“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.”

Yesterday it was a joy to be out and about doing errands. I think I smiled the whole time. The day was brilliant with a bright sun and a temperature in the high 60’s. Poor Gracie had to be left home as I had too many long stop errands and didn’t want her stuck in the car in the heat. This time of year she comes when I go to the dump or take a ride. She was out in the yard most of the afternoon and spent part of it stretched on the deck enjoying the sun.

For breakfast when I was a kid, I had cocoa, oatmeal or eggs and toast during the winter, and in the summer I had cereal or toast with juice or milk. For lunch it was mostly a bologna sandwich. I was never good at slicing the bologna so my sandwich was always misshapen. Some of the bologna pieces had thick edges on one side and thin on the other. I added hot peppers from a jar and yellow mustard. Dinner was my mother’s choice. She knew what we’d tolerate and served it. Mashed potatoes were almost always part of the meal, and there was at least one vegetable. Hamburger in a variety of dishes was the most common meat. I didn’t realize why until I was older. Hamburger was inexpensive. My mother was creative. She made terrific meatloaves. She also cooked American chop suey without the onions and a Chinese dish with bean sprouts, water chestnuts, hamburger and crispy chow mein sticks on the top. Salisbury steak in gravy was another meal. Just plain hamburgers were mostly summer fare with hotdogs cooked on the grill. Sunday was the big dinner and we never had hamburger. Mostly it was a baked chicken or now and then roast beef. The last Sunday dinner I had before I went into the Peace Corps was roast beef, mashed potatoes and peas.

In Ghana I was still a creature of habit when it came to food. I had two eggs, toast and coffee for breakfast, fruit for lunch and beef and yam for dinner. I’d also have chicken now and then. Sunday was food from a chop bar, a hole in the wall eatery at the lorry park. Mostly it was fufu and soup. After the Christmas package came, Sunday was eat something from home day. Macaroni and cheese was a dish fit for the Gods.

I hadn’t good at making meals. I’m far too lazy. I’d have brie and crackers for dinner or eggs and toast. Lately, though, I’ve been using meat from the freezer and have had real meals: chicken thighs, mashed potatoes and a vegetable. Last night it was my old stand-by, peas, and a baked potato for variety. Dinner was delicious, and I felt accomplished.

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14 Comments on ““Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.””

  1. morpfy Says:

    Scalloped Apples With Raisins


    2 Cans Apple Slices — (20 Oz) Drained
    1/4 Cup Raisins
    1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
    1/4 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
    2 Tbsp Flour
    1/8 Tsp Salt
    1/4 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
    1/3 Tsp Ground Cloves
    3 Tbsp Chilled Butter — Cut In Small Pieces
    Vanilla Ice Cream — Optional


    Prepare a medium fire in the barbeque.
    In a large bowl,toss apples with raisins and lemon juice.
    Place apple slices on a double thickness of 18-inch square heay duty aluminum foil.
    In a small bowl,combine brown sugar,flour,salt,cinnamon,cloves and butter;
    sprinkle over apple mixture.fold edges over and crimp to seal.
    Place foil package on a grill set 4 to 6 inches from coals.
    Cook,turning over once or twice, until heated througho, about 20 to 30 minutes.
    Serve over ice cream if desired.
    This is delicious over ice cream or simply served on its own.

    Yield: 6 servings

    • katry Says:

      This is such a great recipe for fall and perfect for the grill! I’ve copied it for my files!

  2. morpfy Says:

    Chicken Divan Casserole

    1 large bunch of broccoli, trimmed and cut into 4-inch long spears
    1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    2 cups chicken broth
    1/2 cup well-chilled heavy cream
    3 tablespoons medium-dry Sherry
    Fresh lemon juice to taste
    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
    2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts(about 1-1/2 pounds total),cooked and sliced thin

    In a large saucepan of boiling salted water cook the broccoli for 6 to 8 minutes,or until it is just tender, drain it well, and keep it warm.
    In a heavy saucepan melt the butter over moderately low heat,add the flour,and cook the roux, stirring, for 3 minutes.
    Add the broth,stirring,bring the mixture to a boil,stirring, and simmer it,stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
    Reduce the heat to low and cook the mixture,stirring,for 10 minutes.
    In a bowl beat the cream until it holds stiff peaks,fold it,the Sherry,and the lemon juice into the sauce, and season the sauce with salt and pepper.

    Arrange the broccoli on a flameproof platter or in a 2-quart gratin dish and pour half the sauce over it.
    Stir 1/4 cup of the Parmesan into the remaining sauce.
    Arrange the chicken on the broccoli,pour the remaining sauce over it,and sprinkle the mixture with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
    Broil the mixture under a preheated broiler about 6 inches from the heat for 1 minute, or until the sauce is golden and bubbling.

    Yield: 6 servings

    • katry Says:

      Now that I’m on a chicken kick this is a good one to ry. I don’t think I have ever made it.

  3. olof1 Says:

    I’m trying to remember what we usually had for dinner when I grew up. It had to be easy and fairly quick to do, my mother neither had the interest or knowledge to make food 🙂 🙂 🙂 I do remember hamburgers and all kinds of sausages and potatoes to every dinner unless we had spaghetti Bolognese of course. Lots of mashed turnips with pork knockles. Too often because I really can’t stand that to this day 🙂

    Cocoa or milk for breakfast and usually porridge or sandwiches. Corn flakes was an alternative sometimes but she didn’t like us kids to have those sugary serials that still hangs around, she always said it was bad for both our teeth and stomachs and how true she was.

    Warmer here today even if it felt colder. Clouds covered the sky most parts of the day but it showed itself asgin before it went down so the evening was rather pleasnt.

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      Hi Christer,
      I love turnips now, never did when I was a kid. I don’t think stores even sell pig knuckles here. My father was a meat and potatoes man so that’s why we had them for supper most evenings. None of us minded.

      Never porridge though oatmeal, the old kind, is similar. We had Rice Krispies or Cheerios, neither of which is pre-sugared.

      It was another great day today with a temp. in the mid 60’s. We also had the sun all day long.

      Have a great evening!

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    It was oatmeal or (blech) cream of wheat for breakfast in winter. Sometimes we got eggs, bacon and toast. Summer was cereal with the cream skimmed off the milk (unless we kids had gotten to it first and shaken it all together). Lunch was bologna sandwiches, sometimes with cheese and always with Miracle Whip. Love it. 😀
    Dinner was variable. Always hot dogs and beans on Saturday. Wednesdays were difficult because it was the day before payday. Dinner would be something really cheap and truly horrifying to a young palate. Sometimes it was kidneys in gravy with some weird round pasta things floating in it and it was served on potatoes or buttered bread. I horrified my brother this past Easter by recalling this particular meal. He had managed to forget it. Not anymore. 🙂
    Sometimes dinner was chicken croquettes (not homemade) served with canned spinach which none of us would eat. We always got the lecture about starving children in China. We never told my mother to send it to them because my father was usually there and he wouldn’t have let that one go without a smack down.

    I spent two hours tilling up a 6×3 foot section of dead grass this afternoon. My knees and back are unhappy and I have blisters on my thumbs. I’ll go grass seed shopping tomorrow.

    Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I never minded oatmeal doused with milk and sugar. Mostly it was sod boiled eggs for breakfast. My mother would even cut toast strips so we could dunk them into the eggs.

      We were mayonnaise people and still are. My mother never brought Miracle Whip.

      Yup, the entire New England states had hot dogs and beans and some with brown bread on Saturdays. My mother wouldn’t have eaten kidneys herself and my father would have been horrified. That meal sounds just awful.

      My mother served carrots, green beans, peas and French green beans, and that was it for vegetables. She never served pre-made meals except for pot pies.

      Today I did go get my ingredients for tomorrow’s amazing Race evening. We’re doing Mexican.

      I am impressed with all the work you did!

      Have a great evening!

      • Caryn Says:

        Oh, I forgot chicken pot pies from Harrow’s on RT 28 in Reading. Those were a huge treat. My mother worked when we were in school but she got laid off in the summer. Once a week we would all go to the unemployment office to pick up her check and then we would go to Harrow’s for a family sized pot pie and my brother’s and I could also pick out a toy from the souvenir shop that they had. Harrow’s is still around but the restaurant and the souvenir shop part are long gone. The pies are still good.

      • katry Says:

        I loved those chicken pies and the glass dish you could keep. I also loved having lunch there in the dining room which hadn’t changed in years. They had a wonderful chicken buffet. We’d also check out the gift shop before we left.

        I was so disappointed when it closed except for the from where the pies are sold.

  5. GnuFool Says:

    • katry Says:

      I love the Boswell Sisters and they’re singing a Coffee song too-how perfect!!

      The video is great!

  6. flyboybob Says:

    Except for breakfast cereal my parents made us eat adult foods. My mother cooked standard American fare similar to your mother. My father became the smoker king in the mid 50s when he bought a smoker called a Hasty Bake. He smoked spare ribs marinated in soy sauce and brown sugar as well as briskets and turkeys.

    Now I will try anything as long as it doesn’t bite me back. However, I won’t eat sushi, raw fish or Indian food of any kind. There is something in the flavors in Indian that just goes against my taste. Oh, I also hate cilantro. I know it’s very fashionable today but It’s that coriander flavor that I would just be fine without as I do without Thai food. My mother’s cooking considered paprika a hot spice. 🙂 Bland was considered good in our house.

    • katry Says:

      I really never thought of food as adult or kid food as there wasn’t any difference between what I ate and what my parents ate except they didn’t really do breakfast. My father just had coffee, my mother toast.

      My brother-in-law has a smoker and smokes everything, all sorts of meat and even pizza. He loves his smoker.

      My father was heavy into bland food as well so that’s what we ate. When we were older, my mother branched out and my dad was dragged along.

      I don’t eat sushi either but I like Indian food and use cilantro in my Mexican.

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