‘Revisited’: Favorite recipes from Baby Boomers

by Don Bingham

It’s always delightful to recall those favorite dishes we enjoyed while growing up, those family productions that appeared on a regular basis for our daily menus and the ones that have survived the test of time for our enjoyment today!

The recipes are like traditions – they may be affected by customs or stories that have been handed down from generation to generation. Our family list is so expansive that we have produced many different cookbook collections over the years.

Among my memories growing up in the South are the dishes my mom would prepare that seemed consistent, always served in the same dish that had become conditioned to house that particular creation, and of course, it had to be cooked in the same skillet. The process of all-day canning and the aromas that accompanied this process were all factors in shaping the handed down recipes in order to create the same experience.

Every cook has his or her own “claim to fame” recipe! My mother-in-law was all about shrimp, from peel-and-eat shrimp to incredible shrimp boils.

My mom did coconut cake for every vacation we took. The cake was meticulously placed in the trunk of the car and at intervals between here and Panama City, Fla., the scrumptious cake was removed from the trunk and devoured! We mostly took winter vacations, so refrigeration was not an issue. Oh, the memories of that cake. 

As time moves forward, good food and good company are still the favorite pastimes most often enjoyed by all. The chefs at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion are champions at taking the old standard favorites and giving them a slight twist for all to enjoy.

One of my favorite one-liners is “Everything old is new again,” and that opens up a new version of those dishes we all cherish and find such comfort in enjoying. We had a grand time in a “think tank discussion” of some recipes we have updated!

Almost every “tried and true” favorite can use an occasional facelift! Be creative and enjoy a flash back from your culinary past!
Mom’s Favorite Meatloaf

Who said meatloaf had to be served “pate style,” perfectly sliced and sometimes falling apart? Why not place the meatloaf in paper cupcake rings, bake, top with piped out mashed potatoes, sprinkled with a dusting of grated cheddar and paprika!


1 pound lean ground beef
2 slices white bread crumbs

Combine in blender:
4 ounces onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 to 2 tablespoons water (as needed for consistency)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons ketchup
Topping: Cornflake crumbs.

Combine all ingredients except cornflake crumbs. Cover with cornflake crumbs prior to baking. Place in baking dish in meat loaf form. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour. For variation, an indentation may be made down the middle of the loaf and ketchup poured into it.
Calories: 120 per serving.
Yield: 4 (4 ounce) servings.

Banana Pudding

More than just a dessert, this pudding represents a way of life – a mother’s touch.
Did you know that Banana Pudding will freeze? Make your favorite Baby Boomer recipe and place in Popsicle trays with sticks inserted. Great treat!

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
Pinch salt
3 cups milk
8 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 12-ounce box vanilla wafers
8 bananas, sliced
8 egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar

To make the custard, mix together the 1 cup of sugar, the flour and salt in a bowl. Pour the milk into a heavy saucepan and add the dry ingredients. Heat. Beat the egg yolks. Pour some of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks and beat briefly, then add the egg yolk mixture to the base mixture in the saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly, and cook slowly until just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful that the mixture doesn’t scorch. Add the vanilla, remove from heat, and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the top.

Line the bottom and sides of a 9 ½ by 12 ½ inch baking pan with vanilla wafers. Put a layer of bananas, then a layer of wafers in the dish until you have used all the wafers and bananas. Then pour in the custard, completely covering the bananas and wafers.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Spread the meringue fully over the top of the pudding, then bake until browned, about 15-20 minutes.
Serves 10.

Potato Salad

Make a showstopper potato salad by adding pepperoni, crumbled fried bacon, even diced ham and forming the thick potato salad into a layered cake, frosted with unsweetened cream cheese, appointed with garden flowers and herbs. Serve with wonderful bread sticks fresh from the oven!

6 medium potatoes
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 ribs celery, chopped
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup sweet pickle salad cubes
1 (2 oz.) jar chopped pimientos, drained
Salt and pepper
Seasoned salt and celery salt to taste
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/2 capful apple cider vinegar

Boil potatoes, drain, peel and cut into cubes. Mix with onion, celery, eggs, salad cubes, pimientos and seasonings. Let sit 45 to 60 minutes. Mix in mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. (Tastes great the next day.)
Serves at least 10 to 12.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? We are going to re-invent it by using our favorite mac and cheese recipe, layering it with taco meat, serving it from a mug and a side of avocado salad. 

2 cups cottage cheese
1 (8 oz.) ctn. sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (8 oz.) pkg. macaroni, cooked and drained
3/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine cottage cheese, sour cream, egg, salt, pepper and shredded cheese. Stir until well blended. Add cooked macaroni and stir thoroughly. Pour mixture into a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle lightly with paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Serves 10.


Recognized throughout the state as an accomplished chef, Don Bingham has authored cookbooks, presented television programs and planned elaborate events. Today, he is the administrator for the Governor’s Mansion.


Don Bingham
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