I ALWAYS THINK OF YOU – Vol. 1

I Always Think Of You is not about ordinary memories. This isn’t about that special song that you and your date danced to a dozen times at the Senior Prom, nor is it about that special nick-nack that your Great Aunt gave you.

I Always Think Of You is about the unusual reminders. It is some oddity brought to mind every time you do a certain thing. Confused? You won’t be once you start reading. And as you read you will have memories of your own. Send them along in the comments.

Sandy Messer and hard-boiled Eggs. Sandy was a sorority sister in Phi Sigma Chi at Harbor College. Don’t bother looking up the sorority. Phi Sig was local, an on-campus service club with a Greek name, but it was all that was allowed at the Community College. One day at lunch Sandy mentioned that in cooking class that day they had learned how to hard-boil an egg. What?!!!!! Someone had to teach you how to do that? Didn’t you just put the eggs in a pot with a lot of water and let them boil, and boil and boil the way my mother did? Then they were cooled, shelled and refrigerated. I ate the rubbery white part, and the green edged yellow part, but only because in our house you ate what you were given – no complaints.

Then someone at the lunch table asked how it was done. I listened and held back a laugh. Well, said Sandy, first you put just a few eggs in a pot, with space around them, and cover them in cold water to 1 inch above the eggs. Put them on the stove on medium high and bring them to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, then turn off the stove, cover the pot and set aside for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes pour off the hot water and put the eggs in an ice cold water bath for a few minutes to stop the cooking process. Refrigerate, unpeeled, until ready to use.

I was astounded. There was a process for cooking hard-boiled eggs! Yet I was skeptical. At home I gave it a try, all the while my mother being very concerned that the eggs wouldn’t be cooked completely and I’d poison everyone. The next morning I took one of the eggs out of the refrigerator and peeled it. Gamely I took a bite. It wasn’t rubbery! The white had a nice texture and the yolk was soft and a little crumbly and not a speck of green. Hey, it tasted pretty good.

So every time I make hard-boiled eggs, or walk Hubby through the process (he loves hard boiled eggs), I think of Sandy. I haven’t seen Sandy since I left Harbor College, but a piece of her is always in my kitchen when I cook hard-boiled eggs.

Then, there are canned vegetables. I guess I was somewhere in my early to mid-teens and in the kitchen of Madeline and Marion Garkovich, neighbors across and down Amar Street. Their daughter Linda and I had attended elementary school together. Linda and I were in the kitchen along with our friend Paula, when Linda was preparing a meal. She opened a can of green beans to warm on the stove and we watched as she started to drain the canning liquid from the can.

Paula and I laughed and asked what she was doing. Linda replied that she was draining the beans so she could add water to use when warming them. We laughed at her foolishness and lack of cooking skills (or so we thought) and told her to just warm the beans in the liquid from the can. I recall that Linda seemed surprised that we would do that, and I have no further recollection of the evening.

MANY years later, at least 35, Harry and I were hosting a mini-reunion for his classmates from Hollywood High. We had purchased the restaurant size containers for many meal items, including a very large can of long green beans. I watched as Hubby, who has some experience working in restaurants, opened the can of beans and poured them into a colander. “What in the world are you doing?” I asked, as visions of that long ago incident in kitchen Garkovich came rapidly to mind. “Why would you pour off the liquid?”

Hubby didn’t miss a beat in telling me that by pouring off the canning liquid in the beans and heating them in tap water the canned taste would be eliminated. Although a disbeliever I didn’t argue. We had a house full of guests arriving soon and tension in the kitchen was the last thing that was needed. The beans were heated in water, seasoning added, almonds sprinkled on the top, and the meal was put on the buffet table. I was both amazed and amused as diners began commenting on the great taste of the beans with one guest insisting I tell her how I had prepared the delicious fresh beans. I made sure to give Hubby ALL of the credit. Once all the guests had served themselves I tried the beans. No canned taste! I smiled and thought of Linda. How right she had been all those years ago.

Linda, this is your apology for me laughing at you. And now, whenever I open a can of green beans, or many other canned vegetables, I always drain them and add water when I heat them, or drain and give them a water rinse if I am adding them to a salad. You know, to get rid of the canned taste.

More stories at another time. But, what about you? Any unusual connections you make?

Every Day Is A Good Day. VJ


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