Sustenance Substitutes

The eighth person at my family’s dining room table during most of our dating meals, Joe squeezed amongst me, my siblings, Grandma and Mom. The spacious oval table may have been Dad’s last “I’m sorry” gift when Mom got pregnant for the fifth time.  

Mom said I was looking for a father figure in marrying so young. Joe did fit well between me and my brother. And he didn’t notice the dog stains on the carpet or scattering water bugs when I switched on the kitchen light. Toast and tea are basically bread and brown water. We snacked daily on these; an intimate experience.

My fiancé marveling at canned Easter ham, shocked me. I thought this a staple for the holy meal. Mom did serve a real Thanksgiving turkey, defrosted before baking, with boxed stuffing and a cylinder of jellied cranberry sauce, canned yams and olives from a jar. Mixed vegetables of all colors, previously pressure sealed, completed our banquets.

A frozen Salisbury steak entrée bathing in its tub of gravy to dribble over re-hydrated potatoes and canned wax beans, squared out as a typical meal. Cheaper than fast food, and almost as quick, most of the time required is in the cleanup. For our family to eat before bedtime, the race began at 5:30 when Mom came home. Later, the kitchen spigot sang us her lullaby to the tune of clinking glasses, dishes and silverware. 

 Homemade is being home, without a maid, to do-it-yourself. I believe mom’s prayer of gratitude for the miraculous microwave sincerer than a priest’s over communion wafers without intinction.

 Until my future husband arrived at our dinner table, I never thought twice about frozen, freeze dried, dehydrated, vacuum packed meals. We ate like astronauts as Dad looked down on us from beyond the final frontier. His blessings plus one, sharing jokes around his table, gave thanks for ready-made foods from my single mother’s hands.






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