Saturday, March 01, 2008

Alternative Medicine

I just made a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies from my Memaw's recipe. No matter how rotten things are, that always makes me feel better - not just eating them, but the process of making them. I miss her so much sometimes it hurts and as weird as it sounds, when I make her cookies I know she's close.

One bite of an oatmeal raisin cookie and I'm back in the kitchen at the farm at the table that always had a tablecloth on it, the one I remember most was mustardy yellow vinyl and incredibly ugly. That table is now in my mom's dining room and still, always has a tablecloth on it. I hope that someday that table is a source of memory and comfort to my kids. Growing up, I ate many a butter sandwich at that table - and not margarine on Wonder Bread, but real butter on Roman Meal wheat bread. By the time you attempted to spread the little slices of butter you had whittled off, your bread was pretty much obliterated, but oh well, you ate it anyway and it was so good. And for some reason, my bowels always worked better after having spent the day at the farm. That Roman Meal must've had serious fiber in it.

I have more memories of Papa at the farm than I do of Memaw because she was sick most of my life. But I do remember the day Tater got flogged by the rooster. I, being the stellar, protective sister that I am, high-tailed it to the house at warp speed just in case that rooster decided that one little girl wasn't enough and started looking for more. Oh, don't think I was a completely selfish, horrible sister - I hung around long enough to see that Uncle David had scooped Sis up and was running right behind me. I busted in the back door, zipped through the back porch and into the kitchen. Memaw was at the stove, I can see her there as vividly as if that rooster flogged Sis yesterday, and turned around to see what had caused me to run in the house screaming bloody poultry murder. Uncle David came in after me and Memaw said something like, "D*mn rooster" and I left the two adults to the tending of my newly-flogged little sister. I went into the living room and collapsed into Papa's leather recliner with the cigarette burns on the arms and tried to keep from crying.

I was the only one of us four grandkids that didn't get flogged by that rooster. I like to think that it was my well-honed survival skills, but I think honestly it was because I was, pardon the pun, chicken and knowing that the odds were against me, I stayed in the house the rest of that summer. I think we ate that rooster with some noodles that fall.

Speaking of eating, I remember eating plenty of meals at the farm. Most of the time it was just Papa and us, a few times I remember a farm hand eating with us, though. If Uncle David wasn't there, Mom was the chef du jour, whipping up something that was usually fried, always delicious and there was always Roman Meal bread and butter on the table. There was a green bowl that I always remember as being the creamed corn bowl. I don't remember there ever being anything in that bowl other than creamed corn. Awhile back, Mom presented me with the creamed corn bowl. I have put potatoes, green beans and even salad in that bowl, but the only thing that seems perfect is creamed corn. Paul's the only one in the house that will eat creamed corn and I usually throw most of it out, but I don't know.....sometimes you just gotta have creamed corn in that perfect bowl. I also have a pink platter that Mom said Memaw always served fried chicken on. The other night I put our oven-warmed Tyson crispy chicken strips on in and that's as close as this girl gets to frying chicken these days, other than taking my family to KFC. While that wasn't Memaw's style, I think she'd understand.

Right now, though, I am sitting at my own kitchen table, laptop in front of me and a pink platter laden with oatmeal raisin cookies next to me. I am suddenly overwhelmed with the urge put a tablecloth on my table and set out a dish with real butter on it. Funny, though, I have no desire whatsoever to fry chicken. Thank God. That was one talent from Memaw I did not inherit and I'm wise enough to realize that. I'll leave that to the professionals - my mother and Colonel Sanders.


Lady Beekeeper said...

I know what you mean about food reminding you of someone. With me, it is tomato dumplings that bring back my great grandmother. Tomato dumplings are the ultimate comfort food. Husband, who is not the sentimental sort, claims they are actually tomato sauce with glue lumps but the dogs and I love them.

Jax said...

SO glad you better! Fried chicken does sound good! =-)

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

I heart this post. You are so totally a writer!

You may have inspired me to write about my Grandmother.

CrystalChick said...

Ahhh.... my Aunt's butter cookie recipe, reminds me of her when I make them. :)
Nice to wander down memory lane with you.
Hope it's alright that I add you to my blog list. I'm hooked!

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