I have vaguely fond memories from the ’70s.
I say vaguely because I can only remember bits and pieces as I was only ages 0-9 in that decade.
I do remember the music, the clothing, and of course, the shag carpeting.
We listened to Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Carole King among many others.
I recall my dad wearing lots of plaid pants and my mom wearing owl necklaces.
We had spider plants in macrame plant holders, watched Dorothy Hamill during the Olympics and ate casseroles, casseroles, and more casseroles.
That wasn’t the only thing we ate but casseroles were to the ’70s what organic food/paleo food/ quinoa is to 2014.
They were the shit.
It was my happy place decade because I lived at home with my parents, brother, and grandma.
The only care in the world I had was what I was going to wear to school or if my mom cut the crusts off the sandwich in my lunch.
I hope I am creating the same kind of shag carpet/Dorothy Hamill childhood for both of my girls.
Creating the illusion of idyllic with some Roseanne and Family Guy thrown in for good measure is what I think I am actually doing.
To say the fondest memories I have revolve around food would be an understatement.
If my parents had known this upon me coming out of the womb, they could have saved a ton on road trips and name brand cereal.
Almost every great memory I have as I have grown up has an equally amazing recipe that goes along with it.
Christmas usually meant chocolate crinkle cookies and bacon wrapped water chestnuts.
Halloween immediately takes me back to apple cider, homemade donuts and macaroni and cheese fresh from the oven.
I can smell the apples being cooked for the applesauce from the orchard picked produce, the tomatoes being boiled in preparation for canning.
I can hear the popping of popcorn on the stove, hear my mom and grandma’s voices while baking Christmas cookies, smell the chicken roasting in the oven on a Sunday evening.
To this day, when I make pancakes on a rainy Saturday morning, it takes me back so vividly I can actually hear my dad’s newspaper rustling in the other room.
Homemade food = security in my world.
The kitchen was the center of my Universe, even as a child.
Appetizers are one of my favorite all-time foods so a few times a year, I center an entire meal around them.
Because appetizers don’t require commitment like a ham or a meatloaf or even hamburgers on the grill do.
A dip is just dip.
You make it, get crackers or veggies to dip in it and that’s it.
You don’t need to spend a day making it or a fortune paying for it.
Even if you like fancier appetizers, like brie, you just slap the cheese on a plate, stick a knife in it and add fancy crackers and boom, you got yourself dinner.
My mom’s shrimp dip is a childhood favorite appetizer of mine.
Every time we would have a gathering, mom would make the shrimp dip.
It’s like it wasn’t a party without it.
My baby shower?
Our rehearsal dinner?
Getaway weekend in Louisville, Kentucky?
Mom brought shrimp dip.
My husband and children even love it and they are the pickiest eaters on the planet.
Ella doesn’t know that there is actual fish in the dip.
AND DON’T YOU DARE TELL HER.
Every year when we put our Christmas tree up, we serve appetizers for dinner.
It is a tradition we all look forward to each year.
We sit around the table and eat all sorts of fun piggy in a blanket type of foods.
Some years it’s dips, cheese balls, and mini corn dogs.
Others it’s pizza rolls, chicken tenders and cheese, and crackers.
But it always ALWAYS includes mom’s shrimp dip.
For many reasons, because it is hella good, it is easy to make and everyone loves it.
But mainly because it is like she is with us while we are trimming our tree and eating our dip.
With every bite, I am transporting my little family back to our 1976 sunken family room in Lake Zurich, Illinois.
My mom, grandma, dad, and little brother are there and we are listening to The Carpenters and decorating our artificial tree with handmade ornaments and macrame Santa’s.
Funny how food and music can take you back.
So this holiday season, enjoy my mom’s famous shrimp dip, turn on some Stevie Wonder and let yourself go.
It’s alright, Dorothy Hamill would want you to.
Mom’s Shrimp Dip
1 small can of shrimp ( drained and rinsed )
1/2 C. celery, chopped fine
1/4 C. green onion, chopped fine
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 C. Miracle Whip ( we substitute mayo all the time too)
1 small ( 3 oz. ) cream cheese, softened
Ritz crackers or Triscuit crackers
Mix all except the crackers and chill until you serve.
A special thank you to our family friend Terrie, who reached out to me to suggest writing this post.
She has fond memories of the parties my parents threw in the 70s and what was front and center?
The shrimp dip, of course.
Mom’s Shrimp Dip
- 1 small can of shrimp (drained and rinsed)
- 1/2 C. celery (chopped fine)
- 1/4 C. green onion (chopped fine)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 C. Miracle Whip (we substitute mayo all the time too)
- 1 small (3 oz. cream cheese, softened)
- Ritz crackers or Triscuit crackers
- Mix all except the crackers and chill until you serve.