Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ma Mama's Cooking

I did this as a post instead of a comment because I like to see new posts on the blog.
My mom was a good cook, not a great cook, and certainly not a gourmet cook. A staple of our diet was basic Kansas farm family cooking. She made the best fried chicken, potatoes and gravy, usually with another green vegetable. I loved that and still remember that taste. KFC could not compare. Another dish that she often prepared that I have not had since she died was her own recipe of spagetti and meat-balls. You con-o-sewers (I did that because I could not remember how to spell it)of good Eye-talian food would not like her sauce because it did not have those typical seasonings, but it was delicious. Lemon ice-box pudding was a dessert that she made fairly often, with fresh graham cracker crusts and fresh lemon juice. Sooo Good. And apple crisp with the best topping in the world. But some things I hated. My dad liked oyster soup, so every Sunday evening she would fix home-made oyster soup. I hated that and asked her why she made it, and she always said, "Your dad likes it". He was strange. One of his favorite "meals" was bread and milk. He would break up a slice of bread into a glass of milk and eat that mess with a spoon. Another thing that she made that I didn't like (hated) was her homemade grape sherbet. The first time she made it, I told her I did not like it (I probably had not even tasted it) and we had a big fight, and she made me eat some. But I showed her. I threw up the nasty purple stuff all over the kitchen table and floor. Funny thing, now I like grape sherbet.
We had a lot of chicken-fried steak, and bacon and eggs, lots of stuff cooked with lard and Crisco, homemade ice cream on Sundays made with cream skimmed off the big crock that sat in the old Frigidaire, toast smeared with home churned butter and pork chops from our own pigs. No wonder I had by-pass surgery at age 60. I remember Dad had a two-inch lead pipe that was about six inches long, and he kept a roll of dollar bills in that pipe hidden in the bottom of the old Frigidaire. I guess he didn't trust the banks because he had gone through the times when the banks did fail. (Sorry, that had nothing to do with mother's cooking) During corn season, we would have fresh roasting ears every day until the crop was gone, again smeared with lots of butter, salt and pepper. Funny, now I don't put pepper on them. Oh, yes, she would make donuts; deep fat fried and each of them weighed about three pounds, I think. Another good source of cholesterol for my coronary arteries. But they were sure good. She usually had a tin of homemade cookies hidden somewhere in the kitchen filled with either chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies, or SnickerDoodles, or coconut cookies that I can not remember the name of. It was a game to see whether she could hide the cookie tin where I couldn't find it. Good days.

10 comments:

James Walton said...

Mom and grandma were good cooks but sometimes things weren't made because they were good but because nothing went to waste at our house. We raised a lot of rabbits and Grandma would fry a lot of them but the extra rabbit was made into the dreaded pressed rabbit sandwiches. We took our lunch everyday and got tired of those thick slices of homemade bread. None of us kids liked homemade bread and pressed rabbit sandwiches so we would trade the other kids at school for their store bought white balloon bread sandwiches. They loved the homemade bread and didn't care what was in them (or they liked it) At least the old chickens went into the pressure cooker and Grandma made the fluffiest, tastiest dumplings with them. We had a huge garden and a lot of cabbage, Grandma would cook the cabbage in a large cast iron fry pan with bacon grease and cook it till it was the consistancy of slimy green.... us kids hated it. We complained to Mom to just steam it and we would eat it that way, she did and from then on that is how it was cooked for us. If we showed some appreciation when they made things we liked, we usually got it, All in all we ate pretty good growing up....James

Anonymous said...

My Mother was also a really good cook. We had quite a variety to our meals but practically everything was fixed from stuff we grew. We only had lettuce salads during the summer. I remember how nice it was when the Coop started having freezers at their meat place that you could rent. That way you could have frozen chickens, roasts, steaks etc. all year round. We certainly never has any type of ethnic food such as Italian or Asian. We did have lots of good butter and cream, really good meat and lots of homemade bread and pies. My Dad used to get up and make biscuits, fry a steak and make gravy for his breakfast before going out feed the cattle. When we left the farm and the doctor put my Dad on a strict diet, Mom said she felt like she had to learn all over again how to cook. If I had to cook everrything from scratch like they did then I might think about being a vegetarian. When I think of the mess of killing a chicken and plucking and cleaning it, and trying to butcher a cow or pig, I don't know that I could do it.

Anonymous said...

JFor some reason my password wouldn't go through, so I posted the above article under anonymous. Bea Howell

wayne woodruff said...

Jim Walton, You just didn't appreciate real delicacy like over-cooked slimey cabbage and homemade bread. It would serve you right if your mom had made you eat oyster soup and grape sherbet.

Pat Pate Molder said...

Jim - or turnips !! Ugh !! I remember what a good cook your Grandma was. In the summer we would have a "gospel meeting" every night for two weeks. That meant a basket dinner (or dinner on the grounds) three straight Sundays. I always made sure I got food your Mother and Goldie West had taken...but then we had lots of good cooks and I never left hungry. After we ate, we would go back upstairs to the auditorium and sing for an hour - on full stomachs!

DFCox said...

Wayne were those coconut cookies macaroons? Were they soft or crisp? Either style I'm thinking of them now and salivating.

Phil Foust said...

Wayne, though I don't remember enjoying grape sherbert it sounds mighty good. Some of your mother's menu items remind me of some favorites of mine. Roasting ears of corn prepared by my "Sally" along with her ability to fry potatoes (cottage) brings a smile to my face, (along with a drip or two of excess freshly churned butter around the corners of my mouth).

She also made wonderful doughnuts when rendering lard from swine butchering. In climbing around her attic I still remember fresh hams being cured. She also canned different meats that were quite good.

James, your reference to cooked cabbage reminds me of another favorite of mine along with cooked turnips. Actually, I have a bit of a problem in enjoying most every kind of food ... including Wayne's oyster soup.

James Walton said...

Dad came from Maine and liked everything creamed, beans, peas, potatoes. Mom made them for him but made regular for the rest of us. He liked a lot of white gravy like deviled egg gravy, etc. He also liked mackeral soup, "clam chowda" and potato soup....James

Anonymous said...

Don, No, they were not macaroons, but some kind of sheet-cake cookie with coconut on the top. They were different from anything you can buy in a store. My baby sister will probably remember what they were and how to make them. Wayne

James Walton said...

Wayne I liked homemade bread just got tired of sandwiches with those thick slices. Cooked turnips We didn't raise them in the garden but raised them as sheep feed and Dad would pull them for us. We raised Kolirabi a cross between cabbage and turnip that grows a buld above ground so it doesn't get worms, just think about cooking cabbage and turnips at the same time. Grandma and Grandpa raised parsnips and horseradish, Horseradish has a smell when being cooked. I too like to eat a little too well.