If we arrived early for Sunday dinner, Mamaw would quickly rush back inside the house to drape her Davenport with bed sheets, tucking them in around the cushion corners. Heaven forbid it if one of her grandchildren should plop their little rumps down on the actual sofa fabric. But no matter, the living room was not the heart of this home. That designation belonged to place where we broke bread, and sometimes a dish or two.
Mamaw’s table was always brimming with moist and crunchy fried chicken, salty dry-cured ham, black-eyed peas with stewed tomatoes, butter beans, creamed silver- queen corn, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers in vinegar and (drum-roll here) home-made yeast rolls! There were lemon chess pies, tiny buttery cookies and at Christmas, her famous nut-cake and wine jelly with custard.
So, I guess this is more about Mamaw’s cooking than about Mamaw. But can one really separate the two? Instead of “you are what you eat”, could it be you are what you cook? I can almost taste my Mamaw as I long to go back for one more meal at her table.
Now I try to fix the things my grandchildren like, keeping it healthy when I can and eliminating all the foods they are allergic too. But, they sure like those pre-made puddings in the plastic cups and my unprotected leather couch with the big screen TV.