What is the comfort food of your childhood? Enter recipe contest to win free copies of Book of Mormon Girl and a special grand prize!

 It sounds like a Mormon cliché, but I’m not kidding when I say that some of my happiest childhood memories taste like  Jell-O.

First, there was my grandmother’s green goddess salad.  Which was not, I suppose, technically a salad:  there were no leaves involved.  She’d mix lemon and lime Jell-os, fold in sour cream, cottage cheese, and canned pineapple.  (Grandma liked hers with nuts, but in deference to us kids, she’d often leave them out.)  She’d bring it to every holiday meal, and if we were lucky, make it for Sunday dinners at her house, or even make a pan for a sick grandchild.  What was more soothing than a backscratch from my grandmother or the cool feel of green goddess sliding down a fevered throat?

Then, there was the raspberry angel ring—the special dessert my mom made to serve members of my parents’ Mormon doctrine study group when they convened once a month on Sunday nights.  She’d thaw a little square can of frozen raspberries (remember those?), mix it into warm liquid raspberry Jell-o, fold in whipped cream, and pour the mixture over pieces of a store-bought angel food cake she layered into a bundt cake pan (that was the “ring”) and a 9×13 pyrex.  While the grown-ups finished talking about fine points of theology in the living room, we kids would hover in the kitchen, hoping there was an extra piece left in the pyrex for us.  I remember the cool of the jello, the tang of the berries, the sweet of the cream, and the fluff of the cake.

Green goddess.  Raspberry angel ring.  Is it any wonder that something about that Jell-o and cream combination makes me feel inspired? The Book of Mormon Girl celebrates the delicious goodness of the worlds we grow up in, and the lasting importance of our childhood hopes and beliefs even as life gets more complicated.  Because life does get more complicated and even mixed-up—pineapple and sour cream, anyone?–but the good stuff still inspires us and carries us through.

What food says comfort and childhood to you?  What are the dishes that you most associate with family, friends, and special occasions?

Help celebrate the August 7 release of the new and expanded edition of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith (Free Press) and win your own signed copy by sharing your childhood comfort food memories.  Post your favorite Childhood Comfort Food recipe on your own blog, or Facebook, with a picture, a short (under 300 words) description of your experience with it, and a link back to this contest announcement at askmormongirl.com.  Send me your link, and I’ll post all submissions, add your blog to my blog roll, and “pin” your post on my Pinterest board.

The grand prize winner will receive a handmade “Never Underestimate a Mormon Girl” sampler by the talented and cheeky Utah crafter “The Cotton Floozy”  (please visit her Zazzle.com shop!) and a signed copy of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith.  Five runners-up will also win signed copies of The Book of Mormon Girl.  Contest ends August 27.

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16 responses to “What is the comfort food of your childhood? Enter recipe contest to win free copies of Book of Mormon Girl and a special grand prize!

  1. One of the favorites from my childhood is a homemade ice cream cake.

    You start with an angel food cake (we bake ours in an actual bundt-like angel food cake pan).

    Instead of frosting, you soften vanilla ice cream enough to mix in a couple tablespoons each of orange juice concentrate and pink lemonade concentrate. You’ll want to play with the amounts a little bit to get it right for your tastes. Frost the ice cream mix on top and down the sides of the angel food cake and then place in the freezer to set.

    The result is the perfect fruity/chilly summer dessert – always my choice for my summer birthday party!

  2. Neal

    My mom’s Bread and Butter Pickles. That may sound like an odd choice, but it was truly my favorite comfort food. We were relatively poor when I was a kid, so to compensate we had an ENORMOUS garden every year. It was essential to live off that garden as much as possible. And, unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot of food growning there that I would say I looked forward to eating (okra, eggplant – you get it). But one item we always had in quantity were cucumbers, and my mom would magically turn them into sweet, crunchy pickles that tasted more like candy than vegetables. And the pickles she put up in the summer would last the whole year through – so I got to enjoy them frequently!

    BREAD and BUTTER PICKLES

    1 gal sliced cucumbers
    1 quart sliced onions
    1/2 cup salt
    1 1/2 quarts vinegar
    4 cups sugar
    4 T mustard seed
    1 T celery seed
    2 T tumeric

    Place cucumbers, onion, and salt in a pan and just cover with water. Soak for 3 hours, then drain. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over well drained cucumbers. Simmer – do not boil. When hot, put in canning jars and seal using normal canning methods.

  3. There are so many iconic meals I’ve experienced in this life. But when I think of comfort food I think of being a boy. I still marvel that having a family meal every night is almost a long lost dream. But when I felt safe and cared for, there was probably meat loaf and mashed potatoes, on the plate

  4. Homemade bread torn up in a bowl covered with hot milk and a drizzle of honey

  5. Halsey

    My grandmother’s Texas Sheet Cake: chocolate cake from scratch in a jellyroll pan with white mint frosting and melted dark chocolate strewn all over the top. Even still when we get together it is what I look forward to most!

  6. Liz

    Gran’s stewed Kidney – she would call in the evening, one of us three girls would run over (she lived next door) and pick up a warm dish, and the next morning we would have poached eggs and stewed kidney on Toast for breakfast – YUM!

  7. Kitty Smart

    Believe it or not, a thing called the Hot Sauce Cheese Sandwich comes to mind when thinking of childhood! I’m sure my mom made some glorious foods, but the hot sauce cheese sandwiches of my Dad’s was one of my favorites. I was the oldest of 4 Kids and my father was an officer in the Navy. He was gone more than home, 6 month deployments a fact of life for our family. But, when he was home, he would often slap together a hot sauce cheese sandwich for him and myself if I was around to give him the starving kid eyes.(I’m a firm believer children learn this within the first weeks of life and cultivate it as they grow older)

    Now this Hot Sauce Cheese Sandwich is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a slice of bread with block cheddar slices placed across it(it is not as tasty with singles cheese). Then, it’s microwaved for apx. 45 seconds. Once removed from the microwave a second slice of bread is covered with hot sauce( we used Pace Picante medium) and the cheese side is dropped on topsI make a sandwich! Finally, we enjoyed!

    It wasn’t fancy, but it was good and it is the one food that always brings my dad to mind! Thinking of it now, I might have to get him to introduce it to the grandkiddies! XD

  8. Genevieve Ford

    Mashed potatoes made with butter and sour cream, skins on. Put some turkey on a fork and then scoop some potatoes on top. Prosaic, but deliciously comforting.

  9. anne

    my mother was a really lousy cook in spite of her polygamy/united order background, but I was in heaven when she made graham crackers with chocolate icing cookies. The secret was the coffee (!) she used to mix the powdered sugar, cocoa and vanilla instead of milk…the hot liquid made the icing like fudge. yumm

  10. Mommcc

    My favorite comfort foods are those that can be put in the oven or crockpot and cook for at least three hours while the family is at church on Sundays. There is nothing that smells quite as good as when you walk in the house after church, physically and spiritually drained, to the promise of pot roast with onions, carrots and potatoes, chicken and rice casserole, beef stew, or some other slow cooked concoction…especially on Fast Sunday!

  11. Paul

    For me, dutch oven chicken. Great memories of branch parties and family camping trips. This is one of the few things that got the men to cook, and they did it together. One of the few foods I really associate with Mormons more specifically than the era, or that semi-home-made sensibility that gives birth to the jello salads and cream-of-something soup casseroles. This is also one of the foods I gleefully return to, and still tastes awesome. I tend to replace many of the dried herbs with fresh now, especially the ginger and parsley, leaving the rosemary, oregano, marjoram, celery salt sage, paprika dry. The chicken was always eaten with dutch oven potatoes, which are basically home fries, onions and diced bacon, also cooked over hot coals. Most of the time, the meal was completed with a pineapple upside down cake for desert.

    1 tbsp parsley flakes
    ½ tsp onion salt
    ½ tbsp oregano
    1/2 tbsp celery salt
    ½ tbsp marjoram
    ½ tbsp ginger
    1/2 tbsp thyme
    ½ tsp pepper
    1 tsp rosemary
    1/2 tsp sage
    ½ tsp garlic salt
    ½ tbsp paprika
    ½ cup cracked wheat

    mix all dry ingredients. Roll chicken pieces from a large fryer until skin is thoroughly coated. Put dutch oven on hot bed of coals until heated to medium high heat. If pan starts smoking it is too hot. Put chicken pieces in bottom of dutch oven to brown. Turn until all pieces are browned uniformly. Cover with lid, and place hot coals on lid. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until meat is cooked through to the bone, but still moist. Skin has a crisp quality, smoky flavor from coals, and a chewy nuttiness from the wheat. Best in the traditional outdoor cooking but still quite good in a skillet on a stove top. Delish.

  12. Postum, for starters. You make that because you don’t yet know that one day you’ll be drinking real coffee out of your grandfather’s blue willow mug, the one he leaves on the TV tray with a ring of cold coffee in the bottom of it. Postum smells like coffee but has no sin attached to it so you can put sugar in and the crumbs will foam into a decadent, burnt-sugar fog. Serve with hot-air popcorn as your mother walks through the room and says, “Remember when your brother walked through Dad’s office and shouted, ‘Hey, look, Mom! Look at all those Postum machines!'” If it’s Friday night, watch The Osmonds. If it’s Saturday night, thumb through a fat paperback copy of Especially for Mormons and find an inspirational story for your two-and-a-half-minute talk. Practice the piano. Make another cup. Drink hot.

  13. Vegetable soup. I didn’t find out till later that it was just all the leftovers from the last week or so, but to me, it was the best feeling to come home and smell that soup cooking on the stove on a cold day.

  14. Carolyn Black

    When I was a little girl, I have unbelievably fond memories of coming home in the fall to my mother canning everything from our garden. One of those recipes that brings me SUCH comfort and glorious memories is my grandmother’s homemade peach jam. Maybe it’s in my thoughts today because I am going to make some today with the fabulous peaches I bought yesterday. If you would like to make your own memories, here it is:
    Spiced Peach Jam
    In a heavy aluminum pot put
    2 cups of Peaches, pureed
    Add 5 quarts Peaches cubed
    Slowly bring to a boil. After boiling for awhile, mash with potato masher to desired size. Boil down slowly until it starts to thicken.
    Add a generous 1 T of whole Cloves
    8 sticks of stick Cinnamon
    Continue to boil slowly until very thick. Check by putting a small amount into the freezer to chill. It will thicken as it chills. When quite thick
    Add 3 quarts of Sugar
    Continue to boil stirring constantly until desired thickness. Taste several times as the process continues. Add more cloves, cinnamon and sugar until just as you want. When exactly as you want remove cloves and stick cinnamon. Can by bringing to a boil and pouring into sterilized jars. Put a lid on top. Screw ring down as tight as you can. Place upside down on cloth and place a cloth over jars. Allow to sit for an hour and then turn right side up.

  15. Leilani Humphries

    Of all the memories that I have of my parents and grandparents I loved and came to expect my grandfathers Buckwheat Pancakes. Whenever we were there on a Saturday morning – to help with the irrigation, weeding, yard work or for a visit he would make us his spectacular Buckwheat Pancakes. They were dinner plate sized pancakes cooked in butter on a hot skillet and served with honey. The honey was so delicious and squeezed out of the honey bear, it always dripped off the sides of the pancake and onto the counter. Sticky and delicious. Sometimes there was milk to wash it all down but my favorite was grape juice from the basement. Perfectly cool and delicious and of course homemade. The best part was the pile of pancakes left on the plate on the counter and coming back to tear off a piece as we went in and out of the house.
    Grandpas BuckWheat Pancakes
    The approximations for 3-4 dinner plate sized pancakes:
    1 1/2 cups Buckwheat
    3 Tbs. Honey
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp. Baking Soda
    1 egg
    1 1/2 – 2 cups of milk (can use mixed powered milk)
    1 tsp. vinegar
    Mix all the dry ingredients and then add the egg and vinegar. Add the milk last – you may not need the full 2 cups.

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