Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Dad's Beef Jerky


Once upon a time, in a world not so full of carb-counting, lived a little girl that loved to tag along with her father to the bait store.  This little weekend adventure to the tiny white bait shack promised views of interesting sights of open bait coolers, sounds of men gathered around telling fish stories and unique bait store smells - live bait has a very distinct odor if you have never been around it. 

Under the register counter was a selection of old-fashioned candies like sour lemons, licorice whips, Boston Baked Beans, root beer barrels and chocolate malt balls.  Each box was just $.10 and sometimes I would be allowed to select one.  We would share it together on the ride home and once it was gone, my dad would teach me a trick that his father had taught him which was to take the candy box and fashion it into a musical instrument.  I thought that was the neatest toy.

Some days, my father and I would select a different kind of treat.  It was a long, thin package of a spicy cured meat.  To me, it was exotic because it wasn't something that my school-yard friends ate or even knew about.  In my mind, it was typically reserved for old guys that liked to fish and the occasional 6-year old little girl that was really cool.  When we bought one, my dad and I would share it.  The spice was incredible on my young palate and often would make my eyes burn water from the intense flavor.  If my dad noticed that, I would try to be brave and pretend that it wasn't a big deal.  I wanted to prove to him that I was special.  He would acknowledge me with a big smile. 

This was my dad's beef jerky.

Years and years later, after I became a mom and my girls were thrust into the world of carbohydrate counting, we searched for treats and snacks that were consider free.  No carbs to count and no insulin to dose.  This is when I re-discovered beef jerky.

My daughters and I were in the checkout line at our grocery store.  Near the register, were several variations of beef, pork and even cheese mixtures of jerky.  I remembered that meat had zero carbs so I quickly picked up a few to try. 

At home that afternoon, my three year old, who had been literally starving before her recent diagnosis, was eager to sample the new treats.  My five year old was always ready for a culinary challenge was trying to waste no time in opening the package.


One bite in and they were beaming!  Delicious!  Every bite was savoured and even when I noticed their watery eyes from the intensity of the flavor, I also noticed that they held back the tears with big smiles.  My girls were my dad's grand-daughters and had he been alive, he would have beamed them smiles of pride too.  So I stepped in and told them the story of the grandfather that they never met and about the little girl who loved beef jerky.

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