Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

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Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Old Friends and New Potatoes

     Pam was my best friend from 1st through 6th grade. Would've been longer if my family hadn't moved away. We were like two peas in a pod. We used to play beneath the trees at recess, finding 'magic' sticks that had special markings on them. We liked all the same things...baseball, spelling, and performing in the school's yearly operetta. The thing I remember the most about her was the twinkle she got in her eyes when she was particularly pleased or amused by something. 
     We didn't get to spend too awful much time together outside of school because we lived in a rural community; and our houses were several miles apart. But one time I remember spending the night at her house...oh how excited I was!
     Pam, in my childish eyes, lived an idyllic life. My gosh, they had an above ground swimming pool! I lived on a dry acre of land with nary a tree. Pam's folks had a Shasta trailer and went to exotic locations like Yellowstone National Park! My family spent our summers at a local beach in a rented cottage. Pam's mom didn't work; so she sent all kinds of wonderful home-baked goodies to our school bake sales and birthday parties. My mom worked full time; so if we sent anything at all, it was store-bought. Not that Pam ever made me feel bad about my 'short-comings.' She was too good a friend to be hurtful in any way. 
     Well, anyway, the weekend I stayed at Pam's; it was as wonderful as I imagined! We swam like ducks in that pool. At dinner, her mom fixed home-style fried chicken with creamed baby vegetables. I'd never eaten creamed vegetables and was a little nervous about it; but mom always said that I should eat what was set before me; so I tried them. They were delicious. When I got home, I pleaded with my mom to make some creamed vegetables. Maybe we didn't have a pool or a trailer, but  by golly, I reasoned, we could eat those tasty vegetables, just like her family did!
     To this day, anytime I get ahold of some new peas, potatoes, carrots, or onions, I make this recipe. And I always think of Pam and her delightful family.

Creamed New Potatoes with Carrots, Peas, and Onions

6 small new potatoes
6-8 baby carrots
1 cup of fresh peas, shelled
8-10 baby pearl onions
a little parsley for garnish
White Sauce: see recipe below

(Note: if you can't get new baby veggies, you can substitute with 'regular' vegetables; just cut them into small pieces.)

Boil vegetables until tender. I usually put the carrots to boil first, adding the potatoes a few minutes later, then add the peas and onions just a minute or two before the potatoes and carrots are done. Drain.

White Sauce

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
salt and pepper

Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat til melted. Stir in flour; salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

When white sauce has thickened, add cooked vegetables. Put into a nice serving dish or serve directly onto plates. Garnish with parsley.

Makes 4 servings.

I didn't have new potatoes or onions, so I used some regular ones and chopped them up.
Tonight's menu was steak, creamed vegetables, and a slice of toast. Fresh strawberries for dessert.

By the way... after 40 years or so of wondering about my old friend, I stopped by her family home. I found her parents sitting in their old back yard, taking a rest from their gardening. We had a pleasant visit. The told me that Pam and her husband had a motorcycle business not far from my home; in fact, I often passed right by there. So I hopped in my car and drove right over. Guess what; she's the same wonderful person that she was when we were kids...and she still has that special sparkle in her eyes when she is pleased or amused!
     Don't you just love happy endings!


ellen b. said...

I do love happy endings and if I had a bowl of those creamed vegetables sitting in front of me right now I'd be happier still!

Pam said...

Dear Debbie – my bestest friend who got me intact through elementary school. Thank goodness I had not yet done my make-up before reading your blog this morning as you most certainly made me cry. I so much valued your friendship during those formative years. I would have to agree with you – my life was pretty idyllic – certainly not an ostentatious lifestyle but I could not have asked for better parents, brothers and warmth of family and friends. It never really occurred to me that my lifestyle was any different than yours, but that’s from a child’s point of view I guess. I very much enjoyed reading the reminders of our youth. It’s amazing how quickly one can forget the little moments that make life worth living.

Creamed peas, potatoes and carrots fresh from the garden are still a big treat for me and were always a favorite dish from my grandmother’s kitchen at the family 4th of July picnic. Now whenever I have them I will think of you my friend and marvel at the wonderful person you both were as a child and grew up to be. I am so glad you looked me up after all of these years. I always wondered what happened to you and now I know; you are still the warm, kind, funny, smart person I glommed on to as a child and hope to stay in touch with as an adult.

Your buddy: Pam

Debora said...

Awwww! I'm crying now!

Anneliese said...

I love your description of you friend. You have a great way with words. I will have to try creamed vegetables sometims too. Did your mom ever end up making tham?

Debora said...

Anneliese, Yes, my mom did make them. She really couldn't understand my infatuation with creamed veggies; but she made them anyway. My mom was a great cook and could pretty much make anything you would ask for. Never got the swimming pool though...


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