Have I mentioned my mother was a good cook? I might even say she was a gourmet cook. She eschewed using the ‘short cuts’ of her day, i.e. cream of anything soup, processed cheese, frozen dinners, etc.
She made her own stock, end of the garden relish (which is a whole ‘nother story) pickles, etc.…. My point is she didn’t like processed stuff.
We didn’t grow up with Wonder bread like all the other kids (and I secretly longed for) oh no, we had Pepperidge Farms bread. REAL bread! Bread you could sink your teeth into! (Yeah, I know….insert confused face at the oxymoron that was my mother here.)
What I’m saying is she had her definite opinions about food.
One of her more adamant opinions was about Velveeta cheese. That ‘industrial block of chemicals’ is what she called it. It wasn’t allowed to cross our threshold.
We were on vacation in Canada. We took a cruise up the St. Lawrence River. At every port of call my father took us to see all the churches and cathedrals in town. I never knew there were so many churches in Canada!
But I digress…
At one town my father rented a car. He wanted to visit a church that was too far to walk to, so we hopped in the car and drove….
We hadn’t come prepared for such a long trip and hadn’t brought anything to eat. We were getting hungrier by the minute. The countryside where we were driving, although picturesque, was totally devoid of people or businesses.
After what seemed like forever we saw a quaint little country store.
As we stepped inside our hearts sank. Although cute it was totally lacking anything edible. My father struck up a conversation with the owner explaining out plight and the man graciously offered to make us some sandwiches in the back room where he lived. My mother was….skeptical, but what choice did we have?
The storekeeper made the sandwiches, wrapped them neatly in waxed paper, gave us three bottles of warm Coke and off we went to find a spot to have an impromptu picnic.
We found an open spot on the side of the road and spread out our feast on a small blanket we found in the trunk.
My mother unwrapped the first sandwich…….Velveeta Cheese on white bread with mustard! She passed it to my father. She unwrapped the second sandwich……. Velveeta Cheese on white bread with mustard….and handed it to me. At this point she realized what the third sandwich was going to be and resigned herself to her fate.
As she bit into it, it was as if the heavens opened and you could hear angels singing! The look on her face was pure rapture! As she chewed she proclaimed this to be the BEST sandwich she had ever eaten in her entire life! I think the exact word she used was ambrosia!
Just goes to show ya’…… circumstances are everything!!
She never ate Velveeta Cheese again, but she waxed poetic about THAT picnic and THAT particular Velveeta Cheese sandwich for the rest of her life. NOTHING ever tasted as good as that sandwich!
(PS In case you’re wondering why BigBro wasn’t with us, he was at Boy Scout camp that summer.)