Country Cooking Month

June is Country Cooking Month and I grew up around a whole bunch of great country cooks in Mississippi. When I think about country cooking the first thing that comes to my mind is my grandmother and her sisters.

My grandmother, Eddie McKee: she was a wonderful cook. Each day she would get up way before the sun rose to cook breakfast for various family members who came by her house or happened to be staying there. She would make homemade biscuits, bacon, ham, and sausage (and even sometimes fried bologna.) A pot of oatmeal. Fried eggs. Red-eye gravy. Then she would clean and sort dried beans and put them on to start cooking for lunch! She cooked some kind of dry beans every day. Pinto beans, lima beans, blackeye peas, etc. And a cake of cornbread baked in an iron skillet to go with the beans. She was a quintessential country cook.

My grandmother's sister, Aunt Jim: yes, her name was Jim. She lived two houses down the road from my grandmother. She made fantastic biscuits. And her caramel cake was a legend in three counties. I still don't know what she put in her hamburgers but they were really really good. She wasn't afraid to use her shotgun on a wayward possum or snake that made its way into her hen house. And she even went after deer hunters with her guns also. She hated for people to kill deer. So if she saw the hunters parked along the road waiting for their dogs to flush out a deer, she would wave her gun and give them a cussing. They invariably would clear out of there pretty fast.

My grandmother's sister, Elzadah: her kitchen always smelled of bacon and onions. She had a small kitchen at the back of the house where she would whip up delicious soup and cornbread. The house she lived in was where she and her sisters and brother were born. Her house was where we always had the family reunion. Under the big oak trees in the yard. It was three houses down from my grandmother's house. Yes, a lot of my family lived on that road.

My grandmother's sister, Noonie: I have fewer memories of her because she died in the late 70's when I was a kid. My main memory is of her son talking about her "damned ol' white beans." She apparently cooked a pot of white beans for lunch every day. And apparently he got tired of that.

So, that is my salute to country cooking month. And I show you how to cook an old country food called poke salat on my La Wooden Spoon blog.

www.julieheinrich.com

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