In the Kitchen with Annie
Why we cook for people and feel the need to feed is pretty clear to me. It’s one of the first ways I learned to make folks happy, feel appreciated and it makes me feel good too. My grandmother had a way of making everything from liver and onions to a simple fried bologna sandwich taste so good you'd remember the way it made you feel for the rest of your life. She even had a way of salting a slice of watermelon just right.
Tending the Garden Patch
During my childhood, one of my most important household responsibilities was being a helper to my grandmother in her vegetable and flower gardens, and the second was keeping up with the S&H stamp book for the biweekly grocery store trip to Piggly Wiggly. Even during the summer, she got up before the chickens came to roost everyday, and after her second cup of 8 o'clock coffee, she woke me up and got me started on weeding, watering, planting and picking. She was right there beside me, instructing me on what to pick and pull. Greens, tomatoes, watermelons and more watermelons were the staples in her vegetable patch, and we'd spend the morning digging in the dirt, and the afternoons cooking all summer long. Little did I know that this would be my first real lesson in sustainability.
The Cheese and the Peanut Butter
I grew up during an era where the government fed people, not just in food stamps, but with some of the best cheese I have never tasted in my life, called “government cheese.” Because my grandfather was a veteran, he’d often get some of this big brown box of goodness brought to him and I’d slice off a hunk of this processed delicacy and grin. The same grin comes across my face when I got either a whopping spoon full of "Jiffy" Peanut Butter, or a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. Weaknesses that I fall into every now and then when I need a little comfort, or a reminder of Annie's indulgences.
Saturday Morning Salmon Patties, Pot Liquor and Sunday Dinners
My grandmother made a mean salmon patty, served with grits and her signature four butter patty sunbeam bread, toasted to perfection. Her large slow simmering pots of collard and turnip greens with hamhocks with a fried pork chop and corn bread that made Sunday dinners, and let's not forget her delicious turkey necks with rice. We sipped pot liquor before dinner in coffee cups and smacked our lips in anticipation of the juicy greens we’d be eating for dinner. We ate very good on Sunday, and leftovers on Monday weren't shabby either. Especially when I could eat leftover cornbread dipped in buttermilk after school, which made this food loving chubby southern girl all to happy to hang out in the kitchen with Annie.