Friday, February 17, 2006

Age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill

I got a food memory in an email from an old friend today - she is making a 70th birthday dinner for her mom this weekend. I made a 70th birthday dinner for my Dad, it'll be 16 years ago Christmas.

My parents announced their plans to have a big 70th for my Dad, I think the summer before, and I was pretty much bouncing up & down, "can I cook, huh, huh, can I cook??" My kids were 3, almost 4, and 2 and a quarter at the time, and I was in graduate school, but my Dad's birthday is December 28th, so in that nice in between Christmas and New Year's week, when all schedules are off.

The menu, all my Dad's favorites, was roast beef and yorkshire pudding, creamed spinach, dinner rolls, roasted potatoes, and creme carmel and cookie baskets for dessert. I also made some fancy pickled veggies (vegetables a la grecque) and little cheese crackers (these are not the ones; the crackers for this party were sharp cheddar in the dough, then baked and stuck together with more cheese and butter as a sandwich, but I made these for one of my sister in law's art openings, and they are very good) for snacks with the drinks.

Maybe there was a salad, too - my brother typed up and printed out a menu on my Dad's computer - this was only 1990, remember, so to have these nicely formatted and printed menus seemed the height of high-tech - I still have a copy someplace, so I can check if we ate salad. The motto that's the title here was on the menu, too. My mother rented 4 or 5 round tables, and cutlery and table clothes, and there were two women to serve, so I got to sit in the dining room and have my own cooking served to me. There must have been 35 or 40 people, and my parents said that there was no one there except my kids that they had known for less than 30 years ... I guess my sister in law, too, but they were "not letting the facts stand in the way of the truth", the way I heard a story teller say it the other day, we had always said "not letting the truth stand in the way of a good story".

The guests - since they were all people that my parents had known for 30 years or more - were all members of the "greatest generation", a.k.a. the drinking generation. The food came out a tad too slow, the potatoes were not getting as brown as I wanted them, and the little crackers and veggies were inhaled, and I remember my father grabbing my elbow and whispering urgently in my ear, "We've got to get some food into them, they're getting too drunk", but in the end I must have got them all fed on time - no one disgraced themselves - they were all of the generation that knows how to drink.


Alane said...

Hi Deb! I just found you. I love the theme and am glad you link to recipes as well.
A friend always takes pictures of food and drink, at restaurants, at dinners, and now my sisters and I do too. Better than other kinds of pictures for triggering memories too, I find.
And now I'm off to Whole Foods to forage.

Deb's Lunch said...

hey, my first comment! yippee - though I did just hear someone on the radio yesterday saying 'blogs are dead ...