Posted tagged ‘favorite dinner’

“Food is the most primitive form of comfort.”

April 23, 2017

Weather is so relative that today’s 57˚ feels warm and springlike, a sit on the deck in the sun sort of day. I might even need sunglasses.

My sister in Colorado and I had our usual Sunday phone call. Today we found two hours worth of conversation ranging from potty training to Trump.

When I was a kid, I never spent much time on the phone. I remember the party line and Mrs. McGaffigan who shared the line. Sometimes I’d pick up the receiver and hear her voice and listen to her conversation: I’d eavesdrop. She caught me several times. I never said a word when she did. I just put the receiver down. My phone number started with ST 6. I used to love the sound of the rotary dial when it clicked back after I entered a number. The phone was black. I think all the phones back then were black.

I miss phone booths. Anytime I passed by one, I’d check the coin return. Once in a while, I’d be lucky enough to find a dime, big money back then. It never seemed strange to me that Clark Kent had room enough to change to Superman in a phone booth. I did wonder what he did with his clothes and why nobody noticed when he was changing. Maybe he was just too quick.

Back then, I didn’t know a single kid who was a skeptic. We accepted most things at face value. The movie monsters were scary. We never saw the strings propelling spacecraft. We accepted the odd looking aliens. We didn’t make fun of movies. We naturally suspended disbelief. I laugh now at those same movies, but I love them still.

Roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes, and peas are my favorite meal. My mother cooked it for our last family dinner before I left for Peace Corps. She used to put slices of onion on top of the roast, and they were delicious. It is the best of all my comfort meals. I remember my mother peeling potatoes at the sink and my father carving the meat. I still count mashed potatoes and peas among my favorites. I don’t have roast beef all that much anymore. Roast chicken has replaced it and stuffing has been added as a side.

I don’t cook much for myself anymore. I’m into quick and easy, but I’ve found shortcuts for that chicken dinner. I buy rotisserie chicken, real, already mashed potatoes and frozen peas. I call that the modern interpretation of down home comfort food.

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”

August 16, 2014

The sun is in and out of the clouds. The day goes from strikingly sunny and beautiful to cloudy and dark. The weather in the paper said partly sunny. I guess I didn’t think about the other part.

On Saturday, the day before I left for the Peace Corps, my mother asked me what I’d like for our last family dinner together for a long while. I answered right away: roast beef, mashed potatoes, peas and gravy, all my favorites, and that’s what we had. It is still one of my favorite meals. Mashed potatoes are the height of comfort food for me. My mother’s mashed potatoes were always fluffy and lump less. She used a hand masher, one of those metal ones with a flat grill bottom. I sometimes watched her. She wielded that masher as if it were a weapon in the hands of a master swordsman. She’d add butter and milk and keep mashing. I even remember the bowl she always used to serve the potatoes. It was a wide, not tall, bowl. She’d add the potatoes and put a few pats on butter on top. It was a thing of beauty.

My favorite ice cream changes. When I was a kid, we didn’t have all the choices and exotic flavors we have now. Back then my favorite was a dish of plain old chocolate made exquisite by adding Hersey’s syrup. When I was in high school, it was mint chocolate chip in a sugar cone with jimmies all over the ice cream. I used to buy it at Brigham’s. Mocha chip was my favorite for a while, and I still sometimes buy it, but lately I have been into coconut topped with dark chocolate sea salt caramel sauce. It tastes as superb as it sounds.

I like vegetables, quite a change from when I was growing up. Back then I ate potatoes, peas, corn and French green beans, all of which came from cans. I also ate carrots but they were disguised and hidden in the mashed potatoes. In Ghana I couldn’t get many vegetables. I ate garden eggs which are small egg plants, okra, tomatoes, yam, onions and one year I had green peppers grown from seeds I got from home. I really missed vegetables which I wouldn’t ever have imagined when I was a kid. My favorites are still peas, but corn on the cob and summer tomatoes are on my list of favorites. Just no beans ever!

Traveling gave me the chance to try new foods, and I tried all sorts. I didn’t even know the names of some of them. The food didn’t have to look good as I had grown out of the stage of judging foods by its appearances. I think maybe it was Ghana which taught me that.


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