As a little girl, there were stories that I’d ask my mom to tell over and over again until I’d memorized the details and could repeat them to myself.
This came in handy when i needed to keep my mind occupied as I sat in my cage and ate the breadcrumbs they tossed in between the bars.
I’ve considered putting these stories together in some sort of book…I often grieve the lack of a stronger grasp on the BMG’s family’s history, my ancestors, where we came from and what my roots are and OH SWEET JESUS THERE MUST BE EVIDENCE FOR ME SOMEWHERE IN MY FAMILY TREE BECAUSE AT THE MOMENT I’M CONVINCED I WAS JUST LEFT ON MY FAMILY’S DOORSTEP but that’s another issue for another therapy session. I mean blog post. Whatever.
So these stories are my solace and my consolation prize. Here are a few of my family’s favorite food stories–what are yours?
When my mom and aunt were girls, their mom used to make a baked good every Wednesday for them to enjoy (“hump day” and all). One of her specialties? Salty/Sweet Peanutty-Butterscotch bars. One chilly autumn night, she took the pan out the oven, cut them into bars in the pan, and set them on the back porch to cool off. Everyone forgot about them for half an hour, and when they came back, they found a squirrel sitting on the pan and gazing down at the bars lovingly. My grandma started to rush over there angrily to scare him away. You’d think he’d bolt, or take a few haphazard bites and book it, but instead he assessed all the bars in a panicky way, chose his favorite (in the middle, naturally), and then worked his two little paws into the pan around the bar. He wiggled back and forth and up and down and leveraged his weight until he had managed to pull one, neat peanutty-butterscotch bar out of the pan, stick it in his teeth, and then waddle away with his handpicked treasure as fast as he could. My grandmother couldn’t bear to pursue him after he’d tried so hard, nor could she stand to throw the rest of them out, so they ate them anyway, reasoning that a squirrel that smart and fastidious couldn’t be all that dirty anyway.
Or this one:
My mother used to teach fourth graders, and there was never a dull moment. One especially memorable little girl (let’s call her Susie May) was just oozing with personality. My mother knew she’d be trouble (the fun kind) when on her first day of school, she became extremely indignant and offended over a little boy who’d pulled her curly hair. Susie May marched up to the front of the classroom with her hands on her hips, got to my mother’s desk, and screamed, “Miss Gloria, I have a problem!” My mother put down her lesson plan, gave Susie May a concerned look, and said, “Susie May, dear, what’s wrong?” thinking some grave offense had been committed. Susie May stammered, “John pulled my hair, and…and…” she then burst into tears and choked out “…AND MY MOMMY SPENT EIGHT WHOLE DOLLARS ON MY NEW HAIRCUT AND I CAN’T HAVE ANOTHER ONE AND HE’S GOING TO RUIN IT AND IT’S NOT FAIR!”
Susie was sweet and loud, with a well-developed sense of justice, you see. So now that you have a feel for Susie May’s personality, we’ll move onto the food story.
One day my mother assigns an Easter craft, and tells all the kids to bring 3 hard-boiled eggs to class the following week. Of course, my mother figures a few kids will forget, so she boils an extra dozen to keep in her desk for the day. A few kids admit to forgetting and it’s no big deal, but the whole day Susie May is sitting at her desk shifting uncomfortably and looking extremely nervous, despite the fact that she has her eggs and everything seems to be going okay. Then, at the end of the project, my mother needs to collect the eggs to make a display. All the kids hand over their eggs except Susie May.
“Susie May, hand over your eggs.”
“I…do I have to?”
“Of course you do. Now, what’s the problem? Your eggs look very nice, and you should be proud of them, so let’s have them.”
Susie May placed her eggs gingerly on top of the pile, and my mother turned to walk back to her desk without the egg basket. She was halfway back up the aisle when Susie May let out a bloodcurdling scream. My mother whirled around.
“Susie May, my God, what’s the matter?!”
“MISS GLORIA, YOU CAN’T TAKE THOSE EGGS ‘CAUSE I FORGOT TO ASK MY MOMMY TO HARD-BOIL MY EGGS SO I JUST TOOK RAW ONES AND DECORATED THEM AND NOW THEY’RE GOING TO SMELL AND I’M SORRY!”
That Susie May.
On another occasion my mother assigned the famous vinegar and baking soda volcano science project. They’d “erupt” in school, but each kid had to construct a paper-mâché volcano and paint it at home. All the volcanoes the children brought to school that day were quite impressive, but for some reason the room smelled like roast beef. After a while the smell became so pungent that other teachers were ducking their heads in and inquiring as to what smelled like Christmas dinner. My mother was at a loss to explain it.
Finally, all the volcanoes have erupted and everyone’s happy. Except Susie May, who looks like she’s close to tears. Finally she makes eye contact with my mother. Susie May looks around to make sure no one’s watching and makes her way up to the desk.
“Miss Gloria…” she whispers.
“Yes, Susie May?” My mother can’t wait to find out what’s coming, but she senses it has something to do with the roast beef smell.
“My mother ran out of brown paint at home for my volcano.”
“Oh, well, you can’t tell, Susie May, it looks very ni–“
“No, Miss Gloria…she ran out…so we used Gravy Mate to finish painting my volcano.”
Mystery solved. That Susie May was totally a misfit in training.
Got any high-larious food stories of your own?