Posted tagged ‘Green bean’

“A clever cook can make good meat of a whetstone.”

September 30, 2012

The rain continues. It stopped yesterday for most of the day, but the sky never cleared and the dampness never went away. I don’t know when the rain started up again last night, but it was steady when I woke up. I could hear it falling on the roof. I thought my bed perfectly cozy, but I reluctantly got up, dragged myself downstairs, made coffee and went outside to get the papers.

Yesterday I went to pick up a few things at the store, and that was my singular accomplishment for the entire day. I didn’t even make my bed. The animals got fed, and I had hummus for lunch and an egg sandwich for dinner so none of us starved.

When I was growing up, Sunday dinner was always the highlight of the week as it was the one meal when roast beef might just be the main course. The rest of the week was chicken or hamburger and the hot dogs I mentioned yesterday. My mother was a whiz at hamburger. She cooked it so many different ways. Her American chop suey was a favorite as was her hamburger with bean sprouts and soy sauce served over chow mein noodles. I don’t think that dish has a name. We always thought it was Chinese food. My mother made the best meat loaf, and we loved it frosted with mashed potatoes which were then browned in the oven. Other times she’d put ketchup and then bacon on the top. She had to make sure there was enough bacon for all of us or a fight would ensue, one of yelling not punching. We ate a lot of hamburger, a cheap way to feed 4 kids, but we never realized how often. All the meals seemed different and they were our favorites.

No meal, according to my father, was complete without potatoes, usually mashed potatoes, though once in a while my mother would bake them, but because we didn’t like the skins, we only dug a little so most times we left a lot of potato behind. My favorite was the mashed potatoes with peas as the vegetable. I tolerated wax and yellow beans, French green beans and carrots.

When I was leaving for Peace Corps training, my mother asked me what I’d like for our last meal together for a long while. I asked for roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes and peas, a Sunday dinner, a family dinner.

“A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.”

July 5, 2012

It is the loveliest of mornings, sunny and cool. When I let Gracie outside, I followed her and stood on the deck for the longest time surveying my world and enjoying the start of the day. My vegetables are growing, and I need to stake my tomatoes as they are growing over the wire tomato thingies ( I don’t know what they’re called. Thingies works just as well for almost anything).

When I was growing up, the only fresh vegetable I remember eating was corn in the summer. I didn’t like tomatoes, and my mother didn’t serve salads. She knew we’d all turn up our noses. I ate canned peas, the small ones, the Le Seure peas; they were my favorite. My mother tricked us by hiding the carrots. She mashed them with the potatoes, and for years I thought potatoes were orange and white. My mother also served canned green beans, and we had to eat a few. All his life my father ate canned asparagus, long after the rest of us had found the joys of fresh vegetables. I remember my mother serving them to him at Thanksgiving. If you held up a spear, the top would fall over; they were a bit mushy. He always had the entire can to himself.

My father loved native tomatoes. Around here, when the vegetable season is at its height, people put out tables in their front yards with a variety of vegetables on them. The prices are usually on a piece of paper taped to the table and the money goes in a can. I’d load up on tomatoes and bring them up to my parents’ house when I visited. My dad would cut the tomatoes, load mayonnaise on his plate and take them into the living where he’d snack and watch TV. He always said there was nothing better than native tomatoes.

My dad would love my garden though I suspect he’d say dibs on the tomatoes!

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