Of course, the beans and rice came in many forms, soup, burritos, tostadas, frijoles, and sandwiches (not as awful as you would think, as long as you have ketchup). So the fare was budget minded, but we almost always had cake in the house, but we had to be the ones who made it. We learned early to make a cake mix and frost the finished cake. My mother developed an easy frosting recipe that any kid could make: One box of powdered sugar, one cube of butter or margarine, pinch salt, 6 T of canned milk, and any flavor you wanted of extract (1 tsp). If we added cocoa, we might put in a little more milk. One time my little brother Joel was trying to frost a cake and came to tell me that the frosting was too soupy. "How many tablespoons of milk did you put in?" I asked. "16" he replied. "It's supposed to be 6!!" I squealed, horrified. But, ruined or not, it was food, and we ate it. We ridiculed the cook, but we ate it.
We were very very healthy kids. Other kids got flu, colds and injuries, we did not much go in for that. It was so rare to stay home from school that it was sort of a treat. I remember being served chicken bouillon with bits of green onion floating on top, chorizo because it was spicy, and soft boiled eggs with butter in a golden pool on top. If my grandmother was in residence, she would make us atole, a Mexican drink that is supposed to settle the digestive tract (is that not an elegant way to avoid mentioning diarrhea?) It was made with browned flour or masa and cinnamon sticks and had a very distinctive taste, quite nice actually. And we had the undivided attention of my mother, another treat in a household with 6 kids.
At work today Darsey was telling me about her stove for some reason, and mentioned that she had a gas stove. That made me think about how I used to heat tortillas on our gas stove and how I never had hair on my hands because it had been scorched off while heating tortillas. Darsey said, yuk, the smell of burning hair, but I realized that I have always associated the smell of burning hair with hot tortillas dripping with melted butter, so to me, not a bad thing.
I am going to sew and knit this weekend, so may as well go get started on it...