I grew up at a time, when kids in other countries were starving.
This was always the reason why I was never allowed to waste food.
At least that was the story, and my dad was sticking to it!
He was also a firm believer in “waste not, want not”.
It wasn’t until after we had been married a while and we had gone out on a date that I said to Dean, “This tastes awful!” He looked at me and said, “You don’t have to eat it.”
It was so obvious to him.
It was a news flash to me.
That was the first time in my whole life that someone finally gave me permission NOT to eat everything on my plate. (Not that it stuck)
Now in my house, my mom was the queen of the kitchen.
Would you like a nuked bologna sandwich that is burnt on the edges yet still frozen in the middle? Tada!
How about liver and onions that are black on one side accompanied by “blackened”onions? Done!
I was probably the only kid that was excited to have the Tater Tot Casserole on the school lunch menu.
Now if I say Tator Tot Casserole, most of you picture the perfectly browned tater tots on top of a bubbly casserole.
Ours went like this.
Frozen french fries on the top that were broiled, so that they had a nice black coating on the top, yet they were still frozen inside. (Why someone didn’t introduce her to Baked Alaska, I don’t know.)
The filling of the casserole, the soup and the frozen vegetables inside of the casserole, were usually lukewarm at best.
My poor dad.
He’d sit down at the table, say grace and then dig in.
He never complained.
My sister and I would.
He’d reach under the table and pinch us and shake his head.
Sometimes he did have pity on us.
If we had a burnt piece of meat on our plate, he’d wait until my mom stepped away from the table and then he would snatch the burn offering off of our plate onto his own so that we could leave the table.
This didn’t happen often, the guy could only take so much.
Now baking was another issue.
THAT she could do.
Cinnamon rolls, to die for.
Cheese cake? You bet!
Any kind of cake or bars, she had that.
For obvious reasons, my favorite was a Bishops Pie. (There was no cooking involved)
Now if you asked for bacon and eggs you would have black bacon and runny eggs.
There was something she loved about the broiler in the oven.
Now Dean’s dad was the opposite.
He cooked his bacon like I did after we were married, just warmed up and wiggly.
We compared notes and realized that if we could get a mix of his dad and my mom cooking bacon, we’d have the perfect combination.
Dean finally mastered that one.
My mom, bless her heart, she tried.
Now canning our fruit and vegetables each year, THAT she could do.
She made the best grape juice and bread and butter pickles.
Freezing food from the garden?
I suppose this is why we loved the Sunday dinner.
It was the weekly pot roast, potatoes and carrots.
Hard to mess that up, unless church ran late.
Those were my favorite meals.
I could never figure out why my kids didn’t enjoy it.
Now that I think about it, it’s because from a young age, I had them in the kitchen with me, cooking.
For my boys, it was self defense.
I found out early that if you didn’t keep the boys busy, they would be wrestling each other. So they also learned to cook.
Eventually, by the time the oldest had mastered the kitchen and then her brothers after her, we had 6 kids at home.
We had 6 kids in a house on ¾ lot, on a main street. So there wasn’t a yard to play in much.
The kitchen and chores around the house became the only thing I could find for them to do after finishing their school work.
As a result, all of the kids can cook up a storm, better than grandma.
Or their mom for that matter.
One of the girls turned into an awesome baker. She was the one I’d turn to and say, “Hey, would you make a Boston Cream Cake?”
Most of the time she had no idea what it even was. She’d look it up and do it, to perfection.
She was the one that made the first Tiramisu that I had ever eaten, and to this day, I still measure all Tiramisu by hers, and so far, none have mastered it.
The rest of the kids were all meat and potato type cooks.
I decided when they were young, they would never have to clean their plate.
I’d never make them eat burnt food, or broiled/frozen food.
The most amazing thing to me, is that they all cook so well.
I’ve seen the daughter in laws thank their hubbies on Facebook for the great meals. (You’re welcome ladies) and I know my sons in laws won’t be going hungry.
But I have to admit, when we went out tonight and the chef served our appetizer, it made me think of mom, in a fond way.