Blogging from A to Z: April – 2016: R
The Blogging from A to Z challenge is to post everyday during the month of April 2016, except Sunday. I’ll start with the letter A – and hopefully make it all the way to letter Z. Hope you enjoy the read!
Come sit a spell with me and learn about the foods and memories of my Southern heritage, and enjoy a little Southern talk along the way… I grew up in the heart of Georgia, married a Yankee in Connecticut and suddenly became displaced from my roots. But one thing is true – You can take the girl out of the South – But you can’t take the South out of the girl! I’ve learned to eat differently over the years, but I’ve never given up the foods I grew up on. When I left Georgia, at the young age of nineteen, I knew how to cook nothing! I pretty much learned to cook by asking mama over the phone, how do you do make this, and how do you make that; thank heavens for my Southern mama! Even though mama doesn’t cook too much today, she still remembers the recipes and she’s been my go-to person every night in chatting about my Southern foods and many of her memories.
Southern Food and Memories
My first “R” food to pop in my mind is a fish called Red Snapper – and that brings to mind our family vacations to Florida – traveling in the station wagon. What fun it was to travel in the very back seat of daddy’s station wagon – and being the only child – I didn’t have to fight with any siblings on where I sat. I could sit anywhere but the front seat! My favorite place was the very last seat that faced the car behind us.
OK, let me get back on track here to the Red Snapper….. my first taste of this was in Tallahasse, Florida where we often went every summer. Daddy loved to go deep sea fishing, so it was off to Florida every year. While he went fishing out on the big boats, mama and me walked the beach, picking up shells and I remember they had the biggest gransshoppers I ever saw in my life! It was at night when I was treated like a grown-up – and taken out to eat at the local restaurants. Daddy always ordered me a “Shirley Temple” drink with the Red Snapper. The only fish I had ever eaten before the Florida trips was catfish, but the snapper soon became a favorite and I looked forward to it every year. I had a few of those drinks too, feeling very special when daddy ordered them for me.
Now lets’ get back to Georgia and another “R” food called Red Velvet Cake. Funny how lately, everything is called …… velvet cake. It’s like it’s just exploded all over! Personally I don’t remember ever hearing of this Southern cake until on one of my visits, our friend Donna bought my daughter a Red Velvet Cake for her birthday; the name certainly intrigued me, but it was the color and taste which made me search out more info on it. Where had I been all my Southern life, not hearing of it. Personally, I think it just become popular in the South – or it was one of those hidden gems just surfacing to me. But whatever it was…. Shut the front door… I love it!
Let’s think breakfast now – how about some Red-eye gravy. Have you ever heard of it – tasted it? Gravy is served more so in the South than any other region that I can think of – or know of. I think Southerner’s just make more of a big deal of breakfast. When I grew up and we spent the weekend at someone’s house, breakfast was big, there would be scrambled eggs, red-eye gravy or saw-mill gravy, biscuits, bacon, sausage, ham, fried potatoes, grits and mama always had to have sliced tomatoes on her plate; there were more foods than I can even remember.
Ok, let me try and explain what red-eye gravy is to you non-Southerner’s. The gravy comes from the drippings of usually ham or bacon fried and the drippings along with flour is stirred together to make a paste – be sure and cook a couple of minutes to brown the flour or the gravy will taste of raw flour. Water or milk is slowly stirred in with salt and pepper to taste and you have a slap ya mama breakfast gravy – just what you need to sop up with a biscuit. I also use sausage to make the other gravy, which I’ll discuss in the next letter. My grandfather only liked pork, raising hogs to butcher every fall – there was always ham, bacon, sausage on their table – very seldom was there beef – but he did have dairy cows which supplied lord of milk, cream and butter!
it was an all day process when he killed the hogs and preserved the meat with a salt cure. The fat was rendered down for lard and lye soap. Mama remembers the special treat at night was always scrambled eggs and brains! This girl would definitely have gone to bed hungry! What about you???
I think I’ll go make a pan of biscuits and some slap ya mama gravy – pull up a chair – you know you want a biscuit!
Need More A to Z -then you know what to do…2016: Blogging from A to Z Challenge
© 2016 Jeanne Bryan Insalaco