The Almost Daily Thread

musings from the blue chair

Food for Thought

on September 3, 2014

Dedicated to Betty Rea Sale Rankin — who continues to be loved, to influence, and to connect her grandchildren
March 27, 1905 – September 3, 1964 –  Betty Rea crossed out of this life 50 years ago today

The agreed upon Saturday has arrived and here I am, all day, being the best cousin/grandmother I know how to be. I am grateful my cousin wanted to bring her daughter to my house and cook our Grandmother Betty Rea’s recipes and share stories. (This would be the same Betty Rea named in the novel I have written fictionalizing her life. See column right.) My kitchen is cleaned, open and ready to cook up a family memory.

Betty Rea was a cook and restaurant owner. She was famous for fried chicken served at the first drive-in restaurant in Northern Kentucky. Come to find out I knew only part of the secret recipe – soaking the chicken in salt water for 12-24 hours prior to get out all the blood and to help the meat retain its juiciness. What it did not know all three of my first cousins in attendance did know. Begin with cold grease! Sounds yucky, looked yucky and, well, I am witness to exactly the opposite. We placed dredged chicken into cold, pre-melted Crisco waiting cold in my mother’s hand-me-down iron skillet (which may very possibly have come from one of Betty Rea’s restaurants). We cooked 20 minutes on one side without touching. Without peeking under. Without looking. Then turned it for 20 minutes to cook on the other side.

“Don’t touch it,” all three cousins remember being reprimanded. And so we repeated the, “Don’t touch it” line over and over throughout the afternoon! It’s hard to wait and not mess with something you know is going to taste really, really good. It’s hard not to peak at that browning crispiness.

While the chicken cooked, untouched, we peeled potatoes to mash and cut up apples for apple pie. What I remember from the second restaurant, the Kanebrak, (I am the only grandchild who really remembers being there) is Betty Rea stirring bare-handed up to her elbows, in a huge metal bowl full of cut up apples, cinnamon and sugar. Churning and missing those apples until they were coated and sparkly with sugar. I sat beside the bowl on a wooden counter top eating them as fast as she could stir! Then she would flour that same counter top and roll crust after crust, pinch the top and bottom crust together, spinning them around, dot them with butter and another sprinkle of sugar and pop them into a giant hot oven. Yummy. Our pie was magnificent. Not quite the Betty Rea presentation but the taste, oh yeah.

We shared a delightful meal and lovely stories, enjoying a sweet afternoon reunion. Next time it’s chili although not one of us is certain of the chili recipe.

After they left, I spent a few hours messing around in the yard. I took a nap. I read. I am just keeping myself happily occupied until my oldest grandson’s soccer game at 8p. Because he is a senior in his final year of team soccer I am trying to attend every game. He has been playing since he was, oh maybe 5. And I have two other grandchildren who play in sometimes more than one league at the same time and I have still not been converted into a soccer fan. It seems a long game of running back and forth chasing a ball you can’t touch. Suffice it to say, I am a fair weather soccer grandmother, making a valiant effort for tonight’s 8pm away game.

During the afternoon I discover this nerdy bleacher chair appearing out of thin air in my living room. It’s just sitting there so I claim it. Bleacher benches are NOT comfortable.

I GPS the address and still have to drive around this huge school complex searching for lights, or cars, or noise of a soccer match. Yes, here in the very back is a huge football stadium. I walk down 4 levels of stairs carrying my water, the chair and an umbrella because storms are eminent and approaching. Are you getting the sacrifices I am making here?

Sitting with several family members, I am settled in to watch and chat and cheer. I get settled and take a drink of my water from a glass bottle I have recycled, being the conscientious environmental citizen I attempt to be and. . . my water crunches.

I want to spit and scream, but on the field there is a foul or a goal kick. Someone is kicking the ball for some reason and my group is clapping and I am an adult not an 8 year old. So I very calmly remove the crunch from my mouth, and throw it down. As I place the glass bottle on top of it so I can pretend it didn’t happen. It’s a cricket. Now, if I get grossed out and tell anyone around me I will not going to recover from the ewwww’s and grosssss’s. So I suffer in silence. I do not gag or choke. I participate. I clap when the others around me clap. And then I spit out one more leg or antennae or. . .Blahhh. And I am so thirsty by now.

So let me say, I believe we are responsible for ourselves, our actions, words and deeds and the situations we find ourselves. I believe in Karma. I believe in the Law of Attraction. I believe that as souls we work with others in our “soul group” to create situations we wish to experience when we incarnate onto this earth plane dimension. Which leads to the ever important question: Are there crunchy bugs in my soul group? Do bugs have souls?

What is my Karma here? I’ve had a great day, blissful. And I have been so “good” – trying to eat more vegetarian meals. I let bugs live in my compost. I grow organically. I have rain barrels. 

Then why the creepy bug in my water? Bug, if you are trying to give me a message well, send me a text or message me on Facebook. Don’t surf my water. Certainly do not arrive without even a smattering of chocolate.

So what’s the Law of Attraction message here? I had a bug in my mouth from my clean water. I filled the bottle from filtered water in my very own clean kitchen. And after all that delicious food today. I’ve been tricked by the Universe. Grandmother flosses with bug leg. It’s a long way from family heirloom fried chicken, I can tell you.

Just when you think you’ve gotten something figured out. . . Check your water glass. Look before you drink.

And I hope none of you ever have anything crunchy and creepy in your water. YIKES.

7 responses to “Food for Thought

  1. Leslie says:

    Yummy on the food. Yuck on the bug. Another good blog.


  2. Sherry Dickson says:

    Susan, I love your blogs. This one brought back memories. When I think of the Kanebrak. I remember Betty’s sewing machine. Keep writing.


  3. Sara Lane says:

    I love it! Laughed out load! Good story.


  4. At least it was a cricket and not a cockroach. The chicken sounds yummy. I am from the south and a pretty good cook, but I cannot fry chicken. For the most part I don’t fry anything, too many years living in health conscious California. lol

    The cricket wanted an exciting death in a sweet mouth, a happy mouth. Can you blame him?


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