“A clever cook can make good meat of a whetstone.”

The rain continues. It stopped yesterday for most of the day, but the sky never cleared and the dampness never went away. I don’t know when the rain started up again last night, but it was steady when I woke up. I could hear it falling on the roof. I thought my bed perfectly cozy, but I reluctantly got up, dragged myself downstairs, made coffee and went outside to get the papers.

Yesterday I went to pick up a few things at the store, and that was my singular accomplishment for the entire day. I didn’t even make my bed. The animals got fed, and I had hummus for lunch and an egg sandwich for dinner so none of us starved.

When I was growing up, Sunday dinner was always the highlight of the week as it was the one meal when roast beef might just be the main course. The rest of the week was chicken or hamburger and the hot dogs I mentioned yesterday. My mother was a whiz at hamburger. She cooked it so many different ways. Her American chop suey was a favorite as was her hamburger with bean sprouts and soy sauce served over chow mein noodles. I don’t think that dish has a name. We always thought it was Chinese food. My mother made the best meat loaf, and we loved it frosted with mashed potatoes which were then browned in the oven. Other times she’d put ketchup and then bacon on the top. She had to make sure there was enough bacon for all of us or a fight would ensue, one of yelling not punching. We ate a lot of hamburger, a cheap way to feed 4 kids, but we never realized how often. All the meals seemed different and they were our favorites.

No meal, according to my father, was complete without potatoes, usually mashed potatoes, though once in a while my mother would bake them, but because we didn’t like the skins, we only dug a little so most times we left a lot of potato behind. My favorite was the mashed potatoes with peas as the vegetable. I tolerated wax and yellow beans, French green beans and carrots.

When I was leaving for Peace Corps training, my mother asked me what I’d like for our last meal together for a long while. I asked for roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes and peas, a Sunday dinner, a family dinner.

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14 Comments on ““A clever cook can make good meat of a whetstone.””

  1. Peter T Says:

    You ate well Kat. Not sure about now. You sound just like me.

  2. im6 Says:

    Feeling old today when I discovered who was having a birthday. Happy #77 to an artist who surely must be considered the Sinatra of his generation. Ashamed to admit I forget about him and his considerable talents. So many wonderful tunes to choose from, but I don’t know of any about food so decided to share his first — and possibly best — make out song:

    • im6,
      It was my mother I have to thank for introducing me to Johnny Mathis.

      You have chosen well, but I think my favorite is The Twelfth of Never, but then I suppose I could choose three or four others as well.

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My mother made some weird meals. The weirdest one consisted of kidneys in flour-based gravy with some cheerio-shaped pasta floating along with them. We were supposed to eat it on buttered bread. Needless to say we very often didn’t eat it at all. Wednesday was the day before payday and kidneys were cheap so that was usually the day for kidneys.
    The only part of baked potatoes that I like is the skins and I can scrape the middles out so that you would think they never had any. I used to trade my potato middles for my brothers’ potato skins because they didn’t like them either.
    It’s raining buckets here and it’s cold. The heat came on twice last night and it’s set low. I guess it’s time to get out the warmer clothing. πŸ™
    Enjoy the day, inside keeping warm. It’s a day for being on the couch with a good book and a warm dog.

    • Hi Caryn,
      I don’t think my mother even served kidneys. The idea of eating them sort of repulses me. I can choke liver down, but that’s about it.

      It was funny when I got older to see potato skins on menus as appetizers considering my childhood dislike. When I got older, I always ate them though they took second to the potato itself. Your brother must have thought that a great trade!

      It’s warm here now that the rain has finally stopped. The sun came out for an hour or son but then was gone behind the clouds which reappeared.

      I was ambitious today. I’m going to my friends’ house for dinner and to see The Amazing Race, and I said I’d bring dessert so I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

  4. Bob Says:

    The first thing I would give up if I were living alone is making the bed. When you climb back in at night it will only get messed up again. Things our mother’s made us do last for the rest of our lives even if they don’t make any sense. πŸ™‚

    My dad never thought that a meal was complete without a salad. He read somewhere that there was an epidemic of pellagra in the South due to a vitamin deficiency and requested that my mother serve a tossed salad before every meal, except breakfast, as is the custom in the South. Later I discovered that his father hated raw vegetables. If my grandmother tried to serve him a salad he would ask her if she thought he was a horse. I think that the American tradition of meat and potatoes came from the Irish immigrants who arrived here in the late 1800s due to the great potato famine in Ireland.

    When I was a kid my mother cooked roast beef at least once a week but not always on Sundays. My dad liked his beef cooked medium rare. She was not that imaginative with chopped meat. It appeared as hamburger, meatloaf or in spaghetti sauce. My favorite vegetables then and today are corn, especially on the cob, brussels sprouts and broccoli. Both of my grandmothers cooked meat until it resembled the sole of a shoe. Well done to them was cooked to death. ;_(

    • Bob,
      I like the way my room looks with the bed made so I usually make it unless I have decided on a sloth day.

      We never had salads as part of the meal, not even when we were adults. My mother made potato salad in the summer and sandwich salads like egg and tuna but never one with raw vegetables. I like a salad but only every now and then.

      You got me curious about the Irish and their food so I went hunting:

  5. olof1 Says:

    We’ve had a very nice autumn day here today even though it started with heavy rain.

    I can’t remember much of our Sunday dinners here at home, I think I have suppressed those memories πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ My mother has never been much of a cook πŸ™‚ But I know she loved mashed turnip with knuckle of pork so I guess we had that. I refuse to eat that now days πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    But I do remember her mothers Sunday dinners with a warm feeling in my heart πŸ™‚ Her stuffed cabbage was something the entire family loved and many times we had porter steak, always cooked potatoes almost never mashed. Baked potatoes came in to my life rather late, I think I was at least twenty five the first time I ate that.

    Weekday dinners could be anything like fish buns, hamburgers with lots of fried onions, spaghetti with my mothers attempts to make spaghetti sauce πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Well it was edible but I do remember the first time I actually ate a good one πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    I have a bread in the oven and it’s the first time this season I bake in the fire heated stove and I’m trying to figure out if it is ready or not πŸ™‚ I think the oven is a bit to hot so it will have a rather dark brown crust before it’s ready πŸ™‚

    Have a great day!

    • minicapt Says:

      Pull it out of the oven at the appointed hour and put it outside to cool. If, when you return thirty minutes later, the loaf has not been consumed by the local wildlife, then you did something wrong.


    • Christer,
      I’ve never had knuckle of pork, but I do like turnip. I don’t eat them often enough.

      My grandmother always had a pot of spaghetti on the stove as there were so many of us visiting her. My other grandmother was bad cook but we didn’t really go there too often.I don’t remember when I first had a baked potato but I was still a kid that much I remember.

      I love bread made fresh, but I don’t often make it. Today I did make cookies, pumpkin chocolate chip, and they were delicious.

  6. minicapt Says:

    Whetstone? Bad for the teeth; too gritty.


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