Both the guys were gone all day today so once the dishes were done, the kitchen cleaned, floors swept, and the rest of the house given a quick going over... I spent the afternoon on the sofa watching cooking shows (trying to rest my way out of this infection). While watching Paula Deen make fried green tomatoes and beef roast, I found myself going down memory lane via favorite foods and recipes.
I can't even think of green tomatoes without fond memories of my brother-in-law, Delane. How often I would visit he and my sister in late summer and be offered tomatoes from his abundant crop. He always planted more than they needed and he always made sure I received some green tomatoes along with those that had fully ripened. Remember... I was raised by a Southern woman. While the rest of the family never acquired a taste for them, I loved their tart taste and Delane... well, my Alabama born brother-in-law would tell us fried green tomatoes is the food of kings.
Delane's wife, my sister Joan, was known throughout the family for her chicken tetrazzini. When we realized she was near death, we panicked and wondered if anyone had been given her secret recipe. Thankfully, Jean had written it down and no one in the family was offended as we all wanted it.
When Jean was visiting, she treated me to dinner at our favorite cafeteria (a lovely and comfortable place to visit) where we both opted for fried chicken... in honor of our mother. Mom always chose the fried chicken when she ate at the cafeteria, along with "cooked to death" green beans, potatoes, and a cream pie. We talked about Mom's famous fried chicken that she cooked (what can I say, she was from Kentucky) and her signature dessert of banana pudding made with vanilla wafers. We miss her.
Jean and I talked a lot about food and family. Each time she visits, I learn something I didn't know before (or hadn't remembered). It helps having a sister twenty years older than yourself. I knew my father had made my breakfast before I went to school that day he died. I didn't remember that he had made me sausage gravy and biscuits. I thought of him this morning as I made the very same breakfast (something I don't allow myself very often as it is not exactly health food).
My daughter is a talented and creative cook and when I see an amazing salad, I think of her. She can assemble a salad that is a work of art. Although I have taken gourmet cooking classes in my youth, my attempts at gourmet salads end with sprinkling feta cheese on top. Even her Dad misses her salads and he's a "meat and potato" kinda' guy.
I've mentioned quite often that my mother-in-law was the "casserole queen". I think of her when I make Holiday Spaghetti or her Chicken Casserole. I also think of her when I use a Pillsbury Pie Crust. She was famous for her pies and quite proud of her achievements with flaky crust but one day I saw... gasp... a Pillsbury Pie Crust in her frig. She smiled and told me she'd begun using them (and frozen pie crusts) for convenience and no one noticed the difference. That's all I needed to give me permission to use them, too.
I'm not sure what my children will remember from my kitchen. Perhaps those dishes I make most often... round roast slow cooked in cream of mushroom soup, Holiday Spaghetti (like Grandma), vegetable soup (like Mamaw), or perhaps the famous "something with ground beef" dinners which come out different every time. They will certainly remember my cookies and the many goodies I made in My Precious.
I'm not sure why I found myself going down a culinary memory lane today. However, I'm very glad I did. Most of these precious ones are gone now and when I serve the guys one of their recipes, it is like they are still among us... and I'm hoping my mother's fried chicken will be served at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. :)
Picture :Apple Pie Harvest, Janet Kruskamp; allposters.com