Mealtimes at Grandma’s

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Mealtimes at Grandma’s house were somewhat structured, unlike at ours. Just before we were ready to eat, Grandma called for me to come and “set” the table. I went to the Buffet and pulled out the flatware and plates. This formal table setting was for each meal — no exceptions. We didn’t eat on the porch, in the bedroom, or out under a shady tree. Everyone ate at the table, which I guess is the purpose of a kitchen table. I could snack while sitting in the porch swing or in the front room (if it was in the dead of winter), but that was about the extent of my away-from-the-table eating.

I awoke each morning to the smell of strong, black coffee brewing in that hundred-year-old coffee pot. It was the sweetest aroma I’d ever smelled (when it comes to food). When that first whiff of Maxwell House drifted into my bedroom and tickled my nose, I’d hop out of bed, wash up, and make a beeline to the table, ready to chow down.

There awaiting me on the small, four-chair table was a plate piled high with Grandma’s soft, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth, buttermilk biscuits. Then there was her homemade butter, and before clamping down on those mile-high buns we’d slather each side with butter, layer one side with homemade peach or blackberry preserves, and breakfast was on.

At breakfast, there were only two cups and two saucers set out for coffee — one for each of my grandparents. As much as I drooled over that delicious, hot drink, for whatever reason Grandma wouldn’t let me have any. I drank fresh-from-the-cow-milk instead. The cow’s milk was also their coffee’s creamer.

Usually we had sausage, bacon, wieners, beef steak, pork chops, or fried ham. Of course, scrambled eggs were cooked with a slab of homemade butter or dropped smack-dab into the leftover bacon grease. Breakfast was (and still is) my favorite meal, especially that first morning meal at Grandma Maud’s. If it was a school day I’d miss lunch, but supper would be waiting when I got home.

Grandmother was a natural-born cook who made a biscuits mouth-wateringly good. Meals were never carelessly nor thoughtlessly thrown together. Each one was planned ahead and never rushed. She put so much of herself into whatever she made that it was all carefully prepared and well-seasoned with much love. She could probably tell by the way I ate that I thoroughly enjoyed her cooking. Of course, I always had to wash dishes; after such sumptuous dining, dish-washing was “a piece of cake.”

Photo by Fotolia/Michael Ballard