Can You Describe Hamburger Frying? Family, culture, and the dinner table build self-esteem. So much of who we are, was/is, established around the dinner table with family. Balancing today’s hectic schedules, added to the distance at which many families are separated, often means that only special events may bring us all to the table together now. Does your family come together at the dinner table every day? I hope so because my fondest memories include our daily dinner time together as a family. Dinner offers a time to build our sense of self.
- As I age, memories return vividly from my childhood. Have you ever tried to describe what dinner in your house looks/looked like, sounds like, smells like, taste likes and feels to the touch?
- How would your dinner time look to other cultures?
- And…being a reading specialist, I can’t overlook how dinner is rich with language and vocabulary development opportunities. Using my words, let me tell you how a typical dinner for me as a child played to all my senses.
Can you guess what I was having for dinner this particular night?
See: The sun is beginning to set because the room got darker and the kitchen lights were on. There were four individual place settings of plates, glasses, forks, knives, spoons, and paper napkins. These place settings were on a rectangular table with one place setting to a table side. There was a shiny green cylinder shape canister sitting in the middle of the table. The letters P_a_r_m_e_s_a_n were embossed on the side. I see a round pot with a lid on the stove. The pot is shiny aluminum with a copper bottom. There is a larger skillet with a lid on one large burner. The stove had two smaller electric burners and two larger burners. There was a big spoon resting on the spoon holder on the stove. A large, two-pronged fork rested on the holder with the spoon. There was a glass jar on the counter with something red and thick inside. A long box lay next to it with long, thin, dry noodles inside. My mother took the long, thin noodles out of the box and broke them in half before she dropped them into the pot. She placed the lid onto the pot but did not close the pot off completely. A little of the steam was able to escape.
Hear: Sizzle, sizzle, pop, pop as the meat and onions fried. In the large pot next to the frying pan, I heard water bubbling. Click, click, click came into the room. It was our Bassett Hound, Pierre. His toenails tapped on the linoleum floor as he came into the kitchen. The door from the garage opened and Dad’s voice saying, hello, was faint in the background. The sizzle was muffled when the lid to the frying pan was put on.
Smell: The odor of onion in the frying pan brought tears to my eyes. My mother was adding red, ground meat, and using the big spoon to break the meat into little pieces. The burner was glowing red and the smell of onions and meat frying began to fill the air. A rich tomato aroma leaped out of the jar on the kitchen counter when the lid was removed. There is a faint, raw dough smell coming from the pot of boiling water with the long, thin noodles inside.
Taste: Tomatoes, onions, and hamburger all together. The noodles are soft in my mouth and a little slippery. Alone, they do not have much taste, but with the sauce on them…yummy. An extra flavor of cheese from the shiny green cylinder, is on top of the sauce.
Touch: The paper napkin crumples in my lap. The fork is smooth to the touch. The plate is hot from the food on it. The glass is smooth and cold to my fingers. My first bite of the hamburger, onion, tomato sauce burns my lips and tongue. Whoa, slow down. Let it cool!
As we all sat at the table enjoying the spaghetti meal there would be conversation. Maybe an announcement that I needed something for school. Dad would question us, “Have you started your homework? Did you feed the dog? What did I get on my math test?” Maybe my brother would ask, “Did I see a friend of his at school today? Did I have some extra notebook paper he could use?” My mother would interject, “Do you want some more spaghetti? Was I going to go to the football game with my friends? Grandma and Grandpa were coming for a visit this weekend!” Occasionally, there was little conversation and just quiet, as we gathered around the dinner table and simply enjoyed being back together after our day of separation.
Buckaroo Buckeye hopes you and your family are ‘sensing’ wonderful memories also.