Happy 112th!

As I stared into my refrigerator on this, my grandmother’s 112th birthday, I was reminded of her frugality and creativity with food.

Gram would, as many of her generation did, save every unused ingredient and unchewed morsel in the freezer for insane lengths of time. It made sense; she came of age in the starving-est time in American history (…so far) and that stinginess, that resourcefulness came in handy back in the Depression and the War and served her well up right until the end.

Thus were reheated lasagna rolls never more than a few minutes in the oven away.

Thus was frittad never more than a few eggs, some onions, and a jaunt to the garage freezer for God-only-knows-what-else away.

Thus were vegetables snuck into chocolate chip cookies, which, now that I think about it, was not merely for the sake of sneaking nutrients into children’s diets, but for the sake of stretching various foodstuffs as far as humanly possible. The sense of betrayal was never enough to keep us from eating the cookies, and yielded, as the years passed, and as I had to reduce dessert consumption anyways, to appreciation for her wisdom.

We would joke about how long ago any particular dish or ingredient was first frozen, partly because it was probably better not to know the truth, partly because it was one of the Old Girl’s trademarks. But so long as Gram made it in her kitchen and served it at her table, it was good either way.

Happy 112th birthday to Gram!

Happy 122nd!

I’ve been much worse than usual this year about updating the blog. At the speed events move these days, it feels like either I don’t have the time or I don’t make the time to comment before a day’s headline becomes yesterday’s papers. Or at least that’s the excuse I’ll make for now. But I’ll make time for the digital remembrance of my grandparents’ birthdays.

My grandfather would have turned 122 this year, which would blow my mind more if I didn’t then remember that everyone else I know, myself included, is getting older, too. No photo this year. There are so precious few photos of our ancestors compared to the avalanche of snapshots and selfies that we have today, but I was nonetheless taking too long to settle on one and decided to get to typing. I have a year to settle on one for next year.

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of his graduation from high school at age 22. I should’ve saved his graduation photo for this year. Oh well. Back then it was more acceptable to finish high school in a less-than-timely fashion, if at all, especially if your formal education was delayed by having to work to help take care of the family, or– as in some other cases back then– by a world war, or a global pandemic, and so on. But he did graduate from high school, and then from the former Armour Institute of Technology, and then MIT.

So he did OK. Because back then, what else were you going to do, aside from the best you could?

The block editor on this rinky-dink WordPress thingy is a nightmare. It has frozen and kicked me out three times in the last 15 minutes, maybe because it’s been so long that it doesn’t recognize me anymore.