“Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.”

Today is cold, in the mid 40’s. The sun is back to playing peek-a-boo. Outside isn’t all that inviting so I guess I’ll hunker down for another day or two. I’m not completely rid of the plague as I still have a voice better suited for an obscene phone call than a regular conversation. My cough didn’t wake me up last night, but it is still hanging in there. My friend is bringing me bread, cookies and a lemon donut from Dunkin’ Donuts. I’m a happy woman, albeit sick but still happy.

When I was a kid, I don’t remember missing much school. I don’t think I was really sick enough all that often. A cold was nothing. It meant bundling a bit better with a new layer or two. We walked to school on even the coldest days. I remember my cheeks turned red and raw from the wind. We’d walk backwards away from the wind when it was the strongest and the coldest. School was a refuge where we could defrost and de-layer. I don’t think we really ever complained much. That was just the way it was. We all walked to school back then despite the weather.

I used to like soup on a cold day. My mother would fill the thermos from my lunch box, add some saltines, and maybe a half of a sandwich and some dessert. Usually it was tomato soup because I could drink it instead of needing a spoon. Bologna was the most popular meat for sandwiches. We always had tuna fish on Fridays when we couldn’t eat meat. My mother added mayonnaise, chopped celery and lettuce so the tuna fish wasn’t half bad. It was always on white bread. We never had any other kind of bread. I think I was a teenager before I found out bread came in many colors and flavors.

Back when we were kids our dinners were meat, potatoes, usually mashed, and a vegetable. We had bland palates. We were seldom introduced to any foreign foods though we did count spaghetti as Italian. My friends and I now eat all sorts of foods from a variety of countries. I know it was Ghana which first introduced me to really foreign foods like African, Indian and Middle Eastern. They opened the flood gates. Now I’m willing to try almost anything though I balk at insects, household pets and rodents.

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10 Comments on ““Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    I could sleep the entire night too but my nose is stuffed and I’m more tired than I can remember I’ve ever been before. I can’t remember being sick especiaslly often either, Now days kids get sick all the time and I don’t know if they actually are or if we went to school anyway 🙂

    I tend to repress what we had to eat when I grew up 🙂 But we always had dark bread at home. We also always had hard bread and quite often soft thin bread. One of the few things my mother was really good at was baking bread so we quite often had home baked bread in all kinds of varieties. Spotted sausages, cheese (both hard and soft) and caviar (wellit is boiled and lightly smoked cod was standard to have on the sandwich. That caviar put on a hard boiled egg is something most Swedes have very often and I love it but I’ve heard that it’s mostly peoiple from Scandinavia who actually likes it 🙂

    Have a great day and take care of that cold!

    • katry Says:

      I think kids are too protected today which is why they get sick. It was the coughing which kept me awake but the medicine works so I get enough sleep.

      No one I knew had mothers who baked bread. It was just to easy to buy a loaf at the market. In Ghana I bought fresh made bread but it was always only white. It made great toast.

      We never have caviar though I have had it in other places. I’m not a big fan.

      I hope you too are taking care of your cold.

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My family weren’t adventurous eaters either. Well, make that my mother was not an adventurous cook so we didn’t get adventurous food. We did get different kinds of bread, though. Brown bread, corn bread, rye bread and Italian bread. We were adventurous bread people. I didn’t become an adventurous eater until I was in my teens and exposed to other people’s home cooking that was very different from mine. A friend’s mother was a devotée of Julia Child and very into cooking. I learned a lot from her.

    The Hydrox cookies came in the mail today. They were excellent. They were so excellent that I ate most of one package thereby completely sabotaging day three of my so-called diet. Oh well. I did some laundry, raked the lawn and picked up black walnuts to earn back some virtue. 🙂

    Glad you were able to sleep through the night without being awakened by your cough. Bread, cookies and a DD lemon donut on top of that would make one happy, sick or no.
    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      We had brown bread but only on Saturday nights with hot dogs and beans. It is an odd loaf so I never thought of it as just bread. We did have Scali bread but that’s white as well. When we were older, my mother started cooking wonderful dinners of different food. She figured we;d eat while we wouldn’t have as kids.

      I have passed on the Hydrox information to my sister as she too loves them. I’m so glad to hear they are excellent.

      The donut was wonderful! I’m now looking forward to the cookies. Life is getting better.

      Have a good evening!

  3. Coleen Says:

    So glad you are feeling better…keep up with the fluids and you should be better in no time!

    Of course, the thought occurred to me as I was reading today’s post that no matter what you eat, you can’t taste anything due to the cold you’ve got!

    A lemon donut…is that a regional thing with Dunkin’ Donuts? Don’t believe I’ve ever heard of that…sounds delish…

    Here’s another box of tissues…I see you are running low… 🙂



    • katry Says:

      That inside glob of lemon is delicious, lemon flavor being one of my favorites.

      I just dosed myself again so I’ll have a few more hours of almost normalcy.

      I’ve been using soft paper towels, the bigger kleenex!

      Waving back!

  4. Bob Says:

    When I was a kid we ate ethnic foods because we lived in NYC. Italian and Chinese were are favorite. My mother learned to cook from my grandmother who was an excellent cook of Eastern European foods such as stuffed cabbage, borscht, sweet and sour lamb tongues and various baked goods such as strudel and rugala. Her cooking was full of butter, sour cream and chicken fat. My grandfather liked to spread salmon roe on buttered rye toast for breakfast. He also loved to suck the marrow out of the short ribs that grandma braised. No one knew or cared about cholesterol in those days.

    My favorite food when I’m feeling ill is Campbell’s Tomato Soup and a grilled cheese sandwich on white bread. If I’m really sick it’s Campbell’s Chicken Soup with saltine crackers. A physician friend of mine told me that home made chicken soup has all the correct vitamins and electrolytes for fighting the flu according to his professor of internal medicine. The canned stuff is devoid of those ingredients but it feels good.

    We took lunches with baloney or tuna on white bread in a metal lunch box or a paper bag. In Dallas any kind of ethnic bread was as rare as hen’s teeth. It was a very white bread city in those days. A fruit was always included. Sometimes I bought lunch from the cafeteria. The lunch ladies made a wonderful Frito pie.

    Another sunny dry day with the high temperatures in the lower 80s.

    • katry Says:

      We ate Chinese and Italian as well, but they were common foods which didn’t seem ethnic to us. We never ate Eastern European foods, and I never really tasted any until college. My roommate was Polish, and her mother made all sorts of new foods to me. I was well into adulthood before I tasted roe, and I haven’t ever tasted marrow.

      I love that combo of tomato soup and grilled cheese and you hit another homer with chicken noodle and saltines.

      I think all of America was white bread in those days. My mother didn’t often include fruit in our lunch boxes. My elementary school had no cafeteria though my high school did so we always brought lunch to school when we were young. My mother made great lunches.

      It got as high as 45˚ today. later in the week it will hit 60’s again.

  5. Richard Says:

    I still remember the bread my grandmother baked … we were always waiting in the kitchen when it came from the oven so we could be one of the first to get a thick, warm slice with butter melting into the holes made by the yeast … and then we’d dunk that into hot tea with milk and watch the butter from the bread mingle with the currents in the tea. When the first slice was gone, we’d go back for another – until it was all gone and then we’d butter saltines and do the same thing.

    The first non-white bread I remember is pumpernickel. I liked it the first time I tasted it. Then I learnt about rye bread, and for a while that was my favorite. Still, the staple in the house larder was always Sunbeam White Bread, or, occasionally a loaf of Roman Meal wheat bread. I always wondered how the bakers got the Roman recipe … I mean, that was a long time ago, right … ? Eventually I learnt about this thing called ‘marketing.’

    Although our daily diets were pretty much standard ’50s American Middle-Income Family fare, we got exposed to a few strange concepts. One was Norwegian kippered herring, a taste I took a liking to at first bite. Later on, not so much. Never liked sardines, but Dad would open tins of ’em and make sandwiches of sardines with apple jelly. It’s that ‘sweet / salty’ thing. We did something similar when we dunked cinnamon rolls into roast beef gravy to sop up the remains from the plate.

    Eventually my palate was exposed to more things than I had reason to suspect were eaten as food – like octopus. I learnt it had a texture similar to a ‘Slim Jim’ sausage jerky link, and it wasn’t too bad once y’ got used to the suction cups. Later, I learnt I really liked abalone, and that it squeaked when you ate it if you had freshly-brushed teeth.

    When the City of New Orleans held a Nutria Cookoff at Joe Brown Park (featuring dishes prepped by local chefs from ‘All The Best Restaurants!’), I considered going just to see what they came up with. That ended when the announcer on the T&V said admission was $5, $3 for parking, and $2 per dish served. I figured if they were asking us, as concerned citizens, to help them ‘eliminate the nutria threat’ by eating it away, the least they could do to promote the idea was to serve it up to the Test Population at no charge. They thought otherwise, so I have yet to learn what nutria taste like …

    • katry Says:

      My mother never made bread, but there were two bakeries uptown. I can remember the aroma of bread wafting through the square. If I had any money, I’d buy hot loaf and eat a good bit of it on my way home. That I had no butter didn’t matter. I had that hot, tasty bread which was more than enough.

      I don’t remember the first non white bread I ate, but we did have Scali bread which is Italian white with seeds on the crust. It is still a favorite bread of mine and makes the best toast. I used to buy it at the Italian bakery. Right now I’m into honey wheat which has a little sweetness.

      I find it difficult to believe but I actually ate sardines on Saltines when I was a kid. My dad loved them, and he and I would split a can. The mere thought of them now roils my stomach. Later I used to give him a can of them in his stocking. He was always thrilled. I’ve tried octopus but didn’t find it at all tasty. It took a lot of work to eat for very little taste.

      I ate bush meat in Ghana without knowing what it was. They sold it at train stops on kebobs. The meat was covered in hot pepper. We used to wrap the meat in bread or it would have been too hot. Later I saw a man selling what looked like a big rodent. He said it was bush meat. It’s actually named is grasscutter. Even after seeing it, I didn’t care. I thought it tasted good.

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