The Hellhole

Friday, November 26, 2010

Round Ground-Up Cheese

Yesterday's feast was excellent!

This is Mom's festive table.

Esme found one of Bucky's bones (Bucky is one of Mom's dogs and much bigger than Esme) and wouldn't give it back. She growled and faced down all the bigger boys when they dared to so much as look at her bone. Mom packed it up with the leftovers and Esme's carrying it around the house today.

Mom pouring the wine.

Baby corns as part of the centerpiece.

I recently told this story to my friend Anne and realized that I've never blogged about it. It's how "round ground-up cheese" became a part of our internal family lexicon. One year I arrived at home for Thanksgiving and, as I am wont to do, started lifting the lids on various pots and pans, checking out what we'd be having and enjoying the wonderful aromas. And trying to steal samples when Mom was otherwise occupied.

Something was missing. Something important! I'm not sure of the proper name but here in the South they're called "field peas" or "crowder peas" - not green peas or black-eyed peas, anyway.

I like them. I don't like that many vegetables; well, compared to my husband or his best friend Mark (that's Mr. Nancy), I'm a major vegetable-lovin' fool. But anyway, I do like crowder peas. I asked Mom about the dish and she said she didn't prepare any because she thought we had way more than enough to eat with all the other things she'd cooked.

I was horrified. " peeeeeeeeeeeas! Won't you please make some?"

Mom said, "I'm sorry, angel, I don't even have any on hand." Seeing my disappointment, she suggested, "Why don't you call Gram and Granddaddy [the maternal grandrents lived next door] and ask them? I'd be very surprised if they don't have some in their freezer."

So I called and my grandfather answered the phone. I asked him if I could come over and get a package of peas.

"Cheese?" he asked.

"No, sir - peas. Field peas."

"What kind of cheese?"

"Peas! Brown crowder peas!"

"Round ground-up cheese?" He was getting more puzzled at every exchange.

I tried to speak more loudly and clearly. "Brown crowder peas!"

"We don't have any round ground-up cheese. Never heard of any such."

"Never mind, it's okay. We'll see you later at dinner."

"Well, hang on. I don't have any idea what you want, but come on over and whatever it is, if I've got it, you can have it."

[Wasn't it wonderful to have somebody love me that much? No idea what you want but if I've got it, you can have it.]

So anyway, I went next door, obtained my peas and Mom cooked them along with the forty-eleven other things she'd already prepared. Ever since, this particular dish is referred to as "round ground-up cheese". If you're ever at dinner with my family and you want someone to pass them to you, you'll have to ask for it that way, or we'll probably look at you in utter puzzlement.


  • That's a great story. :-)

    The food sounds delicious, and your mom's table is beautiful! I did pretty well cooking most of the food this year, but I fail at presentation.

    By Blogger Nancy, at 3:45 PM  

  • I echo Nancy's comment. What a story! Sort of reminds me of Gilda Radner's character, Emily Latella, (sp?) on Saturday Night Live.

    Here's a paraphrase of something she said:

    Emily: I don't know why people are so concerned about saving national racehorses.

    Chevy Chase??: That's natural resources.

    Emily: Oh...Never mind.

    By Blogger basil, at 7:54 AM  

  • That is just the best story. And that's a grandparent for you, if I've got it, you can have it. Love it. Hope your grandpa is still around to enjoy the story.

    By OpenID dkzody, at 4:06 PM  

  • Sadly, I ran out of grandparents about a decade ago, but I still have some great memories!

    By Blogger Helly, at 9:10 AM  

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