Today would be my grandmother June’s 85th birthday. Her influence on my life has been immense. Her support often my inspiration. When it comes to food, I have some very distinct memories. June was your basic home cook. The convenience era of the 50’s and 60’s had a great influence on her. I can’t say I learned much, in terms of cooking skills, from her. Nonetheless, I still have some very fond memories.
She always had to “doctor up” her frozen pizzas. (Why make a pizza from scratch when there is a convenient one in the freezer section at the Pick ‘n Save? eek!) I still picture the piece of onion in her hand that she “minced” with a paring knife. Never mincing the onion on a board, she’d take small swipes towards herself with the paring knife until she reached the root. Same thing with green peppers. Onions and green peppers were a requirement on her pizzas. I’ll always remember personality in food combination. Ring sausage always had to be paired with Kraft Mac & Cheese and canned sliced beets. Cottage cheese was always eaten with some canned fruit, usually peaches. (Okay, this is a fairly common pairing…just not my favorite!) Grilled cheese always was served with only one kind of soup, tomato. And our family favorite…which will never be skipped during holidays…sweet potatoes paired with butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, and marshmallows. Cooked until the potato pieces are virtually encased in hard crack sugar candy, these delicious bits are far from culinary genius…but a tradition that presents us with fond memories.
I feel very fortunate to have been afforded the privilege of giving back to her later in life. Quite often we would have her over for dinner. As she was probably my number one fan, she was very willing to be adventurous with my cooking efforts. The only forbidden food was seafood. Beyond that, she looked forward to the new meal that I was about to serve at each visit. She even tried a Thai curry I made. Though it was a bit spicy for her tastes, she was proud of the accomplishment and relished at the next meal she’d have in our home.
There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of “our little pixie” as we often call her now. Happy Birthday Grammie!