Early Marriage | Part 11

by Elouise

Meat market 1960s, Lowell MA

A Meat Market in Lowell, MA 1960s

Fall 1966. A milestone. Check off that first year of marriage! We made it!

Even better, my depression has lifted. As far as I know, whatever it was is gone. Banished, even though I don’t know what it was about. Probably early marriage jitters. That’s all.

Besides, I’m not bored in the evenings anymore, and I have a stronger sense of self-identity. This is thanks to my summer work at Park Street Church, and my new position at the Presbyterian Church as organist and choir mistress.

I also notice that D has a self-identity issue at our new church. Who’s that man over there? Oh. I think he’s Elouise’s husband, but I’m not sure! I found this quite wonderful. In a kind and helpful way, of course.

I’m not in an academic program, but I’m getting a better sense for the way I like to work, the kinds of things I enjoy researching, and the way I work with a team of adult learners (the choir).

Spirituality and sex are waiting in the wings. However, the ups and downs of our personal life together are somewhat relieved. It helps to have a new, smaller community of friends that includes other young couples. It isn’t a magic pill. Nonetheless, getting to know them helps me feel we’re going to be OK, despite my still inexplicable responses to D.

Here’s one of my favorite food memories from our years at the Presbyterian Church.

The Meat Market
Once a month, several women from the church get together and drive to a discount market. It sells nothing but poultry, meat and fish. At rock bottom prices. Fresh and frozen. Lots of variety, and always great sales on selected items.

Would I like to come along? How could I refuse? Most of the time D and I are getting by on cheap protein such as Spam, canned tuna, corned beef hash, American cheese, eggs, and peanut butter.

Here’s my list of most likely meat market purchases (an asterisk means I usually get this):

  • One bag of frozen chicken hearts (10 cents a pound on sale!)*
  • Bags of frozen chicken legs and thighs*
  • Whole chickens (fresh or  frozen)
  • Packaged frozen salmon steaks
  • Regular ground beef (ground turkey not yet invented)*
  • Pot roast – cheap cut
  • A bag of hot dogs*
  • Liver*

I’ve never eaten chicken hearts as a main dish. Too bad for me! They taste fabulous—pan-fried and then mixed with thin egg noodles and pan gravy.

Roasted whole chicken seasoned with onion and lemon (our version of turkey).

Chicken legs and thighs—usually baked in the oven using Kellogg’s cornflakes (ground up into crumbs). Crispy goodness in every bite. Especially all that fat-laden chicken skin!

Salmon steaks are heavenly. For special occasions only. Baked in the oven with a little lemon juice and dill on top.

Ground beef usually ends up in pasta sauce or in meat loaf, using Mom’s recipe.

The pot roast (also for special occasions) goes into our Dutch oven with an envelope of (high sodium) onion soup mix and comes out smelling like a meal fit for a king and queen. Swimming in yummy fat.

Hot dogs? Easy and too good to resist. Loaded with mayo, mustard, ketchup and relish.

Then there was that liver. Why? I wish I knew. It was cheap; I also hated it from the very first time I had to eat it as a child. But I keep telling myself it isn’t that bad! Besides, it’s good for me, and I can learn to like it if I cook it myself. Usually pan-fried with onions. The onions are supposed to mask the liver-taste. Which, of course, they never do.

Several months into this liver re-education project, D asks why I keep eating it. He doesn’t buy my explanations. He seems to think I have a ‘loyalty issue.’ You know. Loyalty to my parents who made me eat it because it was ‘good for me!’

In my first consciously premeditated rebellion against my parents, I stopped purchasing, cooking or eating liver. It was a good year.

To be continued….

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 15 May 2015
Photo from yelp.com