forum user says, “I made saucy hamburger but forgot to buy buns – only had some bagels; I had to make Sloppy Jews.”
Another adds, “I use ground turkey instead of beef and call it a Sloppy Tom.”
Despite the hilarious variations, some still enjoy it. One says, “I am a 36-year-old living with another 36-year-old, and we have sloppy joes every once in a while.”
5. Shake and Bake
Shake and bake was considered a healthier and faster way to cook. All you needed to do was throw your ingredients in a bag, add spices, give them a good shake, and bake! Sounds better than all the time spent marinating stuff.
A user says, “Oh gosh, this is my Comfort Food meal… rice a roni mixed with cream of mushroom, in a pan, chicken breasts on top, the whole thing covered in breadcrumbs and baked. Steamed broccoli on the side. This was dinner at least once per week from 1989-1997.”
Someone thought it was dope, and they were going to give it a try. In 2023. Tell us how it goes!
6. Ham and Scalloped Potatoes
Potatoes and ham in milk or cream sound like a very delicious idea. One user’s Mom used to make this for them. Her Mom passed away, but not before handing down the recipe first. Unfortunately, and try as she has, she just can’t replicate it.
7. Cream of Mushroom in Everything
Cream of mushroom was a dime a dozen in the ’90s.
One user says, “Yeah, cream of mushroom soup was the star in a lot of dishes.”
Someone else narrates, “We also used to make this abomination called (oh so creatively) ham, eggs, and mushrooms. Chunked leftover ham, hard-boiled eggs sliced with a fancy gadget specifically for that purpose, and cream of mushroom soup from the can. Endlessly microwaved and served over white bread.”
They confess they haven’t thought about that meal in years. Good for them; it sounds like a headache.
8. Beef Stroganoff Knock-offs
Many parents made counterfeit beef stroganoff, and many children couldn’t tell.
One user says, “It took me going to a restaurant and ordering actual beef stroganoff to realize the lies I was being fed.”
Someone else says, “What my parents called ‘Beef Stroganoff’ was just cut-up beef and egg noodles cooked down until the liquid was all absorbed by the noodles.”
9. Overcooked Steak
The degree to which steak is cooked depends on your cooking skills and taste buds. But the general agreement is it should be easy to chew, swallow, and digest.
This balance was tricky for some parents in yester years. An online forum user asks, “Did people just not know how to cook steak in the 80s/90s? I hated steak as a kid because it was always shoe leather that I had to soak in A1 and chew for a million years to choke it down.”
Someone adds, “Mom was a good cook, but steak was ALWAYS well done and tough – ugh!”
10. Chicken a la King
One mother who didn’t have much money and wasn’t endowed with culinary skills came up with a new recipe with an exotic name.
“It was canned chicken, cream of mushroom soup, and a jar of pimentos. Heat that up and serve it over toasted white bread.” A user says. They have not eaten it in 25 years, and they’re ok never having it again.
Poor and a bad cook? Talk about a struggle.
11. Meat Loaf
Meat loaf is as much loved as it is hated. One online forum user says, “My mom was an awful cook, and meatloaf is generally awful, but for some reason, my mom’s meatloaf was amazing.”
Someone adds, “I hated other people’s meatloaf. I loved my moms, probably because the texture with chopped onion bits most people used. Whereas we use onion powder, helps texture a lot. So hers is consistent throughout. And gravy with it.”
Love was the secret ingredient.
Some people still can’t stand the sight of meatloaf.
12. Pot Roast
An online forum user says, “My mom made the best pot roast, and I just can’t seem to replicate it! Da**it. I miss her and all the amazing things she made.”
Not all people have good things to say about the famous pot roast. Someone adds, “My mom made some heinous, flavorless pot roast growing up. Salt, pepper, maybe some powdered garlic, and onions cut into big pieces so we could pick them off. And she made it with either water or gravy the came in the jar. It was always oddly dry.”
It’s still a common meal to date.
13. Chicken Noodle Soup
This was not a meal; it was medicine for various bugs and hangovers.
A user says, “Anytime I’m sick, I absolutely must have [chicken noodle] soup. I like to top it with grated Parmesan cheese and pepper.”
Another excited commenter says, “Chicken Noodle Soup is one of my favorites for coming on 45 years.”
14. The Original Egg Roll
An online user shared her mother’s eggroll recipe that made humongous but delicious egg rolls. The recipe included cabbage, beef and cheese.
Egg rolls are a foreign Chinese dish that became popular in America in the ’90s.
15. Fried Bologna Sandwiches
Move over, PB &J, the Baloney sandwich was the real deal.
A nostalgic user says, “I crave fried bologna randomly. Sometimes I just NEED it.”
For others, the Bologna sandwich isn’t a welcome idea today. One says, “I don’t miss that one. We were poor, so it was a staple food for us, and I loathed it. I haven’t touched Bologna once since I left home.”
The pantry staples aren’t all throwback recipes for everyone. One user says, “I’m not sure how to feel about the fact I have made my kids just about every meal in this list.”
We think you’re just doing your best, mom.
16. All the Sugary Snacks
No 90s lunchbox was complete without one of the following: gushers, pop tarts, dunkaroos, or a pudding cup. These delectable treats provided 90s kids with a hit of sugar before heading out to recess at school.
17. Kid Cuisine Frozen Dinners
Microwaveable dinners were in in the 90s. The kid’s version was blah a best. Chewy chicken nuggets, a hot brownie that always burned the mouth, and some underwhelming sides of vegetables and carbs. No one misses them.
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