“I think ‘lunch’ is one of the funniest words in the world.”

Today started out dark and rainy, but the sun and blue sky are making headway. The weatherman says warm, even into the 50’s for today, but the cold will be back tomorrow. The good news is we only have to suffer three days in the 30’s before the 50’s break through for a while. That sounds to me as if spring is getting a toehold. This morning I saw the yellow of a crocus poking up from my garden, and I stood there for a while taking in the color. It is so bright and beautiful against the drabness of the rest of the garden. Alexander Pope is right especially during this cusp between the spring and winter when it is neither, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”

I am at a loss for words today. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does I am easily distracted. I leave the computer and look out the front door, polish a table or clean the counter. All the while the keyboard sits undisturbed. I sift through my memory drawers hoping for inspiration but nothing captures my attention. It is just one of those days.

I was required to carry a green school bag in high school, the ones you sling and carry over your back. It always seemed heavy. The rubber inside used to split then peel off in pieces. That meant time for a new bag.

In high school, I bought my lunch then my friend and I volunteered to work dish patrol. That meant I didn’t have to pay for my lunch, but my mother still gave me lunch money. I’d use it to take the T to Harvard Square or for festivities at Brigham’s. That’s where we celebrated Mardi Gras. As for the school lunch, no matter what was served, the lunches always came with corn bread because the government gave free corn flour to the school. I still love corn bread. I think we got green beans more than any other vegetable. I don’t like green beans any more.

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16 Comments on ““I think ‘lunch’ is one of the funniest words in the world.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    We had probably the strongest storm so far this “winter” last night and a big part of today too. The wind roared insanely, my neighbor said his cottage trembled all night and I’m glad it did because it sheltered my home entierly so I just heard the noise. I have things that go bump in the night and had one of those moments last night. Not a bump really, more of a big bang.

    I had forgotten to take down the ladder I had put up for the chimney sweeper and the ladder went up in the air and hit my kitchen door just an inch from the window in it πŸ™‚

    I have only had cornbread when I’ve baked it myself and I always get it on the dry side. It tastes ok but dry bread is never fun πŸ™‚

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      My hint on the corn bread is add sour cream to the batter. You get the moistest, most delicious corn bread. I don’t remember how much, but if you want, I’ll hunt down the recipe.

      Wind does so much damage, and when it roars, it sound so frightening. You were very lucky your window didn’t break. When I know the wind is coming in the summer, I have to take down all the feeders, cover the downed umbrellas, and remove any decorations. It is a process.

      We are a hurricane area tough we have been quite lucky the last few years and haven’t had one. That wind is so loud and it whips everything.

      Have a great evening!

  2. Bob Says:

    At work every Thursday our resturaunt serves “Chicken Fried Steak”. It’s round steak that is pounded to tenderize it and breaded with flour and deep fried. It’s served with white cream gravy, mashed potatoes and usually green beans. You can feel your arteries clogging as you enjoy the flavors. Keeping awake after lunch is a chore. I can only enjoy it once or twice a month. It’s a Texas traditional dish.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I’ve had chicken fried steak. A few restaurants here serve it as well. At first I thought it really was chicken until I tasted it.

      I do love mashed potatoes!

    • im6 Says:

      Chicken fried steak isn’t just a Texas traditional dish — it’s Texas on a plate! And I really truly doubt what they serve in Massachusetts is anything close to what real, honest-to-goodness chicken fried steak tastes like. I’ve tried some of same-named dishes in northern states and it’s simply some third or fourth cousin — twice removed. Some restaurants here live and die by their CFS (and, to Bob’s point, I suspect the same of some of their diners — keep your fingers crossed that no such fate awaits me!). Something Bob failed to mention is the size of CFS lunches. Maybe it’s peer pressure, but restaurants seem to think it can’t leave the kitchen unless the steak covers 90% of the plate. They are huge — two, maybe three times the size of what should be considered a big portion. And leaving any leftovers is a serious breach of etiquette. A fairly recent phenomenon I’ve noticed since my return to the land of CFS and Tex-Mex is something called “chicken fried chicken.” An oxymoron if ever there was one. I think I now know what’s for dinner tonight…

      • katry Says:

        im6,
        You and Bob are most probably right. The gravy here isn’t as cloying, as thick, as in Texas and the meat definitely doesn’t cover the plate. Sausage and gravy is another dish imported here which doesn’t nearly match its original which I can’t even begin to imagine eating for breakfast. Gravy doesn’t belong on the breakfast menu.

        Yup, I live in the land of ersatz chicken fried steak.

      • flyboybob Says:

        I beg to disagree with my Texas friend that good Tex Mex and even CFS can be found in many northern cities. Many Texas chefs have ventured north to introduce the rest of the world to southwestern cuisine while charging premium prices. How else can you account for the fact that salsa now out sells ketchup nationally.

        Unfortunately, Chicken Fried steak has been cheapened, frozen and reformulated here in the Lone Star State by various chain restaurants and it’s getting hard to find the real stuff in big cities like Dallas or Houston. The real McCoy may only be available these days in small town dinners in places like Paris, Palestine, Stephenville or Hico. Yes, there are towns in Texas named Paris and Palestine.

        Check out the place before ordering for true authenticity. Does the dinner face the town square with a courthouse in the middle or is the restaurant out on the main highway and open 24/7? Are there lots of pickup trucks parked outside? These are sure signs that you may find a real CFS on the menu. When you enter a real Texas dinner look for how many of the other patrons are wearing cowboy boots, ten gallon hats or various agricultural company gimme caps. Does your waitress have a beehive hairdo and is she chewing gum while taking your order? If you order tea it only comes in a glass with ice either sweetened or unsweetened. Is there a juke box playing only Country music in the corner? If none of the above are observed, then you’re probably not getting a genuine Texas CFS.

        You may have actually had good CFS in Massachusetts. Don’t be fooled by imitations labeled ‘Country Fried Steak’. They usually a frozen veal cutlet with brown gravy on top. πŸ™

        Did the menu at the restaurant also offer other Texas staples such as meat loaf, corn bread, collard greens or pinto beans? Could you order breakfast anytime? Was there a bottle of genuine Tabasco sauce on the table? If so you may have discovered a true Texas cafe transplanted north of the Red River. πŸ™‚ If not take a trip on down and enjoy some genuine Texas Chicken Fried Steak. While you’re here find a good Barbecue joint and savor some brisket, ribs or sausage.

      • im6 Says:

        Flyboy Bob, please re-read my comments. Nowhere, no how, no way did I ever suggest you’d find true chicken fried steak (and, yeah, BLEECH to “country fried”) anywhere in the north. Just ain’t gonna happen. I’ve tried those “transplant” cafes up there and it’s just not the same. And you completely nailed the best joints for enjoying a CFS — except you forgot to mention the Chess, Coconut Cream, Pecan or Lemon Meringue pies lining the wall behind the COUNTER. Alas, I never have room for pie after I’ve eaten. Have to take a slice home to eat later. And, oh yes, how could you forget fried OKRA? (Whatever happened to real, FRESH blackeyed peas anyway?)

        Wish the Tip Top wasn’t so crowded on Saturday evenings!

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        I think there are some decent barbecue places around here, but I can’t think of too many which fit your criterion, and that’s sad as I would love an authentic spot with great southwestern food. There are few 24/7 places around here, and I know there aren’t all that many ten gallon hats. I think we are out of the CFS loop.

      • katry Says:

        im6,
        Nope-none of Bob’s criterion exist in a single place. Some places have one or two, and we even have country stations up here now, but it is Massachusetts, home of the cod. Lemon meringue we have but not chess pie. Other than myself, I don’t know anyone who eats okra. I didn’t even know it existed until I lived in Ghana. Black-eyed peas are never on my list. Those too were in Ghana, and that’s when I tasted and didn’t like them.

        I do love barbecue.

  3. im6 Says:

    Biscuits and gravy are the breakfast equivalent to CFS. And none of those canned biscuits, please!

    • katry Says:

      im6,
      I figured that out. I had it first in Colorado and that’s probably the last time too.

      • im6 Says:

        You just haven’t had GOOD biscuits and gravy, Kat. Maybe you have to grow up eating it to fully appreciate it. I’m sure there are New England dishes I wouldn’t enjoy. My mom made the best biscuits, but they were far from traditional. Really flat and dense sour dough biscuits which I’ve decided I MUST have for breakfast tomorrow. Will have to pick up a small carton of buttermilk while I’m out eating CFS later. I’m blaming my sudden weight gain on you and Bob.

      • katry Says:

        im6,
        My brother-in-law would claim the ones in Colorado are traditional. I did try them but can’t get over gravy for breakfast. You’re right-you have to grow up eating it.

        Sorry we got you going!

        Enjoy!!

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I think Brunch is my favorite word. Lunch is pedestrian. Brunch is ride in the limo to the 5 star restaurant. Brunch is real food and beverage disguised as breakfast.
    BTW, I make FABulous biscuits and gravy and I have never lived south of Boston.

    We didn’t get school lunch until I got into junior high. I still remember the day, in 7th grade, when they served us Stuffed Galumpkies. Lots of Italians and Irish in my town but very few Polish so this was alien food to us.
    The galumpkies looked like tiny cigars covered in sauce. I tried a bite because I was a polite child. Nope.
    Many cabbages were sacrificed in vain that day. πŸ™

    Early on Saturday morning, I was driving by the lake and saw a typical New England sight. It was about 40ΒΊF, cloudy and windy but this guy was walking his dog and he was wearing shorts and a sweatshirt and carrying a large iced coffee. Spring in Massachusetts.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I like brunch and enjoy going out for brunch. It does sound far classier than lunch which conjures thoughts of a sandwich.

      My elementary school had no cafeteria but my high school did so we could have hot lunches there. The elementary school was too old to have a car. In its early days most of the kids went home. My high school was only 1 year old when I went.

      Yup, that is definitely spring in Massachusetts, the home of hearty folk.


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