Sunday, October 24, 2004

Cloud In A Pudding

This post is about my grandmother and memories I have of her. I have chosen to focus on two particular areas of my memories, involving food and reading. There are others, like the time I heard my grandmother swear for the first and only time, but I will save them for another day.

There are some things that I will see or smell or hear and I instantly remember a time where all my problems were solved by being in the kitchen of the most wonderful woman in the world. This is not surprising because my grandmother, my mother's mother, was the most wonderful cook in the world.

Grandma has been gone for many years now but I still feel her presence near me sometimes. I saw her when I looked at my mother last night, in her smile. During a car accident that could have been fatal, I felt someone grab my shoulders and hold me back so I did not go through the windshield when I stupidly did not wear a seatbelt (yes, I wear one all the time now). I think it may have been her. Which is why I almost ended up in the psych ward that day when I arrived at the hospital. The nurse asked if I wanted them to call someone and the first words out of my mouth was "Yes. My grandmother." They asked for her phone number and I rattled it off and then said "Yeah, but she won't be able to come. She's dead." They then started checking me for a concussion I didn't have.

Grandma would make pot roast for us. With carrots and prarsnips (my favorite vegetable. Brussel Spouts are second) & mashed potatoes and gravy made from scratch.

She understood my love of reading. Since we couldn't afford to get the paper, she would save the comics page for me, sometimes with coupons cut out of the middle of Bloom County. I always had something to read at Grandma's. She had a bookshelf that was filled with encyclopedias and encyclopedia sized books of different types of literature (fairy tales, poems, great stories & plays. I wish I could remember the name of the series. I would look for them for Josh (my nephew)). I read Shakespeare for the first time at my grandmother's. I think it was The Tempest.

She had board games galore. I remember Monopoly, Cooties, Parcheesi, Scrabble and many more. We watched the Price Is Right together and my grandmother told me Bob Barker was the sexiest man on television (this was probably twenty years ago).

For my birthday, she would bake a cake for me that I still love - it was made with Jiffy yellow cake mix. She would make the cake and then top it with crushed pineapple, Cool Whip & crushed walnuts.

I remember being over her house one day & it was lunch time. She had not been shopping and did not have a lot of food in the house. It was a good thing Kari (my sister) was not there because, when she decided to make me a sandwich, she was out of white bread. She asked me if I was willing to try something new and I agreed. It was the first time I had ever tasted Pumpernickel. The sandwich was butter smeared Pumpernickel, Farmer's Cheese (very mild white cheese) and, the piece de resistance, Sweet Gherkins that were thinly sliced. I had one yesterday for lunch. I tried it with Sweet Pickle relish. It's not quite the same but still good. It is one of my favorite sandwiches (the other would be boloney & peanut butter which nobody understands but it's actually quite good. I tried it when we couldn't aford any other type of luncheon meat but boloney (which I'm not overly fond of). Peanut butter works with the taste of boloney and makes it less, well, the only word I can think of it boloney tasting).

She would make shakes for Kari and I using an actual shake machine, such as seen in 50's diners (I thought that was so cool). There was always ice cream in her freezer and she would constantly experiment with different flavors.

When Jello Pudding & Cool Whip started their Pudding in a cloud campaign, she would make it for Kari and I. She would never make it with instant pudding though, she preferred to make the cooked kind (the one that always had a skin on the top. Kari would never eat the skin so Grandma would remove it for her. I liked the skin) and would pour it into cups or bowls lined with Cool Whip, making the cloud.

One day I asked her for "Cloud in a pudding." She laughed indulgently & made it for me. All she did was top the pudding with the Cool Whip but to me it tasted just a little bit different. It tasted of love.

This week, when grocery shopping, I bought a roast. When I make it, I will think of my grandmother and how much I loved her and still do love her. I think it is time to introduce my grandchildren (Matt's kids, long story) to the joy of Shakespeare. Riley's 6 now. It's time. I may have to choose the prose version but it's still Shakespeare.

Previous Comments:

At 10:30 AM, Firebear said...
Wow, this is very nice!
At 2:50 PM, brooksba said...
DM,This is a great story of love and your grandma. I liked reading about how sweet of a woman she was. You are lucky to have known her.Thank you for sharing.Beth
At 9:12 AM, The Lioness said...
Your Grandmother sounds absolutely lovely. I haven't even met YOU but here I am sitting thinking I wish I'd met HER.