I worked for a tire company for about eight years when I was younger and the business had three owners, Darrell who inherited the business from his father and he let two other two men buy into it with the stipulation that they did most of the work as he had other things he wanted to do. Sometimes things were a little slow and the owners and the crew would play jokes on each other when they were bored, boys will be boys sometimes no matter how old they get to be. Roy lived a little bit out in the country and had chickens on his place that his wife kept for the eggs. Randy used to be a high profile salesman for a large tire company before he left to become part owner of the place I worked at and because of his “always a salesman” personality he got to go do the public relations type activities for the company so he drove around a lot in a big high profile four wheel drive truck with a flashy paint job, he was kind of a peacock and liked to be noticed. One morning Roy came in to work and told those of us who were already in the office that he had a dead chicken in the back of his truck that he wondered if anyone wanted to use it for crab bait, Darrell was an avid fisherman and crabber and so were several of the employees. No one had any immediate trips planned and then the phone rang and one of our customers from a big car lot called and asked to have Randy come over and pick up a trade in they needed to have some new tires and some brake work done on before they could resell it, the company made well over half of its money by doing business with the used car lots and they also sold the used tires they took off of the car lot cars and sold them to people who couldn’t afford new tires. About then Randy pulled up and came into the office. While he was having a cup of coffee and being told which car lot wanted him to go pick up the used car one of the employees went out front to where his truck was parked and took a piece of rope and tied it around the dead chicken’s neck that was in the back of Roy’s truck and tied it to Randy’s truck’s trailer hitch and threw the chicken under the truck knowing that Randy wouldn’t be walking around the back of it when he left to go get the used car to bring back. As soon as Randy walked out the door Mark told everyone what he had done so we all rushed to the store window to watch Randy pull out with the dead chicken flopping along behind the truck and we all started laughing as the car lot he was going to pick up was all way across town and the best route to take to it was to go right through the college campus slowly, of course Randy usually liked that part since he got to look at the cute girls on campus and smile and wave at them. We were all imagining what a jerk they were going to think he was dragging that dead chicken behind his truck and they would have no way of knowing that it had started out dead or that Randy didn’t know it was back there. Roy even went so far as to call the car dealership Randy was headed to so the employees there could also enjoy watching Randy drive up dragging the dead chicken. Then we all had to wait to find out how much humor we could derive from the silly stunt. About an hour later the car lot manager called up Roy and told him that when Randy drove into the car lot there was not much of the chicken left on the rope but he told Roy that they were all lined up at the window and started clapping as soon as Randy pulled up and got out of his truck. He said Randy then walked to the back of his pickup and saw what was left of the chicken tied there and flipped them off. We of course couldn’t wait for Randy to get back so we could find out how the girls on campus reacted to his driving through there with a dead chicken tied to the back. Randy came back in about half an hour and when he drove in no one said anything we all just kept on working. Randy waited a little bit and then asked who had tied the rope to his trailer hitch. Then everyone started laughing and so did he and he then proceeded to tell us that he started getting suspicious when he was driving through campus and instead of generally being ignored like usual everyone was staring at him and he said at first he thought they were waving at him and then he figured out that a few people were pointing towards the back of his truck but of course when he looked in the rear view mirror he couldn’t see anything since it was on the ground. He said after he drove through campus he was suspicious so he stopped by the side of the road and looked back real quick but only saw what looked like a piece of rope so he just got back in the truck and went on the car lot that was only about a couple of miles away. He said he wasn’t entirely sure what had been originally tied to the rope because there was pretty much nothing there by the time he had driven twenty miles but he did figure it didn’t start out as just a rope. He laughed as he realized what it must have looked like when it was bouncing on the road behind his truck and why the girls had such strange looks on their faces. It was not the last prank ever pulled there but possibly one of the ones that was talked about the most. Idle minds can be a dangerous thing.
For all of my life I have been told that my cats seem to have a lot more personality than other people’s. I have always thought it was due to a combination of things, one that if I get to choose the cat (as opposed to fate choosing it and one shows up dumped on my doorstep so to speak) I always choose the most intelligent kitten in the litter and I spend a whole lot of time with them in their formative early life and it has been scientifically proven to make people smarter the more attention they get when they are young so why wouldn’t the same thing make sense in animals? I also know I have a bit of a reputation as an animal whisperer because I have been at people’s houses having a great time with one of their cat’s or dog’s and the owner’s walk into the room and tell me that animal doesn’t like anyone and they are amazed that I have bonded with it. I was once given a 2 year old snow Bengal that the breeder had given to a friend of mine because she wanted to breed it (she had spent a year trying to produce a cat of this quality to breed to a stud she had and for 2 years it was schizoid and would have nothing to do with a male cat) and was hoping he would have better luck than her. After 6 months, during that time he was never able to pet her much less breed her, the most socialization he achieved was that if he held his hand out she would pet herself on it but he wasn’t allowed to pet her. My friend knew my reputation with animals so he offered her to me in the hope I could at least make a pet out of her. The first night I had her she was running around the house chirping as if she was happy and the next day when I fed her some canned cat food she let me pet her. She seemed to like it and then the next day she came up to be fed, she was a real beggar for treats, and she let me pet her without food and that was the beginning of a very sweet and loving friendship I had with this cat and she would also let my friends pet her. Never was it ok to pick her up but she would sit next to me on the couch and let me pet her. A year later she did allow a male Bengal to breed with her, I found out that it had to be on her turf and her terms, no going into his enclosure but he had to be allowed to go in to her bedroom. I guess you might be able to conclude there might be a control issue going on, she wanted to be in control. She had only one premature kitten out of that breeding and she came and asked me to help her with the tiny little baby that looked like a white rat more than a kitten and she allowed me to take her two hour old baby and feed it formula and give it back to her to keep it warm and she let me do this for the two days it took until her milk came in – so together we saved her baby’s life. Needless to say I kept the baby and I still have her years later and she is so much like her mom it is uncanny. But back to my original story. I also have two cats that are now 13 years old that I adopted from a local shelter when the male was 8 weeks old and about 6 months later I adopted a buddy for him from the same shelter, she was 5 months old. They became instant buddies and still are best friends to this day. All of my animals do have lots of personality for whatever reasons but these two older cats have pretty much have always had the same weird personality traits that they had as kittens. For some reason they have started walking on me as if I were a part of the furniture, instead of walking up and jumping on the couch next to me they will get on the back of the couch and walk right down from my shoulders using my stomach to walk on for balance to get to my lap. Why? It looks harder for them and it sure doesn’t feel that good to have their little paws dig into my chest and stomach as they “come on down” but the difficulty of this way of getting to my lap almost seems like it is the goal instead of being an obstacle. I wonder if they are just getting to be eccentric jerks or if they are just trying to bother me because I am sure that they know that they are. I guess old animals can get weird just like old people, senescent beings may have a lot more in common with each other than they realize!
This is the easiest potato casserole you can ever make I have never had anyone not like it in fact when I make them I have to add an extra half a potato per person because they are so good people eat more than they would normally. This is the amount I would make to serve 6 people and if I am lucky I will get leftovers to reheat for breakfast the next day, but that rarely happens.
8-9 medium size russet potatoes, they bake with the best texture because of their starch content but feel free to use another kind of potato if you feel strongly about it.
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmeson or Romano cheese
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions or parsley
Thinly slice the potatoes, peel them first if you don’t like them unpeeled as they will turn out equally delicious peeled or unpeeled. Take a casserole dish, one that will hold all of the potatoes with there being three to four layers of sliced potatoes in it, and lightly butter the bottom and then start layering the potato slices on the bottom of it. Slightly overlap the potato slices to form one layer and lightly drizzle 1/4 to 1/3 of the melted butter on the first layer (the size of the pan will dictate whether you will have 3 or 4 layers) and sprinkle them lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Repeat with another layer of potato slices, butter, salt and pepper. When you get to the last layer, which can be the third or fourth layer, I like it better when the baking dish is big enough to have three layers using the 8 or 9 potatoes as the finished product as you will have the maximum amount of the potatoes exposed to heat on the top and bottom of the casserole to make this dish have a crispy top third, a soft baked middle third and a crispy bottom third. No matter whether you have 3 or 4 layers when you get to the top layer put the remaining butter on it and sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper again but on the top and final layer sprinkle the finely grated Parmeson or Romano cheese on it. Place the casserole dish in a 425 degree oven and place aluminum foil wrapped tightly on top of the dish, or if it is a glass casserole dish with a top then place the top on it and place it on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake it until the bottom layer starts browning nice and evenly and the potatoes are done when you stab them with a fork, which should be about 30 to 40 minutes. Check the dish about 30 minutes into the baking of it. If the bottom is getting too brown then move the casserole up to the next rack. Ideally the top and bottom third of the potatoes should be browning evenly but if the top is a little less browned at the end that is fine as when the potatoes on done and the bottom layer is crispy then you can finish the dish by taking the foil or top off and turn the oven on broil for the last 5 to 10 minutes to evenly crisp the top layer of potatoes. When the dish is perfectly done and browned on the top and the bottom take it out of the oven and garnish with chopped green onions or parsley if you like them, if not you can also sprinkle some bacon bits on them as well or instead of. This potato casserole goes especially well with baked bone in ham that you can do in the oven at the same time. I guarantee you will have no leftover potatoes! Add some fresh sauteed asparagus and you have Easter Dinner!
As I have already written I know my stepfather had a terribly dysfunctional family and as I was growing up it came out that my best friend’s father, she lived two houses away from my house from three years old until our family moved out of town when I was 15, had served on a jury many years before I was born for the trial of my stepfather’s youngest brother, who was on trial for the murder of a 16 year old retarded girl and his youngest brother was also 16 and fairly close to being retarded as well (which I didn’t know until he was released from prison at the age of 40 after having spent 24 years in jail and I actually met him and he was definitely mentally deficient which is probably why he was released from prison as he was convicted of a lesser murder charge because of his mental state), though my girlfriend’s father told us there had been rumors that the girl had been having sex with my stepfather’s father as well as his brother. When I was a teenager my mother and my girlfriend’s mother took us to a cabin at the coast for a spring vacation from school one time and my girlfriend and I found an article in a “True Crime” or “True Detective” magazine about the murder of the girl that my stepfather’s brother went to jail for and it also speculated that his father could have possibly murdered the girl who was found to have been pregnant and her murder was speculated to be to get rid of the evidence of the pregnancy and it would have been in more of my stepfather’s best interest to get rid of this “problem” than it would have been for his son who was convicted of the murder. In any event the whole event shows more of what a screwed up family my step father came from.
Back to my mother, she died of cancer several years ago and while she was dying she apologized to my sister for being a terrible mother. She had asked me if I believed that she loved me after she had failed to help me five years ago for the first and only time I asked for her help in my entire life and I told her that I believed she loved me as much as she knew how but it wasn’t love the way I believe real love is supposed to be. That was an honest answer and as far as I am concerned it is the truth. I found a paper she wrote for a philosophy class she took from a teacher I had taken the course from, that I recommend to her to take because she had gone back to college as an adult and was looking for good classes to take, in some papers of hers she had saved and that my stepfather gave me after she died and it did nothing to uncover the mystery of why she was so screwed up only to enforce that she was. Here is what she wrote:
“Truth is stranger than fiction. So it’s said, and in this case, may be more enlightening. I have already raised my children, so my opportunity to help them become psychology healthy has already occurred. One of my children did have serious problems to deal with and it seems appropriate to this paper to explore what I did that was right or wrong and what the effects seemed to be. Related to this will be some of my own psychological problems and the insights I have gained about their causes. When my daughter was three years old, I discovered that she had a rare form of muscular dystrophy, which was not life threatening but crippling. How much crippling would occur was not then known. Two attitudes I held made dealing with my child’s handicap particularly difficult. Because my own childhood had been so miserable, I wanted the opportunity to be a super parent and make a child truly happy and I harbored a lot of guilt feelings toward my child because I was the one who wanted children so bad, not my husband. He had been killed in an accident, so I had to deal with this for a while by myself. I believe these guilt feelings led me to put up a front for my emotions of stoicism which I did not feel, while compelling me to feel more anxious concern about my child than was good for her I did not express these feelings, for obvious reasons. You can’t tell a young child, “I feel so terribly sorry for you because you are crippled.”
When Michele was six she had to have operations on her feet. I obviously did not prepare her for these operations as well as I should have. She is 27 now and the other day she said “when I overheard you talking to someone about that first operation, I became so frightened I nearly died!” I think that I should have taken her to visit the hospital before the operation, but even more importantly, I should have talked to her about her feelings, even though she didn’t ask any questions I could have said, “I know you are very frightened about this operation and I know it will be unpleasant and you will have some pain, but you will be able to walk better and I will be there with you to help you.”
When she returned to first grade on crutches, as we approached the classroom she didn’t want to go in. Her teacher suggested that I leave her and gently restrained her from going with me. I did leave her because I felt she could handle it, thought was difficult for me. I was right and within a week her classmates were competing for turns on her crutches and her adjustment to school has always been good. Her stepfather and I tried to bolster her self-image by encouraging her to do the things we knew she would be able to do well, despite her handicap. She learned to play the piano, she rode a horse well, did good art work and was always a good student. When she was in high school, despite a tendency to stumble easily, she played the flute in the marching band and never missed a step.”
Well the truth is stranger than fiction and I did miss many steps and fell down but I had pride and never told anyone and since no one who knew my mother was there when I fell down she apparently fooled herself into believing that I was alright when I wasn’t. She needed to believe I was alright in order to deal with her not being alright. The real tragedy here is the lack of my mother’s ability to confront reality. I don’t know what the cure for that is and since she is now dead I guess I will never know what it could have been in her case. Unfortunately she passed on her incredibly bad feelings about her parenting abilities to my sister, who if I thought read my blog I wouldn’t write this but I know she doesn’t so I can explore the question of what went wrong without hurting anyone although I still would love to save the family I have left from the total state of dysfunction it now stands in.
So back to why I know my stepfather is dysfunctional. Besides his father being a selfish, loveless bastard my stepfather told my mother and I that he had a pet dog while they were living in the boxcar alongside the rail road tracks in West Fork and his father took his pet dog out and shot and killed it telling his son they couldn’t afford to feed it, they weren’t paying for food anyway, they were living on venison his father poached or that the train would hit and he would bring the dead deer home for the family to eat. My stepfather believed that his father only got rid of the dog to show him that he had the power to do so and to be cruel and I am inclined to believe this as all his father really needed to do since they lived in the woods in the middle of nowhere is not feed the dog instead of killing it and seeing if it could make its own way by killing rodents or whatever it could. Not only were they very poor but they didn’t practice birth control and there were five sons born to the asshole and his mentally deficient wife, not to mention a couple of children that didn’t make it according to my stepfather and I know it was the truth as this account was backed up by his oldest younger brother. My stepfather told me his mother used to spank his brothers and him until one day he realized that he was bigger and stronger than she was and he said he took the belt from her she was attempting to spank him with as a teenager and told her if she ever tried to spank him again he would use the belt on her. I don’t blame him and I have also wondered if there was any sexual abuse involved, though I never asked him since he had already sexually abused me and my sister by that time. It may explain his sexual issues and it may not and since I don’t ever plan on asking I don’t care if I know the reasons he did what he did to my sister and I, it was wrong and all I have to cling to for my sanity is to believe that he was so screwed p it was the only way he knew how to seek the attention he needed since apparently my emotionally frigid mother was also sexually frigid as well. I am not giving my stepfather any “get out of jail free” card for his actions but after having spent my childhood with a woman who didn’t know how to love anyone she was not a good mate for a man who was also emotionally stunted. I do not release either of them from the parts they played in creating the emotionally dysfunctional family they created but I am sure that that it played a part. But unlike my stepfather my mother was not raised in an abusive household which makes her dysfunction much more of a mystery to me than his. Her mother died of TB when she was six and her father went to live with his mother and work to support them so that she had a female influence in her life. According to my mother she felt very gipped by not having a mother to raise her and told my sister and I that her grandmother didn’t love her. I have no evidence to back this up either way as her grandmother was dead before I was born. I do know that my grandfather, her father, was the kindest and gentlest man you could ever meet. One of the few times my mother discussed sexual molestation by a parent, after I made her confront the fact that my stepfather was sexually molesting my sister and I, she told me that she used to want to sleep with her father and when she was a young teenager he told her that she couldn’t sleep in his bed with him anymore. Either she lied to me that he told her not to sleep with him anymore so that he wasn’t tempted to do something wrong or she was disappointed that he didn’t want her. I don’t know if it matters what the truth is but from the 30 years he was a part of my life he never did anything untoward to me, my sister or my mother and spent all of his money trying to make sure our family had everything they needed. Either I was really stupid, or blind, and I don’t think so because my stepfather molested us for all the years he did before my grandfather died and I never had my grandfather show me anything but kindness and support, just like he had always shown his daughter and my stepfather by helping them monetarily and physically by mowing the lawn and doing the gardening for his whole life. So I absolutely know that my stepfather had an incredibly screwed up life but my mother was well loved as far as I know and it leads me to wonder “what the hell happened to her to let her allow her children to be abused?”
When I started writing stories about my childhood and incidents that continue on in my family to this day due to the terrible things that were inflicted on my sister and I by our parents I was just trying to understand why it seemed like there were so many of these incidents and also wondered how normal or abnormal what happened to my family was from what other families have gone through. It has been my experience in life, when sharing these amazingly strange and messed up events I have been through with my family that a lot of my friends and acquaintances have gone through many similar things but it doesn’t seem like they had such an ongoing and never ending string of them like I have experienced. It may just be that people haven’t admitted that their family was as screwed up and never quit being screwed up or maybe I just haven’t talked to the right people whose lives have been a non-ever ending string of incredibly bizarre events.
They only started with my stepfather molesting my sister and I as young teens and they never stopped, a lot of these incidents were alcohol fueled but I will not blame alcohol for the failings of my parents, it was their excuse to use it and not the reason the sinister things happened to us young girls.
I do know that it goes back to the childhood experiences of my parents as their dysfunction was what caused them to behave in the dysfunctional ways they did in raising their children. I can only blame my mother and my stepfather as my real father died in a plane crash before I was three and while my mother was six months pregnant with my sister and since it would have been impossible for my real father to have had an influence on my sister her issues and mine cannot be blamed on him since he never really raised us. My mother remarried when I was five and my sister was two so for all intents and purposes our stepfather was our father. I am not as mystified about what caused my stepfather to be such a horrendous parent as I am my mother because my stepfather had a cruel and unloving father and his mother was brain damaged at birth and had the mental capacity of a child and in no way should she ever have been a mother, but no one but someone with diminished brain capacity would have married the evil bastard that was my stepfather’s father. They were dirt poor when he was growing up, and I do literally mean dirt poor.
When I was about 28 years old I took my mother and stepfather on three hour trip to see a play in a small southern Oregon town that I had pleasant memories of having attended plays at their internationally renowned outdoor Shakespearian Theatre when I was a child when we would caravan down there with several of our neighbors whose kids were friends of mine and whose parents had neighborhood barbeques. The 1960’s were a far more innocent era for neighborhood activities than goes on these days, as It seems to me for the most part people try to avoid being friendly to their neighbors these days instead of having the “block” parties we would have at each of the neighbor’s houses for occasions like the fourth of July or just get together and have potluck barbeques. During the summers in the mid to late 1960’s several of the neighbors would get together and make reservations at a hotel in the small town and coordinate getting tickets to the same play on the same night and sometimes we drove down together in a small caravan of four or five families and sometimes everyone left on their own schedule but they all met up at the same hotel and went to the play together. For us kids it was a fun time of swimming in the pool and getting to go see the “grown-up” play together and then the next day we would usually have a neighborhood picnic at beautiful park that surrounded the outdoor theatre that had two ponds with swans and ducks that would beg for food and we had a really great time.
Back to what this has to do with my stepfather’s childhood. He grew up down near the area we went to see those plays with our neighbors and on the trip I took them on about 13 years after we had moved away from the neighborhood I grew up in, and have recently come to believe that some of my stepfather’s nefarious activities may have been a part of the reason we moved from the town I grew up in to a much more isolated location 20 miles away on 63 acres so we no longer were “friends” with the people I grew up with, but that is not the point of this narrative.
I had a pretty good job in 1986 when I decided I wanted to go and see a play in the town I had such fond memories of visiting with my best girlfriend, her parents and family and several other of our neighbors, and I had just bought a brand new car in 1985 so I wanted to treat my parents to my trip down nostalgia lane, though the extreme dysfunction in my family of my stepfather molesting sister and I as young teenagers had already occurred I played a large role as the family “peacemaker” in having our family start functioning as a somewhat normal (and I do mean somewhat only) family and doing things together as a family. It seemed to me that this was the only way to get past the evil that had been done and to help us heal, it turns out I may have been wrong but my intentions were good even if the evil that had been done now seems to be undoable!
My parents drove to my house which was near the town I grew up in and that they “high tailed” it out of when I was 15 years old, my sister speculates that it may have been because she found many years after we moved that my stepfather had also molested at least one of our girlfriends before we moved and that maybe we moved to avoid a “firestorm”, we don’t know that it was the reason they moved to the country but it certainly would make sense if any sense can ever be made of what happened when we were children. We had a pleasant non eventful drive to our destination and the first incident that occurred which made my mother and I decide to never bring my stepfather on a trip again was that this town has a wonderful eclectic selection of restaurants to eat at and my stepfather wanted a steak and potatoes place of which they had none so the only other kind of food he was willing to eat was Mexican and he probably picked the only bad restaurant in the whole town but we ate there so we didn’t have to hear him complain. The play was good and the next morning we had no problem finding a good restaurant he could eat breakfast at, lucky us! He asked me if we could take a couple of side roads on the way back so he could visit the town he went to school in as well as the place he lived in until he was six years old. He said he wanted to visit Gold Hill where he went to school at and West Fork where he lived until he went to school. It seemed like a reasonable request since I didn’t have any particular agenda for the day so first we took the one mile trip off of the highway to visit the town he attended school in. It was a pretty small community located fairly close to the town that was our destination. We drove around it for a little while as he reminisced about seeing the schools he attended and then we stopped at a small bar and restaurant and had lunch.
Our next turn off was a twenty mile side road that would take us about 30 minutes longer than without taking it, without any stops, which didn’t seem like a big deal. Of course silly me, there would be stops. The first one was about five minutes into the detour where my stepfather wanted to visit the cemetery that several of his relatives were buried at in the small town we entered into. We spent about 15 or 20 minutes while my stepfather searched for the graves of grandparent’s and cousins of his that had died, most of them before he married my mother. After that boring stop for me, but apparently sentimental and necessary for him, we continued on down the road. After about 10 or 15 minutes he said “this kind of looks like the place” and I am looking at the side of the road next to railroad tracks and getting a little confused. We continued on and he said “this is it, right here.” I pulled my car off the main –non main- road and said “what do you mean this is it, there is nothing here?” At this point my mother started laughing and said “did you think we were going to an actual place?” I said “of course I did. What do you mean?” In the meantime my stepfather had gotten out of the car and was walking around looking at the ground on the other side of the railroad tracks. My mother said “Dave grew up in a boxcar along the side of the railroad tracks, it isn’t here anymore.” I said “Well then what is he looking for?” She said “he is looking for the spot the boxcar was located at off of the side of the railroad tracks.” I was sort of dumbfounded, he was looking for something that was only there in his imagination, wonderful! So I got out and mom and I walked over to where my stepfather was walking around. He pointed at a wide spot next to the tracks and said “this is where the boxcar was and over here was our garden.” Well you would definitely have to know this as all there was were a few possibly strategically placed rocks and some old pieces of wood. He then said “yes, this is it.” He seemed pleased and I was amazed that we had come in search of a wide spot on the road that only he could possibly have any desire to see and not only that he could he could barely even find it. I looked at my mother and said “why didn’t you tell me we were looking for nothing?” She said “I thought you knew he grew up in a boxcar next to the railroad tracks. I said “Yeah but I assumed we were at least looking for the boxcar, you didn’t tell me that there was nothing here anymore!” You could probably make a comedy about this trip called “Looking For West Fork” as that is the title I gave this dramedy! He seemed very pleased to have found the wide spot in the road that he called “West Fork” and this trip lived in infamy in my memories for many years and he was never allowed to come with us again, though it was more for the fact that he was such an uncultured traveler and didn’t want to partake of the wonderful food in a town known for its wonderful food as well as he wanted everything to center around what he wanted and was only willing for everyone else to sacrifice their happiness for his, and that has never changed for the whole rest of my life so far.
This is only one story in the many I have to tell of my dysfunctional family!
This is the description of West Fork, OREGON
Near milepost 19 lies the old town site of West Fork. The town was established in 1882 as a service and supply site to serve the residents of the nearby Rogue River Canyon. Interpretive panels depict life in West Fork and along Cow Creek during the latter part of the 19th century.
I love food, all kinds of food, but I have had to “deal” with people who don’t love all kinds of food and many who won’t or haven’t ever tried more foods than they have already tried before I have met them. I will say that I have “turned” a great many people that I have cooked for to try things they thought they didn’t like, most of the time it was because they had never been offered the dishes I served them and once they were they found a whole new world of food they didn’t know existed. I will not pretend that I understand this or would ever be “with” someone who is not open to eating all varieties of edible treasures and cuisines from all over the world but I have been forced to deal with the spouses of people in my family that I love and have “special occasion” meals with so I have learned which foods even the most picky eaters will eat and have come to the conclusion that almost all people will eat green beans, potatoes and pork. So as much as I dislike cooking for people who are very limited in their food choices I would rather serve something to those people that they are likely to eat rather than say screw off and don’t eat what I am serving. Green beans are very good and can be served in a number of ways that are easy and quite good to eat. A simple way to serve them that a lot of “picky” eaters have never tried but almost always seem to like in my experience is to take already cooked green beans and toss them with a little salt, fresh ground pepper, sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds. Potatoes are pretty much universally liked by everyone in some form and safe but not boring is to take fresh steamed red potatoes and mix them with some butter, salt, fresh ground pepper and chopped parsley and it satisfies me and almost everyone else that I have served them to. Pork is one of the most versatile meats there is and pretty much everyone other than a vegetarian likes some cut of pork. I have found that every time I make “Chinese” style barbequed pork I almost never have any leftovers and it is easy and inexpensive to make and fairly expensive to order at a restaurant which seems to appeal to the people I serve it to. To make good “Chinese” style barbeque pork can be as easy as buying the marinade at an oriental market or mixing up your own marinade at home from almost any simple recipe for it you can find off of the internet. Add some freshly made hot mustard and toasted sesame seeds to dip the meat in and you are set. This combination has never failed to please even the most “pickiest” eaters I have been “forced” to cater to. Bon Apetit!