Tuesday, May 17, 2005

100 Years of Crock Pot

On my last post, my father commented that he would gladly send me care packages of cornmeal and bacon grease when I moved up north. God bless that man. This, of course, reminds me of all the dinners he cooked for me as a child.

Growing up, at least since I was about 12, it was just Dad and me. Mom was around a lot, but she lived across town. I saw her most afternoons and on the weekends, but Dad was mostly responsible for feeding me.

To this day, his cornbread is still the best in the world, according to my taste buds. Though, I must give a major shout-out to Mom's pancakes, which are also the best in the world. I know Lunger will back me up on that one.

He made a lot of cornbread, and he also made almost all other accompanying, dinner-related dishes in the crock pot. He made so many dinners in the crock pot, that he brought it to an art form. I could have ice cream or cookies for breakfast, but when I came home from school, we ate some sort of slow-cooked meal.

He prepared all the standard crock pot meals: chili, stew, and soup. But he also made a lot of plain old meat, like barbeque pork chops. His foremost medium, however, was chicken.

Barbeque chicken, garlic chicken, ranch-flavored chicken, and the very memorable "Chicken Italiano," as he so aptly named it. "Chicken Italiano" consisted, basically, of chicken breast and tomato sauce. If you think this tasted good, you are sadly mistaken.

For some reason, this particular concoction did not work out. The chicken was so dry as to be crunchy, and the outside was a charred, tomatoey brown. We ordered Chinese that night.

He also liked to make Rice-A-Roni, especially the red beans and rice kind to go with our barbeque chicken. Another favorite was microwaved frozen broccoli with cheddar cheese melted on top. And salad, of course.

Don't get me wrong, Dad tried really hard. He told me many times that it was important to our relationship, as parent and child, to eat dinner together every night. He liked to relate all sorts of child psychology factoids to me. With Dad, it was never a matter of him simply implementing a parenting skill, he liked to explain the theory behind it too.

He also told me that the average person needs at least five hugs a day to remain emotionally balanced. I don't know if he made this up or read it somewhere. The latter is more likely because he was and still is, a voracious reader. Where he got this information is irrelevent. Sometimes he would just look at me and say, "I don't think either one of us has met our hug quota for the day."

He's a pretty cerebral guy, but he's also a great dad. I always know that he loves me. He always makes sure that I know I'm special. Both my parents make sure I know these things. They've been divorced a long time, and even though their parenting styles differ considerably, this is the one thing they have in common: they love me and my brother fiercely.

This is what I think about when I remember I'm moving to a different country. I will miss them so much. I keep telling myself that I'll see them much more than a lot of grown-ups see their parents. But I know I'll always need them, no matter how old I am, no matter how far away I live. I try to make sure they know that. I hope they know I love them as much as they love me.


Guyana-Gyal said...

What a wonderful world it would be if there were more parents like yours, like mine...

Your posts always make me think.

I have this [perhaps too Pollyana, but I don't care]theory that good families make good communities make good societies.

Food. Food and Families and happiness. Ever noticed this connection?

Mad said...

This is the reason why you're so well-adjusted and happy!

cadiz12 said...

nothing does a body better than lots of love and good cornbread (and pancakes, too).

hey, does your dad know a good crockpot cookbook? the device is *foreign* to my mom, but she's intrigued with the whole you-don't-have-to-watch-it concept. she's made some great stuff by throwing a bunch of stuff in, but i thought a book could offer other ideas.

Jon said...

I heard it was only 3 hugs a day, but 5 sounds better anyway. My family always had dinner together. My dad would throw on some classical music and we would play a rousing game of “guess the composer.” I know, a dream childhood, but what can I say, I’m lucky like that. The game got a little easier when we realized his preference for German composers.

girlspit said...

Guyana Gal: I totally agree. Maybe it is a little Pollyanna, but it's true.

Thanks Mad. I more often think of myself as a grumpy person. It's nice to hear otherwise.

Cadiz: I'll ask Dad if he knows. Or maybe if he stops by the site he could post a comment. Mostly I think he made it all up.

Jon: Guess the composer sounds way fun to my supergeek sensibilities.

Jack Safety said...

i apologise, but as i stated in my repy ro yer comment on my blog, i just had a 5th of vodka and can barely type
wbat am i apologising for? for only reading to the part about corn bred. why did i stop tbere? cuz corn brad freakin ownz. i love corn bread. im one of those ppl that likes their corn bread broken up in milk occasionally,l but not always

Dad said...

When you were still at home, I sometimes wondered whether you heard a word that I said. Not I am frightened by how much you do remember. Had I known it would make that much of an impression, I might have been more careful about what I said and did. I am really going to miss you, too.

Alas, you know me too well, my dear. Joan says that I am a "closet chemist". That is, I just like to experiment rather than using a recipe. The truth is that I do have a number of recipes floating around in my head for stuff like chili and spaghetti sauce, but even those have to do with the tomatoes and meat and stuff. I always season to taste.

I thought it was "Chicken Mexicana" that flopped, but I am getting older.

Jon said...

The game we played was alright, but it would have been even better if my dad hadn’t junked his previous musical infatuation: jazz. I grew up with a healthy dose of Miles Davis and John Coltrane until I turned about 8 or 9. I don’t know why he turned on it like he did. I wasn’t old enough to truly appreciate it, but that would have been nice to mix that in with the classical, you know? A lot of nice vinyl was lost to my fathers changing taste, and I think it’s a bit of a shame.

JumpUpMy said...

Oh spitty,

I am gonna miss you so much. You are the only person besides DrawingDead that can live with me.

PS...Right on about the Cornbread. Whether it's piping hot swimming in bowl of beans OR day old crumbled in a tall glass with ice cold milk poured over it. It is truly divine.

There is a certain form of love that can only be expressed by cornbread (or buttermilk biscuits) and I hope your future Canadian children will be able to experience it.

LadyWhiteSpirit said...

memories of our past remind us of who we were and how we came to be.

blog hopping again:)

girlspit said...

I'll miss you too, Jump. No one else will ever truly appreciate "Thermos: how do it know?"

Guyana-Gyal said...

I hope we'll be able to read about your adventures over there. I hear there's lots to enjoy there.

Gloria Glo said...

Sheesh. You made me all tearful and stuff. I had to go and call my dad just to get past it.

Nothin' else to say except that I will always need my mommy and daddy, no matter how far away I live from them!

mommy said...

Hey Baby Girl!
You will always be my baby bird!
I am going to miss you SO MUCH!!
I know you are going to a good place-heaven?
Dad also made great baked beans, a favorite at the Wilson gatherings!
Where did you say you were going?
Oh, yeah, Canada! Is that anywhere near St.Thomas--opps, I think not!
Maybe north, near Santa Claus?
I'm coming to visit alot-it is nice there(wherever it is)!!

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