I wish I had a picture of her basement pantry, too. She was always prepared to feed any number of people with her multiple freezers and many shelves full of food. I remember when some friends of ours decided to just stop by her house, unannounced, because they figured that way they would save her the trouble of fixing a meal, which she was sure to offer if they had called ahead and planned a visit.
So they just showed up to say hello. Of course she insisted they stay to lunch. I can’t remember what they told me they ate, but it was a full meal with several dishes, bread, etc.
She was just that way.
So, this freezer was at the bottom of the stairs. You can see the staircase on the left side, actually. She would send us down to bring up corn on the cob, or frozen fruit, or a pie shell, or some cut of meat. It was freezing in that freezer! I remember having to stop and warm my fingers up before I could resume looking for something.
Two things amaze me about the freezer. No, three.
First, I’m amazed at how much she cared about people, and how she showed that so concretely in her preparing of food. I don’t know many people who do that today. As much as I admire the trait and love it when I can manage a “real” meal for my husband or for company, I can only hope to someday do it the way she did.
Second, I’m amazed at how well she remembered what all she had in stock! She had these two deep freezes in the basement, as well as a freezer upstairs by the kitchen. And somehow she could tell us which freezer to search for which food, and often she knew which side of the freezer it would be on. Just amazing.
Third, I’m amazed at how well her freezers worked. Just tonight—April 25, 2007—I opened a jar of apple butter that my dad brought to me after Grandmother’s death. (That means it’s been in my freezer for at least three years, so I have to add that I’m amazed it survived so well in our somewhat puny freezer, too.)
But as you can see, this jar was put in her freezer in 1992! And that apple butter is still delicious! (It was unopened until tonight.)
I remember her talking once about wanting to make some apple butter, so I have reason to believe she made this herself, probably with some help.
So, we’re still feeling her love through her cooking. I think that’s pretty amazing.