Monday, May 25, 2009

Road apples and ketchup

Probably about 1943 or so I was nine years old. My father worked in the railway depot in Kindersley, as a telegrapher, on a shift known as 3rd trick. This was from midnight to 8 am. He was always home at supper time. The war was on and so food was sometimes scarce or choices limited. My mother was a quick cook with no frills. She would have equaled the fast food industry in speed. As you grow up however, you develop a taste for your mother's cooking that knows few bounds. That was, and still is, the case for me though she is long dead and the western world has become eclectic and international in scope with respect to food. The exception to my mother's cooking was, and still would be, that she made a tomato soup with canned tomatoes and milk and never bothered to remove the tomato cores. I hated that soup. I hated the soft, sloppy, slimy, tomato gobs attached to the tomato cores that floated in the soup. I would sit and gag for hours over it, but got no relief. My parents would not bail me out, no matter how long I sat. I said to my dad after a particularly long session, just to give him an idea of the seriousness of my situation, " I'd sooner eat shit !" I remember this as vividly as if it was yesterday. It was the dead of winter. He went out to the street and picked up three frozen road apples. He brought them in the house, put them on a plate, put ketchup on them and said take your choice. I ate the soup. There is now, almost no food I will not eat and relish. The pianist makes all our soup from leftovers but there are no tomato gobs. The only role to then, that I knew for frozen road apples was to make a little pile on the street to mark goalposts for road shinny and to occasionally use if a puck is not available. In the meantime as they used to say on the farm, when a contrived and undeft argument was being made," Don't eat that Elmer, that's horse shit !"

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