Random Thoughts

At war with food

... kids can't eat everything!

by Len Dalton

In 1935 my Mom rarely went food shopping. She made out a list, called the Melrose Meat Shop on the phone, located where the ‘Irish Bakery’ is now in 2010, and they delivered! No charge! That was a reflection of great depression business. The owners of the Melrose Meat Shop were scrupulously courteous and on time! Three items from there were my faves; Moxie, peanut butter and Uneeda crackers! I could LIVE on peanut butter! The profound compatibility of Moxie AND peanut butter were as exciting as a prime rib dinner would be today.

On Saturdays the Melrose Theatre usually had a cowboy and Indians double feature spiced with one or two cartoons, the news and sometimes a serial like Foo Manchu! Romance was OUT! No kissing and minimal females goofing up what was otherwise a manly enterprise by the cowboys. On those few occasions when the hero actually kissed a girl, it was met with hissing and general disgust by the attending kids. The ultimate favorite was a glorious picture about Wild Bill Hickock fighting gun runners who were causing all kinds of trouble supplying wild Indians with guns! It was “The Plainsman”!

Gabby Hayes appeared as an old guy sitting on a donkey with maybe two dozen arrows sticking out of his back. Savage; yes, and the kids went nuts! In one scene on the paddle wheel boat going up the Missouri River, a gentleman spoke to another saying, “Sir! Your chalk’s on fire!” The response was, “Nope! New fashion back east called Cigareet.” Again, the kids went nuts!

The big deal on Saturdays was arriving home for a glass of Moxie with butter laced peanut butter and Uneeda crackers! Boy! That completed the perfect day! Cowboys fighting Indians; peanut butter and Moxie! Witnessing all the stalwart heroes of the West gave us boys what the meaning of good American character was: the fighting spirit and manhood.

But I digress! At our dinner table I ate most everything BUT string beans! To me string beans were inedible! I loved mashed potato and most meats with gravy. I liked beets, spinach and all the others but you might ask me to eat a boulder as to eat string beans. Often my father would announce, “you’re going to eat those beans and we will sit here until you do!” I’d try a mouth full and really feel like I was going to puke. That usually ended the stand off.

One day Eddy Cook’s mother asked me to have supper with them and she served a nifty cauliflower casserole cheese melt! Later she told my Mom, “Honestly, I’ve never seen a boy eat so much in my life!”

Anyway, you get the idea. Kids are gonna grow up no matter what you feed ‘em so, give ‘em what they want! Peanut butter!

January 7, 2011

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