Writing 101- Day Ten: “Happy Leftovers Day”
Day Ten – Happy Leftovers Day:
* Today’s Tell us something about your favorite childhood meal.
* Today’s Twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.
To me one of the best things in life is to sit down and enjoy a wonderful meal, and the best part of a wonderful meal is if you are sharing it with family.
I grew up as the middle child of seven children, and we never failed to sit down to dinner together as an entire family every single day. It was an expectation. As a matter of fact, it was a rule that if the telephone rang during the dinner hour, it was never answered so that we could eat our meal uninterrupted by the outside world. And we never ate our meals in front of the television set. That would be absolutely unthinkable! Instead, we shared the details of our lives, which later became the model for me and my husband’s dinner rules when raising our own children.
We shared many special meals, especially those during the holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, but when I consider what my favorite meal is, it’s one that my mother used to prepare as part of leftovers: chicken and dumplings. My mom made the best chicken and dumplings I’ve ever had the pleasure to taste (naturally, I’m probably biased). And my favorite part of the meal were the potato dumplings.
My mother was full-blooded German, and her mother taught her how to make those delicious potato dumplings that I loved so much. I remember that whenever I learned that we were going to have chicken and dumplings for supper, I’d look forward to it for the rest of the day, and could hardly wait for supper to arrive, just so I could eat those dumplings! And eventually I figured out that whenever we had leftover mashed potatoes after Sunday dinner that the next night was the time we’d have the potato dumplings, because the mashed potatoes were the main ingredient for the dumplings. She’d mix the mashed potatoes with flour and I think she used milk and then she’d drop them into the boiling water. Now these dumplings weren’t your spoon-sized dumplings. They were indeed the size of potatoes, and once they had chicken gravy ladled over them, they were so tasty.
After I was married, I tried to make those potato dumplings, but they’d never turn out the same as my mother’s. I’d call her and say, “Mom, the dumplings didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to. What did I do wrong?” She’d just laugh and say, “Cindy, it just takes practice, that’s all.” Of course, she didn’t have a “recipe” for them. She just made them the way any good cook does – by memory and instinct. I never have been able to duplicate them to this very day.
And her baked chicken was always the juiciest, moistest, most tender chicken you’ve ever had. It makes my mouth water to think of it. Those two things, (the chicken and dumplings) together with some corn on the cob and hot rolls and butter makes the perfect meal.
I only wish my mom were still here to share a meal with our entire family, but knowing that she’s watching over us and that some day we will see her again makes me smile.