Small-Kid-Time Cooking

Remember small-kid-time, before microwave ovens were invented – and all we had was the stove.  No cup noodle, no Lunchables, no 7-11 spam musubis (didn’t matter because no money).  How did we ever get by!

Well, there was always cooked rice ready, from the previous night’s dinner.  But what did you cook?

My default meal was fried eggs.  No other way but fried.  Wesson oil, cast iron pan, stove on high.  Crispy brown ends with the yellow center from breaking the yolk.  Add some salt and pepper, put on a bed of rice and slather it with shoyu and ketchup.  A few dashes of Tabasco and the meal was ready.

Sometimes, I’d switch it up and throw bologna into the hot oil instead of egg.  Remember how it puffed up in the center and had to cut it with the spatula so the center would cook?

I also had a thing for sardines.  Had to be Holmes sardines.  Empty it in the small pot, stove on high, a little bit of shoyu, again – on a bed of rice and I was good to go.  The thing with sardines – the taste stays with you all day.  Especially when you burp.  Kinda like Burger King.


Desperate times called for desperate measures; kim-chee sandwich.  Soggy bread and all.

My attempts to make musubi didn’t work out too well.  I didn’t know I was supposed to salt the rice.  I thought an ume in the center, wrap around with nori and viola – musubi.  What I also didn’t know was that they weren’t supposed to be round.  That’s bad-luck musubi because it’s only served like that at funerals.  Mine looked like a baseball wrapped with electrical tape.

Then there was Campbell soup.  Easy-peasy.  Empty the can of chicken-noodle or vegetable soup in the small pot, add a can of water, stove on high (of course), stir until it starts smoking, then pour into the saimin bowl and grind.  A little tip I learned was that if I added the Tabasco sauce while it was heating up, the hotness would spread around better – like with every gulp of soup.

Then there was the good ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  We only had Skippy or JIF peanut butter and the jelly was only Hawaiian Sun guava.  No grape or strawberry.  No jam.  Just guava jelly.  Something I learned early on was not to spread the jelly first because peanut butter WILL NOT spread over jelly.

Another go-to meal was Vienna sausage.  Same pot.  Same high heat. Same bed of rice.

That was pretty much everything I could cook.

Oh, and when S&S Saimin started sponsoring the Checkers and Pogo show, I begged mom to buy S&S saimin.  Humbug part was that it was frozen and took too long to heat up.  Then came the Sapporo Ichiban dry saimin.  Okay, maybe the package said ramen, but to me – it was saimin.  That was easy to make but too hot to eat during the day.  But for a late night snack – it was winnahs!

How was your small-kid-time cooking skills?  What did you cook back then?


23 Responses to “Small-Kid-Time Cooking”

  1. mutley96744 says:

    We used to make home made chicken ala king with store bought pre-made puff pastry shells. So delicious with mushrooms, a nice creamy chicken sauce, pearl onions broccoli, celery, and carrot.

    Definitely lucky charms with marshmallows or fruit loops.

    Lots of spaghetti.

    Fried corn meal mush.
    Everything was fresh then. You had to watch out the can wasn’t popping up because of botcha-lism.

  2. mows says:

    The worst thing that I remember cooking was breaking up the ramen then cooking it and mixing in a big scoop or two rice and an egg. Cook until noodles are tender then enjoy. Double whammy of unhealthy carbs and sodium. Fried kamaboko and some rice was another memorable dish. Canned spinach or corn heated with a big wedge of margarine over rice was good also. Other than that Campbell’s soup (any variety) was what my mom would stock the pantry with for me to forage. Oh, frozen T.V. dinners and pot pies just popped into my head as well.

  3. dihudfan says:

    vienna sausage or spam or luncheon meat with shoyu sugar… sardines open lid pour shoyu and sugar and cook ontop the gas stove… corned beef and onions was a easy one… shoyu eggs, sometimes with sugar… tuna sandwich was the bomb, stuffed with potato chips (when available)… potato chips with ketsup and lots of pepper, straight in the bag… either campbell or lipton chicken noodle soup… fried iriko, fry until crispy take off the stove add shoyu and lots of pepper, on rice, winnahs, on bread even bettah…

  4. KC fan says:

    I remember making cinnamon toast in the toaster oven when I was older. White bread, spread butter (or margarine) on, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar, but in toaster oven. Pretty good snack after school and before dinner. We had the pop up type toaster for a while, didn’t get toaster oven until the ’70’s. Pop up toaster was good for Pop tarts though. I had a friend who would eat them “raw”. No need toast ’em. Wow, haven’t eaten those in years.

  5. hemajang says:

    Chips in tuna or peanut butter jelly sandwiches? Wow, I nevah did that but sounds good. Kid-time I used to love fritos with shoyu and peppah to kick it up a notch…still eat it that way.

  6. Seawalker says:

    When I got to “big” small-kid-time cooking, it was char siu and Hormel ham fried rice for this bad-boy. Don’t mean to toot my own horn too loud, but food and eating was big business in our house. Watched my pops make fried rice once. I was good at copying, as in plagiarizing in school (hehe), and could make them fried rice real good and tasty. At times, never put in enough Wesson oil, so it was a little dry. But pops told us to give it a little water at the very end, and viola, you good to go. Fried rice was a day old or more rice from the fridge. If you used freshly cooked from the pot, you one amateur. Can you say stuck to the bottom of the pot? It ain’t fried rice, it’s fly rice as someone mentioned before. Remember them Hormel ham from the can? Save the juice and gelatin after opening with the key. Used that as flavoring. Winner, winner, meat loaf dinner! Rice, meat, egg, and a little green onion goes well together. Learned to cook it in the wok too. The wok gives it that authentic wok heat taste to the fried rice.

  7. adobo says:

    No need rice cooker. Small pot, rinse rice good, leave enough water up to 1st joint of your finger, place on med-high, when boil cover it and leave on low for 20 min. Make believe camping. sterno, open Vienna sausage can, shoyu sugar. Make sure everyone no fall sleep cuz burnt shoyu going smell the place up.

  8. 4G says:

    I think one of the first things I made myself to eat was a good old peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I have one episode that I remember pretty distinctly. I must have been pretty young because I remember being frustrated at not being able to spread the peanut butter very well on the slice of bread and my dad telling me to not worry because it would come as I got older. 🙁 LOL

    @Rod – I was cracking up at “. . . peanut butter WILL NOT spread over jelly.” I was like – wait, the peanut butter goes on one slice and the jelly goes on the other slice, then you put them together. Then I thought, okay – maybe was a 1/2 sandwich (made with one slice of bread). But, I remember making those, too – only spread peanut butter on half of the bread slice, and jelly on the other half. Oh well – classic “different strokes for different folks, eh? 😉

    The classic jelly was guava, but I also remember strawberry and grape. Oh – and boysenberry from Knott’s Berry Farm! LOL Honey works pretty well, too.

    One of my chores in like fifth and sixth grade was to cook rice after coming home from school. Not real “cook rice”, though – in a rice cooker. Never learned how to cook rice “for real”.

    Then, I think I moved on the grilled cheese sandwiches and tuna melts. I remember making them in a waffle maker that had reversible plates (one side for waffles, the other flat for grilling). When that waffle maker was no more, I didn’t know how to make grilled cheese sandwiches anymore. 🙁 So, I asked my mom – she tried to convince me that I could make toast and stick a slice of cheese between the slices of toast when they came out of the toaster. Uh – not the same, ma . . . . 🙁

    I remember doing hard-boiled egg sandwiches, too.

    I think these sandwiches were often accompanied by heating up a can of Campbell’s soup. My favorite was chicken noodle. I remember, once, I tried a can of New England clam chowder. Only – I used water (instead of milk). Oh – helps if you read the instructions, yeah? That one didn’t turn out too well. LOL

    Then it was S & S saimin. I used to love that stuff. I really didn’t care for the dried, packaged saimin. Funny – now it’s opposite, I prefer the dried saimin over S & S.

    I remember frying up a slice of bologna for a sandwich every once in a while. I was taught to cut well into the bologna slice (like quarters – only not all the way the center) to prevent the center from bulging too much when frying.

    I also remember Kamaboko sandwiches. I think the main draw was the Mayo. 😉

    Oh, Kim Chee sandwiches, too . . . . 🙂

  9. KAN says:

    Cheese toast. Bread, American cheese, toaster oven. Toast until cheese is a little koge and melty.

    Deviled ham on crackers.

    Lipton chicken noodle soup. Especially with leftover rice inside. Good for whatever ails you.

    I don’t put chips in my PB&J, but I absolutely needed and still need to have them when I eat tuna sandwiches.

  10. Seawalker says:

    When it came to Vienna sausage, used to use the water from the can to mix with the rice. Hated that $hit!

    Used to put a spoon full of sugar on the bread and grind. Nuff. We used to put potato chips between our sandwiches too. How da h3ll could you eat it without the chips falling out?

    Worse comes to worse, small-kid-time cooking consisted of stealing a quarter from pop’s ashtray of coins. Go to neighborhood store quietly. Get a can of Shoestring Potatoes. Grind up like tomorrow.

    Long-life saimin in the package used to be good. What sodium?

  11. jaydee11 says:

    Fried bologna and rice come to mind and of course vienna sausage. I did like to put potato chips in my peanut butter and jelly sandwich though. I don’t know how I got on that kick but it gave the sandwich a nice crunch. Also, cut small slices on a hot dog and just fry that up and eat with rice and ketchup…

  12. KC fan says:

    Did not really use stove until I was 5th or 6th grade cause our stove was gas with pilot light. Had to use match to light. Mom didn’t dig me using matches. Made can chili a few times, some how didn’t taste as good like when we went camping. I think was Hormel. When we went to the river I remember catching crayfish, making a fire, getting a can of water and throw crayfish in. Thought was lobster. Cannot do that now though, you don’t know what’s was in the water (river water).

  13. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    Sometimes I’d drop three eggs in a mug, add shoyu and whip it up before frying it. Add it to bread with PLENTY mayo.

    gee, kinda explains the zits, no?

  14. sameguydifferentchannel says:

    I used to fry canned corned beef hash and two eggs sunny side up!

    Fried bologna sandwich with PLENTY mayo…lettuce?…nah!

  15. hemajang says:

    Good one Rodney. I made same small-kid-time cooking except I don’t remember S&S saimin wen I was a kid…when did it appear at the stores? My favorite after school snack was kim-chee or tuna sandwich or combo. Whenever I went to my friend’s house we always had Chef-Boyardee spaghetti and saltine crackers.

    • Rodney says:

      Thanks @hemajang! Let’s see… if I learned about S&S saimin from Checkers and Pogo, it must’ve been around the late 60’s. I remember the first time my mom bought it, she said she bought the wrong one because it required cooking the noodles separately first. Then she said that we need to look for the one that says “fully cooked”.
      IIRC, you could save the S&S saimin packages for script at the Checkers and Pogo fair.

  16. losthawaiian says:

    We usually had some leftovers from previous meals. I would raid the icebox and make whatever combo sounded good at the time.

  17. losthawaiian says:

    Loved the description, “baseball wrapped with electrical tape”. Fried spam and rice or on bread with plenty mayo. If I was really lazy and hungry, I would take a can of vienna sausage and cut it up and make vienna sausage sandwich. Non-cooked sausage, bread and mayo. How about rice with takuan or pickled vegetables.

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