Our discussion the other day about paper plates reminded me of stories that my folks used to tell about their early married life. My dad was in basic training in North Carolina and my mom moved there to be close to him. She taught gym part-time and they lived in a small trailer. One of the stories they told me about how broke they were was that they couldn’t afford to buy a set of plates. So not only did they eat on paper plates, they cut the paper plates in half!
By the time I came along, they were in better shape, although still not great; my dad was in law school with two part time jobs and my mom was forced to quit working the minute the school district found out she was pregnant! As a kid, things were tight, not destitute, but definitely tight. One of the ways that my mom saved on groceries was by using powdered milk. I still remember it after all these years, chalky and for some reason never seemed to get really cold. I hated it.
At least once a month we had Saturday dinner at my grandparents’ house – hamburger and french fry night. There were a lot of reasons that I liked to eat my Nana and Pappy’s; one of those reasons was that they had “real” milk. It was always very cold because that’s the way Pappy liked it and there was always plenty. They had a special half-gallon carton holder that looked like this:
When my younger sister started school and had “real” milk every day, she began refusing to drink the powdered milk at home. While I hadn’t been brave enough to do this on my own, I quickly followed her lead and my mom gave up and began to buy “real” milk. I started drinking skim about 30 years ago and I’m still a big milk drinker all these years later. My mom doesn’t understand how I can drink skim and has suggested more than once that I “might as well go back to powdered milk”. Yes, after all these years, she still remembers how we “forced” her to buy milk.
My milkman told me yesterday when he was making our delivery that big local dairies are going to discontinue skim milk production for a bit. Apparently skim milk requires more steps and production time; during our current crisis, trying to keep up with demand means cutting out skim so more easily produced milks can make it to market faster. Who would have thought? Guess I’ll be on a higher fat milk for a while.
Do you remember any meals you enjoyed at your grandparents’?