Grown children can have long memories. I realized that once again when I was out in Utah recently talking with my oldest son, Dennis.
He has a dream of owning a food truck and introducing the West to biscuits as we know and love them in the South. You literally can’t get a good biscuit out in Utah. If you want a tortilla — and I do love a good tortilla — you can get one, but don’t be asking for a biscuit. Or coleslaw on their barbecue, which is kind of different barbecue anyway.
Dennis, his sister, Mary Susan, and I were brainstorming about the different kinds of biscuits he could offer in his food truck. They were thinking gourmet biscuits, although I consider every good biscuit a gourmet biscuit.
Mary Susan was offering all sort of fancy biscuits with healthy ingredients. I can’t even remember them, much less pronounce them. She tries to get me to cook like that all the time.
I offered up a country ham biscuit.
“People around here don’t know about country ham,” I said. “They’d love it.”
I don’t, but my mother does.
“Then there’s barbecue. Good old Southern barbecue with slaw on it,” I said.
They went off on some tangent I didn’t recognize and I mentioned the dessert biscuits like raisin and cinnamon biscuits dripping in icing. Mary Susan probably wanted to use nutmeg for that. She doesn’t understand why I don’t like nutmeg. I just don’t. I’m 65 years old and I don’t have to like nutmeg. Nobody’s the boss of me.
There was chicken. I think they wanted something grilled with spinach or kale or dripping with aioli, which, face it, is French mayonnaise. Let’s not go there with the differences in mayonnaise. Kraft is the only true mayonnaise to even consider putting on a biscuit.
I had a brainstorm.
“How about a fried bologna biscuit? That’s Southern. Nobody out here has had fried bologna ... dripping with melted Velveeta cheese,” I said. I craved those sandwiches when I was pregnant once decades ago.
Dennis was gagging.
“No fried bologna. I still have nightmares about that,” he said.
“Have you not gotten over that yet, Dennis?” I asked, tension rising in my voice.
“No. I was traumatized,” he said.
And there we went again. We had to rehash the past and try once again to synthesize our memories of the past into one harmonious image.
You see, when Dennis was 9 or 10, I fixed fried bologna sandwiches for lunch. While the other children gobbled them up, he refused to eat his. Looking back, I should have avoided the power struggle and made him a PB&J, but I told him he had to eat it or go to his room.
And once you are in a power struggle with a child, you’d better win it.
He gladly went to his room, refusing to take the sandwich with him, so I followed him up, put it in the room with him and told him he couldn’t come out until he had eaten it.
He stayed and stayed and after a while I checked on him to find him crying. But he said he had eaten the sandwich. Then I found it in his wastebasket. I guess he couldn’t get the screen off to throw it out the window.
I should have realized what a serious matter we had on our hands because he usually was totally honest. I guess the bologna made him do it.
And we went around and around again. I finally lost and told him he didn’t have to eat the darn sandwich. He cried more. I was upset. And that was how he developed Traumatic Fried Bologna Stress Syndrome. He has never eaten anything close to that since and his four daughters, who have grown up in Utah, have never enjoyed one.
I’m not even sure why I haven’t tried to foist that Southern delicacy upon them when I have been out there. Maybe because I looked up “mechanically separated meat” once and haven’t eaten bologna since.
Plus Mary Susan has a fit at the thought of eating Velveeta cheese. I’m not sure it’s really cheese anyway, but it sure makes a good grilled cheese sandwich.
So that is why if Dennis ever gets his dream of a food truck, there will be no fried bologna biscuit. It’s all my fault, but then, isn’t everything a mother’s fault in the end?
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to hate fried bologna.
Elzey is a freelance writer for the Register & Bee. She can be reached at email@example.com or (434) 791-7991.