Crackers and butter

Family dinner growing up… Tina top left beside my dad is sitting in a high chair, and we took this photo when my dad made two unsuccessful bids for US Congress. My dad believed that if something was broken, he would not just complain, he would do something to try to fix it. He was in a plane crash in 1986.

March 23 2022
I remember growing up my dad loved to occasionally take his “five beautiful babies” out to eat for breakfast after church. I remember we would often go to Howard Johnson's, and I absolutely LOVED the buttery square toasted hot dog buns with relish and ketchup on top.
But I was reminded by my sisters that we did not always get to order when we went out to eat.
When my parents were praised for having such “well behaved daughters” my dad would just smile. The secret, we learned later, to having well behaved children at restaurants was to give us all the saltine crackers and butter we could possibly want. We would fill up on crackers and ice water, and my parents would get to eat a nice meal and then we would all go home and everyone was happy.
My mom, was a fantastic cook, but with five little stair-step girls, she needed some respite. And my dad was happy to oblige. I remember though, how she made us homemade oatmeal or cream of wheat every morning, and made us lunches with baked beans and franks, or split pea soup with a pat of butter on top, or a home made pimento cheese sandwich. (by the way the Pawleys Island palmetto cheese is divine).
Did we have snacks during the day? Nope. We had one box of ten chocolate ding dongs cakes that were to last the week, each of us got two and they were added to our lunch. But when we got home from school, my mom might have apple turnovers made with biscuit dough and apple pie filling, or she might have some hot cinnamon toast and chocolate milk. But that was the only snack we had. The rest of the time we were expected to eat our dinner because my parents were sticklers about not wasting food.
I was a really picky eater growing up but I guess my parents figured out that eventually I would eat what they provided if I was never eating any snacks. They were right and I now have a wonderfully diverse palette of taste not just of American foods but of other cultures as well.
To this day I still love crackers and butter, but I prefer the round townhouse crackers and the cracked pepper crackers. But most of all I like remembering how much fun it was to be out with my mom and dad, in our fine church dresses and gloves, enjoying a family meal. It is the little things that count, and times like this that I can recount and remember, are food for the soul.



HoustonWorkout on YouTube, mom of five, journalist and artist and conservative who values life.

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