Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lunch in the Seventies

Soup simmers while Richard Gallagher's mud-with-gravel voice delivers the news in the living room. Tomato soup; either Campbell's or one Mom made using the strainer with the red wooden handle. Mom's tomato soup had golden flecks of butter floating on its milky surface. A few slices of JJ Nissen white bread stacked on a plate, bologna, cheese and Miracle Whip to make sandwiches, potato chips, and milk are on the table. It's noon. It's a cool summer day. We'd been out working in the garden most of the morning.

Sandwiches made, soup poured, we go into the living room to watch Gallagher finish up the news on WCAX-TV and for "Across the Fence" to start. Tony Adams, who also covered sports, hosted the show. What range. In one day he could be out talking to a local 4-H club about their quilts and then later he'd file a report on UVM baseball.

Lunch was always at the same time so Mom could listen to the news, watch "Across the Fence" and then maybe a soap - "Guiding Light" or "The Young & the Restless." During the summer though it was usually back outside to the garden or onto other chores. I remember shelling a lot of beans - the wind from the breezeway would blow the chaff away from the wash tub we'd drop the beans into. The beans were cool and hard. In the winter they'd become baked beans; simmering in the cellar on the wood stove with salt pork and maple syrup (probably other things too since my attempts at baked beans haven't been edible) for hours, softening, the small amount of pork working its magic.

I ate lunch today at my desk while people worked around me here in midtown Manhattan but for a little while I felt like I was in East Charleston.


sharon estacio said...

you just reminded me of grilled cheese and tomato soup- one of my most favorite meals of all time... thank you! miss that.

Homer said...

My pleasure. It's amazing how some meals can really take you to a very specific time/place/feelings.

Byron said...

Excellent! Very nostalgic piece; I appreciate all the detail, and the tie-in to current times at the end.

Good to see you're expanding this to something beyond just listing foods beginning with the letter [.].

Patrick said...

Tomato soup is one of my childhood touchstones as well. Don't know why I don't make it more often now. I love thinking of you basking in a VT summer day while sitting in midtown.

Melissa said...

thank you for the trip into your sense memory. love it. I can almost smell the soup and then the beans baking at the end. mmmm hungry.