Blogiversary: 10/2/2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Grandma in the Kitchen

This is a digital recreation of an actual sign
we had in our kitchen when I was a kid.
My grandmother Lenore had very specific kitchen rules.  When I was 3 (circa 1980), she came to stay with us in Long Beach, California and one thing she made us do was eat all our food on our plate.  Dessert was always a given, whether it was Angel's Food Cake or a bowl of fruit cocktail.  The only way to get that dessert was to eat our meal.  Sometimes, it wasn't even worth it.

Every so often, I would dread eating what was on my plate, because it was too much or too yucky.  I wasn't fond of American Cheese and my grandmother made me peppercorn salami and American cheese on Saltine crackers quite often. I liked when it was bologna but when I had peppercorn salami, the peppercorns bothered me and the cheese was just atrocious.  My grandmother would strap me into my high chair and make me eat my lunch.  I wouldn't be able to leave the table till it was gone.

I was so grateful when she would leave the kitchen to read her book in the living room.  It gave me the opportunity to push the peppercorns out and flick them somewhere in the kitchen.  I also would break the cheese into minuscule pieces and roll them into balls and flick them around the kitchen.  I never got caught, thankfully.  Throwing away food was means for punishment.

Sometimes, dinner was just too much food with yucky food included.  I always had rice topped with soy sauce on my plate, and that was easy to eat.  I hated lima beans, though, and Grandma would always cook mixed vegetables with lima beans in it.  I thought something was wrong with me because I seemed to be the only one who couldn't get my vegetables to go down without a struggle.  Since I would be the last one to leave the kitchen table, Grandma would sit down with me and play the airplane game.  She would scoop up food onto the fork, and tell me to pretend that it's an airplane and my mouth was a tunnel that the airplane had to fly to.  My food would eventually be gone, but I would have the worst stomach ache ever.  I swore to myself that if I ever became a Mommy I wouldn't make my kids eat too much and wouldn't make yucky food like lima beans.

This was grandma Lenore and I looking at
my parakeets I received for my 3rd birthday.
Grandma's desserts were excellent.  She really loved to bake in the kitchen and baked often.  We had cookies, cakes or pie almost every day, mostly made from scratch.  Sometimes she would make rice Krispie treats, jello or pudding.  My favorite is when Grandma would let me lick the mixer whisk when she made chocolate chip cookies.  Today, we fear Samonella or E.Coli poisoning, but raw cookie dough was the best when I was a kid, and I never got sick from it.

I have kept my word to myself.  I don't make my children eat everything on their plate if they are full. They can put it away and eat it later, or throw it away if it's just a little bit left.  I don't make them eat anything they don't like.  Maybe my children are a little bit spoiled, but my grandma taught me what I liked and didn't like, as well as understanding about whom she was as a person.  I understand that she was born before the Great Depression, when food was scarce and eating everything was important, and being wasteful and ungrateful deserved punishment, and that became a tradition for at least my father's generation.

I can't help but feel grateful that my grandmother was part of my life, and being a homemaker was a part of hers.  She was a great housekeeper and a wonderful grandmother.  I miss her.

No comments:

Post a Comment