Monday, October 12, 2015

What's Cooking?

What’s cooking at Woodsong? Not much these days. With just Gerald and me living here, I have to be careful to not cook too much. Both of us have a slightly restricted diet, and that cuts out some foods. I cook our noon meal; and if I am at home I fix us a light supper of some sort. Sometimes it’s left overs. Oftentimes soup and a sandwich in the winter. Sometimes bacon and tomato sandwiches when the garden is producing tomatoes. Occasionally hamburgers with fries baked in the oven. Barbecues made from left-over roast or sloppy Joes once in awhile. Right now we are eating sliced tomatoes for lunch and supper.

If I am at Katherine’s at supper time, Gerald finds something easy to fix from the little freezer in the garage. Before I go to bed, I make the coffee for the next morning and lay out dishes on the table; and Gerald, who gets up early, makes his own breakfast—sometimes an egg in the microwave or sometimes oatmeal or even cold cereal.

I don’t particularly like to cook anymore, and I was never what I consider a good cook, but I have always liked to feed people. I like having people sitting around the table. I do not like cleaning up after a meal, but it is a necessary task. And when guests are here, I get help.

When I heard our granddaughter Erin was coming last weekend, I ran by Small’s, our local grocery, on Thursday afternoon because like lots of other people, that is where I like to buy meat. I restocked for me and Gerald, and I bought lunch meat and sliced cheddar cheese just in case Erin might need a snack some late night. (She didn’t.) I knew from experience that her schedule would be crowded with catching up with friends and the other side of her family, and it was. (I also have caught on that the kids and grandkids are very thoughtful about not wanting me to have to cook for them.) In fact, on Friday, Mary Ellen brought over a meat loaf and a dish of au gratin potatoes, which turned out to feed us for three meals since Erin ate lunch with her Gma Shirley before her hair appointment and met up with her buddy Candice for supper. I put some of the meat I’d bought into the freezer.

Just as I was getting up Saturday morning, Mary Ellen and Brianna showed up to take Erin down to Creal Springs for some sort of junkque festival going on there with people selling crafts. (I did not know it was at a barbeque place.) I knew Erin planned to go to the Johnston City Homecoming game, and I browned the large roast I’d bought at Small’s, surrounded it with veggies, and put it in the oven. I hoped someone might be there to help us eat it at lunch time. Brianna had come in carrying a fresh loaf of banana bread, and I had already finally remembered to take from the big freezer a pumpkin pie, one of several that Mary Ellen and Bri had made for Thanksgiving last year. It was left over, and I stuck it in its pie container in the freezer thinking I’d get it out sometime when Gerry dropped in. However, as the year went on, it was covered up and I forgot to get it out.

So when the craft shoppers came in laughing and showing off Erin’s pumpkin people, there was desert on the buffet along with the roast and veggies and sliced tomatoes, As it turned out, they had eaten at the barbecue place (not knowing about the roast), but they joined me and Gerald and ate dessert. This was a hit since they could send a photo by phone of Erin eating pumpkin pie to torment Gerry.

It had been so cold that morning at the junkque affair that Erin had decided not to go to the football game as I guess most of her reunion friends also decided. So we were all able to sit talking and giggling at the table as long as we wanted. Our centerpiece was Erin’s pumpkin people—Papa, Mama, and Baby Pumpkin heads made out of small blocks of wood painted orange and with faces created by ancient bolts and odds and ends from someone’s old toolbox or rusty tin coffee can perhaps found in their grandfather’s garage. Each face was unique, and they were cute little creatures. Erin is excited collecting seasonal decorations for their apartment when her new husband comes back from South Korea next year. We conjectured how much we could make if we got crafty with stuff from Gerald’s shop, and decided such little block heads could also be made into Santas or Valentine faces. Erin assured Gerald he could saw her out 90 blocks any time for her to figure out a project for her language arts students to create.

Before long Brian was able to drop in from harvesting and eat with us. Finally Trent came by to see his cousin Erin, and he made a hit with his red Mario hat. He had already eaten at whatever his morning activity had been, and eventually people had to leave and Erin had to get ready for her 10th class reunion dinner. Most of the roast was left over to be put in the fridge for this week--where the remains of Mary Ellen’s meat loaf already was. At least the pie was gone, and I was glad there was still some banana bread left because it was so good.

Erin had gone shopping with Gma Shirley on Thursday, and the Johnson family was gathering in for Sunday dinner in Erin’s honor. She was excited about getting to see her cousin Jeremy’s new baby boy. When she returned to pack for her flight back to Texas from Saint Louis, I enjoyed hearing about little Kinsley, who had brought a frog into Gma Shirley’s house. Since Shirley is one of the best cooks in our community, I had to appreciate all the largesse that Erin pulled out for us of a large plastic bag—many large slices of tender succulent ham, meat loaf, the die-for dumplings Shirley makes, corn, green beans, and cheesy broccoli. I do not know how many Shirley fed at her house that day, but she fed us most of this week! I took Katherine supper that night, and one day a piece of left over ham on our lunch table was wrapped in bread for Gerald to carry a sandwich to the field for Brian even though Mary Ellen might have already fed him. Between the left over roast and Shirley’s food, I did little cooking last week.

On Saturday, I did fix us a couple of good pork chops from Small’s with vegetables and tomatoes before I went to Katherine’s. When I returned home, Gerald told me he’d just heard that Gerry and Vickie would be coming through Sunday night. Gerry had worked a hitting clinic at Indianapolis, and then in his typical style had picked up some dogs to take to Texas via Shelbyville, Tennessee, where he had to be at 9:00 this morning.

Wanting me not have to cook on Sunday, Gerald suggested we try out that Creal Springs barbecue place the kids had said was so good. However, when he called Mary Ellen to see if they could go with us, she explained they were not open on Sunday. So we ended up going to Harrisburg to our favorite Kentucky Fried Chicken buffet and ate a wonderful meal there with its never-ending line of hungry people. Then we took a leisurely drive home down Old 13, which I had not been on for a couple of years. It sounded as if Gerry and Vickie might be arriving around supper time, and I figured I’d whip up a cake mix and make a light supper.

However, before I started, Gerry texted his dad that I was not to fix supper. They were going to take us to town for dinner. That is what we did after we enjoyed watching two little half brother puppies frolic in the front yard as they were fed and watered. We had a good visit and went to bed early since Gerry was to meet a friend at 5:15 in Marion this morning. He was taking the friend’s dog back to Texas to train. Gerry and Vickie were so quiet leaving the house this morning that even Gerald did not wake up.

I did cook us a bite of lunch today, and I guess I better do something for our supper—if I have not forgotten how.

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