Thursday, July 7, 2011

B16. Grandma's Kitchen

(part 7 of 8 of a series written in memory of my grandma, Ellie Irene Nance Vestal, born on the 4th of July, 1914, near Boonville, NC)
In 1986, when Grandma was 72 and I was 24 I gave her a birthday gift that I thought might help her fill her days.  It was a memories book filled with prompts for her to write about her life.  She had lived alone since Grandpa’s death in 1977, and she enjoyed writing.  I forgot about the gift, but months later she gave me a far greater gift, which has become one of my most treasured possessions, the same book, completely filled in with her memories. 
In her honor, and to share this precious gift with others who love her, I continue here a blog series of her own memoirs in her own words: 

A favorite family dinner:  green beans, creamed corn, potato salad, fried chicken with gravy, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, biscuits, coffee and lemonade, cake for dessert
Recipe for Self-rising Biscuits:
2 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons shortening
¾ cup milk
Cut shortening into flour.  Add milk a little at a time, stirring dough with fork.  Turn dough onto floured surface, and roll or pat out to 1/3 inch thick.  Cut and place in shallow pan, and bake in a 475 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
Recipe for Creamed Corn:
4-5 ears fresh corn
1 cup milk and 1 cup water
1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp shortening
1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp flour
½ tsp sugar
Cut corn from cob, and put everything in pot but milk and flour.  Bring to boil for 5 minutes.  Mix milk and flour until smooth.  Put into corn mixture and boil for a bit.  Stir often until thickened.
How I learned to cook:  from my mother, sister, mother-in-law, by trial and error as a bride, and using all kinds of recipe books through the years
Kitchen smells that bring back memories:  homemade bread, cookies, pumpkin pies, sausage, frying, hot chocolate, popcorn, vinegar pickles
Favorite foods I remember most :  my mother’s scratch cakes, strawberry pies, baked apples and fried pies;  my sister’s sugar and huckleberry pies; sweet potatoes roasted in the fireplace by my dad, all ready to eat when I got home from school
Some things I really enjoy making:  I think I’d rather cook vegetables and fruit pies than any other things, for these foods were the things my mother made best when I was growing up.  She always surprised us with the first strawberry pie before we were aware they were ripe.
Helpful hints:  As I think back, the thing that bothered me most was having everything to come out together.  Some still would be cooking and others getting cold.  It just takes practice!!
My funniest kitchen story:  One time when I was in bed sick your aunt Frances was having to do the cooking for the family.  She cooked potatoes in the pressure cooker.  Her daddy and the boys came in early from the fields, and she was so nervous trying to hurry up her meal that she forgot to keep an eye on the cooker, so it blew up.  Most of her potatoes landed on the ceiling.  Everyone thought it was so funny, all but poor Frances of course.
This really happened:  I decided to make some homemade “light” bread after we moved out on our own.  My mother-in-law was an expert when it came to cooking, especially her rolls.  Well, mine didn’t turn out that way.  Your grandpa said mine was more like “heavy” bread than light bread.  I dumped them into the slop bucket for him to feed to the pigs.  He came back and said the pigs dropped them out on the ground and wouldn’t try to eat them.  I never did know whether that was truth or fiction.

See also:
Grandma's Childhood Memories  first in this series
Grandma's Childhood World  second in this series
Grandma's Birth and Ancestry  fourth in this series
Grandma Meets Grandpa  sixth in this series
Coming soon:  Grandma becomes Mama, Grandma becomes Grandma


1 comment:

Deborah said...

Oh I love this one! I remember that story about Mama. :-) Bless her heart!