Green Vegetables and a Groaning Table

 

Mulling over food color themes from Red, White, and Blue Labor Day U.S.A. and Colorful Cooking, a family food memory came front of mind. The tale has long been told of an important family dinner. It was one of those occasions when the prospective new family member meets the prospective parents-in-law. One of my aunts had come to my maternal grandparents’ home, and was seated at the family table when it happened.

All heads were bowed as my grandfather completed the prayer of thanksgiving and blessing over the meal. Suddenly my aunt heard a loud gasp from her mother-in-law-to-be. My aunt thought “Oh no, I’ve just met her and she’s having a heart attack!” Then she heard my grandmother exclaim in dismay: “There’s no green vegetable!

Mind you, there were surely at least two breads: a nut or cranberry bread and dinner rolls, but “there’s no green vegetable!

There were assuredly at least two salads, likely three: green, fruit, and bean, but “there’s no green vegetable!

There were potatoes in some form, and possibly yams, but “there’s no green vegetable!

There were two or three homemade relishes, but “there’s no green vegetable!

There was more meat that would be eaten, and possible two kinds, but “there’s no green vegetable!

There were tomatoes, grown in the garden, corn, perhaps carrots, and likely beets in some form, but “there’s no green vegetable!

Off on the side board were at least two desserts, but “there’s no green vegetable!

My grandparents came from old farming stock, with family centered on Pennsylvania and Ohio. They married in the Depression. They, and their children, did not become obese, despite having indoor jobs in the professions. And, they set a groaning table for visitors, including family.

As a young college man, running six miles a day and working out for college fencing every day, I showed up at my grandparents for a visit. I was an extremely lean and mean 145 pounds on a 5 foot 10 frame. Naturally, they decided I was malnourished and sought to immediately remedy this.

As we sat at the table, my grandmother watched my plate for the opportunity to ask “would you like some more [potatoes/meat/vegetables]?” As I was getting a polite demurral from thought to speech, I was command overridden by my grandfather. “Why of course he needs more!” came the voice, perfectly synchronized with arms smoothly maneuvering the serving dish and serving implement, depositing another generous portion on my plate. You’ve never seen a better tag team, not even in the WWE!

As the years went on, my grandmother went home first and my grandfather cooked for himself and then his new bride, a wonderful woman we grandchildren were proud to call Grandma Fran. Grandpa, a rubber chemist whose ideas for hose production are still used today, including in your car. He took a practical approach to food when he was preparing it, and developed a tasty, nutritious stew.

I enjoyed his stew for supper on my last visit with him and Grandma Fran. It was made of diced beef, potatoes, and vegetables, lightly seasoned. Yes, it had green peas. There was a green vegetable!

Published in Group Writing
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 17 comments.

  1. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    This savory and colorful conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under the September 2019 Group Writing Theme: “Autumn Colors.” There are plenty of dates available. Our schedule and sign-up sheet awaits.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #1
    • September 9, 2019, at 6:01 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher

    You had bean salad? Was it a three bean salad? Because I think that there is a regulation or something that requires one of the types of bean to be green bean. That would cover it.

    • #2
    • September 9, 2019, at 6:52 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. RightAngles Member

    Oh this reminded me of my mom! She made dinner for six every night, always with green and a yellow vegetable.

    • #3
    • September 9, 2019, at 7:01 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Randy Webster Member

    We’re in the midst of corn and tomato season, so we don’t always have a green vegetable. Most times of year we do.

    • #4
    • September 9, 2019, at 8:10 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. The Great Adventure! Member

    That food pyramid ranks right up there with phrenology charts. 

    • #5
    • September 9, 2019, at 8:40 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Randy Webster Member

    Rather than the food pyramid, we have Ron Swanson’s “Pyramid of Greatness” hung on the wall in the hallway at work.

    • #6
    • September 9, 2019, at 8:55 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Percival Thatcher

    There aren’t that many yellow vegetables, and all of them are nasty.

    • #7
    • September 9, 2019, at 8:56 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Percival (View Comment):

    There aren’t that many yellow vegetables, and all of them are nasty.

    • #8
    • September 9, 2019, at 9:49 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Percival Thatcher

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    There aren’t that many yellow vegetables, and all of them are nasty.

    That’s a grain.

    • #9
    • September 9, 2019, at 10:00 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Percival (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    There aren’t that many yellow vegetables, and all of them are nasty.

    That’s a grain.

    True, if dried. Vegetable if picked and cooked at this stage.

    • #10
    • September 9, 2019, at 10:07 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Percival (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    There aren’t that many yellow vegetables, and all of them are nasty.

    That’s a grain.

    True, if dried. Vegetable if picked and cooked at this stage.

    • #11
    • September 9, 2019, at 10:10 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. OldDanRhody Member

    Clifford A. Brown: Grandpa… took a practical approach to food when he was preparing it, and developed a tasty, nutritious stew.

    Whatchyagot stew: we have it as often as I can get away with it.

    • #12
    • September 10, 2019, at 7:06 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. MarciN Member

    Loved this post. Thank you.

    Funny story: My son and his best friend used to eat their middle school lunch together. Ben, my son, was a tall lanky kid at that age, and his best friend Andrew was a short stocky kid. They made people laugh just to look at them together, and they were always together. :-) One day they told me that every time they got in the lunch line, the woman handing out the french fries would pile them on Ben’s plate and give only a few to Andrew. She’d say to Ben, “Here, you need these.” :-)

    • #13
    • September 10, 2019, at 7:19 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  14. RightAngles Member

    MarciN (View Comment):

    Loved this post. Thank you.

    Funny story: My son and his best friend used to eat their middle school lunch together. Ben, my son, was a tall lanky kid at that age, and his best friend Andrew was a short stocky kid. They made people laugh just to look at them together, and they were always together. :-) One day they told me that every time they got in the lunch line, the woman handing out the french fries would pile them on Ben’s plate and give only a few to Andrew. She’d say to Ben, “Here, you need these.” :-)

    Haha! This reminded me of two friends in my younger sister’s class in grade school. One was tall and skinny and the other was short and round. She used to say when they stood next to each other, they looked like the number 10.

    • #14
    • September 10, 2019, at 12:47 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    There aren’t that many yellow vegetables, and all of them are nasty.

    Wax beans. Gold Rush is a good variety to grow. Cook in boiling water until soft; none of this quick business, otherwise they don’t taste sweet. Test with a fork to make sure. This takes much longer than you think it should. Drain in a colander. Put your pan back on the stove and melt some butter. Plenty of butter. Crush a stack of saltines (not the whole sleeve, be reasonable) into the butter and fry until the crackers are golden. Put your wax beans back in and give it a stir until everything is hot. You’re welcome. 

    • #15
    • September 10, 2019, at 2:10 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. Percival Thatcher

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    There aren’t that many yellow vegetables, and all of them are nasty.

    Wax beans. Gold Rush is a good variety to grow. Cook in boiling water until soft; none of this quick business, otherwise they don’t taste sweet. Test with a fork to make sure. This takes much longer than you think it should. Drain in a colander. Put your pan back on the stove and melt some butter. Plenty of butter. Crush a stack of saltines (not the whole sleeve, be reasonable) into the butter and fry until the crackers are golden. Put your wax beans back in and give it a stir until everything is hot. You’re welcome.

    Wax beans are alright. They just aren’t as good as green beans.

    • #16
    • September 10, 2019, at 2:40 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. AnnieMac Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    There aren’t that many yellow vegetables, and all of them are nasty.

    That’s a grain.

    True, if dried. Vegetable if picked and cooked at this stage.

    Your posts are insightful and usually some of my favorites on here on Ricochet, Clifford. But now I’m just….hungry.

    • #17
    • September 10, 2019, at 8:11 PM PDT
    • 3 likes