As a youngster, I couldn't follow her speech too well. But one thing about that will always stick out in my mind - she would always greet you with a hug and kiss and say, "You're getting fat!" In her mind (and only hers!) that was a compliment! She equated gaining weight with prosperity. Of course, most of the time nobody in the family had really gained any weight since our last visit.
The other thing about old Granny was that, (as I visited her when I was an adult) she would say, "Sit, I make for you something." She didn't have much in her pantry, not being wealthy, but she wanted to share the little she had.
This is one recipe that she shared with me because, when I ate it at her table, I told her how much I liked it. That really pleased her. Now, every time I make it I think of her. And usually, if nobody is looking, I lick the plate clean! (Yes, I think it is that good!)
Farmer Boy Recipe - Poor Man's Goulash
- 2 lbs. of hamburger meat (any ground beef)
- 1 large onion (sliced)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of a sweet Paprika (use it to taste - be careful, it can get hot in the cooking! Remember - you can always add more, but once it's in there, you can't take it back!)
- 3/4 Cup of Ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard
- 1 1/2 Cups of water
- 2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
In a large saucepan, brown the ground beef with the onion. Mix in the paprika, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Stir and heat through. Add the water and stir well. Cover and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Then stir in 1/4 cup of water mixed with the 2 Tablespoons of flour to thicken.
Serve this over homemade noodles or Spaetzle, or even elbow macaroni.
My mother never really had a great affection for her mother-in-law; she always called her a "German Hillbilly"! But I never really considered that as a "put down", because my mother referred to herself as a "Chicago, Big City Hillbilly"! Either way, to me, they were both someone to be remembered with love.
"Out in the meadow, I picked a wild sunflower, and, as I looked into its golden heart, such a wave of homesickness came over me that I almost wept... Across the years, the old home and its love called to me, and memories of sweet words of counsel came flooding back." Laura Ingalls Wilder