Bena Mae's Kitchen: Musings from a Neanderthal
Man walking on the moon? Impossible! If you had uttered this possibility back in the 1940’s or 50’s, you would have been laughed out of the room.
This past week, Astronaut Neil Armstrong, who made this possibility a reality, died. He made America proud and we mourn his passing. He was a true American hero. RIP, Neil Armstrong.
My, how the world has changed and continues to change.
My grandson who just turned 29 a few days ago, visits me often. He is invaluable in running errands, doing chores around the house and providing me with companionship since I am no longer able to get out and about like I used to.
Sometimes when we are talking, I lapse into the way things used to be. (We seniors have a habit of doing that, don’t we?) I apologize for boring him when I think he is zoning out. “Oh, no,” he says. “ I like hearing your stories.” To a young person who lives in the world of electronic playthings, instant communications, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Pizza parlors, and anything you want with the press of a button, I must sound like a Neanderthal. But he assures me that my stories are interesting. And I want him to know that the world hasn’t always been the way it is now.
I want him to know that the family doctor used to make house calls for a mere $2 fee or a couple of chickens. I want him to know that gas was 69 cents a gallon with three filling station attendants cleaning your windshield, checking your tires, or giving your sidewalls a good going over. That groceries could be delivered to your door and paid for when the weekly check came in on Friday instead of swiping a plastic card through a machine that sends the bill to your bank instantly.
He shakes his head when I talk about telephone party lines, telephone operators who were more than “hello, central......” and there being only one phone on the street whose owner allowed the entire neighborhood to use it.
I tell him about push mowers that had such a pleasing sound with their click, click, clicking and left such a fresh smell in the air. And lemonade that was made with fresh squeezed lemons -- the powdery stuff had not been invented. I talk about my mothers lighter-than-air dumplings and how she always cooked in a big pot to feed her large family -- and how we always cleaned our plate. And I tell him about the days when home-cooked meals were the rule and Stouffer’s was far into the future.
He listens politely as I tell him about rabbit ears, early television that only carried 3 channels and stopped their programs at 11 p.m. Unheard of in this age of Netflix, downloading, VCR’s, and over 400 channels that operate 24/7 and still leave you wanting for more substantial programming. He doesn’t know what snow on a TV screen is. Black and white TV is watching an old movie.
I tell him these things, including social changes and ideas that have changed over the years (which leave him dumbfounded). Because it is history, my friend, told by an old woman who has a vivid memory of a world that used to exist and doesn’t want it forgotten.
I want him to know that the world didn’t start today. And that where we have gotten to is dependent upon where we’ve been.
Easy recipe your family will love.
Sloppy Joe Hot Dish
one 8 oz. package refrigerated crescent rolls
one lb. ground beef
one 15 oz. can tomato sauce
one envelope sloppy Joe mix
one 4 oz. cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Unroll crescent dough into two rectangles; seal seams, perforations. Roll out each rectangle between two piece of waxed paper to fit an 11x7x2 inch baking dish. Grease dish, place one rectangle inside. Bake at 425, 5 minutes until golden brown. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, sloppy Joe mix; spoon over crust. Sprinkle with cheese; top with remaining dough. Bake 15-20 minutes longer.