Sunday, August 17, 2008

52 Blessings--Oil

This morning we voted on how to cook the halibut for supper—deep-fried or grilled. My vote was grilled but I was outnumbered and deep-fried won. I dreaded the oiliness of the fish until . . . I thought of my friend, Emilie. Emilie was our neighbor in Southern Idaho who had immigrated to the United States from Germany. Emilie was a little girl under Hitler’s regime. She vividly recalled playing next door with her Jewish friend when the Gestapo barged in and dragged Emilie and her friend’s family to the backs of waiting trucks. Emilie’s mother saw the commotion and ran frantically across the yard waving her daughter’s birth certificate in the air and shouting, “She’s not a Jew! My little girl is German.” After checking the certificate the Gestapo unloaded Emilie, but hauled away her friend’s family. Emilie never saw them again. She told us many stories of foraging through the woods with her sister and mother for rabbits and greens to help their poor diets.

We used to have magnificent thunderstorms in Idaho and Emilie hated them. Though in her seventies, she hid in her closet with a pillow over her head and quivered during the flashes of lightning and the booms of thunder. One day a thunderstorm broke while she was visiting us. She nervously fussed at the kids to come to the center of the house, then begged us all to climb under the supper table with her for protection. The look of terror in her eyes at each streak of lightning and crash of thunder reflected a little girl quaking at exploding bombs in the night sky. She trembled with each rumble.

Emilie always made sure our children ate butter while they were at her house. She constantly warned me to keep plenty of oil in their diets. In her German accent, she’d say, “Honey, I vremember how sickly we got because we didn’t have any fats in our diets. The thin little vrabbits we ate didn’t offer much and we didn’t have any oil or butter. I vremember when we finally got oil after the Occupation, we fried our potatoes in it and it tasted soooo good.” She’d smack her lips and say, “Now, honey, it’s not the oil you’re thinking of—it was thick, green motor oil, but our bodies were so starved we ate it right up.”

Tonight the crisp, deep-fried halibut did indeed taste good and rather than curse the extra calories (thanks to Emilie's voice in my memory), I decided to be grateful for having plenty of nutrients that my family needs so that we are healthy instead. (Oh, and I’m also thankful for mineral oil. I would be one itching post if it weren’t for lotion and really appreciate Bath & Body Works Moonlit Path, Sweet Pea and Pear.)
Have you ever had to worry about not having enough oil in your diet? (Is it possible in today's fast-food society?) What is your favorite food cooked in oil? What's your favorite brand and smell of lotion?


tina said...

What an amazing woman. How neat it is that you have been able to meet such people and have them share their stories and lives with you. I love Aveeno lotion. I don't like oily lotion and I don't like it on the palms of my hands! Aveeno isn't greesy. I do like Bath & Body works also. I like ALL (I believe) the fruity smells, but not the the flowery ones. So, I forgot what else I was going to write when I paused to flip from Extreme Makeover Home Edition back to the Olympics. :)

Jill said...

What a story!

French fries and funnel cakes are my favorite fried foods.

Susan W. said...

It broke my heart to think of Emilie huddling under a table, even in her 70's, being reminded of the bombs exploding around her as a young girl.

I really love all fried foods (in moderation), I think!

And my favorite lotion scents are (also) Moonlit path, Sweet Pea, Cherry Blossom... and Harvest Pumpkin in the fall. Mmmm!

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing story! I have few memories of my great grandma, but one vivid one is how much butter she would put on our rolls or biscuits. I never wondered why- now I will have to talk to my grandma for more details!

I second Jill- french fries and funnel cakes are my two favorite.

I am not the lotion type- I use mineral oil because it doesn't smell!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for sharing! I am so thankful for oil right now that I add to my babies bottle and the plumpness in his cheeks!

HeatherM said...

Jane - this is an amazing story. I can't imagine being "oil deprived", although Dr. Jackson would probably encourage that notion, at least for a little while :)

French Fries or Krispy Kremes - and really good fish n chips.

The Gold Bond lotion I use doesn't smell much, but is so effective that I have a hard time buying the floofy stuff - I feel like I have to sacrifice function for form, and I'm just not willing. It would probably be lavendar or vanilla if I took the plunge, though.

Jenny said...

I can't even imagine! We actually fried potatoes and onions last night to go with our burgers. I cringed at the thought before doing it, but man was it tasty!

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's something we just don't think of today.
I guess I gotta say catfish.
Lotion: Philosopy's Pure Grace

melanie said...

I love the stories you share! Sadly, I think you are right and with the fast food craze, I can't imagine our society with this problem. But like Heather, I could use a little less of this blessing.

Love Bath and Body Works but not the lotion, I love the body cream in a tube. My legs are never dry when I use it.