Yesterday I was able to enjoy something I’ve been craving for a long time. Soul food. Yes, I’m serious. I’m a Carolina-raised country girl complete with farm stories and everything. I was sitting at work last week and decided that it had been WAY too long since I’ve had some good old fashioned Sunday dinner trimmings. With Thanksgiving holidays coming up, it’s always a good idea to brush off those country cooking skills and I was in a mood to do some homemade, from scratch cooking, so that’s exactly what I did.
On my way home from work on Friday, I stopped at the local grocery store and picked up collards, turkey necks, sweet potatoes, bananas, vanilla wafers, evaporated milk, macaroni and cheese, a block of Velveeta, a block of Monterey Jacl, a block of Colby, two bags of shredded of the same, and blocks of cheddar. I picked up bottles of Jack Daniels Original No. 7, a huge pack of drumsticks, and a box of crockpot bags. I walked through the door, put everything up, and smiled anticipating my Sunday.
Sunday morning came and we were out of the house early for our early morning church service and Sunday school. When we got home, the fellas headed straight downstairs (well, FatherWinter did, Superbug had chores). I immediately started cooking. Washing the collards and separating the greens from the stalk, washing the sweet potatoes and putting them in the oven to roast, washing the turkey necks and then prepping them. I washed and thoroughly cleaned my chicken drumsticks, got all of my spices together, rubbed it in, and let the chicken sit with those spices for about 30 minutes before layering in the bagged crock pot with plenty of Jack Daniels bbq sauce. Slow and steady it goes. It wasn’t long before the kitchen began to have a familiar smell–home. My kitchen started smelling like home.
It smelled like my childhood home in NC. I was reminded of coming home from church on Sundays and having my grandmother in the kitchen doing the same thing that I was doing. I remembered watching her hands moving so deftly across the table. Now, here I was doing the exact same thing. I looked over to the activity center and there sitting and observing everything I did was Honeybee.
I had to smile. One day, I hope, Honeybee will be doing the same thing for her family and perhaps she will have a little one looking at her while she does so. I smiled and continued to prepare the dishes that my grandmother and mother taught me. I prepared new dishes that were guided by internet recipes. It was an eclectic mix of yummy and everything turned out lovely.
Several hours later, I walked downstairs with a plate of bbq chicken, cornbread, collard greens, baked beans, baked macaroni and cheese, yams, and a nice beverage. My husband’s eyes were so excited. I got a kiss for my efforts lol. My son was much more exuberant. I got hugs, kisses, and whoohoos. Both cleaned their plates. Because Honeybee has been allowed to have some solid food, I squished the yams into a nice easy consistency, did the same with the mac and cheese, and mixed the corn bread with a little pot liquor. I gave her only a bit. She ate it all!
Later, the family sat around and talked about our favorite meals and favorite memories. Superbug told of how much he enjoyed the first Thanksgiving that our families spent together. His favorite memory was that there was so much food that no one touched the dessert table until the next day. FatherWinter shared a childhood memory of how it took so long to get to a family member’s home (long distance) that when the family finally arrived, everyone had eaten. FatherWinter and his family had to have food heated up. My favorite memory was my first Thanksgiving where I cooked EVERYTHING. I was 13 years old and I made everything from turkey to stuffing to macaroni and cheese to desserts for sixteen people. Everyone loved everything and I was allowed to cook Thanksgiving dinner (with my grandmother’s assistance of course) until I moved out and started having Thanksgiving on my own.
All in all, it was a very great day full of great memories and lots of great food.
Do you have any good food, family, and fun memories?