my grandfather cooked for me this week!
ever since my grandma passed away two years ago he really had to change his life. he always assumed he was the first to go, and he always said that it would be a disaster for the whole family if my grandmother would pass away first. and somehow we found ourselves in this situation - and my grandfather was probably right. my grandmother was the perfect homemaker. the whole family had to adapt to this unfamiliar situation, and we often failed in "recreating" her spirit. she is still missed every single day, and everything in my grandparent's house still reminds us of her.
in a very traditional way she always considered everything inside the house her stomping ground - especially the kitchen.
and while it has always been bit little of a passion of my grandfather to cook, my grandma was a very sassy and feisty woman. she rarely let him make a lunch for the family, and only if the grandchildren or their children insisted hard enough she would finally give in and let him make one of his famous (and very traditional) dishes. really, who could refuse a request for opas brotsuppe if a grandchild would stare at you with big sheep's eyes? as a matter of fact, my grandma would also keep my uncle the chef off her patch! as i said, she was a very feisty woman :Dhowever, my grandfather was not used to doing stuff around the house at all when my grandmother died, and he still needs a lot of help from his seven children and their spouses. they take turns in doing the laundry, cleaning and clearing up. some of the grandchildren take care of him too, playing cards as a diversion and keeping him company in the evenings. my brother is my hero for doing that almost every night! most of the grandchildren live in the area (i guess i am the only one living more than 50 kilometers away) and they often drop by with the great-grandchildren to cheer him up.
while he needs a hand on all the household stuff, as far as the kitchen is concerned - this has really become his territory now! i am somewhat relieved to see that and he still lightens up when somebody requests a special repast. and i am impressed that he does not only make the staple pot roast, bread soup or smoked meat, he also succeeds in making slow roasted and marinated game (i can not believe that is the english word for "wild")so when we told him i was coming home and i'd really like to have lunch at his place i believe he was looking forward to that as much as i was. cheerful moments around the family table are rare these days, i guess both our lifes have become very similar as far as eating alone in front of the tv is concerned ...
he cooked geselchtes mit kraut und knödel for us - smoked meat (cooked) with dumplings and kraut. very traditional, very rural.
most of the meat is pure fat, and i have to admit that i am not really turned on by that. my plate usually does not see a pure junk of fat meat. i prefer the lean bits, and it was the same here: i only ate the lean meat with lots and lots of kraut and dumplings. as always, my grandpa would state that i was a picky eater and sneak the bits i didn't want off my plate.
always a must when i am home, even if it is just for a few hours: having coffee with grandpa while the big old dog is stretching under the table. and wow, the milk tastes so differently! i really love fresh milk (virtually straight from the cow!) although i am not a big fan of milk in general (lactose intolerance?) so if i bought a liter of cow milk from the farmer down the road it might only go bad in my fridge - i only need milk for my coffee.
i tell you, this is the look, feel and taste of my childhood! food-wise i've come a long way, but sometimes it is a blessing to just go back and eat the traditional peasant food of my home.