Maw Maw’s Lovin’
“Down home Southern cooking can’t be beat.
It makes us well rounded from our head to our feet.”
That may not be an actual saying down here in the South. By the South I mean the losing side of the Civil War in the US. Although I consider that loss to be winning in the grand scheme of things, don’t you? But that saying fits because of grandmothers in kitchens across these Southern states.
For me a celebration was any meal my MawMaw cooked. MawMaw would be Southern for Grandmother for those trying to speak the language, Southern that is. I’m looking at my New York and Ohio friends out there.
As a kid you sat either at a card table or at the coffee table. Be slow and it was the coffee table in front of the TV. Quicker and you were closer to seconds of the good stuff. You picked your preference. I didn’t watch TV.
No one cooks fried chicken like a grandmother. I’ve tried and come close but there is just something not quite right. Maybe it’s the healthier things in the cooking oils, back then it was bacon grease. Maybe it’s the change in what chickens are these days, or maybe grandmother’s just put more love into it knowing you’re going to fight for the drumstick because she made it. Whatever it was I’ll never master it.
The chicken was always tender inside with a crisp crunchy outside that puts KFC to shame, sorry Colonel. Actually, not apologizing, I take it back. But then there was my favorite that was always there no matter what else was served; Pinto Beans and Cornbread. Pinto Beans were my first solid food as a baby, and of course my MawMaw was the one that fed them to me. To this day if you put those in front of me, I don’t need anything else.
I tell you I can just feel the table grow as I shrink down to that little boy again. The room seems bigger. My cousins are around, quiet for once with food in their mouths. The grownups are at the table talking about things that I really don’t care about. I have MawMaw’s love in front of me.
She didn’t have much money for a lot of things, actually it was a hand to mouth life, but she always made what she had stretch. I suppose that was the Depression Era in her. She’s 91 now, and still cooking Pinto Beans, Cornbread, and Fried Chicken and her kids, grandkids, great grandkids, and great great grandkids still show up for MawMaw’s love.
I was one of the lucky ones, way back when I actually lived with her and got that lovin’ all the time. Give me the smell of Pintos cooking and a warm kitchen and I’m a kid again.
A memory is a celebration when it’s something like that. A meal to some is a certain time of year, but to me a meal is more than that. It’s a particular food and what memory is attached to it. Beans, cornbread and fried chicken, I keep saying it. But that’s because now I want it. It’s time to put a pot on.
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