The taste of Ö
... fried chicken - a chicken that was born free and raised to run free on the farm. Dozens of them used to run up to the back door when Mom went out with potato and apple peelings - and table scraps. They had crushed corn in the feeders and access to water.
... summer’s firsts: those knobby new potatoes that you grapple from the earth and cook with skins on. Serve them with new peas and baby onions. Mom fried the very smallest potatoes whole, Saratoga potatoes she called them, and they sometimes disappeared before supper was served.
...the first fully ripe, shiny dark red strawberry, rain-washed and eaten warm in the patch. It isn’t quite sweet enough unless you hear a snapping noise, like a hand clap, as the berry leaves the mother plant.
... snow ice cream - real cream, vanilla, sugar and fresh snow, stirred and eaten quickly, was a treat before we knew that the flakes might pick up hazardous fallout from the sky on the way down
... apples that were buried in the ground last fall and now have a unique "earthy" flavor. You "gropple" them out of the ground, a few at a time, as soon as Missouri’s January thaw and its mud are past.
... raw potatoes handed, one chunk at a time, by your Mom, who’s peeling and slicing them for frying.
... home-canned, warm, tomatoes from the garden - on canning day; they’re left in the kettle after all the glass jars are filled. A pinch of sugar makes them even better.
... freshly hulled black walnuts smashed between two rocks under the tree, and the kernels dug out with the horseshoe nail you carried for that purpose. More than three walnuts will make your mouth sore.
... warm watermelon, smashed on the ground in the patch and clawed out by dirty little hands. Eat only the heart, and you don’t have to spit seeds.
... a not-quite-ripe persimmon! One bite will never be forgotten, and that’s enough for a lifetime! But Jack Frost transforms persimmons into a lush, aaaaaah, mushy treat.
... home made ice cream. Lickings from the wood-and-metal dasher is the best. You have to hurry, or it will melt and drip off your elbows! It’s even better than the full serving you get after the can is packed with ice and salt while you eat your supper.
... a big lush wild blackberry you pick off the briar in the woods. Better blow off the stink bug that might be on the back side!
... potato salad that’s left overnight in the refrigerator; it’s always better the second day when the onion and celery seed and homemade salad dressing have had time to penetrate every bite.
... raw asparagus; I was past half-a-century-old when a good friend introduced me to this garden treat.
... ripe cantaloupe from the patch. Remove the seeds from half, and fill the hole with vanilla ice cream, homemade or otherwise.
... the big birthday cake with cream filling between the layers and divinity icing all over - and it splits apart. The best cake I ever tasted was Mom’s White Mountain Cake that had to be dumped into a big crock, and we all stood around eating it with spoons, spoiling our supper.
... soft, fully ripe cherries off the tree. Ours were golden yellow and sweet.
... fresh pork back bones, baked with sauerkraut and served at home, when there was no company, just home folks. We were permitted to pick up the bony meat in our fingers.
... the lickings left in the cake or cookie crock bowl, swiped out with clean fingers before there were rubber scrapers.