Tuesday, August 28, 2007


A sure way to know that fall is on the way, is when the children return to school, and the commute to work is slowed by the volumes of school buses on the major streets of the city or county, depending on where you live. Even though I don’t have children at home, my grandchildren are returning to school. I love walking down the supply isle at the store to smell the crayons, glue and pencils then gaze at all the new notebooks and lunch boxes. Maggie is in the 3rd grade, Angelina is in the 1st and Peter is in preschool. Their backpacks are almost as large as they are. But aren’t they so cute?

There is something so magical about returning to school that I can still remember how I felt as a child. Maybe in a new dress and armed with my new supplies, we’d walk to school, (it was safe back then), meet our new classmates, and hopefully find a new best friend or keep an old one. Then we would be assigned a desk. How I loved that! A place for just my things made me so happy.

New books that the teacher would write our names in, brightly colored cut-outs on the walls and a clean slated blackboard with the teacher’s name written in big letters greeted us, making the atmosphere our “home away from home” comfortable and friendly. Our minds were filled with the bright hope of learning and reading time that took us to faraway places. Lunchtime was fun and they had the best yeast rolls ever in MS, and we would return to our rooms with full tummies but just a little bit sleepy. Recess was a blast, jumping rope, playing kick ball or swinging on the playground or hopscotch.
I was one of the odd children that loved walking home at 3:30 taking my time on the sidewalk, chatting with friends or my sister, Dianne, enjoying the slant of the afternoon sun and the smell of my mama’s sweet potatoes frying, and her standing at the door with the proverbial apron on, wearing brown pointed glasses with fake rhinestones, and her arms folded across her ample bosom. She was a lovely, steadfast vision of what it meant to be come back home at the end of the day for this little girl, and sweet memories of going back to school.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Staying Out of the Kitchen

I'm over this summer heat! Enough of the 103 degee Hotlanta temperatures. To prove it, here's my nice and tidy kitchen that I don't cook in when it's this hot. Oh no...it's salads and more salads for me. But actually a Chic-fil-la milkshake sounds even better on a hot day! Since my power bill is outrageous already, I try to find ways not to turn the oven on, (and I have 2 of them). Now this doesn't mean that I don't like to cook. Sometimes I actually like to. For instance, on a fall day, I love to have sweet potatoes baking and a homemade chicken pot pie bubbling or a delicious chuck roast complete with potatoes and carrots cooking slowly. I make delicious spahetti sauce, but not with meatballs. I'll give that award to Kathy Christine of Augusta, GA, who was kind enough to send some with my daughter for my freezer. Can't wait to take that out and have it one night when I'm too busy to cook. One of my quick meals is chicken burritos topped with chilies and cheese and sour cream. Don't worry, I cook this almost entirely fat-free. It can be done and tastes great. I make wonderful grits for breakfast. They must be slowly and gently cooked with butter, so you yankees out there don't compare the grits with what you might find at a resturant to the real southern dish. By the way, never could master biscuits like my mama so I buy Pillisbury's frozen ones and they are so good.
I love to cook red beans and rice with sausage and cornbread on a cold winter day or big white lima beans ladened with ham. My sweet mother taught me how to make cornbread and chicken n' dumplings. Speaking of chicken, my homemade chicken noodle soup is my son's favorite and I also make Green Chili chicken soup. Kept for special occasions, because of the high-fat, is my fried chicken. No one makes it better, just ask my kids. That's really living it up to me. I make a simple meatloaf that taste even better the next day as a sandwich. No southerner would be complete without crowder peas with okra swimming on top and sweet iced tea. My favorite. Banana bread is especially good with morning or afternoon coffee or Oatmeal Raisin cookies. For company I like to make Banana pudding from scratch--not the instant pudding you mix that you buy at the store. That stuff is disgusting. I taught my daughter, Sheri, how to bake and decorate sour cream sugar cookies trimmed in beautiful icing for Christmas and how to decorate cakes as well. Now she is better at it than me.
Uh oh--I think this is making me hungry! I can't end this without telling you (more info than you ever wanted) that my sister-in-law, Sylvia makes the best jambalaya that you ever put in your mouth. She & my brother Gary made fabulous jumbo! We used to have it on Christmas Eve when they lived here. How I miss that....Now... that Sil is an awesome cook, whipping up gourmet meals in a flash. Just get out of her way! My sister Dianne makes the best cole-slaw in the world, and her hubby makes the best wings that I've ever put in my mouth! My sister Doris? Well, there's nothing she can't cook, but she's had a lot more practice than me. My son, Jared grills wonderful steaks and his wife Amy has introduced us to some good and healthy California cooking.
Am I boring you to death yet? I just want to add that I quit buying cook-books sometime ago. I have about 20 presently. I gave a lot away 2 yrs. ago. I do occasionally find a receipe that I want to try.
So now I've made up all these excuses for not cooking because I'd much rather be reading or writing or singing or dancing. I need a cook! Wait a minute--I need a housekeeper too. LOL! By the way, if you haven't seen the movie, No Reservations, check it out. It's all about love and cooking. Great movie!
If anyone would like to send me their favorite summertime receipe, I'd love to have it. Guess I'll go fix my salad for dinner...boring huh?