Does anyone still actually eat sloppy joes? I remember when I was a kid living in a military brat location, my dad was gone for long periods of time. During these times we would spend most of our free moments with Mom's best friend and her kids. The kids were the same age as Brother and me and we had tons of fun together. During those long days of playing and fun, I remember three particular food items that we had fairly often. (Insert Mr. Burns-type shudder here.) They were: carrot and raisin coleslaw made with miracle whip, KFC from a KFC where they didn't understand how occasionally that oil in the fryers should be changed. I can still smell the air around that place. and (drumroll please) sloppy joes. (Insert second Mr. Burns-type shudder here.)
Brother and I never liked sloppy joes. I think it was about the time my father left us for good (when I was 5 or 6) that I put my foot down and informed my mother how we would not be eating them any more. Ever. (She must not have liked them either because we never ate them again. Not one single time in all the years I lived at home- no matter how tight the grocery budget got. I mean- there's just some things you DON'T DO.) I honestly grew up thinking that sloppy joes were one of those things like fruicake; it is generally accepted that nobody likes/wants them. So I was surprised to find them on the menu not once, but twice in the last two months of 2008 in varying circumstances.
The first time we were served them (in November), they caught my unsuspecting children by surprise. Because why would anyone actually on purpose serve something that tastes like/has the consistency of- sloppy joes? Hee hee. : ) Oh their faces! Priceless. I felt so bad for the sweet lady who was feeding us. She had volunteered to cook for our family as we were coming and going to/from the hospital. I am so grateful for her kind service and as we sat down to eat, I prayed that my children would be kind in their inevitable censure. She had cooked a pot of- what?- Slop? Sloppy?- large enough to feed a village in Africa for like- ten years, and she was expecting it all to go. Even if we were sloppy joe fans, I don't think we could have made a dent in the amount that was there. I started eating, feeling terrible for all the ways this sweet lady was about to get insulted. My children then surprised me by using the best manners possible. They politely tried to gag down some bites with almost no audible complaints. I was proud to be a momma that day. The lady was visibly distressed at the GALLONS- I am not making this up- of sloppy she had left over, but hey. I was picking my battles.
The second time sloppy joes graced our table, just a few short weeks later, the kids were wise to the situation. It was battlestations. The short people took their places around the table with set and determined faces and I was sure I must be reliving some scene that had played out between Brother, Mother, and me a few decades earlier. I took a deep breath, ready to begin fighting the onslought of complaints that was now so close it was palpably hanging in the air around us, when Mr. Yuke(5) straggled to the gathering. He took one look and the call to arms rang out of his mouth before he was even in his seat:
"Oh NO!!! NOT slobbery joes!!!!"
And there it was. The battle was over before it started. As we gagged down our few obligatory bites we all laughed hysterically and discussed how neither Husband or I had ever liked slobbery joes either. (Fortunately our benefactor for this second meal was not present for its consumption. Or lack thereof. Whatever.) It seems Mother-In-Law had stopped serving sloppy joes at Husband's house about the same time Mom did at ours.
So here's my question: Did your mother stop serving slobbery joes when Regan got elected too? Or did you actually have to eat them in the 80's as well? Was there some mass slop shortage that caused the disappearance of slobbery joes for three decades, only for them to reappear now? And how do we REPEAT that? I really want to know here people, so just throw up your answers on the poll in the sidebar (ha ha ha!!! That was an excellent but completely unintentional play on words. : ))
"Sloppy Joes and Cut Fruit" by Atardrac, found at Flickr.com