This time of year, I really start to miss my mom. With the holidays upon us, it's even more apparent that she's not here to share them. Whenever I feel like this, I tend to make one of Mom's signature dishes that I remember from childhood. This seems to depress me less than looking through a photo album does; for some reason, cooking one of her recipes makes her feel more alive -- more present -- than photos, which just serve as reminders of what I've lost. Cooking one of her dishes is a way to bring her back again, to help me remember fondly, instead of sadly.
Last night, this meant I made sloppy joes (mom's way, which uses fresh onion and green bell pepper, and ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire and hot sauce rather than Manwich) and her "scalloped" potatoes. This is what I grew up thinking scalloped potatoes were, because that's what Mom always called them. It was only when I became an adult and started cooking more that I realized these potatoes are nothing like the typical definition of "scalloped" potatoes. But that's what I'll always call them. And last night, they were a creamy, cheesy pile of warm memories -- just what I needed to help me remember her.
Mom's "Scalloped" Potatoes
2-3 pounds golden potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a Crock pot, combine mushroom soup, milk, cheddar cheese and salt and pepper. Stir in potatoes and onions.
2. Cook over low heat 6 hours, or until potatoes are tender.