Sunday, January 13, 2008

Midnight Pinwheels of Death

The appearance of the pinwheel sandwich in SheenaVilleLand means Something Big Is Going On. Sheena was very glad to have re-learned this Lost Art of Church Basement Cuisine last year.

With heavy heart, the pinwheeling this week was for her Crazy Baba's funeral lunch up in the frozen Manitoba hinterland.

After a difficult evening and endless nervous indulgence in food pickery... the leftover bits of real ham the mayor's wife brought over... the stinky lazy holubchi that is like fake cabbage rolls without the rolls, the bags upon bags of frozen perogies... at last the womenfolk got to work.

Essential and most critical task is the right crust removal technique. Crust don't roll and will ruin the most delicately mayo-whipped canned ham. If this part ain't done right in step one, the whole funeral will be ruined. Had to teach this to a newbie.

Mix up your choice of canned meat and Miracle Whip. Mayonnaise can be used in emergency situations. Ensure chopped pickles and canned olives touch everything so the sour-vile tinny taste reminds everyone that this is NOT a fun day.

Spread the meat mixture on the crustless slightly squashed down bread.

When spread and rolled, tightly wrap the sandwich logs in fake Saran Wrap from the dollar store in the next town over. Place on a cookie sheet and let rest overnight in a cold place like the swing on the back porch or the boot rack in the front porch.

After a restless night on a borrowed bed, get up and have a pot of coffee. Have a late breakfast of whatever wasn't polished off at 2am when everyone was antsy and upset. Find the least dull knife in the sink and wash it off. Slice the unwrapped sandwich rolls into 1/2" or so pinwheel slices. Try to line them up on the trays so they look pretty. Despite how you feel.

Admit the black olive ones look the nicest, even if you feel like you are being stared at. Wipe your pickle smelling hands on someone's coat when you pretend to console them with a hug. Finish your own crying in the shower when no body can see you.

Get dressed. Put on warm stupid coloured striped socks under the navy pantsuit you'll wear when you read the verse during the service. Walk down the street with your kid brother at your side not talking because your face will freeze if you do.

Say Good bye.

And stuff your face when it's all over with.


At 4:14 PM, Blogger Antonia Z said...

Don't you think Baba was worth cream cheese and maraschino cherry pin wheels too?

Excellent post, Sheena.

At 4:59 PM, Anonymous 40-pounder said...

Am having a toast, to your Babcha.

At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baba was worth every pickle, every olive, every teardrop that glued it all together. She was proud of our achievements. WE DUN GOOD!

Lyd, MOM, PYT and Nannie

At 8:30 PM, Anonymous spy said...


At 9:12 PM, Anonymous 40-pounder said...

Veetchnaya Paumliatt .

Forever in Memory .

At 8:54 AM, Blogger Whitenoise said...

My stepfather, a rather rough 'n' ready character, had his "service" in the Moose Hall in Timmins, Ontario. There weren't a great number of eloquent words used to summarize an entire lifetime, but the Finnish slow-cooked roast beef made me nostalgic for my childhood. I can relate.

Crazy Baba lives on through you and the warm and sometimes funny memories you've shared here with us.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Leatherhands said...

Moving post hon. Condolences. Just had my second funeral in two weeks...first one for the old Dad-In -Law, then the wife's best friend's dad last night. They both still lived on the same street, in the same old houses.
Best thing about Italians: the raw emotion and caring they all show; a real sense a family and community I'd never known. The worst thing about Italians: neighbours asking if they could buy his house. At the fucking funeral.

At 1:39 PM, Blogger raymi lauren said...

you're funny when you are sad.

At 12:08 AM, Anonymous sooey said...

Sheena, that winter scene makes me miss the Sault. Oh, and Narnia, too.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Crazylegs said...

Hey Sheena... I'm playing catch-up again (and as per usual). My deepest sympathies for you and your family. I know the feeling.

A lovely post for someone who is obviously a lovely - and loved - Baba.

At 5:20 PM, Blogger pumpernickel said...

I love youre stories about your Baba. Vich'naya Pamyat. I think that you will keep her forever alive in spirit.


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