Monday, February 28, 2011
Food Glorious Food
I love food! Lucky for me, I do not over love it, though my waistline might beg to differ. Food equates love in my world. When I think back to childhood, some of my fondest memories involve watching the women of my family cook. Any time the family got together, cooking, grilling, even hand churned ice cream, was involved. Recently, my aunt came in from Kentucky and I was able to cook for her and my cousin. Having a new audience reminded me just how much I love providing nourishment for people I care about. It's not "slaving" in the kitchen to me, it's pure joy.
In the Harrell family, it was a long standing tradition to have waffles, sausage and tamales on Christmas Eve. I think the story was that Granddaddy gave Grandmother a waffle iron for Christmas one year. The following year, when she was wondering what to make for Christmas Eve Dinner, she pulled out the waffle iron that she hadn't used yet and made waffles. From that day, well Eve, the Harrell's ate waffles on Christmas Eve. One year, after Granddaddy had passed away, Grandmother decided to be a little creative. We all arrived, prepared for waffles of course, only to find a casserole sitting in the middle of the table. Just think what it is like when you take a drink of what you think is coke and it turns out to be tea. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that is exactly how we felt! Grandmother didn't make casserole again for Christmas Eve Dinner.
There are two things I remember my Nana making, French Toast and Jambalaya. When I spent the night with her, French Toast was what she made for breakfast. I would sit on a little needlepoint stool at the end of the coffee table, and she would bring me two slices of French Toast slathered in butter and covered in cinnamon sugar!! I didn't realize until I was an adult that not everyone put cinnamon sugar on their French Toast, bunch of weirdos.
Another tradition, but from the Johnston side of my family, was Nana's New Year's Day Jambalaya, collard greens and black eyed peas. Oh, and don't forget the cornbread!! My mouth waters just thinking about it and I am not remotely hungry. At some point in my adulthood, I picked up the tradition, though for years I made my own version because I did not have Nana's recipe. My versions were good, but when you have a specific memory of a recipe/dish close does not count! So one can imagine my joy when my mother found the original recipe and I was able to replicate the look and taste I remember!! One of these years, I am going to get back into the tradition so mark your calendar for January 1, The Johnston House for New Year's Day Dinner! It will totally be worth it!
Now, what's for dinner??
Posted by Stephanie Ann