Posted tagged ‘chow mein’

“My doctor told me I had to stop throwing intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people.”

October 23, 2017

My back is a bit better. I can walk without holding on to anything. Yesterday was a sit on the couch day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, the back aside. I have to go out today so I hope for the best.

I think I’ve used every adjective perfect to describe our weather of late. Think warm, sunny, deep blue sky and nearly breezeless. My house is again cooler than outside. In here it is sweatshirt weather. Outside is short sleeve weather.

My mother used to make fried dough for supper on Fridays, the no meat day. We’d all hang around the kitchen counter making sure we got our dough turn. My mother’s frying pan held three small or two big pieces of fried dough. She used to buy the dough at the supermarket. I remember it came in a blue and white box. We slathered butter and sprinkle salt on it. Fried dough was one of our favorite suppers.

We ate a lot of hamburger growing up, but my mother was a whiz at cooking hamburger so many different ways we never got tired of eating it. I still love meatloaf and American chop suey. She made spaghetti sauce with ground beef, another fake oriental dish of hamburger with water chestnuts and crispy chow mein on top,. The fall back was always  burgers. I love cheeseburgers.

My food in Ghana didn’t really vary a whole lot. We were lucky to live in the only area of the country which bred beef so we could always buy meat in the market. There was even a meat factory where we could buy some sort of tubular meat masquerading as a hot dog. The meat from the market was always tough. Only old cows were slaughtered. The meat was cooked in a broth like sauce with tomatoes and onions which tenderized the meat. I think we had that most nights though we also ate chicken, free range chickens because the chickens wandered all over the place all day but did came home to roost at night. We mostly ate mashed yams  but also had rice on occasion. Breaking teeth was a PC volunteer problem as the rice always had a few rocks. You needed to spend time cleaning it, but it was easier not to. When volunteers got together, food was always a topic of conversation.

Living alone means I don’t always make dinner. I improvise with whatever is in the fridge. I’m content with cheese and crackers or hummus and pita bread. I’m even happy with cereal. I do have meat in the freezer, heavy on the chicken, but I usually forget to take it out. Last night, though, I took out some Chinese sausage to defrost and I have some rice I can cook. That’s like a gourmet meal for me.

I still love making hamburgers on the grill. I guess whenever I eat them childhood memories come up for me.”

May 12, 2015

Last night was hot and muggy. Poor Gracie was panting so I turned the AC on in my bedroom. It was a delight feeling the chill, and we both slept deeply. Today is sunny but cool and tonight will be back to the 40’s. It rained sometime earlier this morning. I know only because the street was still wet when I woke up.

My mother cooked hamburger more than any other kind of meat. It was the cheapest and the most versatile. My favorite was always her meatloaf. From meal to meal it never really tasted the same. I know it had eggs and breadcrumbs but I have no idea what else she threw in for flavor. In those days herbs came from a bottle. My mother always had onion and garlic powder on hand as well as oregano and parsley. Sometimes her meatloaf had ketchup spread across the top with bacon strips covering the ketchup. We always wanted a piece with the crusty bacon. Sometimes she frosted the meatloaf with mashed potatoes and then would brown the tips in the oven. Every now and then we’d get a round meatloaf hand-formed and placed in a pie pan to cook.

We always thought ourselves quite the gourmands when my mother cooked her Chinese food. We had a chop suey sort of dish with hamburger, bean sprouts and water chestnuts. My mother always put crunchy chow mein noodles on the top. Then there was American chop suey, a name which still perplexes me today. It has nothing to do with chop suey; instead, it’s elbow macaroni, hamburger, tomato sauce and onions and peppers. My mother would sprinkle parmesan cheese from the green container on top.

Hamburgers were a summer staple grilled to perfection by my dad. I always wanted a cheeseburger, and my father would open the cellophane covering each piece of yellow cheese and crown the meat with the cheese. He’d put the top on the grill so the cheese would melt. My mother usually made potato salad. It didn’t matter how often we had hamburgers and hot dogs in the summer. I would have eaten them every night without complaint.

I think my mother was a bit of a magician in the kitchen. We never thought of how often we ate hamburger. All of those dishes tasted different to us and a couple were even exotic.