As I wrote yesterday, when my parents went out we either had fish sticks or turkey pot pies for dinner. If my mother was feeling especially generous, we had Swanson pot pie. This was the gourmet version. I don’t know how much turkey they actually put in the pot pie these days, but in the 1950’s the meat represented by the four visible chunks in the photo would have been it. The potatoes, far from resembling their photographed natural selves, were little mushy white innocuous lumps.
Unfortunately, my mother usually bought the Safeway store brand frozen pot pie. They were still labeled “turkey,” but you would be hard pressed to find any in the soupy interior. These pot pies had a bitter aftertaste that I can still recall as I write this. We ate them of course. In those days no child was ever asked what she wanted for dinner. Adults would have been astonished at the thought that the children might refuse whatever was offered. We all were taught to join the “clean plate club,” and we were honestly reminded of the starving children in China. Why China I don’t know, since some kids were warned about starving children in Africa. Maybe because we were on the West Coast.
My siblings and I secretly murmured to each other that we would be glad to ship the pot pies overseas!
When my parents went out for the evening, they left us with a baby sitter and one of two dinners. Fish sticks or turkey pot pies. I have recently understood that these were trends in food in the mid 1950’s. Fish sticks were the first taste of fish I ever had as a child. We ate deep fried shrimp at the Chinese restaurant, but had no other sea food except those frozen sticks.
The important thing to do with fish sticks was to cover them with ketchup or tartar sauce. I suppose that was because they had no taste at all on their own! They were frozen and reheated in the oven on a cookie sheet until “done.” They were not particularly crunchy, nor were they at all “fishy,” a selling point I presume. But we gobbled them down. Four for each of the four of us. With Ore-Ida frozen french fries to go along. They didn’t taste like anything either, so we coated them with ketchup too.
The fish and chips we ate in Ingonish, Nova Scotia were wonderful. They had nothing in common with the fish and chips of my childhood. Only the name.
We explored part of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park today, enjoying Mary Ann Falls(chutes en Francais.) Cape Breton reminds me very much of the Oregon of my childhood: edged by the ocean, full of streams, rocks and forests, with very few people wherever we go. Smoked salmon last night as an appetizer making me realize how often I had eaten Nova Scotian smoked salmon without thinking about where it originated.
The people we meet in Canada are quite perturbed by the possibility of a Trump victory in November. One joked that they will have to build a wall and make us pay for it. Another said it would matter much less if it was any other country. It is sobering to realize how many lives are affected around the world by our national politics. I know that theoretically,of course, but is is reinforced hearing from the Canadians.
May we approach our election with the solemnity it deserves, rather than seeing it as an episode of “America’s Got Talent.”
The empty spot on this plate held a scallop which I promptly ate before writing. We arrived after a five hour drive north from Halifax at Ingonish on Cape Breton. And the welcome was a plate of warm bacon wrapped scallops. I am not a fan of bacon, so I stripped my little mollusk and downed it. Perfectly cooked, though not seared.
The Cabot Trail is as beautiful as promised with steep cliffs looking out over the Atlantic. We drove by Smoky Mountain on the way. Of course I had to start singing “on top of Old Smoky” which somewhat reduced the fear of falling off the road into the ocean.
At last, scallops. Prepared perfectly, seared and not overdone. We are heading north to Cape Breton today, where I am less sure to find scallops and may have to return to haddock. We ate in Gio in Halifax. We were to be amidst 30 eye doctors in a noisy setting, but they were all late, and we had the restaurant virtually to ourselves.
Halifax is very walkable, with a large public garden and very polite people. No one jay walks and bicyclists stop at red lights. It takes some getting used to!
This is as you can see a picture of rocks, evidence that we went to the lovely beach at Lawrencetown today. Over a croissant this morning, I asked the proprietress where we could get an excellent seafood dinner in Halifax. She said “my house.” That seemed a large imposition, so we kept looking. Which is why we went to Lawrencetown.
We were able to watch surfers using parasail type kites to surf. Very tiring looking. The beach was clean and relatively empty. A kind woman told me we had to eat a donair while in Halifax. This is not scallop based! We had one for dinner from Johnny’s, touting authentic donairs. Turns out they are gyros. Very salty, very good, very not seafood.
The quest continues.
I haven’t found any scallops yet. I did learn that in Nova Scotia you are immediately identified as a tourist if you say “scallop”instead of “scow lop.” I had haddock in the Boston airport, but nothing special. Maybe it was a sign that this would be a haddock vacation after all. I did speak with a young man who said he didn’t eat fish, only haddock, Eh?
Tomorrow we are headed to Nova Scotia, one of the provinces I have yet to visit. Last year we went to Quebec, and the year before to New Brunswick. Since I retired from teaching, we try to go after Labor Day, so that the crowds are reduced, but before the leaves turn. We don’t need to travel to see leaves turn since we can see them out of our windows at home.
I try to focus on one food for each vacation. Last year, to the distress of my waist, it was fresh croissants. The year before it was halibut. This year I can’t decide between scallops and haddock. I love them both, so we will see. I will post my decision in pictures.
Thanks to a post from another genealogy blogger, I just learned that I am a Canadian citizen! That means I have dual citizenship with Canada and the U.S. I took the on-line quiz from the Canadian Immigration folks titled: “are you already a Canadian citizen?” I guess I am not alone in my ignorance. Since my dad was Canadian, so am I. I am going to have to practice saying “eh?”
Here people have been joking–sort of–about the dire possible national election results in November by saying they will emigrate to Canada. When I told a friend about my newly recognized Canadian citizenship she said, “We will come stay with you, eh.”
When I was in third grade, the teacher went around the room asking each of us what we had eaten for breakfast. I was astonished to hear my classmates describe eggs, toast, bacon and juice. I quickly caught on that this was what the teacher wanted to hear, so I immediately revised my report. I had actually poured myself a bowl of Kix with milk. I thought that was normal. It was what my family had for breakfast, though my dad ate Grape-Nuts.
My husband likes huge breakfasts, similar to the one pictured. He loves hotels which feature full spreads. In Nova Scotia, our hotels will please him. I, on the other hand, prefer whole grain toast, from my own baked bread, spread with almond butter. And coffee. And no company. And no conversation. In my pajamas.
On vacation, he will usually slip out of the dining room with toast and coffee for me, then return for his extravagant breakfast
A perfect start to the day for both of us!
I have often lived near berry patches, whether domestic or wild. Here I pick the neighbor’s “organic” raspberries. Organic since they were just left alone to grow. We planted raspberries next to our garage in Connecticut and give them the “benign neglect” which qualifies them as organic. They produce good berries in June and wonderful berries in late August and September before dying back. One good pruning in winter and they are ready to produce again.
My grandchild was very concerned the first time she viewed the cut back patch believing that there would be no more berries. Now she knows to wait until–sure enough–they emerge again in spring.