Thursday, June 18, 2009

food stories

Nana and the ice cream

One very warm day, when she was in her eighties and living with us she walked down to the village of Ardsley while we were all gone and purchased a quart of ice cream. She really liked ice cream. She took a taxi back up the hill and when she went to open the door of the the house she found that she had left the key inside. The ice cream was starting to melt. She had no spoon. A walk around the house showed that a small cellar window was open. Without a bit of hesitation, she climbed up, in the window, down on to the washtubs and into the cellar. She really liked ice cream.

Dad and the liver

Dad lived as a choirboy in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine choir school when he was around ten years old. The boys led a pretty formal life. He told us children about how, like me, he didn't like liver as a boy. He would "finish" his liver by putting it in his pocket and throwing it away later. Once, however, he forgot to throw it away and was discovered when the jacket in his closet began to smell.

John and the broccoli

My brother John had thought he'd found a way to dispose of unwanted dinner until a very thorough house cleaner found petrefied broccoli stuffed in the pedestal of the dining room table.

Rick and the animal crackers

During a family gathering at Grandma's, Cousin Rick did not ingratiate himself with the family when he threw his box of animal crackers into Great Aunt Sophie's soup. He's been in disgrace ever since.

Eileen and the cheese

A close family friend came to visit one evening and started to walk around the house with a funny look on her face. "What are you doing, Eileen?" "I think I smell a dead mouse and I'm trying to locate it." "That's not a mouse, Eileen. It's the cheese you gave us for Christmas!"

Dad and the milk

The kids in my family really liked milk, but we could never get as much as we liked. Dad would say "Milk is a food, not a beverage." Sometimes on the lucky days we would have pie, Dad would give us all pie with a glass of milk. We would usually finish the milk before we finished the pie, and Dad would not let us have any more, saying "Milk is a food, not a beverage." With nothing to wash it down, the last forkfull of pie was unpleasant. Meanwhile Dad's milk glass remained full until his own pie was finished. Then he would pick up his glass and drain it, saying "AAAAAAAHHH". Thus we had a lesson in delayed gratification.

At Christmas (more on Christmas later) we would have a big bowl of shrimp to be dipped in shrimp coctail sauce. To be sure that the kids wouldn't be fighting over who got the most shrimp, Dad would count it out. "Everyone may take three shrimp!" and we would. Then "Everyone may take three more shrimp!" and we would. And on and on until the shrimp was gone. Of course we would gobble it as we got it. But when the shrimp was gone, Dad's plate was full of his own share of the shrimp. Thus we had another lesson in delayed gratification. Every year.

I understand that children who are able to delay gratification grow up to be greater successes in life than those who don't. This has been tested by leaving children alone with marshmallows. I don't know how kids develop this skill. Neither my brother, sister nor I have it.

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