Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My father and his knives

I'm not talking about his penknives. He had several of those, all well-sharpened. And he always carried one -- a three-blader.

No, I'm talking about what he did with his knife at the dinner table. I was recently reminded of this at one of the gab sessions during the wedding weekend.

The members of the family really didn't like using the table butter after my father finished with his hacking away at the stick.

First, of all, he liked to cut up his broccoli -- a veggie we had at least once a week -- which was cooked soft and almost mushy, yet he still had to cut it up. Then, to add insult to injury, he would stick that broccoli laden knife into the butter stick and get bits and pieces of broccoli on the butter.

And, I have to add, it was the same with mashed potatoes, grab some butter? Not enough, go back and get potatoes on the butter. Carrots? Cut the carrots, leave bits of carrots on the butter. We were all so relieved when we had peas or succotash -- dad only needed to get his butter -- no cutting of the vegetable needed. Whew!

Well, who would want to butter their bread after all that junk was imbedded in the butter? My father would. Only, he'd start on the "clean" end of the stick. He'd butter his bread, then stick his knife in his jar of jelly. Was one slice of jelly bread enough? No way. He would then take his jelly soaked knife and stick it into the still clean end of the butter stick and get jelly all over the butter.

Now, we children weren't overly fond of jelly, unless it was mom's peach jam. My father didn't particularly enjoy peach jam, he liked grape jelly, and grape jelly is what he was served day in and day out. And, day in and day out, there would be pieces of grape jelly on the butter stick.

I visited a friend's house one time and was invited for dinner. Well, her dad had butter-stick issues. Because I was used to skimming butter off the top of the stick -- where there was no jelly nor broccoli -- I proceeded to skim some butter off the top, and she went apoplectic saying her dad was going to kill her because the butter stick was not in its true form. Was her father "Monk"? No, he just had an issue with butter. An issue my dad didn't have, and it wasn't related to knives. Or maybe it was!



Lori said...

I think the broccoli in the butter thing had a lasting effect on his future generations. Because of that swipe of the knife, my dad hated broccoli. I in turn hate broccoli. And, if it wasn't for the terrible influences of my mother and Jeff, my kids would hate broccoli as well. But, alas they have turned to the dark side. But, yes, all this started with Gramps. I wonder if he did that on purpose, because honestly, it's gross!!

Judi Hahn said...

I KNOW he did it on purpose -- swiped his knife across the butter after cutting his broccoli. But, it didn't deter my love for that vegetable. However, I don't like it raw, not even with dip. I tried it AGAIN at Emily's reception, and still don't like it in that form. I like it partly cooked or over cooked with lots of cheese on it.

I did go through a not-eating broccoli period at one time. This will gross you out. A friend of ours gave me fresh broccoli from her garden and I was going to freeze it, because, really it was too much for just one meal. But when I blanched it, I found all thse worms -- not small worms either floating on the top of the water. I had washed it, but the washing didn't flush out the worms. The boiling water did. I avoided broccoli for a long time after that.