My sister and I reminisced the other day about the sometimes quirky culinary traditions/memories we grew up with in a small rural Missouri town south of Saint Louis:
o the Friday Night Fish Fry at the KC Hall; (or the ever-popular fish sticks served on TV trays in front of the Lawrence Welk Show by our babysitter, Mrs. Creamy, when we had to stay home),
o sitting at the “The Kids’ Table”and getting to ‘graduate’ to “The Big Table”,
o “Has-Ta-Go” Night at my beloved Ami-Grammers’ house which meant we fashioned dinner around whatever leftovers we could find in the frig. (No wonder my boys think I’m a wizard when I can magically make dinner when they can find “nothing” in the refrigerator.),
o “fixing a plate” to take home to your husband or to drop off to the elderly neighbor,
o shucking corn or snapping green beans while drinking iced tea on the “swing patio” in my grandma’s back yard,
o the “birthday dinner” that we got to choose no matter how weird the combination…and the same whirly-gig cake topper that spun out of control to the tune of Happy Birthday on every home-made birthday cake,
o knocking on the door of the Italian neighbors, Tony and Maria, hoping against all hopes that they’d ask me to stay for an authentic home-style Italian dinner,
o Ami-Grammer’s Chicken & Noodles in her china bowls,
o Grandpa putting the cherry from his Manhattan on the end of his nose like Rudolph.
These memories made us laugh….and they made us remember. That’s what food does. Out of its necessity and constancy comes the opportunity to be around the table with others. And that’s how memories are made. I’m certain that you have similar sweet culinary memories yourself. If so, please share them here. We’d love to hear them.
Hope to see you in our kitchen,
Laura Laiben O’Rourke