Childhood Pictures and Sloppy Joes

Parents take a lot of pictures. However, they don’t always realize how embarrassing those can be.

As a kid, my father must have kept every photography store in business in Michigan and New Jersey. There are hundreds of hours of video tape of me crawling around naked in our living room. And I’m not kidding- HUNDREDS of hours. It might have been cute to watch 30 seconds of this footage, but not 300 hours.

There are also pictures. And boy, are there some bad ones.

My parents had taken lamaze classes with the neighbor family four houses down the street, and thus their son and I were destined to become friends (or at least for the first four years until they moved). We did everything together, which my father proudly documented.

Including taking baths.

The most infamous is simply known as the “bath picture,” even though there are two different ones. Both pictures feature my friend the neighbor boy, his 2-year-old sister, and me (we were both about 3 years old at the time). I at least had the sense of decency to try to cover up in one of the pictures with a washcloth, but I failed miserably in that quest.

My brothers first found the picture when I was 10 or 12 years old, and obviously loved teasing me about how naughty I was for being naked with a boy at the young age of 3. (They were the fortunate ones- my father had finally realized by the time they were born that it wasn’t quite necessary to document EVERYTHING). My mother and I kept trying to hide the pictures, but my brothers would always find them and show them to anyone who would look while snickering endlessly.

The true highlight of the story, though, is that I didn’t see my former neighbor for 18 years after they moved, and then we ended up attending the same medical school. And the first thing he said to me after not seeing each other for all that time?

“So, do your siblings tease you endlessly to this day about that bath picture, too?”

That’s right, after 18 years, the first thing he brought up was a naked picture of the two of us. Like I said, some things will always come back to haunt you.

All Grown Up Spicy Sloppy Joes

much better than man’wich


  • 1 lb lean ground meat (you can substitute with 2 14-oz cans black beans for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 c salsa (I prefer hot, but use whatever you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 c tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hamburger buns (I prefer whole wheat)
  • Cheese of your choice, if desired


  1. In a large skillet, saute together ground meat (I normally prefer lean ground turkey), onion, and bell pepper over medium heat. If making these vegetarian and using black beans instead, saute the beans (rinsed and drained) with the bell pepper and onion in 2 tbsp olive oil.
  2. When meat is brown and veggies are soft, remove from heat and drain off any grease. If using black beans, saute until veggies are soft and beans are warmed through.
  3. Return to medium heat and stir in garlic powder, salsa, worchestershire sauce, chili powder, and tomato sauce. If mixture is still too thick, add 1/4 cup water. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes for the flavors to develop.
  4. Serve on your favorite buns (I prefer to serve these open face on toasted whole-wheat buns) and cheese if desired.

46 thoughts on “Childhood Pictures and Sloppy Joes

  1. I just posted a recipe for my sloppy joes on my blog a few days ago, but yours sounds even better. I hadn’t thought to add some salsa to it. Thanks!

  2. Great story … we have bath pictures of our boys as well. They regularly come up in conversation and probably will continue to do so for years to come.

  3. haha … excellent! parents do the darndest things!

  4. Love this recipe! And a great post 🙂

  5. And you’re meant to be grateful for the photos. Younger siblings actually get jealous (there aren’t as many photos of them) !. Great recipe.

    1. I really don’t think they’re jealous over how all of mine are of me naked in unflattering positions 😉

      1. True – mind would torture me without compassion too. xx

  6. I think so many of us can relate to your story in some form or another. By the way, thank you so much for the follow. I just started my blog early last week and it’s been the best fun so far. I like the way you write…great style and humour. I’ve put sloppy joes on the menu for one night this week 🙂

  7. I protested having to take a shower with a girl when I was 10 and she was 12 and she was allowed to keep her togs (swim wear) on but I had to be naked. I never understood why my Mum insisted. Fortunately no photographs were taken.

  8. Sloppy joes sound delicious. I always just make them with the canned stuff but this sounds so much better! Thanks

  9. I like the salsa in the sloppy Joes. As a parent, we do have those kinds of photos and video that our kids sure would find embarrasing now that they are in their 20’s. Good blackmail material.

  10. Of all the med schools in the world, he had to go to yours!

  11. I like your style of a story with a recipe. Thanks for following me. Should be good getting to know each other! Terri

  12. I use vegetarian “hamburger” to make spaghetti sauce and I think I could use it with this recipe as well. I am going to try it and will let you know how it works. My grandson who is 8 is vegetarian so I am always looking for vegetarian ways to make typical food.

  13. Thanks for a great post … sloppy joes, only heard off – never met one – until now. Looks the business. No .. bath pictures with boys for me .. not as a child anyhow. *smile

  14. That is the funniest thing ever, my nightmare was a video of my mom and I, she was removing the ring in my hand that had become too tight, and I was crying because I didnt want it removed because it was from my crush… I mean, thats just the most embarrassing thing ever!

  15. Wandering Voiceless April 15, 2012 — 1:40 am

    Oh come on… you’re not going to share the pic with us?! I’m so disappointed. I, too, have a bath pic or two roaming around somewhere. Pretty sure we took similar of our children as well… I think it’s a parental tradition. Oh, and great recipe, can’t wait to fool around with it. :>

    1. I’m pretty confident that his wife would kill me if I posted that picture 😉

      1. Wandering Voiceless April 16, 2012 — 12:59 am

        :> True that.

  16. I can really relate to your story, my parents had the urge to document everything too and I have to say there are some really embaressing ones there
    Thank you for stopping by my blog and following so that I can discover yours

  17. As my now grown daughter say – you don’t need to bring the latest boyfriend home to be embarrassed, when your mother can just put all your embarrassing photos on facebook 🙂 I have to get my own back some how.

  18. Aw geez, that just sounds so awkward! I have bath pictures too but fortunately I’m alone 😛

  19. This was a standard growing up but haven’t eaten one in fifty years, maybe it is time!

  20. hi, follow u 😉
    interesting recipe!

  21. That was funny story….its true how pix can come back to haunt. I have a friend who does the same thing to me .The funny thing is i still have the pix of her when she was 60 lbs lighter.You have given me the inspiration to share THOSE pix with the world.tee hee hee.

  22. Hi, I just thought I’d drop by and let you know I’ve nominated you for one of those Liebster awards. I don’t know if you’ve heard of them (I hadn’t really) and it might seem a bit silly, but I do enjoy reading your blog and at the very least I thought I’d let you know. Food + a story is a great combination!

  23. The sloppy joes sound delicous, I will just skip the bun. I might have to make some tomorrow now.

  24. I was the youngest – there were not that many pictures of me other than school pictures. But I have the bathtub pics of my adult daughter lying in wait;)

  25. This looks yum! Except I thought I saw little chunks of pumpkin… yum! Might have to try this and adapt it :o)

    1. I think those were the orange bell peppers I used, but adding in chunks of pumpkin sounds like a great addition!

  26. My brother and I have a bath picture. It’s not too bad. My brother is laying on his tummy, so you just see his tushie, and I had the foresight at 3 to put the washcloth over the front of me.

    Those sloppy joes sound good! Am I the only one who calls the “steamers”?

    1. I’ve never heard them called that before!

  27. Sloppy Joes have always been one of my favorite comfort foods. There is just something about a meal that has the ability to destroy every article of clothing you are wearing that brings the childlike spirit flowing right back into you.

    1. I’m a big fan of anything that requires a napkin 🙂

  28. I go to imaginative ends to avoid cooking, but your charming stories before the recipes keep me around. And speaking of stories… what a cute intro for a chic lit comedy/romance book. Just an idea… 🙂

    1. Well I’ll know where to start if I ever have some spare time… 😉

  29. I am loving the recipe…and I do share the pain of the above article!

  30. I love your adult version of sloppy joes. I hated the school man’wich kind. 😉

  31. I like the stories you add with the recipes. It makes for more entertaining reading than…and the next step is.

  32. yummo sloppy joes! You just brought me back to my child hood 😀 my mom made the best ones. I’m defiently going to make some soon seeing your post mmmm! LOL!

  33. So I really want to try the sloppy joes with black beans so soon! I’m so glad to have discovered your site from your follow! My niece is in the final throes (mcats in three weeks, application nearly final). It is not an easy process, and your stories make med school look both challenging and so rewarding. I look forward to sharing your tales with her when she emerges from focus mode! In the meantime will make her some of your gorgeous food! Thank you!

  34. These look amazing! Im a vegetarian and miss hamburgers and tacos and sloppy joes, so I love the vegetarian option 🙂

    1. I have quite a few vegetarian friends (and I used to be a vegetarian myself), so I’m always looking for those options. 🙂

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