Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Grammy's Welsh Table

Grammy, my mother wrote this...

When I was young, and hadn’t yet traveled anywhere to speak of, I loved going to dinner at friends’ houses who were newly immigrated to the United States. Kathy would serve the best spaghetti I had ever tasted and say, with quiet authority, “This is the way my Nona, Maria made Bolognese”. Or I would go to Ava’s house and get a slice of the most mouth-watering spice cake and be told “My Great Aunt Helga taught me to make this when I was 12.” The simplest meal seemed absolutely exotic when presented this way.

Because most of my family roots extend back to the Mayflower, my food legacy is far from exotic. The best I had was my Welsh Grandfather. As kind and patient as he was, the best dishes from the old country that he could share with me were ‘Milk Bread’--pieces of bread and cheddar cheese broken up into a glass of milk, and ‘Milk Toast’--buttered toast on a plate with warm milk poured over it.

I liked these dishes as a child. When I grew older, I liked to eat them because they reminded me of my sweet Grandfather, but they were far too soggy to serve to guests.

My husband wouldn’t eat them. When I served them up to my five children, with Grand-Daddy’s words, “Even if you run out of money, you will never starve if you eat milk bread”, my children said they preferred to starve.

There is much to admire about the Welsh: Their beautiful, rolling countryside, their impossibly complex language, their singers, their actors, their poets and preachers. But nobody wants their recipes.

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