Our Parents’ Food

August 5, 2011

Yesterday on my blog I invited people to participate in an ongoing conversation about the American Dream and our immigrant parents and grandparents. I included an article from the New York Times about the ethnicity of the pickle. The first response, from Joan, is humorously personal, as follows:

“My memory was jarred just now about the pickle story, with the remembrance of that glass jar on the kitchen counter with those hard, dried out, brown things that my mother would break apart with her teeth and chew. The odor that came from that dried fruit still sticks in my mind. It was indeed horrible. What enjoyment she had eating those things will be with me forever.”

Joan, you made me laugh. I can’t imagine what that fruit was.
In alignment with the pickle article, it could have been a food that your mother learned to eat as a child in the Old Country. But you surely hated everything about it.

I think most Jewish children despise gefilte fish. I call it “old people’s food.”  It is also Old Country food. They learn to like it, if they ever do.

My brother’s little boy took his first look at chopped liver and said, “It looks like. . . .” You guessed it. I used to love chopped liver. My brother’s boy killed it for me.

Is there such a thing as old-fashioned food?