Home cooking is crucial to the upbringing of every child. Here, my mom cooks one of her staples: chili.  Photo: Zachary Howard

On my quest to supply readers with the most masterful culinary dishes in Atlanta, it has occurred to me I have never reviewed what are the most important meals for all of us: home cooking. And now that social distancing is so critical, home cooked meals have become all that more relevant to our daily lives.

Obviously, I cannot review my dedicated readers’ home cooking, so my mom will have to come under my intense culinary scrutiny. First, I should supply some background information: my mother hates to cook. Also, I may be a little biased because, at the end of the day, she is my mother. But I will try to be as impartial as possible. 

Most of my mom’s meals consist of chicken, and this can either be to my great pleasure or dismay, based upon the way it is prepared. When the chicken is simply grilled, it leaves something to be desired, and winds up being smothered in Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce to add some flavor.

However, one of her culinary masterpieces is her chicken sliders. Prepared in the crockpot, the chicken is simmered for hours before becoming stringy, and the tender meat is covered in barbecue sauce. It is then sandwiched between two delicious rolls. It tastes as good as it sounds.

For the last item on the chicken front, we will hop across the border to another all time classic: the chicken chip dish. Utilizing the same chicken from the sliders, the chicken is served over Tostitos chips, and toppings such as lettuce, salsa, grated cheese, guacamole, and queso dip are added to create a truly unique taste. 

Beyond chicken, my mom prepares a couple of other items that are attention worthy. Meatball subs are always welcomed with open arms by the Howard Family, as is pasta with meatballs. On the other hand, meatloaf causes a riot, as, to put it lightly, no one wants to eat it. However, salads, particularly Caesar for me, are always great and can lighten up every meal.

Lastly, I want to talk about my two favorite meals. First is the grilled cheese. The recipe, derived from my grandmother, includes a lot of cheese sandwiched between sourdough bread; this bread is painted with butter and placed in a frying pan. It is delicious by itself, but when paired with tomato soup it rises to the elite level.

Finally, and I know this isn’t a meal, but it is the best dish made, maybe ever, is the sour cream and onion dip. Many friends can vouch for the deliciousness of this snack. I will not share the recipe, but trust me when I tell you it tastes like heaven.

All in all, although she hates cooking, and some dishes don’t quite hit the mark, I would say that my mother’s home cooking is something to be very proud of, and is even delicious at times.


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