Sunday, January 10, 2010

A True Progressive Dinner

When I was a kid, my parents both worked and I learned how to cook. By the time I was eight, I was making full course family dinners. My mother worked for a bank, an hours drive from home and she was home less, so it kind of fell to my dad to teach me.

One of the first things he taught me to make was biscuits. Self rising flour and canned milk. Delicious, but I haven't made them in eons.

I was taught to make food go longer with leftovers, if there were any! Hence, a true progressive dinner...

We would get a ham. Cooked in the oven and sliced for dinner. Usually with fried potatoes and corn was the veggie of choice. After about two days of ham sandwiches and leftovers for dinner, we would move on to Pinto Beans. The ham bone would be used as stock for the beans. I learned how to use a Pressure Cooker, which was much faster and simply better than slow cooking beans for hours. The beans were out of this world. We always had fried potatoes with beans. We also used white bread to put under the beans to sop up the juice. If we were lucky, the white bread would be substituted with corn bread. Once I got married and learned how to cook steamed rice (the easiest thing in the world) we very rarely had fried potatoes again. After about two days of beans, next came chili. Everything in the fridge kind of chili with newly added browned burger. Leftover Beans, Shelby's chili kit, in the little paper bag, a can of beer, salsa, steak sauce, velveeta (yes, velveeta, don't do that anymore either) other random ingredients and pickle juice. To this day I buy dill pickles for the juice to go in chili made a couple times a year. Never eat the pickles.

So, from ham, to beans and ham, to chili, it could last a good week and nothing would go to unused. We sometimes had veggies, but they were limited, corn, okra, tomatoes, cucumber and green beans. I don't know if it had to do with little knowledge about vegetables on my parents part, or money that kept us from having yummy broccoli, artichokes and asparagus. I never tried any of these until after I moved out.

David told me last night he liked the progression of the ham to chili dinner. The beans and rice were delicious, if I do say so myself!