Disclosure: I’m Jewish. Food and its consumption are a part of my culture. That might have something to with the attention I’ve paid to food most of my life. Taking it to another level, I married a Jewish man whose Jewish Mother wanted to know when we visited, what we wanted her to cook for dinner. This was before we finished breakfast.
Although my father was a grocer, the food choices in mid-century New England were a far cry from what I’ve now come to expect since I’ve been living in CA. New England gastronomy was strongly influenced by early waves of immigrants from England, Ireland and Poland, not nations known for their culinary prowess. I grew up working in my parents’ store, surrounded by food, much of it canned, bottled, some of it frozen, with a produce section that only drew my attention when local fruit and vegetables became available for a brief few months between the last freeze and first frost.
My mother worked in the store with my father most days. For dinner, when I was growing up, I’d put 4 Idaho potatoes in a 350-degree oven about an hour before my parents were expected home for dinner. A most typical dinner included the potato I’d baked, a broiled a piece of meat, and a side of once frozen, Birds Eye vegetables, usually green beans or peas, maybe canned corn. A side plate held a salad wedge of iceberg lettuce, topped off with Wishbone Italian dressing. The meal would often be kicked off with half a Florida grapefruit, if they were in season. If Mom felt daring, she’d occasionally broil the grapefruit with a melted brown sugar topping. Oh, I forgot to mention a usual side of applesauce. Continue reading “My History of Eating, Part One”