Monday, March 1, 2010

Table of Memories

I know I talk about food on the farm often, but those moments around the table were some of the best…and the worst.

Eggs. With chickens in the hen house, breakfast always consisted of eggs, usually in one form and one form only. Looking back, it is a wonder that I eat eggs at all for on my plate every morning was a soft boiled egg all runny and gross. I would break up pieces of toast and mix it with the eggs…a ironic form of French toast all mixed up in a gooey mess egg and bread. I remember pushing the slimy bits to the side of the plate wish that the egg was all yolk. Crispy bacon was the treat that made the entire breakfast tolerable.

Bread seemed to find its way into many of our main meals as well. I don’t remember ever eating a meal without a piece of butter bread. We floated pieces of bread in beef broth containing big chunks of roast beef. Grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken stuffing, French toast, dill pickle sandwiches. Foods that made a slim budget go a bit further.

Then we go on to greens. Who on Neff Road didn’t eat dandelion greens? Endive? Or what about blossoms? Pumpkin blossoms! Fried green tomatoes! The culinary delights were unending and wonderful. Well, I didn’t really like endive.

Around this time of the year, a craving creeps up on me. It is a twofold yearning. First of all, the hunt was exciting; the eating was heavenly. Morel mushrooms. We walked the thicket in the spring looking for the tasty morsels, the woods and even in our yard. Once in awhile we would go to Michigan to find as many as possible to satiate this taste we could only capture once a year.

We do have morels here in Oregon, but I have as yet to go on that search. Not the same as walking the farm. However, I have found a market on the way to the coast that carries the treasures. A taste reminiscent of home.

So many foods are not just comforting to taste but comforting in memory of another time. The smells in the kitchen, Mom smelling of soap and baking, a father breaking up bread in his daughter’s eggs, finding a small spongy mass under a pile of leaves. Memories, comforting thoughts of experiences around the kitchen table. Memory of a room filled with friends and neighbors, gossip and shared memories, of a family sharing daily life on Neff Road.

Neff Road….the family table of memories.

1 comment:

Nana Jo said...

You have set a "feast of fat things" before me in your words. I have my coffee and toast and I'm going to read until sated. It's so true how many of our memories are centered around table and food. Thanks for the reminder to savour them.