Thursday, May 1, 2014

Now that doesn't taste spoiled...does it?

All the kids surrounding Grandma Clawson
Growing up in a small town is great.  If you can grow up in a small town with grandparents nearby, even better! When I was 4, my family moved to my father's hometown of Huntsville, Utah. Huntsville is located in a beautiful mountain valley just East of Ogden, Utah, near Pineview reservoir. It was an amazing place for a kid to grow up. Now that I'm raising children of my own, I realize how lucky I was to grow up in 'the valley' close to my grandmother. 

I never knew my grandfather. He passed away before I was born. For me, grandma was always a widow, lived alone, and more importantly... was always home. She lived a few blocks away from our home, and directly across from our elementary  school. My siblings and I (there were 7 of us total) stopped by almost every day after school to have a snack while watching The Brady Bunch or Gilligan's Island, until the phone rang. The ringing phone meant mom wanted us to head home for piano practice, chores and dinner. I'm sure mom knew if she didn't make the call quick enough, we wouldn't be hungry for her dinner!
An idyllic growing up in Huntsville.  Lucky kids!

Grandma loved to feed us. We couldn't walk in her door with her asking if we were 'hungry' or 'wanted something to eat'. We ate Sunday dinners at grandma's fairly often. She made the most delicious whole-wheat rolls with home-made raspberry jam. The rolls were plain, very dense (as close to unleavened as you could get) with very little if any salt or other flavors. The jam was crushed up raspberries with a tiny bit of sugar. Really yummy!  Grandma raised sheep on her farm so we always had leg of lamb, lamb chops, lamb roast, lamb liver and just about any other part of a lamb you can think of. One time she made lamb sandwiches, and mine seemed a little tough, so I pulled the bread apart to look inside. To my astonishment the meat had large holes in it! I said, ' lamb has holes in it” and she replied “That's because it's the heart”. I got worried about it for a moment or two... but I ate it anyway! To this day I can't eat lamb without thinking about her.

She had a funny question she would ask every time we had dinner with her. As we were eating, she would walk in from the kitchen and ask “Now that doesn't taste spoiled...does it?” Honestly, I never thought about how funny this question was until later in life. Can you imagine a server at a restaurant asking the same thing about the food you just started eating? You would immediately think there must be something wrong with it, that it was old or possibly rotten, that maybe they weren't really sure they should have served it!  I never had those thoughts when grandma asked the question. It was just something she always asked after we started eating. Maybe she was trying to remind us to thank her for dinner, or was fishing for a compliment.   She did live through the great depression, perhaps the question came from lean times and questionable food from her past!  I don't think she knew why she asked it, but I'm glad we never made a big deal of it. If she had stopped asking that question, we wouldn't have a fun tradition of asking the same question to each-other as we eat during our family gatherings! We laugh about it, and it brings back great memories of Huntsville and Sunday dinner at grandma's house.

Now that doesn't taste spoiled, does it?

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