You’re invited to dinner, or lunch as we call it. Dinner is supper for us.
You’ll have to use your imagination. Mom died several years ago.
Draw up a chair to the table. Reports of Mom’s cooking are widely circulated. You might not be the only newcomer today.
You have to try these string, green beans.
I’m older and married now, with kids of my own, well, they’ve grown up. I can remember as a boy given the chore of snapping and stringing the beans. I’d break off the end of the bean, and sometimes a string would run the entire length of that green terrain, a good seven or eight inches. If I didn’t do a good job, those strings would be staring at me from my plate that night. Now that I think about it, Mom might have lined up all those malfunctioning beans when she specifically put a spoonful on my plate. No words, just a reminder if I was assigned a job, do it right.
Today you can open a can of string green beans, dump them in a boiler, put a little bacon or ham in for favor, warm them up, and eat them.
But they don’t approach Mom’s. Maybe pride was her secret ingredient. They sure were good.
You want some of these creamed potatoes? No, not mashed potatoes, creamed potatoes. That means butter and canned cream or evaporated milk if you prefer to call it that.
Here, take another spoonful.
Now Mom will be insulted if you don’t eat some of her white corn. After she shucked it, she took the knife and sliced off the tops of the kernels, then backtracked, turned the blade toward the cob, and scrapped off the rest.
You say it’s tasty.
You told me you like fried chicken breasts. I’ll hold the dish, while you put one on your plate. I know you’re watching your calories, but Mom’s waiting for your face to light up when you take that first bite.
I can remember traveling with an expense account. Most people might go for T-bones or New York Strip. I must have always been looking for someone who could duplicate my Mom’s fried chicken. I never found them, but came close several times.
Mom’s chicken has a crisp crust on the outside, but it’s not greasy. The meat is tender, but it doesn’t fall to pieces when you eat it with your fingers. Goodness sakes, don’t use your fork. Mom’s not looking to get insulted, but that will do it.
Now that plate everyone is passing our way is the piece de resistance if you care to be highfalutin about it.
Mom’s rolls. Mom’s yeast rolls.
You have frozen rolls in the grocery store that pass inspection, but they’re not as good as Mom’s rolls. I’m not sure how long she lets them rise, but if they didn’t rise, you’d find rocks out in the yard to chow-down on that are tenderer.
She’s already skimmed the top of them with butter, but you might want to put a dab on the inside. That’s it. Give it about a minute to melt. Now take a bite. I told you the rolls would bring a smile. Don’t be bashful. You can have as many as you like. Mom plans on that. People have been known to wrap a few in napkins and stick them in their coat pockets for a later reminder of the meal they ate.
I always thought Mom deserved a medal for her rolls. She wouldn’t have accepted it. She was content with making people’s taste buds happy.
All right. Time for the strawberry shortcake. You don’t have room for it? You gotta make room.
Let me define Mom’s strawberry shortcake.
First there’s a slice of pound cake. Two or three sugared spoonfuls of strawberries, with juice that soaks into the cake. A couple of heapings of ice cream. More strawberries without the juice. Some whipped cream, real whipped cream.
Take a bite. I knew it. You want to take a look at your grin in a mirror?
Didn’t I tell you this would be a lunch you never forgot? I never will, especially those rolls.