I’ve been fortunate enough to inherit a few tools over the years. Tools I never would have gotten on my own but I’m glad to have. They’ve come from friends and relatives so they all have memories attached to them.
One of my favorite tools I’ve received is a Sears & Roebuck Craftsman 1/2 H.P. bench grinder. It was my wife’s Grandfather’s. No one else wanted it when we were cleaning out their garage so it ended up in my garage. Now, whenever I use it, I think of him.
I wish I would’ve gotten to know him better. He unfortunately passed away before my wife and I got married. The times I did get to be around him were always enjoyable.
He was a very nice, gentle man that had the look of an elder statesman. There is one particular black and white photo of him that, had I not known he was a farmer, I would have guessed him to be a Senator.
I enjoy hearing stories about him from my wife and in-laws. One involves a saying he used often when working. If the question ever came up wondering if the job looked good or if part of the job was a little off he’d say, “You’ll never be able to tell riding by on a mule.”
Even though I have O.C.D., perfectionist tendencies I really appreciate that laid back kind of attitude!
That saying came to me over the weekend as I was sharpening our mower blade using the bench grinder of his that I inherited. There was part of the blade that had a nick in it that I was trying to grind out.
As I was contemplating if it was good enough a voice in my mind said, “You’ll never be able to tell riding by on a mule.” That was enough to convince me the job was done.
I grew up cooking at a young age. Third grade was the first time I remember making a meal for our family all by myself. It was Hamburger Helper… and I was so proud.
Making that first Hamburger Helper turned into more. Many more. I bet we had Hamburger Helper at least once a week. It wasn’t always the same kind though.
Sometimes it would be Cheeseburger Macaroni. Other times we’d have Chili Cheese. Potatoes Stroganoff would make an appearance too! As a kid I liked them all… and perfected making them all.
I went away to college and left evening meals of Hamburger Helper behind. Until one night after we were newly married when my wife and I were grocery shopping. “Let’s get this,” I said excitedly as I grabbed a Hamburger Helper off the shelf.
My wife was skeptical anything good could come from a box. She’d never had Hamburger Helper before but reluctantly put a box in our cart to make me happy. I was excited to make it and share it with her.
With expectations running high there was bound to be disappointment. Turns out it was mostly mine! The Hamburger Helper did remind me of my childhood but it seems I had outgrown my taste for it. My wife thought it was just OK.
That was the last time I made Hamburger Helper… some 18 years ago. Writing about it now makes me want to give it another try. Maybe I’ll make it for the girls and I some night when my wife is working late.
I’m not here to bad mouth Hamburger Helper. If you love it, that’s great! There was a time I loved it too! I will say this… I credit my start in cooking to Hamburger Helper and to this day still like to make my own one pan meals.
Last night I dug up some potatoes from our garden. It was fun lifting the potato fork out of the soil to reveal our harvest… ready for the picking. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the potatoes as soon as I saw them.
I wanted to make boiled potatoes. It’s not a fancy recipe but it’s a dish that brings back a bunch of memories for me. You see, I associate boiled potatoes with my Grandma.
I don’t recall ever having them anywhere else than at my Grandma’s house. It’s not the kind of food you’d see at a restaurant and because of it’s simplicity you probably wouldn’t serve it to guests.
It is, however, an easy and inexpensive side that goes well with just about any meat. Perfect for a hardworking Grandma who usually needed to feed a crowd and feed them quickly.
To make boiled potatoes you just scrub, quarter, and then boil them in slightly salted water.
When a fork easily pierces them you drain the water and serve.
As a kid I loved smashing the potatoes down with my fork making lots of fork marks. (Who am I kidding? I still find this fun!) Throw on a pat or two of butter and then smash again! Add a little salt and you’re ready to eat.
I remember having many meals at my Grandma’s house that included boiled potatoes. Potatoes my grandparents grew in their massive garden and then stored in the cellar.
I guess that’s why to this day boiled potatoes are one of my favorite ways to make potatoes.
Is there a food you don’t remember having anywhere else besides at your grandparent’s house? What is it?
You’ll find another memory from my Grandma’s kitchen here!