Friday, August 20, 2010

Flashback Friday # 10 ~ Food thoughts recalled

All about our extra curricula school activities is what Linda wanted from us this week. Well, I didn't participate in one after school activity because I had to hurry home and help with the farm chores.

I was in FFA, the Future Farmers of America, but that was all in class time stuff except for the fairs. I did get to go to Lincoln, Nebraska, as our weed seed judging contestant. I got the measles and was quarantined to my room instead of judging. Every boy with us got the measles including the teacher. (My sister is likely to tell me it was the chicken pox--it might have been.)

I also was in the high school play. There were only six in high school so the six 7th and 8th graders got to be in it too. I was the butler one year, I can't remember the other. But that was during school except THE night of the play.

As some of you know, I don't do this every Friday. And once I missed a biggie to me. That week was all about FOOD!! So since no extra curricular stuff I will do the FOOD instead. Linda asked several questions. Click her icon, right, if you want to read others or participate in this.

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It was a neat meme, neater than for the amount of time I have to write it. But I will jot a few notes in again in the format that seems to be easier and faster for me. I sure can't remember a lot of detail on some of what she asked but other parts I WILL NEVER FORGET.


So, here goes:

What were meals like when you were growing up? Did your mom (or dad) cook (and was it from scratch or from a box?) or did your family eat out much of the time?
Mom cooked most every meal we ate growing up. She was an old fashioned being-poor-living-on-the-farm housewife. That meant she was the cook as well as doing chores, managing the garden, and occasionally helping in the fields or with the animals.
So we had three meals and two lunches most every day of the year. I don't remember going out to eat until I was high school age. I do remember going into town once with Dad and sitting in a cafe drinking a coke. I don't know what the adults had but I doubt it was beer.

Did you eat together as a family or was everyone on a different schedule?
I cannot remember eating apart from my family. We had a time for each of our meals and everyone must be there or answer why not. The lunches we had where we could be found. Mom would bring it to us or give the lunch call if we were around the farmyard and not out in the field.

What did you call meals? (Dinner vs. supper, lunch, etc.)
Breakfast was our morning meal, right after Dad and I milked the cows and did a few more preliminary chores.
Dinner was at 12:00 noon without exception. Mom always made it by then and we were always there. Just like little piggies. We did not call the noon meal lunch because lunch for farmers is a between meal snack consisting of a sandwich, some chips, a desert and a piece of fruit.
Supper was at 6:00 plus or minus depending on farm activities. We generally stopped in the fields at dark and then after parking the equipment and milking the cows, supper.
Lunch was about 10:00 +/- in the morning, ofttimes out in the field. Mom would walk out or drive something. Our dog, Von (link), would accompany her. He had something in her basket just for him also.
Lunch again, a second one, was around three-thirty in the afternoon again. Since the temperature in the field had gone up there would be more ice drinks to cool us down. And some ice water to refill our jugs.

What were some of your favorite things that your parent fixed? What did you dislike and vow never to fix once you grew up?
Dad didn't fix anything really good. He could cook eggs and fried potatoes but even those weren't as tasty as Mom's.
Mom's meat loaf was the best. Almost to die for. My dad had a saying that would trouble Mom some: "I haven't eaten that good since the hogs ate my little brother." I never did understand that saying of his but it sure did not go over with Mother.
Everything that Mom made was good. The things that we had that weren't good must have been from a box.
Mom seemed to think that chocolate roll was my favorite food. It was a chocolate sponge cake rolled up with whip cream in the middle. Then it had the most delicious chocolate frosting all around everything that it wasn't sitting on. I remember that an ingredient in the frosting was brewed coffee. Chocolate roll may very well have been my favorite. Mrs. Jim can make a nice one now too!
I did not like spinach or oatmeal. To this day I do not eat oatmeal (porage). It has ALWAYS made me gag. I have learned to eat spinach and like it a lot.
I have also learned to like Southern food that I was not confronted with in Nebraska. Grits, red beans and rice (picture at the right, click on it for a larger size--traditionally it is eaten with cornbread but we didn't haven any on this day), black-eyed peas (let me tell the non-Southerners about those sometime--you might want to call them cow beans, greens, chillings, hog jowls, tails and ears, boudin, fried catfish, hush puppies, and the like. I still would not squirrel or possum.

Did your family have any food traditions, things that were a must on certain occasions (such as Sunday dinners or holiday meals)?
For one, we had mother-made fried chicken EVERY SUNDAY after church. Mom raised chickens, the roosters for a cash crop and then the hens for laying eggs for a weekly income. To this day I eat chicken with a fork and sure do not eat any holding with my fingers and eating 'off the bone.' Mrs. Jim sometimes 'picks' my bones yet now.
For Thanksgiving and Christmas, every year, we would go to my Grandpa and Grandma H's for dinner. I cannot remember any of the four brothers going to their wives parents for those two days.
My favorite food on Thanksgiving and for Christmas dinners was my grandmother's scalloped oysters. Oysters were a delicacy in Nebraska but she always had some. Of course they were blessed with money than my parents or two of my uncles and family, Uncle Howard (link) and Uncle Chester. Dad and these two of his brothers share cropped from Grandpa and he got half of everything they made. Of course he shared in half the costs of farm supplies, etc. But Grandpa owned the land.
One other dish was special. Almost every time that my brother-in-law, Jim W, would come for the weekend Mom would make him a pork roast. I always considered that special treatment but then he is sort of special, I guess.
Did your parents teach you to cook or did you wing it once you were grown?
Mom would not want me near HER kitchen. She did teach my sister a little bit but mostly Lois learned from 4-H and from home economics courses in high school.
I learned to cook pretty good during my bachelor years between marriages. My specialty was pizza. The kids always asked for that. They did not ask for my other special dish, either tomato soup or split pea soup with sauteed onions and cut up hot dogs. Anyone who can read can learn to cook from a Betty Crocker Cook Book. Get the 'original' edition.
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How similar or different are your family's eating habits today than when you grew up?
They are about the same without the lunch. Mrs. Jim is an excellent cook. But our meals are whenever we feel like having them. It was that way even before we were retired.
Tonight (Thursday) she made me mussels (moules) marinieres. Link here but she used a different recipe given to her by a friend. I helped her some in the cooking process. We had gotten a little over a pound of live mussels. Upon doing the steaming part, every opened. That meant that not one was dead even though we did have them on ice overnight in the refrigerator.


On the left is what is left of my mussels. I had forgotten to take the picture. I have read, and it works pretty good, to take the mussel meat out of the shells with one half side from an already eaten mussel for the rest. On the right is our pasta using the leftover homemade marinieres sause as a base and then adding some shrimp.
Now we eat out quite a bit too. Either at fast food or plain people restaurants will do just fine.

Every Sunday Mrs. Jim's Sunday school class eats and of course we both go for that. My favorite is Joe's Pizza and Pasta Place in Conroe, Texas. That is followed by Willie's Grill & Icehouse in the Woodlands (link). I generally have a fried shrimp poboy and their delicious fried onion rings. Unless we are really hungry we can split this order each of us having a Diet Coke and we will have plenty.

Now with my low fat-low cholesterol eating plan most of my onion rings are raw. But not at Willie's. Everything we have heard about at Willie's is excellent. Several of our friends generally order a hamburger (they are LARGE). Sometime we will do that and probably split it.

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Comments:
Looks like our families did about the same thing in terms of eating at home all the time. It was considered wasteful to eat out as it was so expensive. Well compared of what you raised on the farm.

Nice walk down memory lane. Thanks.

Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)
 
Great memories!
 
I'm glad you posted about the food.

I can't imagine eating that much, but I don't work as hard and burn as many calories as farm folks!

The mussels gave me a shiver.
 
You know, as I've grown up and moved around I've grown a little more sophisticated about food. I learned to like southern cooking, southwestern cooking, Ethiopian food, Indian food, etc., but sometimes I still want a tenderloin sandwich from the Hy-Vee or a pan of my mother's son-of-a-gun. Midwestern fare grows its roots deep, doesn't it?
 
Your memories remind me so much of my time spent at my grandparents house--my favorite childhood memories! Those were the days!!!
My grandmother was just like your mom was--she did a little bit of everything, from housework to field work. I think most women did back then.
I miss grandma's cooking so much! She had a little "pie safe" that she kept her left-overs in. Thanks for writing that food post, I really enjoyed it!
PS--The measles thing sounded about like my luck would've been...
 
Fun to think back and remember. I love the blue and white bowl that soup is in...but that is probably no surprise!
 
Yes, that was measles. Then, you gave them to me. Dad gave us the mumps. After you left home and Mom didn't raise as many chickens, we had roast beef cooked with potatoes & carrots. When we would come on Sunday with our kids, Mom always had corn, too. Brian & Barb would always bet that would be what was for Sunday dinner, and it was. And so good. Mom cooked that for just them most Sundays, too.
 
This was so much fun to read, Jim. People's food rituals are fascinating.
 
I enjoyed the distinction between lunch and dinner. It seems to me that many of us eat the same thing for lunch (at noon) as you ate for lunch (in the fields). The only difference is that we sit on our bums all day (generally with a bag of some sort of snack food handy) and then have our lunch--while you worked hard in the fields and only ate when the lunch came out.

I tend to wax nostalgic for the days when meals were meals and everyone sat down to eat together. This grazing stuff just doesn't work quite so well.
 
Dear Jim,
I'm glad to learn that Mrs. Jim is back again.
That must meann a lot to your Sunday dinners!!

Funny reading about your growing up food habits.
They were much similar to the ones I know from our holidays on my grandparents' farm.
Hard physical work simply craved often intake of lots of calories.
Diabetes patiens of today get a similar prescription. 6 SMALL meals a day.
To keep the blood sugar levels constant.
I remember that did helpmy father's migraine problems as well.
He would tell my aunt, "If I don't get anything to eat now, I'll have to leave".
My aunt would of course hurry to the kitchen and make him plain open sandwiches and milk.

Maybe this is the key to a healthier living.
Regular meals and ditto rest and sleep.
On the old farms the farmer himself would always take a nap after dinner.
(I remember my aunt resting under the kitchen table after having done the washing up after dinner.
Shocking details!!)
Have a great Canadian in between vacations stay.
Are you seeing My Terry??
 

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