Family Food

14 06 2017

In nine days, my mother will host the Murphy family’s annual reunion. Mom was number twelve of fifteen kids and now she’s the last one standing from her generation. My sister and I are thrilled that so many of our cousins will be visiting Pennsylvania from all over the country.  From Florida to Washington to New York to California to Minnesota to Arizona,  we’ll have over three dozen Murphy relatives at the upcoming three-day party. 

I remember some unpleasant dust-ups at reunions past.  Mom’s brothers and sisters did not approve of the way she was raising us. They were not hesitant to let her know “You’re spoiling your kids rotten, Mil.”  I can’t argue that we were treated pretty darned great.  I will say that we are not, however, rotten.

 One of the things we were allowed to do was to refuse to eat foods we did not like. There was no sending to bed without supper, no sitting at the table with a plate of cold peas staring back at us. One of the side effects of that shameful coddling was that I grew to love cooking.

 When the family arrives next week, Mom won’t be hiring a caterer. She won’t be making dinner reservations at any restaurants. I will be cooking for all. It is a big job, but it is the least I can do for my mother who does so much for me – including making me a cheeseburger and bringing it to my high school every day of my senior year because I did not like the cafeteria food!

I am looking forward to a few days of hard work in the kitchen, lots of dishwashing, chopping, slicing, stirring, roasting, and serving to my family, close and far-flung.  If they don’t like what I’ve prepared, I can always whip up something else for them.  I learned that from my mom.

So, it’s a paper bag, but it could look a little like a toque. This was 1955 with my dad, who drank dreadful instant coffee prepared loving by yours truly at age one and a little. He aided and abetted Mom with all the spoiling. How lucky can a kid get!