Sunday family dinner is a tradition at our house as long as everyone is feeling well. I make dinner for my kids, grandkids, sometimes family friends and the In-laws. This week felt different the food was more comforting and everyone was so excited to eat. I made old-fashioned food from the garden and from the neighbors apple tree. I had a simple menu of meatloaf, fried potatoes, ramps ( I have another post about these wild onions and greens,check it out.) cucumber onion salad, sweet tea and home-made apple pie à la mode. It wasn’t much work and I had everything except a pie crust on hand. It was as if my family was rejoicing in the food and company. It was a celebration of our garden and being blessed with 60 pounds of fresh free apples from our neighbors tree that made the night so wonderful.
My husband and oldest son love Grandma Powers’ meat loaf and she has instructed me on how to make a tender and juicy one. I haven’t made this for about two years and just thought OK it’s time. Also,the flow of cucumbers has been steady from the gardens so I needed to use them up. I had two bags of frozen ramps that needed eaten to make more room in the freezer for fall and the apples you see in the photo were also sitting on my back porch and were ready to eat. I think this meal planed its’self or maybe the bounty of the earth planed it for me. It took about an hour of time to put the whole thing together.
I sat on the back porch and peeled the apples while Christopher and my granddaughter Paige played in the yard. I was laughing and talking to Cody and my daughter-in -law Jamie the whole time I peeled the apples. It was so nice to just sit and visit with them. Then off to the kitchen I went, I needed to get a few things started. About hour later, Bill my husbands best friend arrived, and we were finally ready to eat.
Everyone went on and on about how nice it was to have MEATLOAF???? for dinner??? Really??? They all oohed and awwwed about the apple pie. It was the topic of conversation for several minuets. Their complements took me off guard. I didn’t expect the reaction I was getting. In my mind it was just another dinner that I cook 5 nights a week, it was just part of my day. Then something else ran through my mind…. This was simple food, nothing fancy or expensive. Heck, I got a great deal on the burger so the whole dinner for 5 adults and two picky kids cost me 10 dollars. Much of the food was free… foraged ramps, garden cucumbers and onions and free apples. I bought beef, potatoes and a pie crust and ice cream. I sat back contented that I had made everyone happy and everyone had a great time.
If you were to attend one of my family dinners you would realise that it is totally craziness for the 5 hours my family and friends are together. With all of us together on the porch or dinning room, my sons new puppy underfoot , the two little ones laughing and crying and the cell phones wringing, it is a little hectic.
Sunday is the only day of my week that my home over flows with voices and laughter. Back doors slam open and closed, footsteps run back and forth across the porch.The kids are free to run from room to room screaming as the pup chases them. The yard is usually full of cars, a parking lot forms. Christopher drives his Gader around in huge circles greeting everyone as they come up to the house. Sometimes Cody even brings the mini bike and we all go for rides. It is truly Grandmas house and I am proud of it.
Our life style is from a generation that has already passed. It is family dinners and loud kids and puppies barking. It flashes back to a grandma pealing apples on a porch and a meatloaf in the oven from the 50’s. I don’t understand how I got here, but I love it and all the crazy work that it means. It’s so traditional my life could be confused for Norman Rockwell painting. As I cut and serve a home-made apple pie and Tom starts to scoop ice cream to two whiny kids that don’t like pie just ice cream. I think of my grandmas house and her cooking and wonder if she is smiling at me with all these people in my house just like hers 40 years before.
At times I can hardly believe that this is my life. I well up with tears when I remember my childhood that was so similar,full of love, joy and family. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with this life. I know it was just a dinner with meatloaf and pie but some how it felt like so much more.
It’s a good thing that dinner is on the stove, I am hungry now.