Daddy was a stable and constant presence in my life. The provider and the protector of the family. Daddy also enjoyed cooking for the family as well. In my honest opinion, his macaroni and cheese was by far his best accomplishment. Daddy cooked Brunswick's Stew every Labor Day weekend; chicken lo mien on very rare occasions and some stuff he ate in the Navy. It was some brown, lumpy stuff poured over toast. I can't begin to imagine what it was. I don't think my Mom, "Miz Lee" or my sister, Belinda, have ever had the privilege of eating the toast concoction. He used to make me eat it when I was a kid on Saturday mornings. "This is good eating!" Daddy would exclaimed as I stared at the brown, lumpy stuff poured over toast.
Now, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Daddy trying his hand at frying fish. Keep in mind from my last post that Mom loves to clean the house. For some strange reason, she would place cleaning products and some cooking products into a different container. For instance, she would put corn meal into a jar with holes in the lid and Ajax Cleanser into a similar jar.
So, one evening during my junior high school years, Daddy decided to fry fish for dinner in an iron skillet. Mom, interested in cleaning the kitchen later (probably from her husband's soon-to-be catastrophe), reached underneath the kitchen sink, retrieved a jar and placed it on the counter top. Daddy was busy retrieving seasonings on the opposite side of the kitchen; oblivious to Mom reaching underneath the kitchen sink. Later, he noticed the jar and placed it with his other well-thought out seasonings.
Looking like a gourmet chef, Daddy seasoned the fish to perfection. However, I had noticed that something was going terribly wrong.
Examining the jar, I stated, "Daddy, I think that's Ajax Cleanser you're putting on the fish."
"No, it isn't. It's corn meal. Momma just took it out of the refrigerator."
"Ummmm....no, it's Ajax. Mom puts them both in similar jars for some strange reason."
Slightly annoyed, "I said it's corn meal and not cleanser," Daddy countered in his best father's voice.
"Okay," I stated as I returned to my homework in the next room.
Several minutes later, Mom called me into the kitchen to load my plate with fried fish, vegetables and rolls. The fish was a beautiful golden brown. I'm sure it was really clean and fresh, too.
"This is good eating!" Daddy said to me, trying to ease the earlier tension between us.
"I'm sure it is. Can I eat in my bedroom, please?" I asked.
"Yeah. Go ahead," he replied.
After Mom and Dad had said their grace and taken a few bites of the golden brown fish at the kitchen table, I suddenly heard Mom call my name.
"Yes?" I answered, returning to the kitchen with my untouched fish.
"Don't eat the fish!"
"I didn't. What's wrong with it?" I asked, knowing the answer.
Trying not to choke on his words, Daddy replied, "I fried the fish in Ajax. I thought it was corn meal. Momma put them both in similar jars. I don't know why she does that."
Mumbling, I said, "See, I told you. You never listen to me."
From that moment on, Daddy frying fish with Ajax Cleanser became an important light-hearted story to tell at all family gatherings and to anyone who would listen. Mom then decided to keep corn meal in its original container and Ajax Cleanser in its original container. Also, I'm not sure if Daddy ever fried fish, again. I think he graduated to preparing his world famous macaroni and cheese.
And speaking of my sister, Belinda; I may share my birthday present ideas for her in my next post. Her birthday is coming up next week.
If you would like the recipe for Daddy's macaroni and cheese, leave me a comment about how much you love my blog in the comment box below, and I will share the recipe in a separate post. Hopefully, ALL of you will leave a comment. And just for your information, the recipe does not contain Ajax Cleanser or any other household cleaning products. It really is delicious.
Until next week....
(My novel and ebooks can be found on http://www.xlibris.com/ under my author's name: Charles Carroll Lee)