Friday 20 April 2007

Canned Meat and a Lie

I refer you back to the post I made about a certain Cookbook and a Beef Noodle recipe contained therein. I will start at the beginning of the story.

My Nanny made canned meat. It was actually jarred meat but that doesn't matter. We always called it canned. It looked absolutely grotesque in the jar. All the fat congealed at the top and the meat had turned a really unnatural pink colour. The idea is that you pressure cook the meat and then seal it tight in a jar and it keeps like tinned goods. This was important back in the days before refrigerators and freezers existed and electricity was reliable. Not so important nowadays but old habits are hard to break. And it tastes really good.

But try telling that to my husband. I would lovingly transport these jars of meat home to the UK with me each time I visited the USA. Marc had seen the jars of the meat in my cupboards and was thoroughly (although unjustifiably) disgusted. He would never let me serve the meat to him. Although I could have tried, I didn't want to waste the meat on the ungrateful and unappreciative.

When Sebastian was a wee little baby (3 months old) we went to visit my father and my stepmother, Elaine, at their home in Ford City, Missouri. Basically, this place has the population of 6 and that's when everyone is home. But Marc loves it. there is loads of wide open space and blue sky. There are also mosquitoes the size of humming birds and ticks (but again that is another story). Marc doesn't care. If I would agree he would have us moved and building a home right next to my father's property. In typical man fashion, Marc and my dad were out and about one afternoon doing whatever it is men do when lolly gagging around. Looking for this, fixing this, breaking that and just generally wasting a bit of time. Or maybe they were working hard on a fence or something. I can't remember. I was sweating a bucket in the heat and humidity of July in Missouri weather. I went inside to help my stepmother with the dinner preparations.

Coming through the door I could smell the dinner preparations. Oh boy, can my stepmother cook?!?! It smelled heavenly and my mouth was a watering. I walked over to the stove and checked out the source of my hunger pains. And then I gasped. My mother was cooking up the Beef Noodle recipe which uses some canned meat. Now I was ecstatic. I got to eat the meat without using any of my precious stash. Then I was horrified. How was I going to get Marc to eat this without insulting my stepmother. Then my dad came in to wash his hands. So I explained to him and Elaine my dilemma. We all agreed that we simply wouldn't tell Marc the source of the meat.

Marc came through the door shortly thereafter. He commented that dinner smelled great. We all sat down to dinner. Marc tucked into the mound of food on his plate, announced that it was fantastic, and asked why I never made this at home. I told him that I could and would. And we just kept right on eating. Marc was none the wiser.

A few months later, I was honoured when Marc asked me to marry him and be his wife. I agreed and then we called my dad so he could ask my father for my hand. My dad told Marc that "If you'll take her off my hands, you can have her." OK, so not exactly what every girl dreams of her father saying but at least it wasn't what he told my sister's husband five years earlier when her husband asked for her hand. But that is her story!

Marc then handed the phone over to me. The first thing my father said to me was "You've got tell him about the meat. You can't start a marriage out with a lie." Now I suspect that my father was feeling a bit more guilty about this lie than I was. To be honest, it hadn't crossed my mind since that night. But then his guilt became my guilt. I must have lost all the colour in my face because Marc then wanted to know what was wrong. Was my father telling me not to marry him?

Once I had hung the phone, I sat my future husband down and confessed to lying. I then told him the topic and purpose of my lie. He stared at me incredulously. Then asked if we had any canned meat and could I make the dinner that Elaine had made. He admitted to being wrong about passing judgement against the meat without having tasted it first. This is a lesson he teaches our son every single day at mealtimes!

We've run out of canned meat. My nanny has passed away and I don't have the recipe for the canned meat. It never quite made it into the family cookbook although if anyone would like to submit it for the most recent edition, please do!

And I don't lie to my husband.......ever!


Brooke said...

Oh that sounds so yummy! Nanny could make an awesome meal out of her canned meat. I remember her mashed potatoes with whipping cream that she got up the street from the house. Oh it was so good! She definetly knew her way around the kitchen. I am hungry now for one of her home cooked meals.

Sue said...

What do you think our kids will
remember about our meals?
A friend of mine asked her 2 kids
what they remembered the both said
in unison "salmn patties." They
both hated them, but they had them
a lot because they were cheap.

LaDawn said...

Tacos feature big in my house. And probably Spaghetti. hmmmmm, I'm going to ask them!

Janell said...

I love this story! May I include in the cookbook? I'll put it on the same page as my recipe for canned meat.
And thanks for plugging my cookbook compilation efforts on your blog.
ps - I'm back!

LaDawn said...

Of course you may include it. What a strange notion......I write the story here where the world can read it and then don't let you reproduce it for our little (albeit wonderful) cookbook. I would be honoured as always!