Saturday, January 12, 2008

Foundations....

...the thing upon which we build. Not necessarily a house. Maybe a piece of paper or cloth in making a quilt. Maybe a marriage. And just maybe....a life. None of us are without a foundation. Even if that is a negative thing such as an orphanage, or foster home,or a hospital in a war torn country Your life's foundation is based, in part on where you find yourself at the age of reason, which is about 7 years.This is my foundation. My beautiful young mother and father, my beloved Grandma Lottie. I don't know what year this was taken, but the engagement was short so probably 1935. She met him during deer hunting season of 1934, and married him the following August. There is only one word on the back of this faded picture...prophesy? Yes, the question mark is there, behind the word. I'm sure the writing, which was my Mom's, was added later.The picture foretells what is to be the future.
She and my Dad had from 1935 until January of 1942 to be their own family. I was born in the 5ht year of their marriage. Then the unthinkable happened, my maternal grandfather died suddenly. He left my beloved Grandma virtually penniless and with no job skills. Needless to say, she came to live with her only daugther. And that changed the course of everyones life. But that scenario is the foundation of my life.

I stood by the stove a few evenings ago, slicing cold boiled potatoes into a smail frying pan. That was what I wanted most in the world right then. I didn't think about why or what the foundation of my craving was. I wanted fried potatoes.
The undescrible quirks of memory took over, and I followed them along a dimly lit path. What I found was my mother, standing by the stove, slicing cold boiled potatoes into a iron frying pan...feeding a hungry family. At first it was just the 4 of us, and then, as I reached the age of reason, and an awareness of myself as an individual, a new sister and 4 years later, another. That completed our family I grew up in.
Potatoes were almost always boiled at our house. I'm not sure I ever had a baked potato until I began eating "out". That must have been part of her foundation in life. Peeling potatoes to boil one night for supper, and frying the leftover the next day for lunch or supper. One of my best 'home from school for lunch' meals was a fried egg on top of fried potatoes.
As I stood there, turning my few fried potatoes, I remembered thinking about how many thousand potatoes she must have peeled, cooked and fried in her short 52 years of life. I have her black iron frying pans, most of them. Some I shared with my middle sister. I don't use them often as I dislike cleaning them.
My DD#1 called the next day, and as we conversed, I mentioned I had made fried potatoes for my supper. Her instant response was "oh, comfort food" and I could hear the smile in her voice. I never gave much thought to what or how my kids felt about being served fried potatoes on occasion. It was just "part of the whole deal" growing up in the family I raised. We had rice sometimes, mashed potatoes on other occasions. Some times boiled potatoes and some times baked. I covered all the bases..LOL Apparently she remembers fried potatoes as a good thing. That's really nice to know, after all these years *VBS* I think my Mom is smiling down from Heaven about that.

20 comments:

dee said...

MMMMmmmmmpotatoes-don't care what kind but I, too, remember them fried(in bacon fat)best with an egg on top. I still do this from time to time but without the bacon fat. Oma used to keep a jar of the stuff in the fridge. It looked pretty gaggy back then. Little did I know it was the magic ingredient in tasty German food. Love hearing about your memories. and now...I'm hungry

KCQuilter said...

Your posts always evoke strong memories for me! My mom used to fry potatoes a lot (probably in lard!!!) and she would leave the skins on, boil them, then quarter them and fry them. Potatoes with their jackets on, she called them LOL! Keep writing and sharing.

cindyquiltsOR said...

It is funny you should mention the cast iron pans. The Christmas before my house burned, I had bought myself a stack of cast iron. They are the only pans that survived the fire, guess they are well seasoned.

So, I still use them for certain dishes. I like to bake in them: spuds with onions and celery, egg beaters poured over and baked, then smothered in grated cheese. Does that make it a cholesterol bomb?!

More stories, Finn ..

Quilt Pixie said...

I love frying potatoes up in my cast iron frying pans... Something I remember both my mom and grandmother doing, in the same pans... The stove is different, (gran's was a wood stove, mom's a gas) but the effect is still comfort.

Ali Honey said...

I too love fried potatoes with runny egg on top. At the moment we have freshly dug potatoes from our garden and I make sure I cook too many so we can eat them later like that or as a sandwich -I also like potato and mayonaise sandwiches.

As a child we often had potatoes in their jackets; I think because my Mum had a wood range always going and it was quick and easy to slip spuddies in along the side of the oven. Yum - still love them too!

When I picked some yellow flowers ( and blue ones )today I thought of your yellow shoes.

Marcie said...

Lovely post Finn. I never wanted to use those "old fashioned" iron pans. When I was young they were just introducing the teflon coated pans. I have eaten so much teflon that I should have a better digestive system. I do think the potatoes were crispier in the iron pans.

Gypsy Quilter said...

Ahh yes, for me it's egg salad sandwiches.

Kathie said...

I remember eating fried potatoes too...
and yes with a fried egg!
hadn't thought about that in years!
sometimes she even used the canned whole potatoes and would slice them and let them fall into the frying pan!
Kathie

meggie said...

We lived with my Grandmother, & I remember her slicing & frying cold boiled potatoes too! My favourite meal back then would have been with an egg on top!
Great post.

Quilt Memories said...

Nothing better than fried potatoes.
I can never remember "not" eating fried potatoes. But I always like them with onions in them. Still do! Never have had them with an egg, but am sure I would like them that way as well. Keep up the post, I do so enjoy them as they do evoke a lot of childhood memories.

cher said...

mmm fried potatoes...for sure comfort food just like macaroni and cheese.
my mom fried her potatoes raw-so they took a lot longer to cook and would put in onions...even as a young child I liked them with onions...I quit making fried potatoes when I cut back on fried foods-just too much oil!

anne bebbington said...

My kids have only ever come home for lunch from school when we lived in France. Their favourite dish was cold boiled potatoes sliced and fried in a little butter and olive oil with some leftover french sliced sausage and some beaten egg drizzled in. I've tried to recreate it in the UK but the sausages are different - they loved that comfort food after a cold 20min walk home in the middle of the day

Sue in western WA said...

We ate a lot of potatoes as I was growing up but it was only my father's side of the family that fried them (now that I think about it). Lovely warm memories...

Libby said...

I don't remember eating fried potatoes . . . but that doesn't stop me from thinking of them when I am looking for comfort. I like them mashed or baked - they fill my tummy and soothe my soul *s*

julieQ said...

Yummy!! We fry potatoes when we come home and want something soothing and good! My mother used to fry them in home rendered lard. and they tasted great! and yes, both your and my mothers are smiling down on us frying our potatoes, added bacon pieces, and tossing in our eggs!!

JulieQ

julieQ said...

From my husbnd Milt: Finn, have you ever had fried green tomatoes? Fried green tomatoes were frequent in the fall, during our youth, along with the fried potatoes.

Milt and Julie

Sweet P said...

I remember my grandma making boiled potatoes and then frying them the next day. These days I don't have leftovers to fry. I guess I'm going to have to make some boiled potatoes soon.

Thanks for reminding me about some great comfort food.

Perry said...

I jut love your stories. They bring back memories of my grandmother, and the comfort foods I had at her house. She could make the best dumplings! It took me years to figure out how she did it, lol. I am fortunate enough to still have my mother and we have our own comfort foods. Mother's is cornbread and milk, and homemade veggie soup. The soup is my comfort food.

Nettie said...

What a moving story. I lost my mom last month and recently my thoughts have drifted back to early memories of her making, yes, fried potatos. They're popular here in Germany, but i rarely make them myself. I must get my Dad's cornpone recipe figured out while i can still ask him for advice on the phone.

Laura said...

Ohhhhhhhhh, you made me cry!!! So beautiful. It's good to remember the little things that we do will often have the largest impact on our children. I don't know you, but HUGS.