Nostalgia

12 07 2007

I am blessed to have friends who endow me with dozens of ears of corn fresh from the garden every year!  It was late when they brought the first batch, and I was all out of Ziploc bags, so I had no choice to stick it in the bottom of the fridge for a day, but its very cold in that bottom drawer, so I’m sure it’ll still be delicious in January!  I have just finished all the work of freezing it properly, and as usual, it took my mind lots of places.  My daughter cheerfully helped me shuck and string, which reminded me of my own experiences helping with corn and green beans as a child.  It also made me think of all the wonderful garden fresh food I ate growing up as a result of my mom’s diligent hard work.  We never had space on our own land for a garden, but we bartered for the use of part of an elderly neighbor’s for extra hands to weed and harvest her plot.  With four pairs of those extra hands belonging to us children, I’m now pained to know how much work that must have meant for mom. 

I remember digging potatoes with large spoons.  I thought that was how it was done until my brother laughed last year when I reminded him of it as we stood admiring his garden.  I guess we didn’t have a potato fork and mom needed for us to “help” and not trample everything?  Funny.  It’s a good memory.

I decided to try my hand at making some cream corn out of this bountiful gift of gold.  I always loved my husband’s granny’s.  I asked her how to do it, and she said “…just cut off the kernels and then just keep scrapin’ that cob and it’ll come.”  Of course, that’s not enough to go on, so with her sing-song voice playing in my head, and a smile on my face, I looked it up in the good ol’ faithful Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book to get the rest of the story.  You do have to blanche it for 4 minutes and cool it first, so I’m glad I looked it up.  I wasn’t sure how much an ear would yield, so I reserved six.  The instructions said to cut off the tops of the kernels and then scrape the cob with the back side of the knife.  It takes practice to just cut the tops.  As I finished the second ear, I looked in the bag and wondered where the “cream” was….so far it just looked like corn.  On the third ear, I saw juices settling in the bottom of the bag and felt a surge of excitement.  By the time I got to the last one, I figured out that shaving the curves off the kernels and then scraping worked best.  It looks yummy.  I’ll have a hard time convincing my crew of the importance of saving a bag for Christmas dinner.  I’ll hide one and surprise them with it:) 

Another bit of nostalgia settled upon me today – about my first fish tank.  I had a 10-gal in college that was such a joy.  My prized fish was a palm-sized Silver Dollar that I had watched grow from nickel-size.  (Deep Breath)  The tank was also inhabited by some Zebra Danios and Tiger Barbs, and a catfish that looked like a shark.  (Now I know that was too many fish for a 10-gal, but hey, in my defense, the internet wasn’t in my kitchen like it is now, and the lady at the pet store said it was fine – and I also believed her and thought it was interesting when she said fish only grow as big as the tank allows LOL)  Anyway, we went to visit our parents for the weekend and I plopped in a weekend feeder, left the light off and hit the road, as I had done several times with no problem.  There was a power outage while we were away, and evidently when power was restored, the surge fried my heater and all the fish were poached.  Tears, tears, tears, oh my gosh!  I could not bring myself to set the tank back up for a year. 

All that to say that I bought a young Silver Dollar for the tank today.  It shall be the glory of the tank when it is grown!  It’s not nickel-sized, although they did have some that small, and I asked the girl to get a small one. Urgh!  It is actually about silver dollar-size, and doing well.  I haven’t named it yet, but I also brought home another Dwarf Puffer, and quickly decided to call the little bugger Bubba. I wasn’t sure how that would go over with the resident boss, Beans, a grown Dwarf Puffer, so I pulled up a stool to watch, ready to intervene with a salvation net if necessary.  Beans waited anxiously nearby for the bag contents to be freed, and they proceeded to check one another out immediately.  Then Beans calmly swam away, confident that his status was not going to be compromised by this youngster….and Bubba followed.  I watched the most extraordinary game of follow the leader that I have ever seen for several minutes, with the younger puffer following and mimicking even the slightest fin movements of the older, while the senior seemed to eye his prodigy with what was either suspicion, annoyance, or amusement – it’s hard to tell with fish (hee-hee!).  After 2-3 long minutes, the newbie swam away to inspect his surroundings and all is well.  Hmmm. Whenever the two meet in the tank, this strange behavior repeats itself for 10-20 seconds.  Wonder if that will always be their greeting?

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One response

13 07 2007
snpnmnmi

Glad I came back for the story of Bubba. I’ll have to remember to take a look the next time I’m over.
I remember making cream corn with my Mom and Aunt one year. We didn’t blanch it, but the amount of lard she put in that stuff would choke a horse! It was pretty good, though, and I was an avowed creamed-anything hater up until that point.
Speaking of food memories… you know I drink my share of coffee. When I was little we would go over to my Dad’s parent’s home in the country and it always kind of offended my nose to smell instant coffee. NASTY! Blah! But that smell always reminds me of them.
Going to Salato to meet up with the Howes tomorrow. Maybe they’ll show me how to use that GPS thing-a-ma-jig! 😉

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