During WW II, we had a lot of Spam. I and several of my cousins lived with my maternal grandparents and they must have been challenged to feed all of us kids. Grandma did everything with it, cooked it in lard, or in maple syrup if we could get it, she made all kinds of sauces, tomato, or cream sauce, or Spam gravy. We had it with all the garden vegetables, fried, baked, roasted.

We kids had to help in the kitchen because she really needed help. We learned all kinds of things at her elbow. That was a very precious time for me, learning so many things so young. We had to cooperate and if we didn't perform like a team, grandma would send one of us out to cut off a birch switch and we would get our legs stung. Cranky or fussy or arguing or not solving our conflicts were not options. Oh yes, very valuable lessons. 

They had a wood burning stove in the kitchen and a huge, round table. She had a large garden with just about every vegetable you can imagine. She canned everything on that wood burning stove during the heat of the summer. We would walk to the railroad tracks and pick apples for pies and sauce, and plums too. It seems railroad passengers ate a lot of apples and plums and threw the cores and stones out the windows. The resulting trees, especially in spring, were really pretty, all lined up following the curve of the tracks.

She had chickens in a hen house at the back of the property. They loved the greens she grew up on the fence. She had a unique way of managing the birds. The fence was chicken wire that covered the three sides. She placed boards along the ground outside the fence so that the pea seeds could sprout and get a good growth on them before they started to climb the fence. Chickens love fresh greens and they would eat all the leaves off as high as they could reach and then peas were able to grow naturally and bear wonderful peas.

Daniel, skip this part please .....

When she wanted a chicken dinner, usually on Sunday, one of us would take a handful of chicken corn and drop it in front of us in a pile and all the chickens would gather around. Grandma would designate which chicken she wanted and we would catch it. She took it to a chopping block with two big spikes driven firmly in and she put the neck between the spikes and chopped its head off with a hatchet. The chickens would run around and flop all over the place. We threw a wicker basket over the dying chicken to keep it from spraying the house.

Then the feather plucking began, a miserable job, but someone had to do it. Free of all the feathers, Grandma lit a wad of newspaper on fire and singed the pin feathers. Off it would go to the kitchen for her wonderful fried chicken, gravy, potatoes from the garden, and whatever was in season.


In the winter, we bought out jars of vegetables and fruits that we had canned. Her pantry was as big as her kitchen and very well insulated so the jars wouldn't freeze.

The house wasn't insulated at all. It was the coldest place I have ever been, even my memories of living in Alaska did not produce the kind of cold that I remember as a kid. 

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Comment by Barbara Livingston on September 10, 2014 at 6:37am

Joan, Now that my cholesterol level is something to be constantly monitored Spam as become something I don't buy.  However, I certainly  have memories of it being my single source of meat during times when I had my first apartment and I could barely afford to pay attention, let alone buy good quality meat.  I too had a favorite sandwich; plain white bread toasted golden brown, spam sliced thin and fried crispy, ripe tomato sliced thin, lots of Miracle Whip. Yum!   :) Then too macaroni and cheese made from scratch with cubed and browned Spam in it is a long-time favorite.  My kitchen no longer contains wheat, dairy, anything from nightshade family, spicy, or fat laden so memories of Spam leave me misty ...

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 10, 2014 at 12:14am
Lentil Pate
Rated: rating
Submitted By: Cathi from NJ
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Ready In: 40 Minutes
Servings: 4
"Truffle oil adds deep, earthy goodness to this lentil pate."
1 cup dry lentils
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and ground black pepper to
1 1/2 tablespoons truffle oil
1. Boil the lentils in broth in a covered pan until the lentils are soft and all the broth has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool.
2. Place lentils in a food processor. Pour in olive oil and truffle oil, and pulse until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add additional truffle oil if desired. Pulse to preferred thickness and consistency. If too thick, pour in a few teaspoons of water or broth to thin.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2014 Allrecipes.com


Printed from Allrecipes.com 9/9/2014

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 10, 2014 at 12:04am

I agree, Daniel. As children, we had a good time because we had good care of our grandparents, and knew we were loved and needed. Yes, there were hardships, I am sure, for the adults, but I don't remember any ... except when I remember how hard Grandma worked.

I love braunschwager on toast. I tried to find a recipe with lentils, no luck. My cousin grows lentils on their farm, I will see if she has a recipe.  

Comment by John Aultman on September 9, 2014 at 9:30am

I grew up on Spam sandwiches and while I rarely eat it today I still count it as one of my favorite  comfort foods.

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on September 7, 2014 at 8:15pm

@Nick - Good choice. Maybe it's just me, but I think your football buds might have been disappointed with the Spam approach.

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on September 7, 2014 at 9:41am

I just re-read From Here to Eternity, and they were always having Spam sandwiches on guard duty. In Hawaii, if you get bento, it's likely to contain chicken, pork and Spam.

Comment by Loren Miller on September 7, 2014 at 9:37am

I still remember Spam and hot-dog mustard sandwiches that my friend Karen used to make at House Asgard ages ago.  Always loved 'em!

Comment by Michael Penn on September 7, 2014 at 9:31am

Spam has changed over the years, but I remember frying it on both sides in a big skillet until it was slightly crispy, then adding a slice of cheese. Add 2 pieces of bread and this made a really good sandwich. Maybe you would even toast the bread. No need of adding any salt because this canned meat is plenty salty already.

That did it. Now I'm gonna buy some Spam next week.



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