Some of my favorite childhood memories will always be the summers we got to spend at Grandma’s house. What kid didn’t love that?!
Cream of Wheat served with toast slathered and dripping with spun honey until it was running down your chin for breakfast, classic BLT’s for lunch with HUGE garden fresh tomatoes that she always had lined up on the old window ledge, (unless we had her infamous “coney” which was served open-faced on bread and a whole ‘nother story 😉 ), and of course her smoked oyster stew!
She didn’t add all of the things that I do now, but if I could go back in time, I would love hers still, just as much. I so enjoyed those days with her!
She babysat for half the people in town, and in turn, years later, they brought their kids to her house! There was always a baby to feed, diapers to change, and lots of kids to play with. I loved it!
She sewed for everyone, too, and was an amazing seamstress! As soon as breakfast was done, and the morning news reports consisting of how the local crops and cattle were doing were done, we’d all sit in the big huge family room addition that my Grandpa built and watch all of the old soaps such as “The Edge of Night”, “As the World Turns”, “Guiding Light”, “Days of Our Lives”, “Search for Tomorrow”, “One Life to Live”, and “The Young and the Restless” just to name a few!
She’d sit in her chair, sewing the pieces of her latest quilt together, and we’d all pile onto the floor sitting “Indian style”, and we’d watch them all, back-to-back, one after the other, hopping up to change the channel between the 3 stations for her. (Except for when Bob Barker was giving away entire kitchens, of course! “The Price is Right” was never missed!)
Then the afternoon “Dialing for Dollars” movie would come on. (Just watched “Play Misty for Me” the other day out of pure nostalgia!) During the commercial breaks, they’d flip through the phonebook and point at a number to call. If you were called, and answered a trivia question correctly about the day’s movie, you won something.
Well, they never called, but once, the phone did ring right at the wrong time. We were all sure that “this was it!!!”, but nope, I don’t even remember who it was that called, but Grandma wasn’t too happy about it! Haha! She, and all us kids as well, thought for sure they were finally calling “our” house!
By about halfway through the afternoon movie, she’d put the little ones down for a nap and us bigger kids got a special treat of homemade popcorn with lots of butter and salt that she’d pop in her big old pot shaking it back and forth across the red coil burner on the stove. And to go with, that complimented the popcorn perfectly, were soft, sugary “Spice Drops”! Hmmm, maybe Grandma was the first to see how wonderfully salty and sweet went together! 😉
Then, one by one, the parents would all come to pick up their kids and we’d have a nice quiet evening of sitting at the kitchen table after supper playing card games, our favorite being “King’s Corner”! The evening’s best entertainment though, was on rare occasion when she’d get out her old ukelele, dance, sing and play, “Has Anybody Seen My Gal”!
I sure do miss her. There’s just nothing like a Grandma’s love, is there? So this is dedicated to you, Grandma. Maybe someday, somehow, we’ll meet again!
IN MEMORY of GRANDMA PETITE SMOKED OYSTER STEW with RED POTATOES, BACON, CELERY & ONIONS
Heartily serves 3-4
3 medium-sized red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into hearty bite-sized pieces
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbl. butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 rib celery, sliced thin
salt & coarse ground black pepper to season, pinch of each
1 1/2 cups half & half
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp. Superior Touch Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
5 slices crisp-cooked bacon, torn into 1/2 – 1″ pieces
1 (3 3/4 oz.) tin of petite smoked oysters
saltine or oyster crackers
extra coarse ground pepper to garnish
extra bacon to garnish, optional
Cut up unpeeled potatoes into large bite-sized pieces and place into a small pot of warm water with a 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Bring to a boil and medium boil for 4-5 minutes until tender. Check with a knife poking through one piece for tenderness.
While potatoes are cooking, sauté onions and celery in butter until tender.
Drain potatoes in colander and dump back into pot. Add sautéed onion mixture with the butter, and rest of ingredients lifting oysters from the tin with a fork to drain. A little of the oil in there is flavor so you don’t have to drain them on paper towel first.
Heat over medium LOW heat until hot and bouillon base has dissolved gently stirring now and then.
Serve in bowls piping hot with crackers and more pepper on top. Garnish with more crumbled bacon if desired.