My Life a Bit South of Normal

My Life a Bit South of Normal

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Ah, yes.

Rayanne  remembered fondly:
"I remember that argument well.  She had been seeing Dr. Smith for years and saw no reason to see anyone else. I failed to agree.
          'Mama, you really need to start seeing Dr. Brunson.' 
          ''But, I'm fine. Dr. Smith takes good care of me. He has for years.' 
          'I know, for something like 50 years. He must be in his 80's.'             'He is 81.' 
          'How are you seeing him any way, he closed his office years ago?' 
          'Oh, I see him in Sunday School. If I ever need him, he is always there.'
          'What happens if you need him any other day of the week?' " (The New Doctor)

Ella replied,  "All of this reminds me of a wedding I went to years ago. Actually it was the rehearsal that was memorable. The wedding was at a country church way back in the sticks. Most folks had shoes on for the rehearsal; however, several of the groomsmen came in coveralls wearing no shirts underneath, but they all had teeth. Almost everyone was drinking one type of alcoholic beverage or another they had in their car. We were drinking libations legally bottled and unlike most of the group, ours were not being served from a mason jar or some vessel that formerly contained mayonnaise." 


Visiting the home of the Mother of a Bride to see the gifts the couple had received was a tradition in the south when I got married.  In fact it was more of a social occasion. In some ways it was a competitive sport. There were two sides -offensive and defensive. Offensive was the Bride's Mother with the gifts on display somewhere between a dowry - the spoils of the game and a TV show prize bank. Defense was comprised of the individual guests and the gifts they sent. One was truly judged by their gift. And if you cared about such you better make sure you sent an appropriate gift, because the game was on.


          There was a hierarchy of gifts. A place setting in the Bride's formal china, a piece in her sterling silver pattern, or four (or more) pieces of stemware in her fine crystal were considered premium gifts. Depending on the competition in the above category, in close contention followed a place setting in the Bride's everyday china, a complete set of pots and pans (copper bottoms only), a linen table cloth and twelve matching napkins (white only), a pair of crystal candlesticks, a set of sheets, or an original piece of art. A casserole dish, a small appliance (such as an electric can opener or hand held mixer), single piece of everyday china, or place mats were placed on a separate table, displayed as if they were consolation gifts. (The Competitive Game of Gifts)

Then there was Della's comment:
"That's right - you heard it here. I don't fry chicken. I stopped trying a while back. I could never get it right. Didn't matter who tried to teach me, what cook book I was reading, what TV show I was watching (even when I was holding my nose right - as my aunt once told me you had to do). I never learned to fry chicken.

While I'm confessing, I might as well tell you I cannot make a good biscuit. I can make any kind of bread from scratch - yeast, sour dough, soda, it doesn't matter, but biscuits - can't do it. My grandmother made the best little biscuits in the world. So much so that when her kitchen things were divided up there was a major free-for-all among the five grandchildren over the holder she put the biscuits in to keep them warm. Anything, we thought that would help us replicate those delicate, delightful Redband (she only used Redband) flour biscuits. But thanks to Modern Marvels, Pillsbury has saved me (and possibly my marriage) with their frozen biscuits.

For years, I could not cook collards in a respectable manner. My mother told me I needed to cook them twice - and add sugar - that was the secret. My mother-in-law's cook, Clemmie,  told me that sugar was a "no no" and you just "throw them in a pot of water, bring them to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, and cook 'til done." (Please define "Done" - I need some help here.) Finally, I found a recipe that worked for collards (that's humilating to admit). I bet I'm the only southern women who uses a recipe to cook my collards. "Season to taste and cook 'til done" just didn't cut it with me when it came to collards. When you are dealing with one of the trinity of southern cooking, one cannot take a chance.

I am about as southern as the best of them but I was beginning to think this was some special club and no one was showing me the secret handshake. You are telling me I can make a souflee to die for, a flan that will make one swoon, cajun chili chicken with lime that will seduce your taste buds, but I cannot dredge a simple piece of chicken in flour and cook it in hot oil. Come on now, I'm from "good family". . . and I never wear white shoes after labor day. What other proof do you need?" (I don't Fry Chicken)

Greatest fools are the most often satisfied. - Happy April Fools Day!!

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