This is where we grew up. It is truly in the middle of nowhere. In our fast food mindsets of today, time pretty much stands still here. My sister and I love to go home to get some of our mom’s cooking. This summer she stayed with my family a week and canned fresh salsa, made soup from fresh vegetables from our garden alone, made spaghetti and meatballs using fresh tomatoes for the sauce, and a breakfast each day that had some from of gravy. Nobody wanted mom to leave and lose the wonderful meals that take all day to prepare. Fresh spaghetti sauce? Who doesn’t use the jar of whatever is on sale for the week? I know I do. Yes, I trade taste for convenience and price.
I learned early in life that I didn’t possess the cooking ability of my mother. I felt that I should since I am the oldest child of the oldest child, of the oldest child, of the oldest child. All female. All great cooks. Well, it all ended with me. In the face of my shortcomings I once begged my mother to make a pot of her chicken and dumplings. She boiled a hen, made the dumplings in the broth and simmered it together. I was going to impress a new boyfriend and hoped this would be the clincher. While I was getting ready to take the pot to his house for a nice meal, my then 3 year old niece snuck in the kitchen and ate every single dumpling from the pot. Clueless to this tidbit, I left with the pot of chicken and nothing. My deception was revealed and I have since just fessed up in advance. I can’t cook like that.
My Mother in Law is the same style. She is famous for her made from scratch fried pies, cobblers, and pies. We really began the process for this website when she penned her memoirs telling about her childhood in a poor family living in the depression. She told of cooking on a wood stove each day, even in the hot summer. I don’t even like to use the stove in the summer and we have the air conditioner blasting full speed ahead. They had no running water, no electricity, or phone. Though times were hard they never questioned life and continued on in the only way they knew.
Both women have a history of great cooks and the ability to use what they have to not only feed the family but make it a memorable and delicious meal. I personally know of no women who cook each day, let alone cook from scratch. I’ve asked working mom,stay at home moms,grandmothers, single mothers, etc. Cooking from scratch is becoming a lost art. The way that I’ve seen it done the best is with no recipe, but “eyeballing it”, as my mother calls it.
We want to chronicle the women and tell their stories. They cooked what they had and did it out of love. The way of life, their recipes and the style of cooking is quickly becoming a lost art. Maybe in honoring them it will inspire others to try some of the old ways again. I hope so.