I asked my new friends to give me advice and they gave me some good stuff to start from: looking at photos, reading something new, updating old blog entries, all good ideas. But one idea sparked my interest and made me think. I’m not sure he intended it to be a real idea but it got my hamster (named Brian) running a little.
Memories of childhood. Not the ones I’ve already written about, memories of my mother’s cooking. I’m not sure how my brother and I made it to adulthood. My mother did her best to take us out with just about every meal she served. Undercooked chicken that set everyone but me to the hospital while we were camping in Colorado. Casseroles involving spinach, bleu cheese, and ham mixed with cream of mushroom soup. Meatloaf consisting of ground meat, oatmeal, and ketchup on top, JELLO concoctions, ex: one involving kidney beans… that made a hangover worse than it needed to be. My mother invented some doozies. Her meals were the stuff of neighborhood legend. Other children compared their mealtime experiences to see who got the best worst meal from my mother’s kitchen. I think my father started getting jealous because he took over in the summer.
The man could over or under grill anything. His crowning moment was when he grilled pork chops and served them as mostly char with no visible meat showing when you cut into it. That takes some kind of talent.
I know the Fitzmorris boys enjoyed their weekends at the lake with us. My parents cooking was grist for conversation even up until a few years ago. I bet if I called Mr or Mrs Fitzy today we’d end up laughing over old stories of meals their boys survived.
When I was a child I was embarrassed by it all, now I’m older, wiser, and much more amused. The fact that they are in Florida and I’m in New York probably plays into it just a little too. My sons suggested that forcing them to eat at Grandma’s was the equivalent of child abuse but I remind them that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger so they should thank me. We laugh about it now, it’s part of our memories and now that we no longer sup on toxic waste (mixed with JELLO of course) it doesn’t seem so bad. When I was thinking about this last night it made me get off my lazy tush and dig through a box I’d just packed. I have that JELLO cookbook and I’m thinking it might be fun to close my eyes and pick a page and scare my boys a little. I’m not sure why my brother and I survived our childhood but it sure is fun remembering how we did.