Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Change in the Menu

There will not be turkey on our table this year. We're going along with Calvin Trillin who suggested that Fettucine Alfredo be the national dish. Something to do with Columbus being Italian and how much better he likes pasta than that big ol' bird.
I tend to agree, although I like the fuss and especially the side dishes that it all brings. But this year we are just us two, and are liking the idea of a festive red sauce, a big salad, and crunchy garlic bread. I am leaning toward a new tradition of cheese ravioli layered with meaty marinara, and topped with more bubbling cheese. Pass the wine.

We discussed the menu last night by candlelight and foods from our childhood came up. How differently we ate when we were kids. For Dave, his memory of having a bag of potato chips in the house and the dictum that "these are for the party!" meant that he had to wait until that special date, even if it was six months away. The potato chips were RESERVED. Pop or soda was not available to us, it was ginger ale for mixed drinks and as kids we never liked that flavor.

Remembering the sandwiches I took to school, I can't believe I actually ate slabs of Velveeta with mayo and relish, or my other staple, green olives and cream cheese. (Loved black olives, but they were for the PARTY!) The sandwich bread was always square with a flat top. Where did that come from. Tasteless and dry.

Dave's family had a large dining room table but it was also reserved for the party (when did those parties ever happen?) and instead the five of them squeeeezed into a teeny kitchen in which one kid's chairleg was always precariously balanced on the stair edge. After dinner the dessert was ice milk, (Woowoo!) encrusted with ice crystals of course, on sale for $.59 a quart.

In December work for my dad slowed to a halt and we were always poor at the holidays. It was rice and beans for dinner, but my mom didn't know how to make the beans Mexican, so they were just plain pinto beans with icky chopped onions. Do any little kids like chopped onions? Oatmeal was for breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner. Luckily our milkman would extend us credit for the winter, or we would have to endure powdered milk. eeeooww.

In later years when things improved for everyone it made meals so much more thrilling. Mom took to gourmet cooking and we all learned to love exotic dishes, and ate till we burst.

My favorite at Thanksgiving is the pumpkin pie topped with Cool Whip. Not Reddi Whip or even real whipped cream. Nope. Gotta have the name brand.
One year when Dave and I were in our first house I cooked the big family banquet and put the pumpkin pie in the laundry room atop the washing machine. It was cool enough to act as a second refrigerator. I waited to add the Cool Whip til I was ready to serve. When I went in to retrieve it, I discovered that our cat Bill had eaten the middle of the pie! Undaunted, I just filled the hole with the Cool Whip and never mentioned the incident. Not a soul knew the truth.


  1. What a quick solution to a pesky problem. Whipped Cream is always a good solution.

    My memories include our once a week "pop" treat. We always chose Diet Rite because it was the only soda that came in 16 oz. bottles. We would add Nestle's Quick and make chocolate soda out of it. Now the thought... blah!

    We had breakfast for dinner alot because my mother worked nights at the hospital and my dad knew how to make breakfast.

    I don't remember thanksgiving dinners... isn't that strange?

  2. Meatloaf and canned green beans. Does anyone eat that anymore? I was sent to the little corner grocery store, on my bike, for a "pound of ground round" (say that five times fast) for the meatloaf at least once a week. I haven't made meatloaf for at least 30 years.

    We're having turkey, but your ravioli sounds mighty good!

  3. Marcia7:34 PM

    We ate chipped beef a lot...sometimes we got peas added. And powdered milk was a staple. Memories!

  4. Love those memories! Happy Thanksgiving to you and Dave!

  5. Tuna mom made it at least once a week. I vow never ever to eat tuna casserole again in my life. That and liver. Bleh...

    Thanks for the skip down memory lane.

  6. Anonymous11:18 PM

    Cat-licked pie is unsanitary.

  7. Hahahahaaaa.....I know about beans & rice....and the "Bills" in our lives!! Glad you two enjoyed the day sweetie!!!hughugs


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