Foody Friday: Recipes…

I just signed up for an online class on how to make YouTube videos. One of the main reasons of which is this blog. You see the other day I was reminded of why I needed to make them.

Our gardener text messages Cookie Monster that she will see us next month but could I please send her the recipe for my cookies (not sure which ones as they had oatmeal, chocolate no-bake oatmeal and chocolate chip ones). My response was my bog-standard…no, but she can join me in the kitchen and I’ll show her how.

bessie mae
My beloved Bessie Mae

And that is my hope of what I can be doing with this blog in a few weeks too. Inviting you into my kitchen with Bessie Mae…yes, I named my stove. (My dishwasher too…Bertha Rae.)

That was after all how I learned to cook…not by books or recipes but by doing. Want to hear the story?

I was sixteen and other than doing dishes or boiling water for my coffee in the mornings I had never cooked. You see our kitchen was already shared by my mother and Nanny (great-grandmother). But that Friday night my step-father told my mother to sit down that there was no way they were setting me loose on the world without knowing how to cook. So that night I learned to fry fish. Of course, the rest was easy…throw fries in the oven and grate cabbage for cole slaw. He made the hush puppies…that was still a bit beyond me back then.

I have told the story before of his mother Grandma Quarters (not real name but when she was little Mere-mere could not say the other one so she said quarter and it stuck). This strict elderly Southern Baptist woman told me to knead the biscuits until they felt like a woman’s titty. I have always wondered how many titties she went round feeling. LOL!

Even now when I want to make something different (I try to do this at least once a week for variety…if Cookie does it in the bedroom I ought to return the favor in the kitchen, don’t you think?), I almost never stick straight to the recipe.

His birthday dinner was a prime example. One of the starters that I made was Swedish meatballs. I had never made them before. In fact, I had only ever tasted the ones that you get from Ikea. I found two recipes…one called for dill and the other called for nutmeg and cardamom. Two vastly different sets of seasonings. When I sent Cookie to the store, I told him to come back with one or the other. The local shop did not have something as unusual as cardamom so he came back with dill. But I liked the fact that the nutmeg/cardamom recipe called for you to soak your bread crumbs in milk. So I ended up combining the two recipes…and everyone loved those meatballs. They stuffed themselves on them and barely had room for leg of lamb and Mississippi Mud birthday cake.

You see the thing with recipes is that like life sometimes there is simply no substitute for just doing it rather than reading it. So fingers crossed that very soon you will be joining me in my kitchen to learn to cook the way I did…by sight, smell, feel and taste. Sometimes even hearing too as I remember fondly counting off the pops as the jars in the pressure cooker sealed in their goodness.

Food like some other good thing I write about is after all a sensual thing meant to be experienced.

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