I don't remember things like eggs or bacon during weekday breakfast. We had eggs but normally we just had them on a special occasion such as Christmas Or Easter (we had eggs...we never went to Church). Christmas and Easter were pretty big around our house. We always had eggs, sausage and a treat which the family called "dougdies". Mom would go to the store and buy hot roll mix then mix it up and let it rise overnight. The next morning she would break the dough into circular pieces about five inches wide and paper thin. She deep fried the dough in lard, then we ate them while they were still warm with Kings syrup which you could only get locally in the Baltimore area. Oh, it was wonderful and we could never get enough. We had to be pried from the table because Mom ran out of dough long before we ran out of appetite. I'm not sure that the "dougdy" recipe was something that just our family had thought of, I think that others made the same thing but named it something else although I've never seen nor heard of it anywhere else.
Basically, when it came to our cuisine we had a German background. I and most of my sibs love liver. I can remember going to school with liver sandwiches the day after we had it for supper. My schoolmates left the area when I broke out my lunch and no one offer to swap lunches. Mom fried the liver in lard with onions. Until I was an adult I didn't know you could have it any other way.
A little side story about liver. After we moved to Atwater I was asked if I wanted to go to the nutrition center (a place where seniors were assured of getting at least one good meal a day and NO I wasn't considered a senior at that point in my life). The seniors wanted to meet the new cop in town. Anyway, I walked into the center and I could smell the wonderful aroma of cooked liver. Needless to say...I got in front of the line! We were only allotted a couple of piece each and no matter what I did to persuade the cook to give me more, she won't waiver. I sat down at the first table after the food line and...and this is true...as each senior came by where I was sitting they each took their portion of liver and put it on my plate! I ate lunch at the center every "liver Wednesday" and the same ritual occurred.
Back to the story. Another thing which we ate a lot was sour kraut. We had it instead of potatoes and we (and I still do) loved it. Bruanswauger was a usual staple for school lunches and once again I did have to worry about anyone stealing mine. We always ate our sandwiches with mustard but once I became a cop I found a guy who ate in with mayonnaise...yuk!
Ya' can't from Baltimore and not love seafood. I can remember going crabbin' in the bay. I'll give you a lesson on how to crab like an inner city kid. First, you have to get a crab net. That's a net that looks a lot like a net you would use to land fish except for two important differences. One, the net was made of wire mesh which resembled chicken wire. Two, the net was attached to an extra long pole, I'll explain why these two differences are important as I continue my story. Next, you need to get some rotten meat. What we used to do is buy chicken wings and leave it out for a few days. Oh, and you need to buy some extra strong cord...okay lets go crabbin'! It would be nice if you had a boat but if you could afford to own a boat then you could probably be able to buy your crabs and not spend all night crabbin'. You can crab just about anywhere and old piers were best (unless you own a boat but we've already been through that!). You crab at night and it is always done better with a few six packs of beer. First you get some brave soul, probably the one who drank the most beer, and have him or her ( that's right, women crab too) tie a piece of rotten chicken to the end of the heavy cord. Throw the chicken into the bay, the piece you tied to the cord not the free pieces...if you throw the free pieces into the bay then you gotta go home because you've had too much to drink. Anyway, after you throw the chicken into the water you try to find the bottom by letting the cord hit and go slack. At this point you pull the chicken so it is just off the bottom. Now, you are ready to crab. Next, you have to find a "dipper" this is a person that is really fast with the net. Everyone in the party has a least one line in the water and the object is to watch the line until it starts to go straight out which means that a crab was nibbling on that dirty old rotten chicken wing. Next thing you do is scream for the "dipper". Oh, I forgot to tell you how to recognize the "dipper"! He's the guy that goes from one crabber to the next holding the crab net at "port arms" and doesn't have a line out of his own. Now, this is where the design of the net begins to make sense. At this point in the ritual you begin to inch the crab to the surface by slowly and I mean slowly pulling the line in inch by inch. Once the crab sees light he lets go of the chicken and all is lost. The "dipper" puts the net in the water long before the crab can be netted and waits until he sees the crab...hoping that he sees it before it sees him. As soon as the "dipper" sees the crab he dips down deep into the water and Prays that he gets the crab. Now, if you're the "dipper", which is an honor, and you miss a crab you will be ridiculed for at least a year and you will never dip again...unless you own the net. Anyway, after the crab is brought to the surface he is put into a bushel basket by hitting the net on the basket now if you had a regular net, the crab would be entangled and hard to remove, hence the wire. Now, all you have to do is repeat the above for about fifty times which usually lasted all night and you can take your bushel of crabs go home with your friends have your wife steam them (the crabs not your friends) get a few more six packs of Boh Beer and enjoy an Oriole game.
About the Spirit
Thursday, August 7, 2008
We've had a pretty rough week. Last Wednesday Doug Hamilton died after a long illness. Doug is Buddy Hamilton's father. Doug was a very wonderful man. He has been my friend for over twenty five years and it was hard to say goodbye. As I look back at all the things that he did for family and friends I realize that he sat the example for many in this small town. He will be greatly missed and I consider it an honor to have known him. Rest in Peace Doug. I'm sure that the Father has deeds that he wants done in Heaven and that's why he called you home.