Linoleum Shelf of Oils

In our Bronx apartment, there was a shelf reserved only for oils.  Mama kept castor oil, mineral oil, cod liver oil, and peanut oil. 

Every day mama spoon-fed us the cod liver oil.  I can still taste it today just thinking of it.  She said I needed it to be healthy.

Mama fried with Hi Hat Peanut Oil.  The bottle had a picture of a peanut man with a high hat and a cane.  Mama used it in the large frying pan to make potato and matzoh meal latkes, blintzes, eggs, French toast, and liver and onions.  Papa loved fried foods.

The mineral and castor oil were another matter.  I always asked Mama, “How do you know when I need the mineral oil?”

Mama’s response was, “Mamas know!” I asked, “But Mama how do you know when I need castor oil?” Mama’s reply was, “That’s when the mineral oil doesn’t work.”

My Mama had a special shelf in the kitchen closet for her oils.  It was covered with linoleum because they always had oil dripping down the side and made the shelf oily.  Mama said, “Oils need to be kept cool.”

Mama had a shelf of oils.

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