Have you ever noticed how some females are not comfortable being single? There’s an old joke about a widowed woman living in Florida. This woman says to a man “I haven’t seen you around here before”. “Yes”, he says “I just got out of jail for killing my wife”. “So” she says, ” You’re single?”.
I’ve had friends who were that desperate. I now realize that they felt inadequate without a man on their side. At the time, though, that was a foreign concept. Okay, it’s flattering when a guy makes declarations of undying love, not gonna lie. It’s what you grow up waiting for (I’m not blaming you Mr Disney, but geez!). I just didn’t need flattery to be okay. Usually. The thing is, I misunderstood my friends. I actually figured that all those women were afraid to live alone. And that was something I could understand. I did plan to get married someday. I figured that (given statistics) I’d outlive him. And I had some concerns about how I’d cope. Who would take the trash out? Kill the spider? Have the tires rotated? Well, actually no one does that. The point was, even when I had my teenage Disney-infused dreams of coupledom, I was mildly concerned that my life would be harder, and sadder, someday without all that testosterone around.
And then I met my little blue haired ladies. In my pre- nurse/wife/mom days I was working at a big waterfront restaurant in Plymouth, Massachusetts called “McGrath’s”. It was a huge hit with the tourists, and the tour buses, and the little old blue haired ladies. There was a large group of them, and they would meet there at least once a week, sometimes more often. It was like “Golden Girls”, in real life. They’d all sit together at a big round table. I loved waiting on them. They’d all have a 3 course lunch. Every time. Before they had any food though, they’d order drinks. Those great old fashioned drinks that no one has anymore. I was just learning how to tend bar, so I made the drinks myself. The Manhattans, Martinis (The real ones- with Gin. Don’t even get me started there), the Rob Roys, Sidecars, Rusty Nails, Old Fashioned, Gibsons, Gimlets, Horsenecks, Stingers. Those were the easy ones. These ladies weren’t having a lot of sugar water with a splash of vino. They were out to have fun, and they were cruisin on high octane! I really, really loved waiting on them. They always had something to celebrate, some reason to be happy. They’d start out with a toast every time, and before you know it they’d be giggling like teenagers. They’d drink their way through the cup of chowder and either a lobster roll or a clam roll (and if you haven’t had one, you haven’t lived). They’d keep on going right through the indian pudding, or the grapenut custard. When it was finally over, they’d go off in pairs to the ladies room, to freshen their makeup. I’m not sure if it was the cocktails, Parkinson’s or just the frailty of age, but they would put that 1940′s harlot-scarlet lipstick on just a little crooked, every time. Then take their wobbly legs and crooked smiles off to more adventures.
So I stopped being concerned about being alone in my “declining” years. Not trying to rush you, or anything, Grumpy. But if you do go on ahead of me, know that I’ll be fine. I’m gonna gather a group of little old blue haired ladies, or whatever my generations’ equivalent will be, and celebrate my ass off. Every week, for the rest of my wobbly days!
I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic for those great little old lady foods. I’ve found a great recipe for grapenut custard at Hil’s Blog . ****
At What’s cooking America I found a great recipe for Indian Pudding (also known as “Hasty Pudding” in other parts of the world). I have no idea why, it’s anything but “hasty”!
***** I hear from Peter Troutman, of Scargo Cafe in Dennis, MA (that’s in “Old Cape Cod” for the out-of towners) that they are serving the world’s best grapenut custard. Since Bon Appetite has requested their recipe not once, but twice in the last 25 years, I think they may just be right! Click HERE if you’d like to take a look at their recipe. Thanks Peter!
Thanks to Green Olive Media for their photo of “clam roll” and to Elle’s New England Kitchen for the use of that lovely lobster roll photo.