I grew up in the South - in Alabama and Georgia and my mom was from Elba, Alabama which is a tiny little town down towards the very Southernmost point of Alabama.
So, we grew up eating very traditional Southern meals. My mom was also a stay at home mom - who would have dinner on the table by no later than 5 pm...about the time Dad walked in the door from work.
I ate lots of greens - collards, mustards, turnips - all with vinegar and loved them all. We had black eye peas and cornbread - A LOT!
There were other regulars on the menu, but most things involved at least one Southern side dish.
The only two meals I recall that were different were spaghetti and Taco Night. My mom made the Kraft spaghetti from the box, complete with the weird runny sauce that came in the box. I guess she just didn't feel comfortable getting too outside her "cooking zone". But, as a child, I remember it fondly and even really liked it. Today, perhaps my tastebuds would rebel - especially since I'm used to my own homemade meatballs with spaghetti these days.
As kids, we might get browned ground beef added to the "sauce".
But, that is beside the point. What I truly loved was Taco Night. This was a dinner where we could all pick our toppings of choice and how much of whatever we wanted.
It was probably the most exotic meal that ever graced our Southern table.
Mom used the Old El Paso taco dinner kit, which is what I use to this very day. Only my family likes both the hard and soft taco shells so I buy the kit that has both in it. Mom only did the hard shells (fine by me - still my favorite!).
I made tacos for dinner on Thursday night and remembered how excited I was as a child on nights when we had a special treat, like tacos.
As we got older and moved around the United States, we became more adventurous in our eating and my parents both came to really love Mexican, Japanese and Chinese foods. My dad never could take the Indian food, though. LOL. So, I could never get a free lunch from him from Sitar of India (a local restaurant here). But, any of the others, I just had to give the mere suggestion and he was there!
It's funny and I wonder what my children will look back on and have fond memories about my dinners.
So far, the whole family seems to most enjoy my Beef n Broccoli dish that I just started making not too long ago and they also like my spaghetti.
I guess that's okay, but taco night will always hold a special place in my heart.
What was your special meal growing up, or even now?