Saturday, September 20, 2008

How the peppers got unstuffed.

When I was growing up, my absolute favorite food was Stuffed Peppers. wasn't.

My mom would spend a day in the kitchen, the counter full of vegetables fresh from the gardens (yes, we had several), chopping & dicing & cooking up a storm in between canning & freezing. She would have a big pot on the stove, simmering for hours. It contained a magical concoction of tomatoes, onions, garlic, seasonings & beef. At the proper point, she would add cooked rice & continue simmering.

Then, the crowning glory.

Fresh green peppers.

Huge green peppers.

Green peppers that grew in abundance in at least two of the gardens. And by "abundance", I am talking a couple bushel baskets full each & very year.

Mom would wash & core the peppers & carefully fill each one with the rich saucy blend. Then she would gently submerge each pepper in the huge pot of remaining sauce and the simmering would continue. The house was filled with the savory smell of Mom's Stuffed Peppers.

We would sit around the family table & mom would ladle out our dinner. Each waiting plate would receive a huge, filled green pepper & an extra scoop of sauce.

Perfection. Well, except for the added shake of salt it always needed.

I would dig into that pepper, removing bite after scrumptious bite of that wonderful filling. I would dig around that pepper, making sure not to miss a morsel.

Until all that was left was the pepper.

A huge, lonely pepper.

Devoid of any sauce.

Sitting there.


Waiting for me to eat it.

And, oh, how I dreaded that part; having to consume an entire green pepper, all on its own. No sauce. No nothing. Just a


Dinner would then drag on for hours as I stared that pepper down, hoping it would just go away. But it never did. I would lose the battle & choke down the pepper.

But I loved that sauce!

And, come the next year, at birthday time, I would beg for stuffed peppers.

And the ritual would begin all over again.

Huge, empty "unstuffed" pepper & all.

Then, one day, I grew up, had a kitchen of my own, & realized I had the power to change things.

Big things.

Like green peppers.

And, I decided that you didn't need to fill a pot with green peppers. You could use 2. Cut in half. And fill those & let them simmer.

And I wasn't a mean mommy.

If my kids didn't like the green pepper, they didn't have to eat much of it.

And an entire green pepper would be put away with the leftovers.

So, guess what?

You didn't even need to use 2 green peppers.

You could use one.

Cut into pieces.

And simmer those in the sauce.

And no one would have to choke down anything.

"Unstuffed" Peppers


Wordmachinist said...

Loved this one! How true the things we were made to eat! I used to love my mom's green beans and bacon casserole...only I didn't! I just loved the bacon!!! Thanks for this lovely write.

Jinx said...

And thank you for stopping by!

I have this great cheddar potato leek soup that starts with bacon.

Then you can just forget to make the rest of the soup!!

Kim said...

I remember dad making stuffed peppers. I hated the smell of them for YEARS, until I tried the "filling".
Not too long ago, I wished I had one of his stuffed pepper and all!