I have no clue why we’re told to say, “cheese” when preparing to have our photos taken. I do know that I often said cheese when asked as a kid what I wanted to eat.
Specifically, cheese toast.
That was my go-to quick meal growing up in Ashdown, Arkansas. I wasn’t allowed to eat it every day, but I ate it as often as my mom would make it for my sister and me.
tCheese toast was one of the simple, yet hearty lunches that was quick to make. It tided me over between the Cap’n Crunch at breakfast, and the chicken fried steak, fried potatoes, and biscuits and gravy we frequent had for supper.
Eventually, I was old enough to be trusted with a small appliance and was allowed to make cheese toast on my own.
This was before American companies were allowed to individually package pasteurized process imitation cheese slices and advertise them as if they were actually cheese.
This fake cheese is still available today. Don’t be fooled. It’s not fit to eat.
However, you can make cheese toast with it and allow it to sit for a day or two, then use it replace a shingle on the roof or make a new gasket for your tractor.
Cheese toast wasn’t the only Southern delicacy. Future epicureans were also using other fine dining to please our palates.
One frequent meal was weenies and kraut. I know that wieners and sauerkraut have German origins, but folks in the South like to expand our dietary adventures.
So some mom along the way decided to whip out a cast iron skillet and toss in a few chopped up weenies, brown them and then add some sauerkraut. My mom was no exception.
It was one of my favorites, but it certainly was not one of my sister’s.
The minute my sister found out that’s what we were having, her protesting began. She couldn’t say, “weenies and kraut.” She called it, “weenies and crap.”
Elsewhere in the nitrate-laden processed meat family, we also frequently had SPAM. Today, spam is something you don’t want to receive on your computer. It was no different back then in the dining room.
These days, SPAM is expensive. It wasn’t when I was being raised. So in that same cast iron skillet, mom would fry up sliced SPAM to make sandwiches.
By John Moore
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