Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mama made beans

I remember the good old days when grandma shelled beans that she grew in the garden and baked them in a wood fired oven. Nothing smelled as good as food from that oven! To make baked beans, she had to shell the beans, boil them and then bake them in the oven. This was a long process and made a very hot kitchen in the summer.  Then there was the baking of the bread in the same oven. That was a lot of work, a lot of time and took a lot of love.  Every meal was unique in some way and planned to the hilt!  My job was to stay out of the kitchen. A meal was often was prepared by multiple family members. Lots of things were discussed in that kitchen that my ears were not supposed to hear.

I also remember mama cooking baked beans. She did it in a gas oven but bought the beans already shelled from the grocery store.  My job was to thoroughly wash the beans, because the bag had rocks and dirt in it. Then she soaked the beans overnight and baked them the next day. The oven was closed tightly so you could not smell the food baking in it.  And were they good! Bread? That was too much work! Instead, we just ate sliced bread or cooked prepared dough from the grocery store.  Every meal seemed to be by recipe, usually Betty Crocker. It was semi-planned and fun to do. Dinner cooked while watching the soap opera.

Today, I go to the super market, buy a big can of beans and precooked mini-loaves of bread. I open the can of baked beans with an electric can opener, heat them up in the microwave and serve them in five minutes. Then I lightly toast the loaves of bread in the electric cooker.  Yum! Every meal is by the skin my teeth, whatever can be thrown together in the shortest time, because when you get hungry, you got to fix the meal!  15 minutes to open the can, heat up the beans and bread and eat dinner.  Every one to serve himself!

All of this change happened over just 70 years. Now the next 70 years? Maybe we will say “abracadabra” and the baked beans with bread will just appear out of nowhere and go straight to the gut.  That’s progress folks!  … in the next 70 years …

Monday, August 23, 2010

Last dog day of summer

On the last Sunday of the summer school break, some people went out to the beach, others went shopping and then there were those who went to the local park. I did the latter and ran across these cuties selling their lemonade at their lemonade stand!

To tell you the truth, it was a scorcher! Who would be so crazy as to be out and about in the park itself? Let me tell you, I was not the only one by far!  I spent the afternoon exploring a park that I had not explored before - Windvale.  Can you imagine the thirst after walking in near 100 degrees for about an hour? That lemonade tasted great! It had a special ingredient.
This stand was attractive and functional. Accompanied by their father, these girls spent their last dog day of summer having fun selling lemonade. They did it with very little  assistance from any adult.

Sales volumes are not high and therefore vendors are not interested in setting up commercial businesses at our parks. But a stand such as this was certainly welcome by some of those who passed by.  Dog days? The star Sirius is the dog star. It aligns with the sun in late July. Some say it adds to the heat of the month of late July and August. This was about the very last day of the dog star alignment; therefore it was really the last dog day of summer for these youngsters (and myself). What did you do on your last day before school started again?  

Thanks to the father and these children for permitting me to publish this.