The 1952 Faith & Freedom reader “This is Our Parish” featured stories about the Fay family, who were newcomers to St. Peter’s parish in a town called Fairlands. The family consisted of Mother, Daddy, and three Fay children: a brunette, a blonde, and a redhead. The Fay home was a big old fixer-upper that the young Fays called “a kind of spooky place.” Although the illustrated reader did not include a picture of Mother’s kitchen, I’d bet that it had an aqua boomerang laminate countertop, a matching aqua refrigerator, and lots of chrome. Now THAT’S spooky.
Some other facts about Mother:
- Mother wore an apron. She had to, because cooking in the 1950s was an immersive experience. Chopping squishy tomatoes, boning slippery chicken, and beating yolks into a lemon-colored goo were all done by hand. Flying flour was commonplace, as flour had to be sifted in a quaint contraption that sent particles airborne and made Mother sneeze. If Mother hoped to garner any ribbons from the county fair, she had to sieve the seeds out the blackberries before baking the berries into pies. And good heavens! Blackberry juice stains were a bear to wash out of gingham.
- Mother dwelt in blissful ignorance of the Food Pyramid. When it came to egg consumption, Rocky Balboa would have nothing on the Fay kids, who liked their daily eggs with a side of bacon. In the Fay household, red meat and gravy went together like a horse and carriage. Cello-wrapped pre-sliced white bread was a dietary staple. Chocolate cake was a food group unto itself.
- Mother didn’t have a microwave. She couldn’t zap some schnapps to lace her cocoa, or warm up a snifter when done sifting. But neither did Mother have to attempt a from-scratch substitute for Betty Crocker’s Warm Delights Molten Caramel Cake once the Fay kids hopped off the big yellow bus. As it turns out, their choice of after-school snack was a Juicy Red Apple.