Sunday, January 30, 2011

Food Memories

Send out your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will get it back.  Divide your means seven ways, or even eight.     Ecclesiastes 11:1-2

We buried my grandmother this week.  The last of my living grandparents, her passing marks the end of an era.  Eunice Read Simmons will be deeply missed. 

The celebrations of her life have put me rather behind in my blog writing, along with the rest of my “to do” list.  Tuesday night of last week, I drove to my old home in Florence, Alabama where Grandma had lived in a nursing home her final years.  Her funeral was in Meridian, Mississippi and her burial in Vicksburg.  The trip was a good one, well worth the time spent to properly remember Grandma and to visit again some of the significant places in her life.  But I find myself at the end of this busy week more drained than I could have imagined.

Some of my best memories of Grandma are about food.  I remember dinners at her house which would involve a table filled with dishes traditional to the deep south; creamed corn, heavenly biscuits, green beans which were cooked in pork for so long I’m not sure if it was vegetable or meat that I really enjoyed.  One of my most vivid – literally – memories of her cooking was of the sweet pickles that she made.  Not satisfied with their color when left to themselves, she would use green food color to dye them.  The result could have lit a roadside motel sign.  And they tasted really good.

I don’t have a recipe collection from this side of the family, but I am not completely without ways to remember her in the kitchen.  The Kris Kringle recipe from Christmas came into the family through my grandmother.  I have a number of index cards, neatly typed by my mother, which bear the instructions for dishes that have made their way through the generations to me – and, I hope, beyond.  Cooking and sorting these will be my next blog project.

Though my memories of Grandma are made up of her cooking, her gardening and her practice of faithfulness to God, church and family, all of these things are simply stitches in the greater tapestry of the powerful love that she gave us.  Through a love that was deep and imperfect, human and profound – the variety that all families will share – she offered us the very best that she had.  May we all do as well.

Below is one of her recipes we often enjoyed.  I’m going to make it soon in her honor.  I hope you will too and enjoy it with your family and friends.

Blessed eating!

Angel Biscuits
1 pkg. dry yeast                                1 tsp. baking powder
¼ c. warm water               1 tsp. salt
3 c. plain flour                    1/3 c. sugar
½ tsp. baking soda           ½ c. shortening
1 c. buttermilk

Mix yeast with warm water and set aside.  Mix dry ingredients and cut in shortening.  Add buttermilk and yeast mixture; blend thoroughly with a spoon.  Refrigerate or make into rolls.  (better if made the day before you bake them.)  When needed, make into rolls & let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.  Bake at 357o for 15 minutes or till nicely browned.  Makes about 3 dozen. – Eunice Read Simmons

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