Meat and Potatoes

As I look forward to my dinner this evening at the steakhouse, I can’t help but reflect on my childhood and how important it was for my father to have meat on the table.   It was some sort of symbol to him that he was providing for us.  Whether it was a pot roast in the winter or some thick juice T-bones off the barbie in the summer we always had meat for dinner.   There were a few exceptions.   Dad could eat a dozen ears of corn and call that a meal or a pot of fresh green beans (although they were cooked with pork fat or bacon).

We used to buy a hind quarter from the butcher and put in up in the freezer in our patio.   It was so impressive to open that freezer and see it full of neatly wrapped pieces of meat in bright white butcher paper with their cuts marked on masking tape like labels.   And in the draws at the bottom of the freezer were tubes of hamburger meat.

The paper here is brown and they have used plastic wrap but you get the idea.

Along with this meat we had potatoes.  People used to show up uninvited for dinner all the time when I was little.  Mom never turned anyone away, as long as she had a sack of potatoes in the pantry she could make room for one more at the table.

And when the potatoes are gone it makes a lovely dress!

And sausage!  My grandmother used to stay with us during the winter months.  She packed a special carry-on for my dad full of Pennsylvania smoked sausage and something called scrapple which makes me nauseous just thinking about it.   Scrapple is just that, scarps of pork cleaned off the meat cutter and made into a brick that is then cut in slices and fried. We called it crapple.   If you google it you will find it called “The Pennsylvania Treat”, pork mush.  (I am so glad they moved to California before I was born.)  Even Guy Fieri had trouble getting the stuff down on his show, “Dinner, Drive-ins, and Dives”.

Okay, so it doesn’t look that bad, but before it is cooked it looks like green particle board.


3 Responses to “Meat and Potatoes”

  1. We never had enough money to fill a freezer with a side of beef. In fact, we never had a freezer. It sounds impressive…and if that is your freezer in the photo, it certainly LOOKS impressive.

    Crapple is a good name for what you described. Makes SPAM sound like filet mignon.

    Sidenote: I never met a potato I didn’t like. EVAH!


    back in the seventies, when I was doing my “back to nature, simple life” routine (this was a brief period brought on by “Little House on the Prairie”, I believe) I had a load of potato sacks like the one Marilyn is wearing. I made huge floor pillows…damn, can you imagine? (It’s a pillow and exfoliates at the same time!) Martha Stewart would have shit a ring around herself.

    • That’s not our freezer. My dad probably has a picture on kodacrome 64 slides. We were fortunate. I am only now beginning to appreciate what we had, probably because I have less. What I hated then was when we got down to the weird cuts that only a dog should be made to eat. My poodle, fang, got the kidneys.

      Yes, Spam is similar but this stuff doesn’t come in a can. If I try I can still smell it cooking.

  2. My Italian friend finds it amusing how people pick pasta as a primary dish; pasta was what they ate at the end of the month when the money ran short and they could not buy meat.
    Meat = you were doing well.

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