Thursday, August 07, 2008

Food pyramid topples in Red Willow County

A good story by Prairie Bluestem about her Grandma Violet cooking for farmhands in Gordon, Nebraska, unleashed a vivid childhood memory. My grandmother also cooked for farmhands when my mom was a little girl down by Marion, Nebraska. As far as I know, my mom kept her clothes on, although Genevieve's mom thought clothes should be optional in the hot kitchen.

I always found it difficult to reconcile the grandmother I knew with family stories of her cooking for the farm hands. To me, she lived with my granddad in an hotter-than-hell one-bedroom apartment in McCook, and never did more in the kitchen than set out a "Dutch lunch."

One Sixties summertime visit to McCook our family of five tried to sleep on the fold-out sofa and air mattresses in my grandparents' living room. The sweltering apartment was filled with the smell of overripe cantaloupe and very little sleep.

Last night while I was tossing and turning and worrying that I might have strep throat while hoping it was just a sinus infection, I kept thanking my lucky stars that I wasn't sofa-surfing with cantaloupe in McCook. Some things are worse than strep in August, but not many.

The next day, Grandmother set out the spread of pickled herring, pickled pigs feet, pickled miniature corn, sweet pickles, bread & butter pickles, watermelon pickles, cucumbers and onions in sour cream, sardines in olive oil, sardines in mustard, Club crackers, overripe cantaloupe, salami, summer sausage, cheddar, toothpicks, Fritos, chip dip, and 7-Up. Oh, and some chocolate mints and macaroons for dessert!

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