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Old 08-07-2013, 02:56 AM
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Default Old-Fashioned Meal Time

With the full-schedule lifestyles of today, and all the quick-fix microwave snacks and meals available, modern day children would find it hard to believe that families once ate made-from-scratch meals while seated together around a table. For some of us, it was a dining room table, for others it was in the kitchen, but it was a tradition that brought families together. The advent of TV trays, frozen TV meals, and TV sets ended a custom that once was the backbone of family life.

Although my mother was a school teacher, she also was a housewife who prepared delicious, wholesome meals seven days a week. Some of my favorites were her fried chicken, Spanish rice, Cottage ham and green beans, and her pride and joy, chili soup. Made with a pound of crumbled hamburger, green peppers, onions, both tomato juice and tomato sauce, it really was a soup, although she called it chili.

As the mid-fifties dawned, my mother’s meal time offerings grew in variety. We enjoyed Beef Stroganoff, green peppers stuffed with hamburger and rice, meatloaf, salmon croquettes, and even a Hot and Hearty Sandwich Bake of her own creation. She sliced a large loaf of French bread lengthwise, layering upon it browned hamburger, tomatoes, onions, homemade brown gravy, and slices of Velveeta and Swiss cheese. After baking everything open faced for a while, she would put the two halves together, letting it bake just long enough to meld all the flavors into a symphony of delightful tastes.

Even with the onslaught of upscale Delis, I have never tasted anything as wonderful as Mom’s Hot and Hearty Sandwich Bake. I still fix it a few times every fall, always to rave reviews from friends lucky enough to sample her creation.

As filling and tasty as the food really was, the real attraction of mealtime was hearing what the other members of the family had done during the day. My brother and me were always asked what we had learned in school that day, and “nothing” wasn’t acceptable as an answer. We also occasionally discussed headlines from the local newspaper, with us boys encouraged to voice opinions. Dad usually had a new joke or story to tell, and mom would brag about one or more of her second grader’s. And yes, my brother and me were admonished to clean our plates, reminded of all the starving children in China.

The best mealtimes of all were on Holidays, when we gathered with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents to share both friendship and good food. I’ll never forget my pride when, for that first time, I was permitted to sit at the adult table, rather than the children’s card table. I don’t remember which occasion it was, but I do know I was too afraid to utter a word. We even had an uncle who was a penny pincher, doling out after dinner mints two per person.

Even now, as I wait for my microwave pizza to finish cooking, I fondly wish I could share one more meal with my mother, father, and older brother. As much as I enjoyed the nourishing fare, it was the companionship that warmed my heart.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:54 AM
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Made from scratch...mmmm, well it's been a while, a year or more, guess I really should make that effort again. Go fishing, catch a dozen
Australian_herring Australian_herring
using no bait, just a long shank No 4, with a piece of lumo tube plastic threaded over the shaft, cut at 45 degrees at the top, just covering the eye of the hook, this makes it spin or swim on retrieval, 4 foot or so trace to swivel with a running No 3/4 float. Cast, repeat and so on if their there catch one every second cast, though usually 1 herring in 20 casts is the norm here if you have the skills. Get home, scale, gut, head and fillet them, then rinse, place fillets in a bag with some self raising flour then shake. Then your ready to dip them in some beer batter, just beer and the flour mixed, then shallow pan fry those suckers in a bit of oil. Meanwhile you have of as a matter of course dug up a few potatoes from the backyard, sliced thin to fry and OK I had to get an avocado from the shops and maybe an onion, though those are in the backyard to in season, salt/pepper, cannot be beat....fresh 'n' tasty fish 'n' chips like you've most likely never known...

*oops almost forgot, freshly picked and sliced love apples (tomatoes) from the yard, though again only for those 3 months of the year.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:10 AM
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one of my fave meals was Saturday evenings
even though my dad worked two jobs to support us
we had a Saturday nite meal that consisted of handmade burgers
on our old fashioned rotisserie grill (it had a grill element on its top)
as well as a rotating rotisserie inside it
made from my dads famous recipe of burger meat,worcestshire sauce
cheese and a few secrets that he had
we all gathered in our living room to watch Wide World of Sports
while ingesting these greasy, cheese stuffed burgers
talking of the weeks events and the numerous friends, family, neighbors
who gathered to eat and enjoy the day with us
after my folks moved to kentucky the weekends were relegated
to a once a year 'Burger burn' where we all got together from the four points of the earth for good times and reminiscing
then when my Dad died in '09 all that stopped...sigh
I miss him and those days....
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