Ginormous Rib Roasts and Smashed Senatorial Cakes: Favorite Food Memories

Wednesday, 03 Dec 2008

This month’s Real Simple has an article from my favorite food blogger from the Washington Post, Kim O’Donnel.  She writes about “10 things cooking has taught me about life” and tells the stories that taught her these life lessons.  I wish I could link to it, but it’s in the hard copy of the magazine only.  Highly recommend checking it out (and it’s a great issue all around — lots of good holiday tips).  This got me thinking about my favorite food-and-cooking related memories.  I don’t have any pithy anecdotes to convey life lessons, but it is fun to think back to good times with food.  These are some of my favorite memories in no particular order, and now that I’m thinking about it, I’m sure I’ll have more to add to this list:

  • My grandmother Mama Grande buying a rib roast so huge she had to saw it in half to fit it in the oven.  The next time we visited her, did she buy a smaller rib roast?  No, she had installed a humongous industrial size oven.  The look on her face in this photo is priceless.  She prevailed over that rib roast, but it was close.


  • My grandmother Murr’s chicken fried steak.  For those of you who don’t know, it is a piece of steak pounded flat, breaded and fried kind of like fried chicken.  I have lots of fond memories of holidays at her house when she would make this for us with white gravy, slices of white bread and green beans.  What a meal.  I think I need to recreate that at some point in the near future.
  • My mom making homemade cinnamon rolls and sausage links on Christmas morning, always eaten well after we reveled in what Santa brought us for a couple of hours.
  • My dad making chile con queso before having people over at the house.  This is part of the getting-ready ritual, just like cleaning the house.  Only my dad can make this chile con queso with that certain something that makes it addictive.  I can see that old yellow crock pot sitting on the counter with a big bag of tostadas — about half the batch would be devoured by our family before the guests arrived.
  • This Thanksgiving, cooking with my mother-in-law to get food ready to take to the family gathering. I love holiday mornings when everyone is just lounging around relaxing. We did our cooking, a lot of food actually, but it was a really relaxed morning and just fun hanging out time.

So, here’s to fun food memories over the holidays.  I know we will make many more.

PS — Just remembered another funny one, more of a mishap.  When I was a young Senate staffer, my office sent me to pick up the Senator’s birthday cake from the fancy bakery that had iced his grinning mug on the front of the cake.  Well, the box slid off my passenger seat and half the cake and the Senior Senator’s face were smashed in by the time I got it to the office.  WHOOPS.  Talk about mortification.  We used some toothpicks and plastic spoons to perform reconstructive surgery before the guest of honor arrived.  Somehow I survived that one and managed to stay there another seven years.  Good thing the power-that-be had a sense of humor.

Reader's Comments

  1. You’re right, I love that look on her face!
    That is one huge rib roast, It looks like it’s probably heavier then her. Goodness how did she handle that thing? It is huge! Was there alot of left overs?

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