At My Mother’s Table …

 

 

 

Have you ever wished you could go back to childhood and eat another meal at your mother’s table? I would so love to do that one more time.

There was certainly nothing fancy about the little house where I grew up in Dallas, Texas, but thinking about it brings back golden memories of my youth and lots of wonderful meals. Unlike the houses of today there was no den or family room so much of our time was spent around the table in the kitchen, this was the heart of our home.

I remember the milkman tapping on the back door, calling out a cheery Good morning, milkman, and coming right on in. Doors were always left unlocked whether anyone was home or not, just imagine what would happen if we did that today. He would check the icebox, yes, that’s what mother called it even after she got an electric refrigerator. The milkman would see what we needed, milk, butter, or eggs, and put the new items in. The milk was pasteurized, but not homogenized and the cream rose to the top. Mother used to pour the cream off for me to drink; she believed children needed to have real cream. And to this day, I’m not very fond of milk, but, oh, how I love real cream!

I remember coming in from grade school and running straight to the kitchen to see what as cooking and to sneak a bite or two. One of my favorite snacks was when mother had pinto beans cooking on the stove and she would give me a small bowl of them, the wonderful taste lingers in my mouth even now. There was no recipe, she just cooked and seasoned to taste.

I remember World War II and the difficulties of war rationing. Mother loved to cook cakes, pies and cookies and the biggest hardship for her was the lack of sugar.

But mother and her friends would get together and trade food stamps they didn’t want for ones they did want. She also learned how to substitute honey and molasses and mother kept those wonderful smells and tastes in our home.

Mother was the COOK in our home, I was never allowed to cook very much; food was too expensive to be wasted. There were a few things I could do such as stir the yellow coloring into the margarine. When margarine first made its appearance it was white and you had to mix in yellow food coloring if you wanted it to look like butter.

Mother had a huge collection of recipes, some from her mother and grandmother along with lots from family and friends. She treasured each and every one and wrote little notes on the recipe cards telling the year she got it and who it was from. She would also make notes on the card about who she cooked it for, such as Made this for Christmas 1971. And tucked in among the recipes were other little treasures, notes, jokes, poems, and a 1923 Children’s Party Book. There are even recipes for catsup, condensed milk, mincemeat, fudgsicles, pimentos, and how to make lye soap!

One of the jokes I found was:

Mother:  Tommy, I wish you’d be a good boy.
Tommy:  I’ll be a good boy for a nickel.
Mother: Why the idea! When you father was a boy he was good for nothing.

When I started trying to divide up mother’s recipes between my daughters and me, I found I could not give any of them up and a cookbook, At My Mother’s Table, was birthed. It was a labor of love and done on the very first Mac computer. Needless to say, there were lots of things I could not do on it such as page numbers! It would be so much easier today!

September 5 is mother’s birthday and I want to say Happy Birthday by sharing one of her recipes, my dad’s favorite cake. Nothing pleased my dad more than good food and good company and nothing pleased mother more than cooking!

SHERRY POUND CAKE
Bernice Hayes 1940

2 stocks oleo (I would use butter now)
1-3/4 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 cups flour
1 small bottle sherry flavor

Mix sugar and oleo and cream good.
Add eggs one at a time and beat good.
Add flour then sherry.
Bake in greased and floured tube pan at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOTHER!

We all miss you and would love to sit at your table one more time!

 

Picture of mother and dad at their 40th Wedding Anniversary Party 1982
Picture of US of America War Ration Book May 5, 1942

About Betty Kerss Groezinger

Betty Kerss Groezinger, a native Texan, was born in Dallas. She was a legal researcher for President Harry S. Truman in Independence, Missouri, taught business courses at Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Missouri, and on her return to Dallas, she worked for more than a decade with advertising agencies. She has been a resident of Irving, Texas, since 1965, and is now working on the sequel to The Davenport Dilemma.
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8 Responses to At My Mother’s Table …

  1. Joanne says:

    Great story, Betty. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  2. Jimmie Baden says:

    I remember the oleo and the beans. Still love beans!

    Like

  3. Lauren Owens says:

    Happy happy birthday to Great Mama!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

  4. Judy Evans says:

    Happy Birthday to your Mother……. so interesting Betty, I enjoyed this story very much! Yes indeed, I certainly do wish I could have one more day at the table with my family. Take care & Hugs, Judy

    Like

  5. leska valerius says:

    I remember!

    On Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 10:26 AM, Betty Kerss Groezinger wrote:

    > Betty Kerss Groezinger posted: ” Have you ever wished you could go > back to childhood and eat another meal at your mother’s table? I would so > love to do that one more time. There was certainly nothing fancy about the > little house where I grew up in Dal” >

    Like

  6. Bob and Patty Gartman says:

    The frame 6 room house my parents moved into when it was built & they were newly married in 1922 – long since sold following my Dad’s death in 1966, sold to a Black family as our neighborhood rapidly changed, may still be lived in but is flooded by “Harvey’s waters” as I write.

    In our years on 13th street, which I remember from the Great Depression and WWII until I went off to college in 1948, was a real home. Dad expanded it to provide a little room for me on the back porch and made an enclosed den of the front porch.

    My father’s widowed sister made her home with us whenever she was “out of work” as a “live-in caregiver for mothers after childbirth”. Our home was crowded with our parents, my four sisters, our aunt and I.

    Dad would already be at work in the Texaco Refinery by the time we children would be getting breakfast, and mother would be preparing our sack lunches for school. After school, some 8 blocks away to which we walked when it was not raining, my next older sister and I would await Dad’s return from work, would run to greet him and, however weary he was, he had time for his children.

    The evening meal was always a family meal with 7 or 8 at the table. Mother and Aunt Nancy were good cooks! Mostly vegetables out of our own garden. We did have meat every Sunday! We had chickens in the back yard for eggs and Usually meat for a meal or two a week. I remember fryers having their necks wringed and being prepared within minutes for frying. Living in rice country, rice and gravy was always part of the menu.

    Mother cooked by recipes in her head. When Patty and I were married, Patty tried to get from my Mother recipes for things I especially like – like stuffed peppers (some ground beef, prepared with onions, catsup, and other things). Patty was frustrated by Mother’s measuring in turns of a “handful” or this or a “pinch” of that and sometimes different ingredients depending on whatever was available. We had almost nothing canned from the store but mostly preserved from jars put up the previous summer from our big garden.

    We were a healthy family. Mother had a lot of home remedies. We children were all brought into the world by Dr. T. W. Young at our home. Then I can remember no visits to the doctor other than having my tonsils out at his office when I was a teenager. I never spent a night in a hospital until after I retired. [I should say “as a hospital patient” -I spent many a night with ill members of my congregations.]

    Back to Mother’s cooking – wonderful and well remembered – but Patty’s cooking, with me as a helper, has become my choice in our 61+ years together, so that many a night at our “Commons” or “Big House” evening meal I long for the great food I enjoyed for about 85 years. I’m not complaining but simply observing that however beautiful the served plate is, it never tastes as good as my Mother’s or Wife’s!

    Like

    • I love the story! We also had huge garden and ate from it. Mother had the canner and put up food in both cans and jars. Another thing in common — I had my tonsils out in the doctor’s office in a chair very much like a dentist chair! Different times!!
      Thank you for sharing!
      Betty

      Like

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