April 26, 2011

The Endlessness of it All

Yesterday and Today
Himself: Actually got everything written while on the road. Today will meet me at Liberty Station, the old NTC, for a meeting with the Quieter Home Program folks.

Herself: Swim, school, meet G. Day 2 of WW. Graphics card going....everything is streaming to the right.

One year when I was a child, mother bought a whole sheep. She had it butchered and rented a freezer locker to store all those cut up parts and orts. She loved lamb. Perhaps buying this whole animal was all in the name of saving money.

Endless mutton dinners began to fill our lives. Nothing adventuresome. Mother was a far better architectural engineer than cook. Clumps of mutton arrived at the table. Structurally sound stuff that was very difficult to cut. Impossible to chew too. After months of this, the meals became completely intolerable. I’d break out in hives…which she ignored. When I began vomiting at the dinner table, things were a little harder to disregard. She did anyway. Thinking I did it on purpose, she sent me to bed with bread and milk. Oh, that was heaven.

The moment I graduated from high school, I ran away from home and joined the Army. Yes, I was done with mother’s expectations and her food too. Yes, I picked my branch of the service by choosing a uniform I liked, arrived at basic training, and immediately discovered Army food. All I could eat, no mutton at all, no hives either, plus at the end a husband named Paul Hawkins.

Bob Miller joined Paul and me our first year in Hollywood. He needed a place to sleep, and we needed help with our rent. He introduced us to his macaroni and beef casserole which followed us through many houses, apartments, and years. By the time Paul Hawkins, two kids, and I found a house near the sloughs in Imperial Beach to the South of San Diego, Bob had moved on. We both started college on the GI Bill, and we both worked two jobs. Not a sheep of any age was to be seen, nor mutton or lamb, instead these were the austere years of endless Bob’s Dinner’s.

More folks joined us moving apartment, to cottage, to house with us. Our friend Bobbie took to calling us a commune. During the week, I would make giant pots of Bob’s dinners, and on weekends I would make more containers of Bob’s dinners with even bigger bowls of salads. When homework was done, the house and yard were filled with sun lovers. One corner of the yard was quiet. Paul Waltz and Francis Jeffrey smoked dope and sat yoga….often naked sometimes standing on their heads. I could often be found in the tub with a book and a glass of wine. Mutton memories faded as most of the crowds began to eat at little better. On television the French Chef tossed fish and turkeys into the air, even a leg of lamb once. At home I discovered Sunset cookbooks. The endlessness of Bob’s dinners began to fade unforced into memory.

Slowly over the years, something new crept up upon us almost unnoticed along with our wrinkles. Here a constant cough…and a spray to remedy it. There a blood pressure problem…with two pills to fix that plus diet and exercise. Childhood stomach problems diagnosed at last, and with two more pills plus a well honed diet, a cure is found. The constant allergies fixed with diet again and more pills and sprays.

Oh, the endlessness of it all.
Bob’s Dinner #1
1 Pound ground beef
1 Onion - chopped
2 Cloves Of Garlic - Minced or pressed
1 Tablespoon Margarine
1 - 14 Oz. Can of Tomato Sauce
Salt - enthusiastically as that’s what Bob could taste
1 - 14 Oz Package of Noodles
1 Package Kraft American Cheese sliced.

Cook noodles and drain. Brown meat in butter, add onion, garlic mushrooms and cook until the onion is clear. Stir in tomato sauce. Divide noodles into two portions. Put half in casserole, pour on half the sauce and cover with cheese. Repeat. Cover and bake one half hour at 350 degrees. For Tim’s dinner, add red beans and mushrooms.


Bob’s Dinner #2

1 Pound ground beef - browned
1 Onion - chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic Pressed
Olive oil
1 Jar Ragu Spaghetti Sauce
8 Oz Rigatoni or Wide Egg Noodles
Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Cook and drain noodles. Brown the meat with the onion and garlic. Add the sauce when the onion has cooked through. In a casserole, put half the noodles, half the sauce, and half the cheese. Repeat. Cover and bake half an hour at 350 degrees. Serve with Paul Waltz’s Veggie Salad and Mage’s Mother’s Garlic Bread.


  1. After I buy a casserole dish, I'll try these recipes. Thanks!

  2. Visit Panera and Trader Joe's while you're at Liberty Station.

    Whatever happened to Bob?

  3. Oh! The torture of living through the mutton allergies! What an ordeal. Glad things are getting better now.

  4. I have eaten so much ground beef over the course of my life, I am as sick of it as you of mutton. What am I saying, I had a half cheeseburger today. Only a half. Desperate people do desparate things. One more week of class.... Dianne

    PS Loved your story.

  5. I ran away from home like you as soon as I got out of high shcool, should have gone to the army but didnt. Went to the racetrack instead!
    SO much meat--I gave up and became a Vegan--life is simple now.

  6. We never ate mutton growing up. I'm glad we didn't now. I didn't know you could be allergic to it. My husband couldn't believe my daughter was allergic to watermelon because he loved it so much... until he saw her lips swell up! Yikes! He felt so bad.

    So army grub was good, hunh?

  7. You know, I have never had Bob's dinners! Amazing, when I think of all the meals we have been through. Sometime I will try them - especially now that lent is passed and I can. :) Right now, we are enjoying celebratory meal leftovers in the aftermath of lent - so today, the ham bone is with soaked pinto beans & water in the crock pot. Tonight I will do corn bread, add sauteed onions to the pot, and call it dinner with a glass of red wine.

    Have I told you lately how glad I am that you are there?


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...