I spent my early years in Michigan. The last thirty years I have been here. If I had known how wonderful Tennessee was, I would have been here long ago. Don't fault me for being from Michigan. We all have to be from somewhere. I will try to keep the secret of how wonderful East Tennessee is. After all, there is only so much room for former Yankees down here.
The Pizza Parlor in Maynardville made good pizza. I worked there for a while as short order cook when they first opened. I prepped and made the salads as well as the spaghetti sauce. It was a time of learning for me. I had never before cooked ground beef in water, stirred to separate it and then drained before adding to tomato sauce to make a spaghetti sauce. Made that was, there was very little oil to skim off the finished sauce. Not enough to bother with.
I'm in trouble right out of the gate. There is no ham in my Ham Salad Sandwich Spread. Nope. Just good old bologna. It sounds better than saying, "Bologney Sandwich. That means something else to me. I remember taking sliced bologney sandwiches to work. They would be warm by lunch time. Yuck! Those weren't happy memories.
There is a vegetable salad I have been making since back in the 70s. Green Pea Salad. When I think of Green Pea Salad, I think of my years in a sewing factory and that reminds me of Arlene. She was on a perpetual diet. Poor soul, she couldn't lose an ounce. It was a time when Weight Watchers was on top of the diet schemes. They are still around. Arlene very carefully ate every morsel of every dish she was allowed to have on their diet plan. I have watched her chase that one last green grape around her plate.
Catfish? That's not a panfish. I grew up eating sunfish, bluegills and such, really whatever Dad could catch. The closest we came to catfish were bullheads and suckers. There would be sucker runs in the spring near where we lived. As a fish, they left a lot to be desired with tiny barbed bones throughout the flesh making them difficult to eat. I didn't much care for bullheads, either. They looked like small catfish, same whiskers and skin. Yeah, skin. They had to be skinned. Dad had a flare for doing that. I never did get the hang of it. I preferred bluegills.
A number of years ago I found a cookbook at a thrift store that didn't follow the usual pattern for cookbooks. This one had Canadian recipes in it. How would that be different from any other cookbook, you ask? Well, for instance, it had recipes in it for carabou. Food City doesn't carry reindeer meat. There were also a few other exotic foods that we don't find in East Tennessee.
One recipe seemed to jump off the page, yelling “Try me!” So I did. It had a different name in the book, but I re-named it “Canadian Hamburger Vegetable Soup.” It is easy and delicious.
I have always liked the taste of rhubarb. It is especially welcome after a winter of eating mostly canned fruit. Mother made rhubarb pie when the stalks were crisp and full of juice. We always had plants growing somewhere around the garden spot. Rhubarb doesn't demand much. Enough moisture to keep it alive during the hot summer months is about it. It is one of the first things up in the spring.
This recipe has been around a long time. I have taken it to church potlucks a time or two. It's a recipe you can make ahead, when you have a little extra time in an evening before bedtime. When you work full time, planning is important to get everything done.
With a husband and four children to tend to, extra moments were precious. I remember thinking how great it would be to lie down for an afternoon nap with the bedroom door shut. That was a luxury I never had. There was always someone or something that needed tended to on my days off.
When I was growing up during the Great Depression, we didn't have meat at every meal. Mother might fix fried eggs and fried potatoes for supper, but that was about it. Meat, such as bacon, wasn't used as an entree, but for seasoning. Boiled potatoes with their jackets on and scorched gravy was the norm.
Has there ever been an Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips place around here? I consider their fish the best ever. I read on Facebook that there is one located somewhere in Ohio. That won't help my yearning for their fish triangles. But I do have the recipe that I will share with you.
You know, copy-cat recipes are published for popular restaurant dishes from time to time. Usually, they only taste somewhat like the desired item. There are even cookbooks published that claim to have prized recipes. This is the only recipe I have ever found to be as good as the original.
Do you want a quick and easy dish for supper tonight? Here is one for you: “Corned Beef Hash.” Don't turn up your nose yet. It can be delicious, not like that awful canned stuff you tried years ago. But don't buy the corned beef brisket, either, that you see advertised at umpteen dollars a pound at the grocery store. It is not only expensive but it takes forever to cook. There is a better way.
Back in the 30's and the 40's small carnivals cross-crossed the country. It was before television and the Internet. Amusements were simpler back in the day. I'm not talking about the circus, just a carnival with some rides and a midway. They are gone forever.
I remember them. Dad allowed us one ride, a walk through the midway and a hot dog. What sights! What sounds! What smells! That was what childhood memories were made of. We went once.
When I was growing up during the Great Depression years, there was no cake mix, no Bisquick and no pancake mix. It was like my dad with his cigarettes; he rolled his own. We made our own. I don't have Mother's pancake recipe. Like I said before, she seldom used a recipe. Anyway, I was too young to watch and write down the measurements.