A new look at cooking and home decorating...with an attempt to add more greens to the plate, more vegetarian options & hopefully lots of new ideas to explore

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Hungry Hill

We were sitting around chatting about summer reading and a remark was made. It went something like “In order to write a memoir you must be from an alcoholic family or poor, if you had a normal upbringing forget it”. Well, I just finished reading Hungry Hill by Carole O’Malley Gaunt, and she was both.

I spent my share of time on Hungry Hill. My mom’s family was from the Irish section of Springfield, Mass. as well. In fact, I recognized the picture of Carol on the front cover of the book because she was a bride’s maid in my moms wedding and I have seen her picture in wedding photos around the house.

Carols story is a page-turner. When Carol is thirteen years of age her mom dies of cancer and Carol is left will all of the responsibility of raising her brothers. Her dad, grief struck, turns to alcohol.

Hungry Hill is an entirely different memory for me. I spent my days there as a young child while my mom worked. My Grandparents took wonderful care of me. Though my grandparents were far from rich, my grandma made wonderful meals for me. She loved Julia Child. My Grandfather hand a very small but beautiful garden in the yard from which he would always cut fresh flowers for the kitchen table. There were concord grapes growing on a trellis and the smell was delicious when they ripened. Saturdays were always baking days and the tins were filled with oatmeal cookies and banana and Irish soda breads.

As I mentioned my grandparents weren’t wealthy, so may parents were always shocked when they would pick me up at the end of the day and hear that my Grandma had fed me lamb chops for lunch. Everyone should be so lucky.

One thing served both in Carol’s family and in my moms, was baked beans. This was a traditional Saturday night dinner served with hot dogs. My mom suggested it was light work for the cook to prepare, allowing extra energy to be saved for the traditional Sunday roast dinner the following day. If you have a sweet tooth then a slice Mrs. Metzger style chocolate cake will complete the meal.

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