Posted tagged ‘root beer’

“Cities get built out of poet’s dreams.”

January 26, 2018

The day is again beautiful if you just look out the window, but if you go outside, dress warmly as it is only 29˚. I hurried when I got my paper and the mail from yesterday. I do need to go out later to get a few different cat food tastes to tempt Maddie. She’s hungry but not thrilled with the beef and liver. I can’t blame her. Liver would never thrill me either. She’s upstairs hiding again. I only got to give her one of her three meds this morning, the one slathered on her paw. As for the other two, she is getting wiser and checks my hands when I get near her.

My grandparents, my father’s parents, lived in the same town we did. They had a great old house on a street of old houses. I remember the smell of their house. It was the lingering aroma of my grandmother’s lilac perfume. Their kitchen had tall wooden cabinets, and I remember an ironing board hidden behind one long, skinny cabinet door. The closet in the kitchen always had bottles of root beer on the floor, but I don’t remember who drank it. The kitchen eating area was built in and so small we never ate there. We always ate in the dining room. I remember the furniture there was dark. A breakfront took up one wall. My grandmother stored her best dishes there. Another wall was all windows and right across from the neighbor’s back door. The chairs at the table were tall. For the longest time my feet didn’t touch the floor. The living room had a piano but no one knew how to play it. Their TV was a huge console in a light wooden cabinet. The mantle and fireplace were lovely but never saw a fire. The sun room was off the living room. It was a tiny room of all windows. A desk sat at one wall and two chairs with a table between were the rest of the furniture. My grandfather kept his pipe holder filled with pipes on that table. On the desk, there was a paperweight with an R embossed in gold. That was my favorite room.

My other grandparents also lived in an old house but in the city, in East Boston. We used to visit on Sundays. My father dropped us off at the house then he’d roam the streets looking for a parking space. The city was mesmerizing for me. All the houses were right beside each other, and every corner seemed to have a small store with an old lady behind the counter. We played in the street. I remember stick ball and using an old broom handle as a bat. The ball was half a pink rubber ball.

I loved visiting my city grandparents. We always felt welcomed. My father’s parents were aloof and lacked warmth. We visited them far less even though they were close at hand. They didn’t seem to know what to do with us or even what to say. When I was older, I never went with my dad to visit them. I doubt they even noticed.

“Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort.”

July 26, 2016

I’m close to screaming in frustration. Today will be hot yet again. That the humidity will be less is small consolation. I have the AC off for a while, but the temperature in the house has risen three degrees already so soon enough I’ll be stuck behind closed doors and windows. I did finish one of my errands yesterday, but that still leaves one more for today.

The kitchen in the house where I lived the longest was tiny. When the oven was lit, the kitchen quickly got hot and stayed that way long after dinner was finished. My mother, during the summer, cooked on the stove top. She made stuff like pasta, hamburgers, fried dough and even hot dogs. She never grilled. Her dinner sides were sometimes potato salad or pasta salad. She never made a green salad. Dessert was always a maybe dependent on what was in the house. It could have been cookies, Oreos of course, or ice cream or a popsicle. My favorite popsicle was root beer followed by a close second, cherry. If neither was available, an orange would do just fine. 

Some people I know don’t ever eat leftovers. I don’t get that. Some food tastes better the next day. My chili is always best the day after I make it so I usually make it the day before I need it. That way any fat gets skimmed. I like leftover pasta. Add fresh garlic bread, some cheese and you have a perfect meal. 

Winter has comfort food. It keeps us warm and brings back memories. Summer has hot dogs and hamburgers best cooked on a grill. You have to toast the buns. 

My mother used to make piccalilli every fall when there were green tomatoes. She made New England style piccalilli with those green tomatoes, red peppers, onions, brown sugar, cider vinegar and some spices like mustard powder and a few others I don’t remember. She’d give us all a couple of jars. I’d use it sparingly so it would last longer. I swear a hot dog with my mother’s piccalilli was perfection in a bun. 


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