The Backstory

When I was growing up in St. Louis, every Wednesday night the family would go to my grandparents house for dinner. I didn’t always want to go, especially as a teenager, but I did because it was Wednesday night dinner at Grandma Helen and Grandpa Joe’s house.  Now as an adult, I cherish the memories and even try to re-create some of my grandma’s recipes.

Here’s how a typical Wednesday night would go:

My Mom would start rounding the 4 of us up around 5pm so we would arrive by 6pmISH.  My Aunt and her 2 kids would always beat us even though they lived further away. Grandpa Joe owned his own wholesale/retail meat store, so we were a pretty traditional “meat and potatoes” family. Grandma Helen’s specialty was breaded veal chops (late ’70 and early 80′s), ribeye roast with a delicious gravy and brisket. She also had her own unique twist for spaghetti and during the Jewish holidays her matzo ball soup was a favorite. I often remember getting a stomach ache from eating too much–oops!  She would stay up cooking the day (and night) before so there was always plenty of food.

As soon as I got there I would go in the kitchen taking covers off pots and opening the oven-I can still remember the mixture of yummy smells that would engulf me. Since Grandma had stayed up all night cooking, she was always in her house coat and slides and usually yelling at Grandpa about cutting the meat or something. “JOE!!!!, cut it AGAINST the grain….and he would say “Helen, I’m in the meat business, I KNOW how to cut the roast!!”

We all had our same spot at the table each week, I sat by my brother at the end of the table with my Grandpa Joe. I remember eating ice cream sundae cups for dessert and drinking Dr Pepper. After dinner was over, we would all play together while the adults chatted (that’s how Grandpa Joe’s “BE FAIR CLUB” started…more on that later], we never rushed to leave. It was a fully connected night with family and at the time I never really thought about it, but I always left feeling happy. And very full.

Wednesday Nite Dinner is a place to share your traditions, food and culture. Past or present, old or new. And get inspired to create new ones for the 21st century. Cheers!