Monday, August 5, 2013

Things I Can't Believe I Ate

My sister and me around 1965.  I'm the one on the left.
by Julia Buckley

The other day I was reminiscing about things I ate as a child--and many of them are things I would never eat today.

Exhibit A: When I was a wee youngster and liked to "help" my mother make cookie dough, I would generally just steal dough on my little finger, over and over, which annoyed my mother.  So she came up with the compromise of giving my sister (a fellow dough thief) and I little dishes of butter mixed with sugar. Those are the first two ingredients of cookie dough, and that was our favorite part of the dough making process--when the butter was soft and the crunchy granulated sugar got mixed in.  So we ate bowls of butter and sugar with cereal spoons, and my mother was able to get her baking done.

Exhibit B: My mother is German, and she introduced us to some German delicacies that, as children, we didn't mind eating.  One of them consisted of raw ground beef spread on a piece of white bread or toast, sprinkled with salt or pepper, and layered with raw onions.  We would munch these down at lunchtime without a second thought.  Today? The thought of eating even a morsel of raw ground beef would horrify me--but then again, the contents of ground beef in 1970 was probably significantly different from what's found in it today.

Exhibit C: My Hungarian grandmother made all sorts of Hungarian delicacies for our family parties, one of which was a Depression-era staple called Kocsonyas sertescsulok (we just called it kuh-chon-yah).  The main ingredients of this food are pig's knuckles, salt, pepper, and aspic.  It was chilled so that the aspic gelled around the pig parts.  We wolfed this down in bowls as a regular childhood snack.  I do not think I'd go for Kocsonya today.  You can see a picture of it here.

Exhibit D: Since both of my parents were European, we had a very interesting lunch meat container, with several selections that only my mom and dad liked, but which they persuaded all of us to try at least once. Among these delicacies were liverwurst and head cheese.  My father liked to bring home interesting meat that he found somewhere in his travels, or that a friend of work obtained for him--including venison, rabbit, and bison.  On those nights my sister and I went hungry, because we couldn't bring ourselves to eat those animals.

Exhibit E: When we were sick, my mother always made us drink hot jello water.  This was gelatin before it gelled.  I'm not sure what ladies' magazine recommended this for sick children, but I remember consuming a lot of hot gelatin.  Now I equate the aroma with illness.

So in my childhood, I ate some adventurous food.  What did you eat when you were young?

P.S.  Happy birthday to my wonderful mother, who happens to be 80 years old today.  Aside from the strange exceptions above, she filled my childhood with delicious cooking and baking, and our house always smelled like aromatic food.


Katreader said...

I always drank some jello before it chilled with my Grandma. I wasn't sick-she said it was good for my hair and nails! I'd drink it today too!lol My dad loves head cheese. I'll eat some luncheon meats-not sure about that one though. I'd love to try a good steak tartare-but would certainly have to trust the chef!

Sandra Parshall said...

I was born picky and I've stayed picky. Some of the things you mentioned make me shudder. :-)

Julia Buckley said...

Katreader, was your Grandma European? Or your dad? :)

Sandra, it really defies imagination now, thinking of some of that food.

Terry Shames said...

These are hilarious. I've always been a totally eclectic eater. For years my breakfast consisted of a hot dog held over the gas burner until charred and then put onto a piece of white bread slathered with ketchup. I always thought I would be good on Survivor because I could eat anything. Raw beef? Bring it on!

Julia Buckley said...

You sound very adventurous, Terry. :)

Katreader said...

Julia-my family is Polish, with a little German. (My great-grandma on my dad's dad side was German-everyone else is Polish.) However, all my grandparents were born in the US.