Hungry, hungry hippo

hippos at the zoo

I was pondering what to make for dinner tonight, and that led to reminiscing about what we dined on as children. Here I was trying to figure out what to do with some ground turkey, and ended up salivating over the carb laden meals of my childhood.

“Back in the day” there wasn’t all this crazy talk about “good carbs” and “bad carbs.” We barely knew what cholesterol was, let alone that it was bad for us.

When I was a kid, we had bread and butter with nearly every meal. If we didn’t, it was cornbread, or biscuits and gravy, lots of gravy. Mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese were the norm, often at the same meal.

I remember my mom making beef and gravy, with egg noodles, served over mashed potatoes, swimming in butter, with Wonder bread to sop everything up. Or meatloaf, or sloppy joes. Those were the days.

When she made mashed potatoes, she made enough for at least three days. We had potato cakes the second day, and hot dogs with mashed potatoes and cheese on the weekend. Loved it!

And, desserts! No meal was complete without something with icing on it at the end.

It was nothing to drink sweet tea like it was nectar of the gods. You make it in a gallon jug, and add enough sugar to form an inch thick layer of syrup on the bottom. Like heaven!

And the fried chicken! None of this baked or broiled stuff. You FRIED it in a cast iron skillet. In white Crisco, and if you were real old school, in lard.

My mom made homemade pudding, on the stove. Lots of eggs, lots of sugar, lots of real butter and whole milk, none of this wimpy 1% crap. Before chilling it, and adding the Nilla wafers and banana slices, Mom would spoon the still hot pudding over toast (white bread, of course), and called it “egg gravy.”

We would scarf down pancakes, waffles or french toast like nothing, then eat half a dozen fried eggs.

You would think we were the size of baby hippos, but no. We played outside… all day… everyday. We were stick children, and blissfully ignorant of what terrible stuff we were stuffing in our faces.

Oh, how I long for the good old days, and a big pan of mac ‘n’ cheese.

Six Cheese Mac 'n' Cheese

16 oz. box penne pasta, cooked al dente
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS butter
2 TBS olive oil
2-3 TBS flour
2 ½ cups milk
2 oz. each, shredded – parmesan (not grated), smoked gouda, Gruyère, havarti, sharp white cheddar
Black pepper, fresh ground

1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 TBS butter, melted
2 oz. sharp yellow cheddar

Mix together breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon melted butter in a small bowl. Set aside.

Melt two tablespoons butter and olive oil in heavy pan over medium high heat, add onion and garlic, saute until tender and caramelized, 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mixture, stirring constantly, cooking until light brown. Continue stirring, slowly add milk, cooking until thickened and bubbly, 5-10 minutes. Stir in cheeses, mixing until well blended.

Pour cheese sauce over cooked pasta, stirring until well blended. Spoon into casserole pan. Sprinkle with yellow cheddar, then top with breadcrumbs.

Bake in 350° F (177°C), preheated oven 20-30 minutes.

I’m grateful for…

  1. Normal cholesterol levels
  2. An occasional comfort food binge
  3. Surviving a childhood of fat-rich meals
  4. Not developing diabetes or heart disease

365 Days of Grace


4 thoughts on “Hungry, hungry hippo

  1. We had similar meals as a kid. Plenty of fried bacon, fried bread, eggs, sausages, all those lovely things they now say are so bad for us. As for the McCheese……. yum. I top mine with tomatoes and/or breadcrumbs and let it crisp up in the oven.

    Liked by 1 person

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