When your mind is continually going back in time, of course you know you’re going to think about meals and foods that we ate back then. What do you remember about your meals when you were a child? I remember some of it, but other parts are sketchy. I know one thing for sure and that is that our food was not processed. What we ate was not frozen or boxed or canned. There are a few exceptions but mostly we ate fresh meat, homemade breads and desserts. To tell the truth, I can`t remember eating a hamburger at home as a child.
I recall when we’d run out of molasses and we’d put mustard on our bread and top it with some sugar. I remember the cans of potted meat we’d make sandwiches out of when we went to school in Deer Lake. Sometimes we’d have bologna and mustard with a can of Pepsi, or potted meat and Miracle Whip or mustard. I don’t recall there being any cafeteria food, except chips or cheesies and perhaps ice cream.
For breakfast what did we eat? We often wondered what others had for breakfast, but food wasn’t talked about much in Health or Science classes back then. We sometimes had Cream of Wheat or rolled oats with sugar and milk, or if we ran out of sugar, we could have molasses to sweeten it. Also, I remember sometimes putting a big piece of margarine in the middle of the hot rolled oats and watching it melt. It tasted amazing back then. I only use rolled oats these days to make snowballs, a recipe I borrowed from my Aunt Madeline.
And like a lot of people, we had toast and tea.Cinnamon and sugar were mixed together and sprinkled over our toast. I still love cinnamon in a lot of foods. It was always Tetley tea as that was the only kind Dad liked. We loved Mom`s homemade bread toasted and if we had a bottle of Cheeze Whiz, we`d sparingly spread it on top of the toast. The biggest bottle was purchased once in a blue moon, so it was welcomed when Mom bought it. The taste of that toasted bread with Cheese Whiz is a memory never to be forgotten!
One special breakfast treat we had during the week was egg in the hole. I made it for my children and grandchildren just like we made it back then. You cut a square in the center of the slice of bread. Then you butter both sides of the bread and break an egg in the middle when you had a medium heated frying pan. Most of the time I butter it on one side and lay it in a frying pan, butter the other side and then break the egg in the hole. When it fried brown on one side, you turned it over and finished frying the egg and bread. This was a lovely way to prepare the bread and egg. My sons loved it and I know as a child, I enjoyed it too. When I think of egg in the hole, I think about my mother’s love for us, because she took the time to do the little things to make our life interesting and satisfying.
I know Mom made a lot of soups and stews, which from my experience now, shows that these can be shared among a lot of people. Again with homemade bread and margarine, which helped fill everyone up and dulled any hunger. Mom also made the best goulash, with macaroni, tomato soup and hamburger meat fried with onions. A boiler full of this did our hearts good when we sat down to eat our supper, again with the bread and tea. We had a lot of roasts, mostly moose which Dad got most years or pork, as Dad raised his own pigs. The gravy and vegetables were so delicious! If there was anything leftover, Mom made hash and that was Dad’s favorite, as it contained all the vegetables.
Who can forget the raisin buns, that graced our kitchens, from time to time? My favorite was when Mom made molasses buns or Lassie buns, as we referred to them. Spread a little margarine on them after cutting them in half, and downed with a hot cup of tea, now that was some shocking good! I enjoyed the raisin buns when I settled in St.Shotts and my Aunt Kitty would haul a big cookie sheet of them out of the oven, all stuck together, so that she had to use a knife to separate them. You had no choice but to sit down and have a few with a cup of tea!
Weekend meals were most memorable, as they included a chicken on Sundays, along with all the vegetables. Sunday evenings were wonderful with potato salad and a tin of ham or Klik or Kam, and a large can of fruit and a can of Nestles Cream. Mom usually baked every day of the week except Sundays so we had toast or bread with jam or any topping that was available if we were hungry in the evenings. No one went to bed hungry in our home, Dad was fond of saying. He was a good provider, and we had good health throughout our childhood.
Mom liked to try new recipes and we loved her lemon squares, and strawberry or raspberry tarts. If there was nothing prepared by her, she didn`t let us down as she`d make bread pudding, which was crumbled up bread, mixed with eggs, milk and raisins baked in the oven. We`d add some more milk when it came out of the oven. And it was always Carnation milk, as we didn`t own a cow. Everyone loved the bread pudding!
We didn`t get much fruit back then, except for the berries we picked. We`d try to get as many blueberries, strawberries and raspberries as we could, but you need a lot to feed a family of eleven! One time a family friend, Bill Spurrell, brought us a barrel of apples. We were so excited, as we enjoyed them each day until they were all gone. At Christmas time we got grapes, an apple and an orange in our stockings, and that was a nice treat.