Sunday, August 14, 2011

Memories of Breakfasts Past

The other day a Facebook friend posted a photo of a breakfast long gone, remembered in a photograph and in his mind. Of course, that brought my thoughts to breakfasts of years ago. Peter’s memorable breakfast was eaten in Italy. Mine, both of them, were in the USA.

The first breakfast was on the road, Iowa I believe, on the way from Chicago to that farm in South Dakota chronicled here in “Revenge!” Yes, it was the same farm and I think it was the same year. Dad brought Mom and me in his car. Joe, my father’s boss, brought his wife in his car. (In case anyone wonders, gas was ridiculously cheap and the men wanted two trunks to stuff with dead birds. It was a hunting trip, after all.)

I’ll be nice when I talk about my elders. Joe and Josephine were large people. Saying it any other way would make it hard to be nice. They liked to eat. Today they might look sort of average. In 1948, they were large.

After a night in a motel, the five of us stopped for breakfast. The adults got menus and I don’t remember getting anything. Joe was hungry so everyone else let him order first. “I’ll have a cup of coffee,” started Joe.

“Icky!” I said.

“And a glass of milk.” Joe looked at me before he continued.

“Me too,” I said.

“A glass of orange juice, three eggs sunny-side up, hash browns, bacon, sausage, pancakes, and some toast.” Joe finished his order and sat back for the next person to order. Everyone expected Josephine to go next. She had to wait.

I piped up once again with “Me too.”

After the table stopped giggling, the waitress asked my mother if I really meant it. Should she bring this huge breakfast to this little girl? “Make it one egg, scrambled. What she doesn’t finish, she’ll share with us.”

That earned me a nickname. Joe and Josephine would always know me as “Me too!” after that.

I must admit that I don’t quite remember the meal. I’ll never forget the story, though, since my parents must have repeated it dozens of times. So did Joe. I must have done a number on that breakfast because we had an early lunch that day. The milk had little ice cubes in it. Icky! There was ice in the orange juice too but that wasn’t as hard to take. I don’t remember if the sausage was link or patty but I’m sure it was good. The pig it and the bacon came from probably lived in the neighborhood.

That may have been my most memorable breakfast, probably because I heard the story for years afterward. There were other breakfasts not to forget. Since I won’t forget them, I’ll talk about them later.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I’ve Got WHAT?

It’s been too hot to cook at my home in Florida lately. Temperatures have been in the mid-90s, almost cool compared to most of the rest of the country. Are there air-conditioned spaces where people can go to avoid the heat? I’ve been going grocery shopping but when I get home, where the air conditioner stopped working at the exact time I could not afford to get a new one, it’s just too hot to cook. Maybe one of these days I’ll take a bus to the mall and stay a while. Then again, maybe I won’t.

My kitchen needs a make-over. Barring that, it does need a good cleaning and reorganization. Can’t do the clean-up all at one time. It’s a good all-summer project. Hopefully, I’ll be finished by the time the weather cools – whenever that may be.

I decided to start with one drawer. No, not the junk drawer! I opened the double drawer where the silverware sleeps. Knives, forks, and spoons sleep in one divider of the drawer. Cooking tools - well, some of them – are resting in another divider on the other half. Looked like a fun drawer to start with.

I found that I have four corkscrews. There may be more. When I helped set up wine tastings at a now defunct liquor store, I always carried one, along with a cheese knife. That one is a sommelier knife, also known as a waiter’s friend. Sort of looks like a pocket knife. There are three of those, all different. Then there’s the wing corkscrew like the one my father used to use. Mine’s red, white, and silver and big enough I can always find it.

There are two ice cream scoops in that drawer. One is metal. The other is plastic. I’m afraid to use the plastic one unless the ice cream is melted. They’re both dippers. The metal one has worked great for years. No need to use anything else. Of course, I’d like to have about half a dozen dishers. Probably wouldn’t use them much for ice cream, though.

I’ve been working around, over, and next to what’s probably the most expensive thing in the drawer. Besides getting in the way, it only does one job. It pounds stuff, meat in particular. It’s Italian. I paid probably too much for it in a gourmet store about 15 years ago. Don’t even want to think what they’d want for it now. (Another reason to stay out of the mall.)

There’s a pie server that’s covering up two nutcrackers. I used to make pies because Ernie loved them. The nutcrackers were used most often as other tools. The nutcrackers used to belong to my father. That one little section is my memories and may stay there forever.

Behind the Italian meat pounder the plastic dry measure cups hide thermometers. All anolog. One huge, slow oven-type that used to get a workout in the oven and the gas grill. Now it just sits in the drawer. I used to have five instant-reads. All but one of them were stuck in the air-conditioning vents of various vehicles. Now there are only two. Uh-oh! It’s 84 degrees in the drawer!

Think I'll quit for a while and finish this drawer if it ever cools down at night.