Hey, guess what? Today’s word is ground, and coffee is ground, so we’re going to talk about coffee again! This time, we’ll talk about it the way most people like it, made fresh from ground coffee beans…
I used to go to the store a lot for Mom, so I learned that there were two kinds of coffee, regular grind and drip grind. I didn’t think there was much difference, to be honest, but Mom made it quite clear that she wanted Hills Brother’s coffee, regular grind, not drip.
One day I went to the store and they didn’t have Hills Brothers regular grind, only drip. They had other kinds, like Folger’s and Maxwell House, in regular grind, and I was stuck: what was more important, the brand or the grind? Working it out in my 12-year-old mind, I decided the brand was more important, and got Hills Brothers drip grind. She didn’t say anything, so I guessed right.
Regular grind was meant for percolators and as such was ground a little more coarsely than drip grind. I didn’t know anyone who used the drip method to make coffee until I was at Meyer’s, a real honest-to-God soda fountain in the neighborhood, and watched Mrs. Meyer making coffee. I had never seen anyone make coffee like that, and for a long time I thought only Jewish people make coffee that way. They were across Lakewood Avenue from Weinstein Brothers Funeral Home, and the guys that worked there were always at the soda fountain, waiting for a call that said someone had died and had to be taken and prepared to be buried quickly.
In those days, everyone had a steel percolator that stood on the stove that had coffee in it. If you wanted to reheat the coffee, it was important to take the basket with the used grounds out of the pot, or you could end up with some real strong coffee. Speaking of strong coffee, my grandfather always cooked on Thanksgiving, and there was always a cast of thousands there for dinner, so he’d make egg coffee in this huge enameled pot. Must have held three gallons of coffee, and I don’t think there was any left at the end of the day. (And, if I’m not mistaken, this Monday is Thanksgiving in Canada, so if you live there, Happy Thanksgiving on Monday.)
Coffee has always been central to Mary and me. We got to know each other over cups of coffee at Xavier Grill at Loyola. After we got married, we discovered a brand called Stewart’s that cost a little more but lasted longer. Years later, I found out that Stewart’s was processed in Chicago, and their plant at the time was right behind Newly Weds Foods, where I worked for about a year and a half. Small world…
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word about Daddy Crisp potato chips. If you love your daddy, you’ll love Daddy Crisp!