Tell us about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.
Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.
Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.
I have too many fond food memories, now that I am thinking about it. Thanksgiving turkey dinners, Christmas extravaganza dinners, Easter dramatic dinners, and just plain Out for dinner, dinners. I will focus on my childhood memories of holiday feasts at my grandparents house.
Since I grew up in a big family, big dinners were always celebrations. My grandma and aunts, were wonderful chefs. They would rival any fine restaurant, and serve food lovingly to a bunch of wild kids and grown-ups, around any kind of makeshift table that would provide enough room.
Tables were loaded with mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, potato salad, scalloped potatoes, and sweet potatoes. There were usually basted turkeys or savory roasts for the main affair. Then, every kind of salad: pistachio jello salad, glorified rice, raisin-carrot salad, mandarin-orange jello salad, fruit salad, and macaroni salad, and stuffing with cranberries and marshmallows. Delicious breads and rolls with butter, and homemade jams and jellies, were passed around to the feasting family members. Corn on the cob that tasted sweeter than you could ever find today. There were pickled beets, peas, carrots, and string beans, from the garden. The pies were apple, cherry, pumpkin, blueberry, lemon, banana cream, and there were cream puffs, brownies, and all kinds of bars and cookies, for dessert.
The ladies all displayed their baking skills, and were rewarded with all the compliments of how much each dish was liked. Full bellies and laughter filled the room! Loud voices of the baritone men, and the soft pretty feminine voices of the women, all enjoying and taking part in the conversation.
Oh, how I remember the ladies all serving, and busy with keeping tables full of food until we were sure we would explode! Then coffee, juice, lemonade, tea, milk, and pop, as much as we could drink. Punch was on the table too. More talking and laughing and loving.
Then, the ladies would clear the tables, do dishes together, and talk in the kitchen. They washed the dishes and pots and pans the old fashioned way– without a dishwasher. They had pretty aprons to protect their holiday clothes. Joy, stress, nervousness, relief, and lots of other emotions, were in that kitchen too.
The men were busy doing more talking, playing “whist”, and drinking beer, resting, and snoring. The kids were outside playing baseball, hide and seek, climbing trees, playing at the park, or ringing the old church bell. They might be found inside, playing board games like Uncle Wiggly, 7-Up, Kings in the Corner, Slap Jack, Go Fish, Old Maid, or Rummy, and sometimes even napping from the after-effects of the huge meal.
Entertainment also came from skits the kids made up to perform before the adults. There was my cousin, playing the accordion, and there was singing, dancing, jokes, and more fun. When it came time to sleep, the kids would fill the living room floor with sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows. There wasn’t any room to walk. Every inch of the floor was covered in kids.
The smell of food lingering with the sweet dreams of youth, filled my night with a sound sleep. What I wouldn’t give to return to those days of family and fellowship, along with the most fantastic food, and relatives that are now long gone. What memories!