The best recipes are the ones your mother made….the ones found on the family tree. The other day I was perusing a cookbook that my Granny authored, and I was struck by it’s prose and meditations. It tells a story, as do all good cookbooks. No fat grams, or calories, or nutrition facts…no, just good food made by hands and seasoned with the heart.
I love a good cookbook, but what I love more is knowing how to cook…I have a long line of matriarchs to thank for that…I think my husband and children join me in thanksgiving.
A good home cook can transform whatever is in the pantry into a feast, even if the ingredients are not the best money can buy. And resourcefulness and creativity are a home cook’s pleasure…what makes cooking fun. It is amazing what my mom could do with a whole chicken back when she did not have a whole lot of money to spend at the grocery store. We used to tease her and say that she could make four meals for five with one bird. Funny story, but when I really think about the wonderful meals my mother cooked when we were poor as church mice…well, I just stand in awe.
I made a pumpkin and buttermilk pie today. As I cooked these family recipes, I reflected on my Granny…now in a nursing home. She is a great cook…the best kind. Below is the cookbook’s dedication in her words,
…to Mama (Bertie Jayroe) for keeping the tradition of family meals and foods alive. Mother’s farsightedness and commitment created this multigenerational history of family eats. It contains a personal family tree from which nurturing and incredible resourcefulness is found in the skill of the kitchen and pantry…few women of today manage to create lunches and dinners from scratch every day, including desserts.
She (Mama) made the best chicken and dumplings. Her famous (from scratch) blackberry cobbler was the best there ever was. Daddy liked her cobbler the best of all. The berries were hand picked by Daddy from his blackberry patch in the orchard. Mama and Daddy raised there own chickens then. One was caught, killed, and plucked for the chicken and dumplings. All this required time, so my parents always rose early. As her children, we are very fortunate to have smelled, tasted, and eaten so well. But more so to have the values of a good home so deeply engraved. Again, thanks Mama.