Simple Living ...And Ham-Potato Scallop - GIVE THEM FOOD...and other ways to cope with life Blog at Allrecipes.com - 177059

GIVE THEM FOOD...and other ways to cope with life

SIMPLE LIVING ...and Ham-Potato Scallop 
 
May 26, 2010 12:23 pm 
Updated: Jun. 29, 2010 7:11 pm
We jumped in the car without too much thought as to what we were bringing.  My husband's mom was very ill and we had to once again make the trip to Canada quickly.  Mom lives in a wonderful Mennonite Extended Care Home where up until now she has been able to keep her own apartment with minimal help.  This time we knew with the seriousness of her infection, she would need more help if and when she came home. 

I know many of you are in the same boat, caring for elderly parents.  It's difficult to do this from far away.  She was still in the hospital when we arrived so we entered the familiar "Grandma smelling" apartment and proceeded to take stalk of all that would be needed.What is it about that smell?  Warm and homey, producing sweet memories of my kids playing round after round of pinochole with Grandma...she was never one to let them win simply because they were children!

I tackled the kitchen...cleaning out the fridge first.  Now, you have to know my mother in law...she wrote the book on how to stretch a dollar into the next decade..everything in the fridge looked the same...all in 10 year old margerine containers or very very old tupperware, that someone no doubt gave her in the 60's.  Each container was a surprise of home canned or frozen fruits, jams, apples auces and mystery liquids.  Knowing that she would yelp at the sight of me throwing out her precious food and containers...I wisely made the decision to pitch the food and keep the containers. 

I'm thinking of new colorful, air tight tupperware and a system of labeling to help her remember what she put inside and when to throw it out when I realized whose fridge I was in.  This was mom, simple living, extremely thrifty, use it until if falls apart , eat it until it forms mold...mom.

The rest of the kitchen speaks to this person also....plastic bags that have been washed out so many times the printing is worn off....a ziploc not in sight.  A pairing knife that has become a lethal needle it has been sharpened so many times.  A wooden spoon, used for everything for so long  that it could tell  many stories of home cooked meals over the last 60 years.  Everything thing is the same everywhere as the day I met her.  HGTV has not had a place in her home....in fact she just recently got a tv...no cable of course.  No computer, no electronic gadgets...not even an electric can opener. 

How can one live so simply?  And yet she has managed to do so quite well.  My children will tell you of a wonderful Grandma who baked them cakes with coins in them....who hid dime store easter eggs all over the apartment...who sent inexpensive but charrished  gifts, always on time for birthdays...who played snakes and ladders on the same board that my husband used as a kid....and who hand wrote letter after letter to us over the years. 

I reflected on our lives back in Ohio....how much we have...how much we waste...how full our basement is of STUFF and came to realize that in our rush to come up to Canada, we took very little with us and survived very nicely for almost 3 weeks....Hmmmm....

So..Thanks Mom, for a good reminder to simplify..because in the end, it's the love they remember, not the organized containers in the fridge or the matching furniture in the house.   But Mom.....I do draw the line at mayonaisse in the fridge from 2005....I'm not kidding.

Mom is back home, recovering slowly, resuming her thrifty ways....no doubt she's washing out the used plastic spoons from her hospital lunches.

In her honor....an old Mennonite recipe from Mom's beloved Canadian Prairies to share with you....

Ham-Potato Scallop-serves 8

Potatoes peeled and sliced to make about a quart
cooked ham, thinly sliced to make about 1 1/4 cups
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 onion finely chopped
2 Tbsp butter
flour
1 3/4 cups of milk not skim

*Arrange one layer of potato into a greased 2 quart casserole dish
*cover with a layer of ham
*sprinkle with some flour and 1/3 of the  salt, onion and bits of butter
*repeat the layer of potato, ham, flour, and another 1/3  of the salt, onion and butter
*end with a layer of potato, more flour  and the rest of the salt, onion, butter
*pour the milk over it all and cover
*Bake 350 for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake another 30 min or longer until tender.

Enjoy!
 
Comments
May 26, 2010 3:18 pm
Beautiful blog! Thanks for sharing!
 
Keri 
May 26, 2010 3:33 pm
Lovely story! Your MIL reminds me so much of my grandmother...right down to the 5-year-old mayonnaise in the refrigerator. One thing Granny always had in her freezer was chocolate! Even if there wasn't a stitch of meat, fruits, or veggies in sight, she always had chocolate in her freezer. Thank you for sharing :-)
 
Shan 
May 26, 2010 3:42 pm
what a wonderful blog! definitely makes ya stop and think about how we all could change things! I hope she's doing well. thanks for sharing
 
May 26, 2010 4:32 pm
My mom has been in an Alzheimers home for one year. I took care of her prior to that. We are moving her for the 3rd time trying to find proper care. Such a hard situation..... she just was released from the hospital (2nd stay in about 4 months) she was overdosed at the home! We are moving her to a brand new place and it is only 10 minutes from us! I cannot wait! I wrote a couple of blogs about my mom. I hope your mom is doing well. She reminds me of my MIL - she would do the same thing with the spoons. I found about 300 bread bags she saved once! Great blog!
 
May 26, 2010 5:14 pm
What a nice blog...thanks for sharing!
 
May 26, 2010 6:42 pm
I loved your story! It made me smile, thank you! ;)
 
May 26, 2010 8:19 pm
Great Blog! I find as I get older and my children move out to live their lives that I use and need less and less. I confess I have spent the last cent I intend to on Tuperware - the cottage cheese containers are just fine. I laugh with my daughter about how I am turning into my own grandmother.
 
May 27, 2010 9:22 am
One Grandmother saved aluminum foil in a ball and you just unrolled pieces till you found on that fit then replaced the others back on the ball. Once it got to warn to use in the freezer or fridge then it went under house plants to catch the over flow of water. The other saved twine, if it had a quarter inch after tying to the ball it was useable, never throw away a bread bag, sweep crumbs off the table to feed the birds. I find myself following in their footsteps lately.
 
May 27, 2010 10:43 am
This has been my favorite blog! I can relate to it so well, you are describing our late grandmother to a T. The mayo from 2005 is that all? Did it have mold? Anyways, it is good to see you back blogging and I'll keep your MIL in prayer. God bless you for your great care for her.
 
cocojo 
May 27, 2010 1:59 pm
Thanks everyone for such a warm welcome back!....this gives me an idea for my next blog.....hmmmm
 
glendamendoza 
Jun. 29, 2010 7:11 pm
nice blog. Thanks for sharing!
 
 
 
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cocojo

Member Since
May 2009

Cooking Level
Professional

Cooking Interests
Baking, Stir Frying, Italian, Mediterranean, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dessert, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

Hobbies
Gardening, Reading Books, Music, Painting/Drawing, Charity Work

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About Me
Loving life at 50ish. Kids are gone and I'm focusing on my career! I enjoyed running a chocolate truffle business for 3 years and now teach adults and children about chocolate. I also teach hands on cooking classes at a local cooking school and am writing my first cookbook! Please visit me at my blog www.allrecipes.com/cook/givethemfood
My favorite things to cook
I love to cook almost anything but particularly enjoy Italian. I have been studying Vegetarian and Vegan cooking for the last few years and love to make healthy meals.
My favorite family cooking traditions
from scratch cinnamon buns on Christmas morning...they take forever but Oh! so worth it!
My cooking triumphs
landing my dream job as a teaching chef.
My cooking tragedies
when I was teaching myself to cook way back in college, I made these wonderful oatmeal raisin cookies for my roomies....only problem was I forgot the flour! The cookies became one big mass that overflowed the cookie sheet and made a huge mess in the oven!
 
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