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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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children of dune - leto 1
I don't think life really gets much better than when someone hands you a sausage kolache.

I was extremely lucky growing up in that my great-grandparents, rejecting the ways of their parents' home countries (God be thanked), refused to feed their children any food that could not easily be found at a local grocery store at that time (or grown on the unsuccessful family farm; I come from a long line of really crappy farmers). This has led to a real lack of food that frankly, would have scared me, since my Bavarian (okay, fine, I totally get a kick out of that part. Bavarian! In Bavaria! When--it, you know, existed as a country) ancestors were like, Bavarian peasants and ate really terrifying food. If they ate. Being, you know, peasants and whatnot. Could be why they left. Really don't know. Though there was a minister of some sort involved in the entire expedition.

Right, food, coming back to that.

Except saurkraut. That, and cabbage. Couldn't get away from it. Saurkraut, luckily, only came out with such accompanying dishes as macaroni salad, potato salad, and hot dogs (the traditional ancestral food of the gods). Which--I guess that's a food that is common amongst the German peasantry? But those two. And like, this range of Polish to Czech food things that, in some kind of show of middle European solidarity (I really have no idea here) would be dragged out, for years were considered the Traditional Ancestral Foods of My Family until we discovered a.) we had reached the age of majority and b.) no one in the family could work out the Traditional Ancestor who was that hot for Americanized bread pudding.

However, cabbage grew on me. Saurkraut, Polish sausage, anything with the word blood in it in any language, no, and that's after being forced to visit A Million Heritage Festivals (Texas hill country. There were festivals at the drop of a hat in order to Introduce Our Heritage of Not Hot Dogs, the bastards).

It's like this entry had a point, huh? Just wait.

So whilst in college one year, I had this professor I loved and who died, so we really won't linger over that part, but he had this argument that America had no culture, which even then I thought was bullshit but he would smoke with me, so what can you do? We talked about defining characteristics and cultural anthropology and you know, all the stuff liberal arts students talk about with their professors while sober. Now, about ten year later, I finally want to tell him I found my defining characteristic of at least my family's culture, and it is gravy.

This came to me when I realized:

a.) not everyone could match gravy type to meat at a glance and a taste.
b.) some people don't have a gravy for everything. And I mean. Everything.
c.) some people make cream sauce and call it gravy (my soul hurts)
d.) some people do not like gravy and in fact, really cannot comprehend them

I once dated a guy who did not like tea, coffee, or gravy. I should have known we were doomed. He also watched a lot of japanimation and refused to buy a new bed no matter how much it squeaked, which is beside the point but weirdly funny right now.

And the query I was running just ended. Sample of the latest tests sent to us to write:
PSRjd 4028: DT8000_080 FOR EDG 100084969 AND TRACE ID 184231617

Dear Programmer Person,
Please tell me you thought this was funny.

(Yes, I do know what it is, but that is because my mother wrote the error code. Otherwise, I would still be at the colon going "eh"?)

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some people do not like gravy and in fact, really cannot comprehend them

Me! Gravy is disgusting. *g*

*recoils* You aren't one of those--those pro-nutella people are you?

Haha! No, I'm not. You know what's awful about hating gravy? When you come from a family that's half born and bred in the south - where gravy is to food like comfy blankets are to winter nights - people eyeball you every time you refuse to smother your food with it. It ain't easy, hatin' gravy. *g*

*blows out breath* Okay. Was scared about that.

Gravy makes sure your food is not naked. It's totally Biblical, with the clothing and stuff? So the food needed clothes, too.

My food wants to be free and wag in the wind. I guess that makes me a food nudist.

...I think this is the oddest conversation I have had in quite a while.

There are anti-nutella people?!? *worldview collapses*

I mean I'll readily agree that there are *better* chocolate-hazelnut spreads than nutella, like some with less cheap vegetable oil and less sugar but more nuts and chocolate parts, but how can a combination of hazelnuts and chocolate ever be wrong? It's way better than peanut/chocolate as combination too.

Sauerkraut and bratwurst. Sometime I hate my ancestral culture.

Then someone comes along and makes Aebleskiver*, and it's all good.

* Not the name we use, but this is the one I could figure out proper spelling of.

That! Bratwurst! And stuff with liver! And from other--parts. *wince* God, flashbacks.

Liver tastes okay in sausages, especially the ones that you can spread on bread. Better than it tastes if you just fry it anyway, IMO. My father loves liver, fortunately as children we weren't forced to eat it alongside with him, once we had tried the dish at least one time to have an informed opinion. From what I remember the texture was just odd, not to mention that it looked really strange during preparation. I don't know why this was necessary but for some reason it had to be soaked in milk for a few hours before it could be fried, maybe it tastes milder then and not bitter or something. Anyway, thanks to that procedure a bloody calf's liver with blood mixing into milk is one of my most vivid early childhood memories from watching food preparation.

Though seriously the most traumatic was the carp. My mother took me to the fish monger and obviously they were still alive in the tank there, and you'd pick one and the fish monger would whack it with a hammer and then cut in half along the spine and clean it a bit and then wrap it in paper. However the damn things still twitched, even after they were dead. Once I saw the fish half flop in the fridge. Also my father slurps the eyeballs of carp. He insist they taste great. I never tried, and never got used to it despite having seen someone eat fish eyeballs my whole life.


Okay, I have to ask, have you seen The Website Is Down? If not, probably not a good idea to watch with the sound up at work.

mmmmm gravy.

I'll check it when I get home. *marks to check*

Now I want kolaches. Maybe I'll get up early enough tomorrow to go buy some!

Cabbage belongs in stir fry and cabbage rolls. 'nuff said.

Gravy? Especially turkey gravy, with bits of turkey and eggs and things? mmmmm

At least you had some variation, growing up in this part of the state. West Texas in the 70s = chili, chicken-fried steak, BBQ, Kraft Mac&Cheese, vegetables from cans, and when very adventurous, That Shrimp Place In Odessa.

The delicious cannot be enough stated.

Ah, chili and barbecue. Staple foods of deliciousness.

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Sadly, yes. My query was supposed to *not take that long* and I meandered. *sad*

Okay, just reading that makes me want gravy.

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Ah. Hmm. I dont' know. Unfortunately, this is where the Bavarian Ancestors hit Southern Living and no hybrid emerged. But you know, I am going to ask, because I suddenly want kolache gravy.

Yeah, some traditional foods can only be appreciated properly if you are introduced to them at a young and impressionable age. Otherwise they seem really gross.

I actually liked a number of traditional Northern German dishes (though I was never too fond of the fish stuff like matjes because raw fish in particular is just not my thing), but unfortunately most of them aren't vegetarian.

I still miss fried Grützwurst (even after 15+ years of no-relapse vegetarianism and not really missing meat in general). It is basically a blood sausage made from barley groats in pig's blood with raisins in it, which is cut in half and fried so that the blood/grain mix get nicely crispy and the served with sweet applesauce and mashed potatoes. It seems a bit of an odd combination to have blood sausage sweet rather than savory, but it tastes delicious. Except for the downside that pigs have to die for it. (well, at least in the common Western model where animals are killed when you take the blood, I guess in theory you could harvest it...)

I liked Labskaus too even though it looks rather like vomit or somewhat liquid dog food.

Now I'm curious tough what terrifying food your ancestors ate? Because I don't think most are that gross (well except for the pig's snout stuff my father pined for from his childhood, but fortunately you can only get their snouts per special order and my mother refused to go through the trouble, I mean, really who would want to eat the nose of a pig outside of food shortage situations?!).

A suasage kolache? I've never seen such a critter, and my town is the home of many proud Czech immigrants. I'd love to try one some time, though. Sounds tasty.

Mmm, gravy. Growing up, the very sad thing was that I was a vegetarian and most gravies are made out of meat.

I am so glad that my great-grandparents on my Mom's side decided not to carry on the fine Scandanavian tradition of lutefisk. *shudders* So glad.

Though I did grow up in the midwest where at every holiday there was a jello salad...

mmmmm, you're making me hungry for the food of my youth: things like sauerkraut and wurst! liver with onions, kugel, steamed carrot & potato pudding, rosettes, all sorts of noodley meat dishes. basically, if you could boil or fry it and serve with potatoes, my family was right there nomming.

we didn't specialize in various gravies, though my mother's turkey gravy is a masterpiece, which my sister and I in no way come close to duplicating.

And in my family culture, a sausage kolache will get you disowned. Kolache are sweet, filled with fruit and iced. Sausage should not come near them. When my brother and I were visiting Texas, we experienced a moment of severe "WTF?" at the sausage kolache shop.

My family culture is such a mish-mash of multiple cultures that it makes outsiders dizzy. For example, our Christmas meal tradition is Indian food on Christmas Eve, pot-luck on Christmas, and Cuban food for Boxing Day. The Thanksgiving turkey was accompanied by pide and couscous. I grew up thinking a tortilla was an egg dish, cooking naan when I wanted home-made bread, and explaining menus to my friends every time we went out to an "ethnic" restaurant.

Also, for the record: If anyone ever offers you something called czernina and says it tastes like gravy...run.

This has led to a real lack of food that frankly, would have scared me, since my Bavarian (okay, fine, I totally get a kick out of that part. Bavarian! In Bavaria! When--it, you know, existed as a country) ancestors were like, Bavarian peasants and ate really terrifying food.

I'll see your Bavarian and raise you Bohemian, that great big mud puddle that took turns being trampled on by Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic, where the peasants really didn't care who was in charge as long as they had some food.

And oh, the food. Vegetables are gravely mistrusted unless they are starchy as all get out. Meat and starch, starch and meat -- breaded pork loin, beef and sauerkraut, sausage and anything. On the rare occasions my family goes for the ancestral meal, it takes a long time to get up from the table afterwards, because you are so weighed down by the food.

Something went a bit awry in my genetic makeup, though, because kishka makes me want to hurl. *shudder* Pretty much any other kind of sausage is right up my alley, though.

I always hoped there was Bohemian or Hungarian somewhere. Technically, at least on great-grandmother's father's side, it's Wendish, which is--oh God, who knows but it is there.

On the food, yes. Yes. Yes. Meat and starch, meat and meat, meat and bread. My mother's side is a lot more green vegetable oriented, but dad's side has a perennial suspicion of what they do and are.

In my family they are still called saucijzen broodjes although we've left most of the rest of our ancestral foods behind, mostly because my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother were all mediocre-at-best cooks, so my childhood memories of warm bread from the oven are actually set at the neighbor's which is why this goy has a nostalgic fondness for challah. And now I fear I'm going to have to make them this weekend to fill this craving.

This is not all bad.

Gravy is good! Even though I'm vegetarian. At holiday meals I'm always tasked with making the vegetarian gravy. (Well, mostly because if I didn't, there would be none for me.) I make onion gravy or one of two different kinds of mushroom gravies. Mmmmm. Gravy ....

Oh god, kolaches are like ... YES. I never had one before I moved to Texas, and I really think it's the best thing about living here.

My mother made *the* best gravy. I think my husband married me for mine - or it could have been the money (I had some back then, just for a little while) or- it could have been the fact that I asked *him* of course.

Anyway gravy - yes - gravy is a thing of the gods...

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