Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Edible Heritage Remembers...

You've heard this old wives tale right? A woman cooks a ham and instinctively slices both ends off before putting it in the oven. At the table, her kids begin wondering: "Why do you do that?" and she says something like Well I don't know, my mom always did it. Let's call my mom!

BRRrrring!: Hi Grandma, why do you cut the ends off your ham?

"Well I don't rightly know. But my mother is still alive [can you believe it readers!] and since she doesn't have a phone, I'll just walk over to her cabin in the woods and ask her [or something like that right?].

So the story goes back however many generations that remember or are alive until you get to the bottom line: Some old pioneer woman/grandma/ancestor/saint had a little wood burning stove and the only pan that would cook a ham was too small, so she always lobbed off the ends first.

Ta-daaaa...we've all heard this one before right?

The thing is, there's something to this story. Besides the indelible mark parents make without even trying (which is not where I'm going with this entry), there is a food culture that persists in families, overtakes generations, or merges with the eccentric weirdos from the East Coast you married into.

And you don't even realize it's your food culture until you either:
a) finally get out of the house and go to college
b) live in a foreign land, or the Southern States

c) get married (that will really blast the spotlight on your unique food culture, that one).

And so it wasn't until I merged with The Mister of the House and became Mrs. Olsen herself that I realized the foods I regularly ate around Apache Avenue were uniquely part of my edible heritage. And foods that The Mister could not understand because of his own upbringing.

So tell me if I'm weird, or if The Mister of the House needs to live abroad and expand his horizons:

Apache Avenue Homestead, now serving:

Buttered toast dipped in hot chocolate

French crepes served thin and hot. Spoon some
cottage cheese down the center and roll it up!
Then slather with mashed and sugared peaches.
[the only way the Olsen's eat crepes is with an omelet center
with a cheese sauce...or berries and cream. I'm a big fan of all these
ways, but I still love my Apache Avenue version the best]

Chocolate chip cookies dipped in milk.
This seems so simple and necessary to life, and yet The Mister wonders
why I love it so. He's out of line now isn't he?

Hearty wheat bread, toasted, buttered, and jammed. Top
with scrambled egg with melted cheese. A perfect blend
of hearty, sweet, and salty.
Okay, now that I think about it, I think that I created that myself from
what my mom threw on the table. I doubt my siblings ever ate that, but
it tastes so good to me. I try not to eat it now, because my arse is
square. But on the rare occasions I do eat it, I enjoy
watching The Mister dry heave.

Cream peas and potatoes.
This was a childhood staple made from a white sauce with cut up spuds and peas.
My mom turned us into rabid dogs when she cut up hotdogs and threw them
in the mix. Sadly, I have never fixed this for the Mister. When I do, I will probably
revert to my nine-year-old self and pick my nose at the table.

Jell-O surprise!!
I am quite sure that when and if I fix this for my kids, they will eternally sing
praises to their Grandma for creating such an odd concoction. Do this:

a) prepare jiggly sugary Jell-O according to package directions

b) pour into a casserole dish

c)cut up gum drops and throw them in the liquid before it sets up
d)top with real whipped cream, none of that Cool Whip crap
e) eat Jell-O with semi-soggied gumdrops and love your mother

So I would love to hear anyone else's weird food culture items that are lingering through the generations. Or at least back me up on my amazing dishes from back in the day.


paula said...

How on earth could you forget the tomato/corn chowder mixture? I first had it at your house in 8th grade and I still eat it to this day...seriously-I had some last week.

Anonymous said...

I love that toast-dipped-in-hot-chocolate. I learned that at your house.

Love cream peas and potatoes.

My husband doesn't like toast. He can't believe that's what I like most for breakfast. "That's not a meal. It's toast." But I can happily eat toast for breakfast and am teaching my kids that it's a balanced meal.


Cresta said...

Grilled cheese dipped in ketchup? Anyone??

I also love the toast in chocolate milk - and so do my kids!

Anonymous said...

I thought of another Anderson culinary specialty: Ritz crackers with cheddar cheese and sweet pickle relish. I never would have thought of that, and I LOVE it.

Lee Family said...

We got some from the Archibalds as well. They always had melted cheese on bread with mayo tomato and bacon - Yummo - AND butter and sugar on pancakes - WHAT no syrup and it was delicious - AND chili powder for saying "FART" - that'll teach.

You need to do a post about jingles from dad. Wendy has incorporated some of hoser's jingles into her life as a mama.

Okay, let's get down to bizness here - Mr. Olsen is completely off his rocker about the cookies in milk - hello every oreo commercial. toast in hot cocoa apparently also seems to be a common practice. Jam with eggs on toast - you are the only one that did that - and that is gross. peach/cottage cheese crepes - totally a splendid concoction that remains with us frequently. Jared doesn't turn his nose at any concoction I present, if you don't really cook for the first 3 yrs of married life, they learn to be happy with whatever they get. Although his family puts ketchup in their stew - odd right. I'm just talking, talking - and Porter, he sure loves ketchup.

Wade and Marilyn said...

I think your dad created the jello/gumdrop thing. If I ate that now, it would pull all the caps off my teeth!

jennaloha said...

I love creamed peas and potatoes!

Ok, so one of my favorites that hubby Blake gets squeemy about is from my dad: Sliced tomatoes on toast with mayo forever and ever.

And Salted Apples. Recipe follows:

a whole apple in one hand. Salt shaker in the other. Pour salt on apple before every bite.

(also from my dad. Also Blake-squeemy.)

Monica said...

The week after Troy and I returned from our honeymoon, I was determined to do some serious cooking. On day 2, I proudly made crepes for breakfast and served with cottage cheese and peaches as we were properly taught. He ate without comment, then left for work (I thought). Apparently, he went straight to his brother's apartment and expressed his horror at the weird breakfast I had made. My first big clue that he was a picky eater.

Love cream peas and potatoes and I have tried over and over again to get my kids to love this dish. They are not fun to feed...

How about Dad's breakfast goulash--the fried potatoes with corn and hot dogs? Great with ketchup!

KayKayBe said...

You guys out West need to find some green peanuts, make a big pot of salt water and cook 'em in it for 6-8 hours until they're soft like cooked beans.
Those things are so good, hubby and I talk about starting a peanut empire in the less priviledged parts of the country. We'll be rich in no time! Cajun boiled peanuts are really good too- just add some cajun seasoning.
There's nothing like it.

Lee Family said...

oh, and one more thing. Did you call east coasters weird?

Mrs. Olsen said...

Oh wow. Thanks for the reminders of the Apache foods that I didn't realize were unique until outsiders pointed them out: tomato soup with corn was my most favorite dish and I thought everyone ate it. Ritz crackers, cheddar, and sweet relish...yes I had forgotten about those. Both classic Apache Avenue foods.

And grilled cheese dipped in ketchup sounds totally sick Cresta. I just might try it out of curiosity.

And KKB, sorry that your boiled peanut empire won't come to fruition since your new expanding market needs to be in the west and us "westerners" think the idea is so bizarre I doubt many even would try it. (I'm actually sad to admit I never ate them on "the mish").

And speaking of easterners, Niki, you are not an east coast girl. Living in Boston for 5 years can't scrub the Idaho dirt off you that easy.

Monica, that was the perfect example of food culture. Does Troy like your crepes yet? They are soo good.

Salted apples sound good. Almost as good as slices of sharp cheddar with slices of apple. Yum.