I have a story for you today…
I was mostly brought up by my grandparents. Their house, just around the corner, was my refuge from living with a toxic parent and I loved going over there as often as possible for dinners, visits with other relatives and definitely to hear family stories again and again.
I’d especially pay a visit when there was the threat of snow, because I knew that Nanny would be listening to KYW news radio in Philadelphia, and once they started warning of inclement weather, I also knew she’d be heading to the kitchen.
Now, Granddad would lovingly tease her of not being the world’s best cook and one time even said, “Rose, come here, I’d like to introduce you to this room.” He’d open the swinging door and say, “The kitchen.”
They lived in a modest semi-detached house and by that point had been there for over 40 years. “Oh, Nat!” she exclaimed. I sometimes wonder if his dinner that night was a bit spiced with revenge of some kind…
The kitchen would be on her radar once she heard of any pending snow storm…and I knew it. And she knew I knew it. I’d probably be on my way home from school and in my mind I could see Nanny getting out her stainless steel pot from under the stove, opening a cupboard to retrieve a package of chocolate pudding mix, pouring the milk into the saucepan, adding the mix, setting the electric stove on low and beginning to stir with a big wooden spoon. Once thickened, she’d pour the hot brown pudding into four etched-glass clear stemmed bowls and set them out to cool and firm.
So, the race was on. I’d race home from school and my eyes (taste-buds would be more precise) were on those puddings. But, truthfully, the pudding was not the main attraction. It was the POT. The pot of that warm, brown, gooey, chocolaty delicious pudding remains – just WAITING for an index finger to scoop it all up. And, it needed to be my index finger.
Here’s the rub: Nanny loved those remains, too. And, she also loved me. So, she was torn between her love for her grandson and her love of the pudding. Who would win out? She knew I’d be exerted myself to get there in time. She’s waiting…she’s waiting…Oh, but the smells, the mouthwatering desires for that warm chocolate. Nanny would only hold out for so long.
I’m happy to say that she usually had the courage and patience to let ME “have the pot.” But… not always. I mean, grandmothers are human, too!
When I teach my storytelling workshops I find it helpful to put attendees in small groups and have them tell each other about their favorite childhood comfort food and that food is connected to. Storytelling is all about finding common ground, and food is a fundamental human connector.
P.S. – Nanny would create an awesome dessert by pouring warm chocolate pudding over angel food cake with strawberries or raspberries soaking up the goo on the side. Yum.