Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tacos and Jell-O

The two things I remember that my mother served at the table every week were Tacos on Saturday night and Jell-O that had some kind of fruit congealed in the middle on Wednesday night.

She would have used any fruit but it seems like all she ever had were apples and bananas. When she put bananas in the Jell-O they were mushy and brown, not very appealing. We used to joke about it but we ate it.

Tacos were fried in oil but she used soft corn tacos so that they could still be rolled up with hamburger, tomatoes, lettuce, grated Velveeta cheese and anything else we had handy. The Tacos were much more popular than the Jell-O and pretty much the entire family would have voted for them anyway if she had given us the choice. I even cooked them myself in the same way after I moved out on my own. You can't find then like this in restaurants. They either serve the hard fried ones or the soft ones made of flour.

I never knew until recently that we had Tacos so often because she learned how to cook them from her former sister in law, soon after getting married. My dad's brother William Bryant Green had married Eva Smith in California about 1931 and they divorced after their daughter Eva Virginia Green was born in 1933. My dad stayed in touch with her and his niece, so when my folks moved to California in 1949 they spent time with Eva and her husband Warren Wilson Sugg. Eva was from Canada but after living in California for 15 years she had learned how to make tacos and taught my mother.

In 2005 when my mother was visiting us in Memphis she told me the story so I decided to try and locate Eva. Sure enough, I found her listed in the phone book in Camarillo, California. Her husband had died in 1995 and she was 90 years old and living in a nursing home but still had her number listed in the phone book. We had a nice visit with her and it lead to me looking up her granddaughter, my cousin Allison Lynn Elliott who was living in Oregon. We hadn't talked to her in almost twenty years. So a story about why we ate Tacos every Saturday night had a good ending.
PS - after starting this post I found out that Eva Green Sugg died on May 8, 2008 at age 93.

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