Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Childhood Lunches: Vancouver

I've always liked lunch--my favorite meal. I'm not certain why that is, other than I like the informality of it, the noon hour, the foods associated with lunch. Sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads and such . . . But what I'm thinking of, along with lunch, is of my mother. Of my childhood with my brothers and sister, friends and places (South Dakota, Washington, Tennessee (not so much Iowa and beyond)).

I think it was in Vancouver, Washington where most of my notion of childhood lunches comes from, from things my mother used to prepare. I was in school then, so mainly I'm thinking summer lunches, which were the usual fare: peanut butter and jelly, cold cut sandwiches, tuna salad, spaghetti from a can (Franco American), hot dogs. Nothing special, really. My mother did make one dish--Tuna Stuff Over Noodles, we called it--which was essentially creamed tuna over chow mien noodles. I loved it, though, and still make it to this day now and then. And then we had salmon from a can.

That seems strange to me now, that we, as kids, ate salmon. From a can. Sure, living in the Pacific Northwest we had salmon--my dad would grill salmon steaks now and then. But I can't recall being crazy about them. But we all liked salmon from a can (though now I doubt I would, and it--salmon from a can--has not translated to my adulthood like Tuna Stuff Over Noodles has). I think she made salmon salad or other easy concoctions from the salmon--I don't recall exactly. (Oh yes--Salmon Patties: canned salmon mixed with cracker crumbs and eggs and fried with butter and salt!) But what I recall especially is that we kids would squabble over the bone amongst the flesh in the can.

Again, I don't recall why we liked the bone. It was just a soft, very white ring of a bone that got mixed up in the canning. There was always at least one, sometimes two inside. I'm guessing it was a vertebrae-type bone, small and easy to bite through. I guess we didn't really squabble, but it was just something my mother would ask: "Who wants the bone?" It's sort of like who got the salmon patty (or tuna patty, which eclipsed the salmon eventually) that was in the middle of the pan--the one that was always fried the crispest.

Nowadays, I suppose, I wouldn't much care to eat a salmon bone in a can. Or even the canned salmon itself.

I've had the real stuff. And I like wild salmon very much.

Okay. That's it. A salmon bone from my childhood.

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