Thursday, April 7, 2016
This morning's still-drowsy thoughts of silly teenage memories before getting up for coffee---
We had newspaper delivery when I was growing up, and after Sis was born, our milk was delivered by a milk-man in a snazzy little white truck. And besides all the garden produce we planted and picked and canned and froze ourselves every Summer, and the "spoken for" quarter of beef, received from Mr. Neighbors' Meat Market in neat white parcels, all smoothed and creased with the artistry of those exquisite Japanese gift-wraps, we did belong for several years to the "Rich Plan." It was a sort of precursor to Schwann's and such, for they brought you frozen meats and vegetables, and oh, those frozen peach slices in deep cold January, rattling into a pie crust for a taste of Summer!
I loved looking at the crisp colourful pages of the thin "catalog" which pictured all that little toy food---the brightest peas in the history of peadom, the berries, each frozen whole in its little crust of ice, and filling your mouth with its popsicle Summer flavor, and all sorts of "made" stuff. We'd always made every single item in our own kitchen---salmon patties and all our own pasta dishes and casseroles and breaded chicken, and there they were, each and every one more vivid and enticing than anything in the Betty Crocker book with its stylized outlines of fish and chops in their wee frilly toques and pictures of anemic pastel desserts less alluring than the spread at a Heckle and Jeckle picnic.
Just the variety of Rich's shapes of pineapple, like little kitchen Legos, fascinated me with their infinite possibilities.
And those exotic Stuffed Crabs---our only exposure to the taste of crab was on occasional trips to the coast or Pensacola, and a day's "fishing" off the pier with a bit of chicken liver on a string, as the determined little crabs hung on to their catch long enough to be pulled up into the small dip-nets. We'd have one night with a "crab dinner" in our motel kitchenette, cooking the little fellows in a huge pot Mother had brought from home (stuffed full of Sis's clothes and toys for economy of space in the trunk). Those were messy affairs, with little hammers and the brought-along nut-picks and wet dishrags and bedtime showers for everyone after, especially after a day in the sun and
sand---and the luxury of all that hot water, with nobody having to wait for the water heater to regroup and refill.
But The Rich Stuffed Crab, now---those were special, and Mother doled them out like ortolans, precious and rare. They were probably a ratio of twenty parts bread crumbs to one part crabmeat, stuffed back into the strange little bony shells and baked til golden on top. Those were my dreams of what Movie Stars probably ate, and I helped Mother make great occasions of the special dish---homemade tartar sauce and cocktail sauce and moon-smiles of lemon, and it seemed quite a grand affair, there at our little kitchen table so far removed from the ocean. And no, I didn't eat them, but I was piqued by such fiddly, interesting ways to "do" food, even at that young age.
What a silly morning, reminiscing about such far-ago things as crab shells and frilly little panties for lamb chops. I'm sure that's partially where I got this odd tendency to gussy up food. Oh. Well.
Happy April to everybody!
Posted by racheld at Thursday, April 07, 2016