Keep it Real Wednesday
April 21, 2021
For those of you who have not met Rosemary in person, she weighs in at about 90 pounds. She has always had a slight build but keeping weight on her in her 90’s has not been the easiest thing to accomplish. Consequently, when Rosemary has a craving for a certain food, I try to make it for her even if it is not the healthiest choice.
Last week “Ham Spread” was Rosemary’s special request. She asked if we had any in a can (Underwood ham) which we didn’t. She looked a bit glum about it, so I resurrected a childhood recipe that Rosemary would make for us. I removed the remainder of our beautiful Spiral Easter Ham from the refrigerator and ground it into bits in a food processer. Then I added chopped sweet pickles and enough mayonnaise to make it all stick together. I smiled as I made for her, thinking how much she loved to make it for us when we were kids.
I spread this concoction on white bread (the only bread she will eat) and put it on a plate and placed it in front of her. Her eyesight is poor, so she wasn’t quite sure what it was, so she touched her sandwich slightly, licked her finger and exclaimed “Ham spread!” As she ate, she didn’t talk a lot, she just slowly ate her sandwich while glancing out the window, as if the sandwich has transported her to another time.
I texted a picture of the sandwich to my brother and sister who live out of state. We swapped a few Ham spread stories via text as that one sandwich flooded our memories.
I reflected on Mom’s food requests and wondered if it is truly the food she is craving, or is experiencing food just yet another way to journey down memory lane?
I am not sure what the answer is, but I do know that I will joyfully set aside my taste buds and just enjoy the culinary journey with her.
The next stop could be Spam, or a jar of pimento cheese spread on celery, or perhaps Vienna sausages.
I will keep an open mind.