This post is going to center around a Byrd family favorite = FOOD! (Excuse me if it is a little disjointed – I am blogging as I think – not really organizing my thoughts this morning).
My mom is 100% Italian. Me, on the other hand, I’m more like 60% German (in mindset and appearance). Either way, much like any other good Italian family, any celebration centered around food. Not just any food, but particular foods to match certain occasions. So, here is the Byrd family food run down.
January – My birthday. CAKE and ICE CREAM, of course. CHOCOLATE cake VANILLA ice cream. I normally had two birthday gatherings. One for friends and one for just me and my folks (+ Marty, later on in life). The family gathering included veggie pot pie (my favorite mom dish. She actually made one this past January – with dad’s help.). Here is the recipe as I remember it…(TIP: ask your mother to write down her recipes for you TODAY): take a ready made pie crust. Lay on a greased glass pie pan. Add a bag of frozen mixed veggies that have been cooked in a skillet in olive oil until tender and mixed with feta cheese (the kind with cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, corn). Lay another layer of ready made pie crust. Add little shapes you’ve cut out with a cookie cutter from the dough (flowers, leaves, hearts, etc.) on the top for added flair. Bake for maybe 45 minutes at 350. DELISH! The cake has changed with my diet needs over the years. Up until about 2 years ago, I was cool with a regular birthday cake (LOVED corner pieces with as much frosting as possible), but I have moved on to my vitamuffins and more healthy options. Doesn’t mean I don’t need a cake fix on my birthday. When the cake comes out, everyone signs “Happy Birthday.” I taped that part this year on my phone. Not sure when I’ll ever watch it…
February: Valentine’s Day. Any holiday was a reason to decorate and do something special. I would come over for dinner near Valentine’s Day and there would always be some sort of table display along with little gifts at each table setting. The gifts weren’t huge. Maybe a gift card, maybe some earrings, but always something that had a lot of thought behind it. Vday meals were usually at Carrabas or we had some sort of pasta dish at the house.
April: Dad’s birthday. Usually out to eat. More cake. More thoughtful gifts. More singing.
June: Mom’s birthday. More Carrabas! More chocolate cake!
August: Back to school meal. Veggie pot pie, of course!
October: The meal changed from year to year, but there was always a wonderful (and a little scary) table-scape (thanks, Sandra Lee).
November: For the last 3 years, I have been taking care of the Thanksgiving dinner, but my mom ALWAYS made the green bean casserole. LOVE it. She very much enjoyed a turkey sandwich with mayo on white bread after the big meal.
December: December had the most tradition when it came to food. Toni cookies, stuffed shells on Christmas day, chex mix on Christmas Eve to go along with our movie night. Another dinner out for Marty’s birthday.
General food memories:
She had a bowl (sometimes small, sometimes large) of ice cream every night. Moose tracks from Publix was her favorite. We always had a family Italian meal on Sundays (although, sometimes we did have Mexican a la Harry Byrd). I think I mentioned that one of the last things she requested from me was that I start the tradition again of making a big pot of pasta sauce on Sundays. Will do, Mommy! She loved chocolate. M&M’s and almond Hershey bars, especially. She always bought chocolate for Marty. She felt bad for him, because I won’t buy it. One year, she even put it in a locked box and gave Marty the key so that I would not throw it out (or eat it). At the movies, she had to have buttered popcorn. We started every meal with a salad. And, she pretty much had one of the following for breakfast every morning: eggbeaters omelet with potatoes or biscuits and gravy.
Everytime we went shopping, she bought some sort of little candy bar.
Rum & coke was her drink of choice when I was growing up. That and diet coke, sweet tea, ginger ale, or green tea.
There was a time we went out to eat at least once a week at either a Mexican restaurant or an Italian restaurant. She really wanted to restart that tradition, but we never got a chance..
FRENCH FRIES – I almost forgot. Growing up, my parents were big into bowling and she LOVED bowling ally french fries.
After school in middle school, I remember going to Bella Pizza, Rush’s, or Sonic for an after school snack. It has been difficult this week to drive by the AC Moore and Books a Million parking lot on Harbison because I remember that when we would go get a snack, we liked to park the car and watch the birds fly around. One afternoon, there was a swarm that invaded the car. We very much felt that we were in a Hitchcock movie.
I know diet experts say your life should not revolve around food, but our life certainly does. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I like how food (much like music) makes you think of a certain place and time. I totally plan to continue many of these traditions…
PS-This post makes my family appear to have the most horrible eating habits. Most of the “bad” eating happens on a holiday. So, no worries. When we aren’t celebrating, we are pretty healthy eaters. 😉