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Thursday, July 5, 2012



I came from a family of after dinner snackers.  It wasn’t that we were overeaters or had insatiable appetites; it was because we had a “depression mom.”  Mom wasn’t depressed, far from it, but she grew up during the depression.  Food was scarce and you had to stretch your meals while she was growing up.  While I was growing up food was not scarce, but mom still prepared dinners as if they were.

For a family of five (including three growing boys) there was never enough dinner for seconds.  Even the first round was barely enough to satisfy our large appetites.  The result of having a “depression mom” was sometime after dinner we were all starving and needed to raid the refrigerator.

The daily waiting game in our house after dinner, while watching TV,  was who could take the hunger no more and had to get up for a snack. 

Generally it was me.

AS I pulled myself out of my chair and headed to the kitchen I was assaulted with the same questions.  First my older brother Chris asked, “Where you going?”

“Ah…to the kitchen.”

“Watchya getting?”


“While you’re up could you make me one to?”


“You going to get anything to drink with the PBJ?”

“A milkshake.”

“Can you get me a glass too…while you’re up?”


I hated to give up a glass of milkshake.  I was planning to drink the whole Waring Blender’s worth. 

Dad always wanted the same thing.

“Can you get me a liverwurst sandwich?  You know…as long as you’re up.”

“Sure Pop.”

I hated the smell of liverwurst.  It almost made me hurl.

“Oh and how about a glass of root beer…with ice…while you’re up.”


Then the hunger pangs hit my oldest brother Jim, “Hey Joe, can you heat up some chili from the can for me…As long as you’re up?  And a glass of milk.  While you’re up”

“OK, why not?”

I would miss an entire episode of “The Brady Bunch” putting together snacks because I was up, and I never learned.

I was always up first.


  1. Shit our house was just the opposite being full on Italians mama always made way too much I now have the same habit and I always have extra ass helping in the fridge. All I know is my neighbors appreciate it and if anyone ever drops by I always have enough.....

  2. I get that.....and I bet my granddaughter feels like you did because we all ask her "BTW could you get me........?" I may have to change my tact. Great post. Oma Linda

  3. And you never caught on? I'd have thought you'd each take turns being the first one up. This was never a problem at our house because my wife is an army brat and cooks like she's serving a packed mess tent--always too much food.

  4. Wow. Milkshakes outta your kitchen for the asking. While you're up...

  5. Great post.
    Reminds me of a friend who hated waste so much that she would never cook enough for seconds. When invited there to dinner it was always delicious but sparse. One piece of whatever for each person and one extra. No one ever wanted to be the one to ask for that last portion and when I admonished her about not making enough she always floored me by saying, "Don;t be silly, there is always a piece left over." Sigh,

  6. My mom was our "while you're up" go-to person. I was the "change the channel" guy. You can't imagine the euphoria I felt when they invented the remote control.

    Good memories.


  7. We rarely have seconds around here because I'm very lame at calculating just how much to make. Everyone knows that when mom cooks, you better come to the table quick or else you might not get a plate. When dad cooks, that's another story. Dad is a fire fighter and is used to cooking for the fire fighters on his shift. He always makes enough for seconds or thirds.

    I grew up with a "depression" grandma. She never wasted anything. Rain water was collected in buckets so that she could water the flowers on days that it wasn't raining. She'd collect the cotton that comes at the top of aspirin containers, or any kind of medicine container, and would use that for whatever you might need cotton for. And she always took F O R E V E R to unwrap a gift so that she wouldn't rip any of the paper, because it was "a shame to waste this beautiful wrapping paper!" and the next time she would give you a gift, it would be wrapped in the same paper that you gave her a gift in just last month. My gram sewed everything. She made my clothing, and sewed up any rips that I would get in my jeans or tops, or anything else I wore. (just recently I've started to sew up the rips in my own kids clothing...when normally we'd just donate it to Goodwill and buy new stuff. While it's nice that I'm saving our family money by doing this, the reason that I really do it is because it reminds me so much of my gram. I miss her!)

  8. I've just passed the Liebster Award to you - see my post Liebster Awardees.

  9. What a nice guy you are -- I'd have told my siblings to make their own!

  10. my kids learned young...never get up first , head to the bathroom immediately after dinner and if mom buys something rare and unhealthy like honey buns hide them...but mom is smarter than they are.

  11. Thus began your life as a short order cook.