Saturday, March 26, 2011
An Acquired Taste
I did not really learn to cook much in my childhood. I knew how to fry an egg, make American Chop Suey or Shepherd's Pie, or fry burgers or hot dogs. I could bake cookies or brownies or cake. I could make pancakes or French toast. That was pretty much it. Come to think of it, it still is...... I don't remember exactly enjoying it. Come to think of it, I still don't, much. I remember some dismal failures. No, really dismal. Come to think of it, one was just last week. We won't go into it. When I was a little girl, I used to read all my mother's magazines. I wanted to be a Breck girl. Everything in the magazines my mother read was so wholesome, and happy. The sun always shone, and the homes were neat, orderly and very attractive. She got Woman's Day, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping and McCall's. I liked McCall's the best. If you're roughly my age, you probably know why. Oh, come on, it was the Betsy McCall paper dolls in the back, silly. She had the best adventures and travelled places, and had great clothes and a Dachshund. I don't know what I saw in the rest of the magazines, mostly fashions and hair and makeup, I guess. I looked at the home dec features, but was completely uninterested in the cooking stuff. I would even read the advice columns and Heloise's Hints. But not the recipes. I could not wait until Mum came home from the grocery store, to see if she had picked up another mag. Sometimes she even bought me a "Jack and Jill" magazine. Did anybody ever read those? Our town had a supermarket called Fernandes', located in a strip mall with a dry cleaner, drug store, liquor store, hardware store, and a barber (yes, like Floyd). There was a lunch counter at the front of Fernandes', with stools with seats that spun. (Mum always made you stop and get down and come with me.) There were donuts and cakes and pies on cake stands with glass domes. The waitresses wore polyester uniforms of "Harvest Gold" with white aprons, white nurses's shoes and bouffant hairdos. The coffee cups were that ubiquitous heavy-thick white ceramic -- Buffalo China. The cashiers had similar "Harvest Gold" smock coats over their clothes, but the same bouffants and sometimes cats-eye glasses. No one left the house without lipstick. The bag boys wore bow ties and aprons and put your frozen foods in thick brown paper bags to insulate it on the drive home (2.5 miles!), and pushed your cart out to your station wagon, unloaded it and took it back inside for you. My mother always wrote a check in her neat handwriting, sometimes with the purple pen she had from selling Fashion Two-Twenty cosmetics. That was grocery shopping and magazines in my childhood. Tune in for more tomorrow.