Sunday, February 8, 2009

What Did My Ancestors Eat

When I was young we did not have a car. To get to either of my grandmothers it was a ride on several trolleys. I really do not remember going to my Grandmother Gertrude Dowd house for a dinner as a family. I do remember going home with her after church and my father would pick me up later. We attended the same church, St. Colman in Turtle Creek PA. We would be at the same mass and then I would go with her.

Sometimes she would take me to the movies. The nearest community was Braddock, PA. They had two movie theaters and shops lining both sides of the street. The street was about two miles long. Sometimes we would go shopping for clothes, but that would not have been on a Sunday. Since the steel mills closed in the 1980's the town is just a shell of what it had been before. I do not think any stores are open, with the exception of bars.

My grandmother would cook a meat entree, mashed potatoes and two vegetables. She would cook carrots, turnips, and parsnips. She was not a good cook, at least as far a the meat was concerned. Gertrude did make good pies, the crust was made from scratch. She made apple, berry, and cream pies, but she never made cakes. During the summer lemonade was on the menu and it was delicious. My father did say that during the war she worked in a shop and would eat pork chops and fried potatoes for breakfast.

To get to Anna house we had to take three trolleys. I can not remember going there for dinner either. I would go and stay at her home for a week in the summer. She made German type meals, I can remember the Red Cabbage, which I make myself around the holidays.

I suppose the lack of creativity in the cooking department stemmed from the lack of money during the depression and the lack of foods during World War II. Or maybe it was the time where foods were not available year round like they are now.


  1. Your grandma sounds like mine, at least in the cooking department. She's famous in our family for her bad cooking. She was certainly not the stereotypical grandma, I don't even think mine baked. Everything was always overcooked. I managed to insult both my mom and grandma once with one sentence. I was eating mashed potatoes at Grandma's house in Houston, PA, and apparently they didn't taste very good to me. I told everyone at the table, "I like Mommy's lumpy mashed potatoes better." Everyone laughed, Grandma and Mom were both embarrassed, and I realized I said something wrong and learned to keep my opinions about Grandma's cooking to myself :)

  2. I think when I was very little and my mom was still well enough to cook, the lack of money made her more creative in a way. ANYTHING left over was deftly used. Corn & bread crumb & burger casserole? Sure. I used to like lumpy mashed potatoes better too. ~Mary