Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Memory Lane

Hudson & Weaver St.

My in-laws love to reminisce about the "old days" in the Polish neighborhood. This Christmas Cliff sat down to interview his 90-something Aunt Kate. Turns out her memories aren't so rose colored as his parents. As one of 12 children living in a small city apartment, her memories centered more on the work to be done. Times were certainly tight.

Cliff asked Aunt Kate to talk about was family recipes and meal times. In doing so, Cliff's father remembered his own childhood foods. He started cracking up and told us about breakfast.

The new immigrants made use of every scrap of food. (So unlike their future granddaughter-in-law) One favorite thing was a pork rendering that was sort of like a pâté spread served on toast. There is a word for it in Polish, but the kids didn't know any word for it in English, so they called it "lard." Cliff's father swears that it was delicious.

The other thing that the kids had was milk with a bit of coffee in it.

The story goes, one day his sister's kindergarten class was talking about breakfast. The teacher asked each child what breakfast foods they enjoyed. Some liked eggs others enjoyed oatmeal. Little Rita shared that she ate "bread and lard with coffee" for breakfast!


Handi Dandi Mandi said...

Sounds an awful lot like coffee milk! The kids all drank that in 'Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood.' I don't know if it was common in Louisiana or not...

There's always a lot of talk of Polish food in my family too. Stuff I can't spell, involving a lot of silent letters and Z's, that always makes my dad smile. When my grandfather passed away, I insisted we represent the 'old country' at the wake. It went over well. It's surprising how good seemingly odd sounding Polish food really is!

Christy said...

My husband, who is British, has told me many times about eating toast with "drippings". Cold bacon fat that would melt on the warm toast, sounds very much like what Cliff's father described.

Jenn Maruska said...

Haha - what a great story! : )