TRIVIA: Nothing was better than dining at grandma's house

2011-11-18T09:30:00Z 2011-12-15T11:51:01Z TRIVIA: Nothing was better than dining at grandma's houseBy Shawn Clubb
November 18, 2011 9:30 am  • 

When I think of Thanksgiving, the first image that comes to mind is that of my grandmother's dining room table.

My grandparents on my dad's side hosted most holiday meals at their home near Collinsville. My aunt and uncle lived next door to my grandparents, while my family lived not far from downtown Collinsville. My other aunt and uncle would drive up from their home in Dupo and later from the home they built near Waterloo.

The gatherings were always large enough that the adults sat at the big table and a couple of fold-out kids' tables were set up in the family room.

No matter how many people came to eat dinner and no matter how much they ate (which in the case of my uncle Bill was a healthy amount), there was always more than enough food. And by more than enough, I mean a lot.

I often wondered how people could find space on the table for their plates after my grandmother had finished setting out the food.

My grandmother Billie Jo cooked a lot of food, much of it grown in her garden. Even today when sustainable living has become a buzz phrase and many modern gardeners grow an expanse of vegetables, berries and fruits, my grandmother's plot would stack up with the best of them.

She grew lettuce, cabbage, zucchini, carrots, green beans, squash, okra, grapes, pears, apples, pecans and much more than I can remember. She pickled, froze, canned and preserved much of this. You would have been hard pressed to find a pantry or closet in her house that did not contain preserves.

When it came time for a family gathering of any degree, my grandmother would fill the table with two kinds of meat; corn of the creamed, whole and on the cob varieties; green beans; potatoes, mashed and fried; biscuits; gravy; and more. The Thanksgiving meal would include contributions from my mother, aunts and cousin, and would include holiday staples such as sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce.

There was always enough food on the table to necessitate that deserts be kept on top of the washer and dryer, and snacks, including a beef ball and cheese ball, stay on the kitchen counter.

The stove stayed hot and the kitchen stayed busy until the time of the meal, but the house stayed comfortable until long after with the warmth of a home-cooked meal and company of family.

The topic of this week's trivia is food.

1. What is the primary ingredient of the dish baba ganoush?

2. What are the top two corn producing states in the U.S.?

3. What celebrity chef hosted the show "Good Eats," has written cookbooks by the same name, and is host of "Next Iron Chef"?

4. Does Heinz call its tomato-based condiment ketchup or catsup?

5. What movie starring Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson is an adaptation of a Fannie Flagg novel?

6. What eatery, soda fountain and confectionery is located at 1401 St. Louis Ave. in the Old North St. Louis neighborhood?

7. What does the phrase "con queso" mean?

8. What is the primary ingredient in risotto?

9. From what musical is the song "Food, Glorious Food"?

10. Lynne Rossetto Kasper hosts what food-themed show on NPR?

ANSWERS: 1. Eggplant. 2. Iowa and Illinois. 3. Alton Brown. 4. Ketchup. 5. "Fried Green Tomatoes." The title of the novel is "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe." 6. Crown Candy Kitchen. 7. With cheese. 8. Rice. 9. "Oliver!" 10. "The Splendid Table."

Shawn Clubb is managing editor of the Suburban Journals for St. Louis and St. Charles counties. You can contact him at

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