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Ancestral Cooking Forum

Re: Smothered Cabbage, fried cornbread


I loved hearing your story! Now, I wasn't from anywhere near the great state of Texas, but rather the Hoosier State of Indiana, and I could sure identify. There, my Kentucky-born grandmother fried her cabbage (just Heavenly eating!), also fried her cornbread in a cast iron skillet (probably her mother's), fried up an abundance of savory fried chicken, and served picadilly ( a type of homemade relish) rather than cha-cha! (I can't help but think of the similarity between relishes and sauces on many continents.)

Because she and her siblings grew up right on the river, the family subsisted primarily on fish and rice. In fact, according to my father, her brothers would set out lines overnight and check them early in the morning. When successful, their large family would have fish for every morning for breakfast! That contributed to Grandma's disdain for the two (even though I grew up loving both), and never EVER served either.

She did, however, love pork chops and Virginia ham, but had to give them up due to a heart problem and their high salt content. Therefore, "yardbird" was the staple of her kitchen. She also disliked grits, but my father kind of tricked her into eating some once with a little margarine, calling it "crushed corn." After she ate it, he told her it was grits, and she was none too pleased.

Everything she made, she made well. Not only did she learn it from her own mother and much older sister, she also practiced it while cooking her way through college. In part, her uncle (a Spanish-American War and WWI 2nd Lieutenant) paid her way through Sam Huston College in Austin, TX (hmmmm, there just might be a TX connection, after all!). For the rest of her tuition and boarding, she cooked for the college president and his family.

Some other dishes I remember well (and can even taste now) are Butterscotch Pie, Corn Pudding, Succotash (green beans, lima beans, corn, & lots of butter), Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Rum Cake (amazing!), Tomatoes & Cucumbers with Vinegar (definitely a tradition acquired from her mother), Macaroni & Cheese, Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie, Pickled Beets, greens (all types), various pots of long-cooking beans simmered with meats, spices, and onions, and the like. If she could grow it herself, she'd cook it and well. Of those things I mentioned above, the green beans, tomates, cucumbers, strawberries, rhubarb, beets, and greens all came from her own garden, as well as onions, spring onions, and peppers. No doubt, she is smiling on my brother David, who inherited her green thumb. He's a total ovo-lacto-vegan, who practically grows all his own food, and is also quite formidable in the kitchen!

Some Links referencing cha-cha and other similar condiments:

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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