It must be the time of year, because for the last several days, all I can think about eating is the stuff my grandma used to make for me.
So much so that I actually went to the store last night to buy the old yellow package of Oscar Mayer ham and some sliced cheese because I didn’t want the fancy sliced-at-the-deli-and-placed-in-a-spinach-wrap-because-that’s-what-grown-ups-do kind of sandwich. I wanted the processed, water-packed, and nitrate-loaded one that my grandma used to make.
And you should know that I am eating it right now as I write this post and IT. IS. DELICIOUS. So much yum that I am not even a little bit sorry. (Okay, well, maybe a little, but I can’t be be nutrition-minded all the time.)
The mailman brought my Thanksgiving issue of Food Network magazine yesterday too. And I instantly remembered little bowls of green and black olives meant to be eaten but more often stolen by me, my brother, and our cousins to stick on the tips of our fingers. (How did we even get away with this with like 20 guests on the way?…)
I have been thinking about how I pretty much spent my childhood sitting at the counter and watching her make meal after meal, while she smoked her cigarettes and sent me to Vons to “make sure and get the homogenized!” milk. Fried chicken…meatloaf…mashed potatoes. White Wonder Bread and real butter on the table every night because my grandpa loved bread and butter with his dinner. And so did the rest of us once we tried it.
I mean, Wonder Bread yo! I feel like kids today will never even know such joy.
Because of her, I have [successfully – therefore miraculously] cooked a Thanksgiving dinner for the last two years and I am fixing to do it again next month. I try to do it like she did, but I know my talent pales in comparison to the holiday feasts she could create. But I do it as much like she did as I can because (oh…there’s the tears, hello…) it reminds me of those really-truly joyful, family-filled days I had growing up.
This time of year makes me thankful for every breakfast she whipped up, for every sandwich she made, for every meal I gobbled down at her kitchen counter or her dining room table. Thankful for every Thanksgiving turkey and my complete ignorance to how hard she had worked to make those suckers. Thankful for every dollar she gave us over the years to spend at Carol’s Candy and every “pop” I was allowed to drink.
I like to remember my grandma by cooking the things she cooked because if she had one huge claim to fame, it was definitely her food. To this day, a fried egg with cheese on an English muffin cooked on my own stove the way she did it puts that fast food version to absolute – ABSOLUTE – shame. And I know good and well that a sweet potato casserole needs marshmallows on top or you’ve done it just plain wrong.
So with the holiday season upon me, I look up to heaven and thank my grandma for letting me watch, eat, and experience the amazing meals she made for our family. I say “thank you” for giving me a love of food in the first place, and for inspiring me to create things on my own, whether they are done the old fashioned way or the clean eating way.
I really hope you still get to eat and cook and set out bowls of olives up there. Love you.
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