May 15, 2007

My Summer of Ham and Cheese

Summer, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, 1976. When I was 11 years old, I stayed at my grandmother's house for the summer. She would drop me off at the country club where she was a member and would leave me for most of the day. The first day I was there, I noticed there was a snack bar. I made a mental note of it. As soon as it could possibly be considered lunch time, which was probably 11:00 or 11:30 a.m., I went to check out the offerings at the snack bar. The menu was posted on one of those black plastic signs with the letters stuck in on pegs. Along with the expected hamburgers and fries, I saw "ham and cheese sandwich". Being Jewish, I had never tasted ham, and was thrilled with the opportunity to sample a forbidden treat. Also having been raised in a rather sheltered manner, I was excited to test my independence by ordering lunch for myself--albeit debited from my grandmother's account. When the snack bar attendant asked for my order, I asked a few questions about the other menu items and casually ordered ham and cheese without one single pang of guilt. I was as proud of myself as I could be. A few minutes later, I bit into the warm sandwich- the taste of the ham and cheese was nothing short of amazing. The saltiness of the ham with the creamy, melty, mellow cheese sent my taste buds into a frenzy. I ordered another and repeated the same rountine every day I was at the pool without parental supervision.

After the summer had ended and my family was back home, my mother confronted me one day about a bill my grandmother received from the country club. Evidently, I had charged several hundred dollars to her account, and she didn't expect to have to pay a bill that large. When my mother asked me what I could have possibly eaten there all summer, I lied and told her that I had a few lunches and that the bill must have been incorrect. I never heard anything else about it until a few years ago when my Aunt Sharon mentioned it to me-- I never knew the story had made the "family rounds".

The purpose of the story is to help illustrate how food has become an important part of my life. I remember meals I had at restaurants when I was as young as 8 years old. Fortunately, my parents took my brother, sister and I to restaurants - and - put no limitations on what we could try. Throughout my blog, I'll include reviews of various restaurants and discuss recipes and cooking, and I hope you will too.

Luckily, my partner shares my passion for cooking and food, although not to the same extent. She is the best cook I know.
...and the eggs.


JB said...

I did not know this story! That is hilarious!!! You know I LOVE food and I watch the food network 24/7 we should try to convince them to give us our own show!!!

bmoon said...

Food is definitely a huge part of our life - no sooner are we out of bed and it's "what are we eating for lunch." by the end of the morning commute to work - we have already decided what we are having for dinner. I haven't even eaten breakfast yet.