Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pork Roast

Hot days such as today remind me of various schemes we used to “beat the heat” and still end the day with a hot meal. One of the favorites of our extended family was to eat at someone else's house. Grandma's place was the favorite spot.

Grandma would cook a pork roast in a small Nesco on her back porch. The back porch was a home-made closed-in area built on a concrete slab behind the entire house. You could open the windows and it would be cool and breezy, at least until Grandma started up the Nesco. Grandma was one of the envied few who had TWO Nescos – a small white one for everyday use and the ancient, large one for special occasions such as Thanksgiving Turkey or heating Chili for the St. John's Ladies' Aid Chili Supper. Long before the age of slow cooking, Grandma had it down. She'd call up Al Aagard at the Riverview Grocery and order a roast. She'd send one of us kids over to pick it up. By mid-morning, the pork roast was steaming away, and by lunchtime it would smell so good! Quite a disappointment if you came for lunch, because there would be nothing but bread and butter, because the Pork Roast was for supper.

On days such as these, word would usually leak out by noon that we were having supper at Grandma's tonight. My Aunt Bumpy had a sixth sense which tingled whenever there was a pork roast cooking at Grandma's. So the kids were kept busy washing potatoes, putting in table leaves, and thousands of other little jobs Grandma had been saving just for such an oversupply of free slave labor.

My Dad got home from work at 4, and he'd bring what remaining kids weren't there already, and Mom. Aunt Bumpy's husband worked at the Post Office and he'd be home by 5, so we were all ready when Grandpa got home. He was a contract painter. He'd always pretend to be crabby, but we all knew he was secretly delighted to have us over, and, after a 10-hour day of commercial painting he must have been secretly very weary as well.

We'd sit down in a kitchen that barely had room for the extended kitchen table and a card-table on the end. We'd say grace. And then Grandpa would roar, “Now, FRESS!” Which, in German means, “FEED”. “Fress-ing” is different from dining, which would be “Ess-ing”. I think Grandpa knew the difference, and stood by his choice of words.

The ravening horde would devour the pork roast. If anybody would ask for something that wasn't on the table, Grandpa would bellow: “EAT YOUR SUPPER AND NEVER MIND THE KETCHUP!”.

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