Monday, November 22, 2010

A Memory Revised

No, I'm not still canning maters. But I was reminded of a story I've always loved  -- and only heard the end of a few days ago when my friend Chick, who was also a friend of my mother and father, came to lunch. 

The story, as I originally heard it, was  that thirty-some years ago, long before I'd met Chick and when we had first moved to the farm, Chick encountered my mother at a party in Tampa. 

Making small talk, she asked my mother about her daughter's move to the mountains. Many Tampa people had summer homes in NC -- perhaps ours was like that? . . .

"Oh, said my mother, no doubt rolling her eyes, "Vicki leads a very different life. . .  (ominous pause) . . . she cans!" 
Well, that much has always cracked me up. But now Chick has told me the rest of the story which seems, somehow, even funnier.

"But," protested Chick, who makes all sorts of lovely jellies and jams, "You know, I can . . "

Unmollified, my mother lifted an eyebrow. "Tomatoes?" she sniffed.
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24 comments:

Victoria said...

LOL, what a funny story!

Marilyn said...

Thank you for making me laugh Vicki.

Martin H. said...

How shocking...you mean, you actually can tomatoes! Great story, Vicki. I'm wearing a Monday morning smile to prove it.

Joan said...

LOL. That is funny of your mother. We call it preserving in NZ. When reading American lit. and coming across 'canning' I always imagined Americans preserving in cans, unlike us who preserved in jars! I always thought it so clever to preserve in cans!
Now I see you 'can' in jars. My explanation is as clear as mud I'm sure!!

Merisi, Vienna said...

That is so funny, the tomato canning culture divide! ;-)

Obviously, for anyone with remotely Italian connections, even remote one, canning tomatoes is a natural as cooking tomato sauce! My first landlord in Rome had a storage space that was accessible only from my kitchen, a "window" above my stove (that was in one of those high-ceilinged Roman palazzi). A clause in my contract gave him the right to store his canned tomatoes up there. Thinking back, I am surprised I never had the temerity to even ask for one of those bottles (he used wide-mouthed bottles, the opening just wide enough for the egg-shape of the famous San Marzano tomatoes). They looked like a mysterious treasure up there, in lovely red with bright green whole basil leaves.

Merisi said...

(Posts of yours so often remind me that I am a wanderer, and that I have very long answers to the "which tribe do you belong to" question: I remember reading a collection of observations from Africa, by the Italian writer Alberto Moravia, "A quale tribù appartieni?" Barely out of my teens then, I did not understand yet that I would put that question to myself fairly soon, within less than a decade).

Alan Burnett said...

There is something so perfectly descriptive about the phrase "She cans".

Star said...

It's a very worthwhile pursuit and I'm sure you find it enjoyable too. There's nothing like preserving food for the winter. Even though we now have freezers, they don't compare with the rows and rows of jars of colourful fruit and vegetables that adorn a well stocked store cupboard.
It is also true to say that tomatoes contain many health giving properties.
Blessings, Star

Pat in east TN said...

That is too funny and definitely a keeper!

I was actually working with tomatoes this past week. Seems a local commercial grower was giving away the end of the season maters, and I was given a case ... yes, 25 lbs. A bit overwhelming, but found an old recipe for 'hot sauce', kind of a hotter then usual rice side dish, so I made several batches of it.

Margie said...

Great story and thank you for posting as you may know we could do with some laughs here in Ireland at the moment.
We call it preserving, the same as Joan says its called in NZ. Not that many people do it here, we make jams, jellies, chutneys and relish, and tend to freeze any gluts.
Hugs, Margie.

Brian Miller said...

smiles. fun story...and you incorporated two places i used to live....NC and Tampa....

Jean Baardsen said...

She cans because she can can.

Louise said...

Oh dear, I think that your Mother and mine would have gotten along very well. She, too, always had an eyebrow raised at my foibles. Except, she canned, 'maters.

Bouncin' Barb said...

You are a wife, mother, writer, gardner, traveler, mentor and a myriad of toher things yet you only 'can tomatoes'. lol. very sweet.

Canyon Girl said...

"She cans," really tells a story all of its own. My computer has recovered and wants no more scary surprises until next Halloween.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

I guess canning was considered primitive 30 years ago? The food revolution was just beginning and you were at the forefront. -- barbara

Vicki Lane said...

My mother was such a city girl. Only one generation removed from the farm (or dairy, in my father's case,) my parents couldn't understand my desire to go 'back to the land.' They never did, though they both admitted that we had raised a fine pair of boys.

Joan, till I moved to the farm, I too thought that home canning involved metal cans. 'Preserving' makes a lot more sense. But language doesn't always make much sense, does it?

I have a mental image of those forbidden jars of tomatoes, Merisi! Beautiful and tempting!

Canning was a way of life here in the rural county we moved to. Still is, for many.

willow said...

Love it. LOVE it!!

jennyfreckles said...

Priceless - isn't it good when we confound our mums?

Friko said...

Mothers! They can be so embarrassing!

NCmountainwoman said...

How funny! No doubt a lot of people think canning jars of jellies and jams is somehow different from canning beans and tomatoes.

BB said...

I am laughing so hard at Joan's comment:
"I always thought it so clever to preserve in cans!"
I never thought of that before, but one would think that "canning" would involve "cans." Great story!

Kath said...

Loved it! And wish I knew how to can tomatoes!
KAth

bo parker said...

Our favorite winter dessert at family meals was canned whole maters--those small enough to go through the mouth of the jar after they were blanched to get the skin off and softened up.
When Mom wanted to go fancy for Sunday company, she make Mater pies. Today, they would probably be called deep-dish pizzas.