Childhood food memories, part 2: family routine

May 5, 2010


When you were a kid, was there something that your family always did on a particular day of the week? The one I remember was grilled cheese sandwiches and sardines in front of the tv on Sunday nights.

I have doublechecked with my parents who are visiting this week and according to their accounts, I am actually merging two memories.

Usually we ate in the kitchen, at the table. And as I believe I have previously recounted, I often had the unpleasant experience of remaining at said table until I had eaten the last bite of food on my plate. When this involved liver, particularly chicken liver, a large part of my evening was wasted.

But on two nights of the week, I knew I would be safe. On those nights, we ate fun stuff in the living room in front of the tv while we watched my parents’ favorite shows.??

The appointment viewing that I remember was for Mary Tyler Moore and All in the Family, and Lawrence Welk and Andy Williams. But I got my meals mixed up.

Those shows must have been for pizza night on Saturdays. On parent or the other would run downtown to pick up a pie from John & Toni???s, and then we???d sit on the living room floor and dine while viewing.

The routine I remember more vividly was Sundays, when we???d have grilled cheese sandwiches and sardines. My dad says the show we watched was Ed Sullivan, of which I have no recollection. But I do remember that minding the sandwiches in the oven was one of my early cooking responsibilities. My mom would prepare the sandwiches and pop them in to brown, and I was in charge of telling her when they were toasted and ready to be flipped. I took this duty very seriously.??

When the sandwiches were served, the plate was garnished with sardines. I thought it was just something we did; my dad said it was a tradition in his family. This weekend I enjoyed the combination for the first time in thrity years and it was delicious.

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