Sitting pretty May 13 2018 2 Comments

One time when my mother wasn’t feeling well, I thought I should step in and make dinner for my father.

In my adolescence I loved to make things using Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls. Published in 1957, it contained some recipes starting from scratch, some that used mixes, and even items as simple as “Scouts Franks and Beans”. Into a heavy frying pan empty 1 can baked beans. Top with 8 franks, sliced. Set over coals and heat until steaming hot. 

But my favourites to make were the salads and cakes presented as animals and characters.

After preparing his meal, I called my father to dinner with great pride and fanfare. He sat, ate every bite, and pronounced it was delicious. I was very happy and proud.

Sitting pretty, on the table in front of him, was a Raggedy Ann Salad in the shape of a person – half a boiled egg for the head, raisins for eyes and nose, cherry for the mouth, hair made of cheese strands, a half peach for the body, raisins for buttons and feet, celery for arms and legs, and lettuce for her skirt.


For me, the joy was in creating what I thought my father needed after his long day. For my father, the joy was in receiving something exuberantly created and presented.

I don’t know what else my father found to add to his dinner: only when I was much older did I realize that the food so prettily arranged on his plate that night could not have sustained him. Maybe he made some Scouts Franks and Beans after I went to bed. But he never mentioned it to me.

I picture my father telling my mother what he had for dinner. They laughed together a lot, and that night, I’m sure I provided the chuckles.

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