Posted tagged ‘bologna’

“Cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey.”

July 17, 2017

I turned off the air conditioner just to refresh the house, but that’s not going to happen. The air is thick with humidity, and there is no breeze to stir it. There are clouds where there is supposed to be sun. It will be 77˚ at the highest and in the mid-60’s tonight.

Movie night was fun, and the appetizers were delicious. We noshed on a feta dip with pita chips, cold cuts in baguettes, delicious cheeses and honeyed figs. Gunga Din was as wonderful an old movie as I remembered. It was one of those movies with a cast of thousands. The night was humid and hot but cooled down as we watched. I have neighbors on one side and renters on the other. I always wonder if they’re a bit jealous of us watching movies outside in the summer, such a wonderful way to spend a warm evening.

Summer had its own set of rules when I was a kid. The street lights no longer controlled our play time. We stayed out after dark. Bedtime was when we went to bed. Meals were usually catch as catch can except for supper which my mother cooked for all of us.  Mostly it was cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. We’d make our own. Bologna with hot peppers was my favorite sandwich. The peppers were round so I had to cut them, but they were still thick. The bologna came in a roll so I had to cut slices which were never even; they were thin on one side and thick on the other. My sandwiches were messy. White bread was just too soft and easily prone to holes. For dessert we’d grab Oreos, but they quick to disappear. The week days were ours to do as we wanted. My mother would ask where we were going, but most times we didn’t know. Riding our bikes or going to the playground were our usual answers. At least one weekend day was family day when we were stuck together in the hot car going to the beach on Sunday or to a drive-in movie theater Saturday night.

As we got older, we spent less and less time with the family and more time with our friends. I had drill two nights a week and competitions on the weekends. I slept late every day. My bicycle stayed in the cellar. My friends picked me up with their cars. Sometimes we did nothing but ride around. Other times we hung at one house or another just talking and laughing. That was pretty much the end of family time, but it reappeared when I was older, living away and teaching. I’d spend a weekend at my parents’ house. I even remember the three of us going to a drive-in together. The movie was A New Leaf with Walter Matthau and Elaine May. We laughed a lot. I had a wonderful evening with my parents.

“There is divinity in the clouds.”

May 9, 2017

Gracie woke me up around six this morning. She was panting, a sign she needed out. I put on my sweatshirt and took her out to the back yard. It was so cold I could see my own breath. My heat has gone on a few times. When I went to my early morning library board meeting, I saw people dressed in layers and wearing hats and gloves. Today is spring gone awry.

The sun was shining earlier, but now the clouds have taken over. The sky is a range of grays from dark to light. The prettiest clouds are the darkest of grays so dark as to be almost blue. No rain is predicted, just a cloudy day.

When I go back to my hometown, I pass houses where my childhood friends used to live. I remember them all. I used to envy Kathleen whose house was two houses away from school. She used to go home for lunch every day. My friend Eddie lived right across the street from the church. He also went home every day. Paula and Dennis lived close to each other about a fifteen-minute walk to school. Everyone walked. There were no busses, and very few parents drove kids to school as most families had only one car driven by dads and gone to work early, too early for school. I never gave walking to school a thought except when it rained.

My favorite lunchbox sandwich was bologna with mustard, the yellow kind of mustard. It was always a white bread sandwich. I didn’t even know bread came in a variety of tastes and colors. Friday was tuna fish sandwich day as we couldn’t eat meat. I can’t even remember the number of tuna sandwiches I ate all through elementary school, but I ate my fill. I don’t eat tuna fish anymore. I still eat bologna.

I used to love milk. It was perfect for washing down dinner and even better for dunking Oreos. I stopped drinking milk when I was in the Peace Corps as Ghana had no milk except evaporated in the can. I have milk now but only with my cereal. The best part of that is the flavor of the milk left on the bottom of the bowl after the cereal has been eaten.

Nothing much going on here. Today is a perfect day to stay home, to do nothing. My laundry finally made it upstairs, and I even put it away. That was my yesterday’s accomplishment. I’ll take what I can get and be content, maybe even a bit proud of finally getting that chore done.

“Oreos come in packages. Otherwise known as a gift. Cherish it.”

July 2, 2016

My wish was granted. Last night it was a mighty storm. The thunder started way off with small rumblings then it got closer and louder. The lightning lit up the room. One thunder clap was right over my house. All three animals looked up as if the roof was falling. Mother Nature celebrated the 4th just a bit early, and her display was spectacular.

The air is cool this morning with a slight breeze, but the humidity will return later. I have opened all the windows. This room, my den, is always wonderfully dark and cool in the morning as the sun doesn’t hit it until the afternoon.

My mother always put the shades down all summer. She said it kept the house cool. She also made a pitcher of Zarex most days and left it in the fridge, but she hated it when we opened the fridge door as we generally stood there by the door to check out the fridge. She said we were letting the cold out.

Weekdays in the summer we entertained ourselves. We’d bike ride totally mindless of the heat or we’d spend the day at the park on the field across from the bottom of my street. On those days we’d go home for lunch which was always a sandwich, usually bologna. I don’t even remember what other cold cuts my mother bought. To my sandwich I’d add hot peppers which I had cut in half. Mustard was my condiment of choice; of course, it was always yellow mustard. The bread was always white. I don’t remember any specific dessert, but my guess is it was Oreos, a wonderfully portable dessert. I still love my Oreos, but once I went crazy and bought peanut butter Oreos. They were pretty good though really what’s not to like about peanut butter, but I’m a traditionalist prone to buy the original though double-stuffed is always tempting.

“Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.”

October 19, 2015

Today is cold, in the mid 40’s. The sun is back to playing peek-a-boo. Outside isn’t all that inviting so I guess I’ll hunker down for another day or two. I’m not completely rid of the plague as I still have a voice better suited for an obscene phone call than a regular conversation. My cough didn’t wake me up last night, but it is still hanging in there. My friend is bringing me bread, cookies and a lemon donut from Dunkin’ Donuts. I’m a happy woman, albeit sick but still happy.

When I was a kid, I don’t remember missing much school. I don’t think I was really sick enough all that often. A cold was nothing. It meant bundling a bit better with a new layer or two. We walked to school on even the coldest days. I remember my cheeks turned red and raw from the wind. We’d walk backwards away from the wind when it was the strongest and the coldest. School was a refuge where we could defrost and de-layer. I don’t think we really ever complained much. That was just the way it was. We all walked to school back then despite the weather.

I used to like soup on a cold day. My mother would fill the thermos from my lunch box, add some saltines, and maybe a half of a sandwich and some dessert. Usually it was tomato soup because I could drink it instead of needing a spoon. Bologna was the most popular meat for sandwiches. We always had tuna fish on Fridays when we couldn’t eat meat. My mother added mayonnaise, chopped celery and lettuce so the tuna fish wasn’t half bad. It was always on white bread. We never had any other kind of bread. I think I was a teenager before I found out bread came in many colors and flavors.

Back when we were kids our dinners were meat, potatoes, usually mashed, and a vegetable. We had bland palates. We were seldom introduced to any foreign foods though we did count spaghetti as Italian. My friends and I now eat all sorts of foods from a variety of countries. I know it was Ghana which first introduced me to really foreign foods like African, Indian and Middle Eastern. They opened the flood gates. Now I’m willing to try almost anything though I balk at insects, household pets and rodents.

“I made a sandwich out of things. I’m an American. We can eat anything as long as it’s between two pieces of bread.”

January 24, 2015

The road was covered in slush when I went to get the paper. I left deep footprints and could see the track of the car which had been driven down the street some time this morning. Gracie was hesitant to go down the back steps. They were covered in slush like the road. It was raining, but there had been a sprinkling of snow first. After Gracie came in, I threw de-icer on the steps. I don’t want the steps freezing. Off-Cape is getting the snow.

Today lends itself to laziness. It is an I won’t get dressed day or do any chores day. I will most decidedly take a nap later. That is not in question. I may have a pizza delivered. I don’t know. That sounds too much like a plan, and today is not a day to plan. It is a whatever happens day. Fern and Gracie are asleep on the couch beside me. They are my role models.

I cut out recipes and have a gigantic folder filled with them. Periodically I go through the gigantic folder and put the recipes I’d most like to make in a smaller folder. I have yet to make any. Most times I fall back on the familiar: my curry recipe, my brother-in-law’s chili and my uncle’s sausage cacciatore. This week I am going to make Peg’s corn chowder. She brought it down when she and Bill last visited, and I loved it. It is a perfect winter recipe, one to warm the innards.

When I was young, my mother sometimes gave us Campbell’s tomato soup and her grilled cheese sandwiches especially on cold days. I still love grilled cheese sandwiches, especially gooey ones, but mine have become a bit more sophisticated than using yellow cheese unwrapped on Wonder bread. My aunt was the first to give me one with tomato, and I still like tomato as a basic addition to the sandwich. I also like bacon, jalapeño or avocado with pepper jack. I think grilled cheese is the best sandwich to personalize. A BLT is just that. Bologna is about as unsophisticated as a cold cut can get.

A couple of Christmases ago I got a panini maker from my sister. It elevates sandwiches from a simple lunch to something far greater, far tastier. Avocado is the best addition of late to grilled cheeses and regular sandwiches. I now have an addiction to them. When I was a kid, I would have thought avocados too squishy and far too green. The rule of thumb back then was to avoid anything green. The only exceptions were green beans and unripe bananas as they had a yellow future.

“Strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody.”

May 3, 2014

Yesterday it was a joy to be out and about doing errands. I think I smiled the whole time. The day was brilliant with a bright sun and a temperature in the high 60’s. Poor Gracie had to be left home as I had too many long stop errands and didn’t want her stuck in the car in the heat. This time of year she comes when I go to the dump or take a ride. She was out in the yard most of the afternoon and spent part of it stretched on the deck enjoying the sun.

For breakfast when I was a kid, I had cocoa, oatmeal or eggs and toast during the winter, and in the summer I had cereal or toast with juice or milk. For lunch it was mostly a bologna sandwich. I was never good at slicing the bologna so my sandwich was always misshapen. Some of the bologna pieces had thick edges on one side and thin on the other. I added hot peppers from a jar and yellow mustard. Dinner was my mother’s choice. She knew what we’d tolerate and served it. Mashed potatoes were almost always part of the meal, and there was at least one vegetable. Hamburger in a variety of dishes was the most common meat. I didn’t realize why until I was older. Hamburger was inexpensive. My mother was creative. She made terrific meatloaves. She also cooked American chop suey without the onions and a Chinese dish with bean sprouts, water chestnuts, hamburger and crispy chow mein sticks on the top. Salisbury steak in gravy was another meal. Just plain hamburgers were mostly summer fare with hotdogs cooked on the grill. Sunday was the big dinner and we never had hamburger. Mostly it was a baked chicken or now and then roast beef. The last Sunday dinner I had before I went into the Peace Corps was roast beef, mashed potatoes and peas.

In Ghana I was still a creature of habit when it came to food. I had two eggs, toast and coffee for breakfast, fruit for lunch and beef and yam for dinner. I’d also have chicken now and then. Sunday was food from a chop bar, a hole in the wall eatery at the lorry park. Mostly it was fufu and soup. After the Christmas package came, Sunday was eat something from home day. Macaroni and cheese was a dish fit for the Gods.

I hadn’t good at making meals. I’m far too lazy. I’d have brie and crackers for dinner or eggs and toast. Lately, though, I’ve been using meat from the freezer and have had real meals: chicken thighs, mashed potatoes and a vegetable. Last night it was my old stand-by, peas, and a baked potato for variety. Dinner was delicious, and I felt accomplished.