Random association happens to me. A sort of idle past time, perhaps. Free association may be a closer descriptor. Something I see triggers a string of associations that may form a cloud of images, snatched away almost before I see or recognize them. And occasionally, something sticks.
I was deep in the aisles of our free range grocery store a while back, simply trying to locate and memorize the location of items I might want some day. Lima beans, for instance.
I’d located frozen lima beans, had no hope for canned lima beans, but held out for the possibility of dried limas way in the back. The far opposite end of the store from organic peanut butter, stocked in isolation with dried fruit.
Deep in the cream of tartar section of the store, on a top shelf, I saw rye flour, and whole wheat flour. And blackstrap molasses. On the way home I asked Laura if she’d ever had Boston brown bread, a wasted inquiry of a seventeen year old, of course.
“Do you have any empty tin cans?” I asked. But, she doesn’t source food from tin cans. “You made chili!” And she had, probably last September.
We had a lot of Boston brown bread when I grew up, compliments of me. I loved it, and it really was as simple as washing clean a couple of tin cans, and keeping track of them until the weekend. Probably the only ingredient that came up short was buttermilk or sour milk, and that was as simple as regular milk and vinegar and half an hour.
Mom always had wheat or rye flour on hand, and cornmeal. I see in the google recipe, the cornmeal must be fine ground. As if! I wonder if you could even buy it fine ground in 1947. Cream cheese? When federal farm subsidies fly. There always were raisins on hand, and brown sugar. And so, a couple of loaves of Boston brown bread for supper on Saturday night.
I wondered tonight if I could buy tin cans to bake round loaves of bread. So, I set out on a search. The closest I came was little tins, three inches across and an inch high. I leaned back in the chair and thought about Boston brown bread.
Of course! It had to come out of the can by the awkward method of putting the can on its side, on something high enough to keep the top of the loaf intact, and use the can opener to get the bottom off the can. Then, use the bottom to push out the loaf.
I remember it with hot dogs and baked beans. (Boston baked beans?) With sauerkraut and pork chops. With tomato soup.
Oh no! I bet modern tin cans cannot be used.