How I Learned to Cook!

This is one of my favorite quotes about cooking:  “No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” Laurie Colwin

I learned to cook from two of the best cooks in the South! I did not go to cooking school.  I learned from my mother and my mother-in-law. 

My mother was a country cook. She cooked three meals a day for most of her life.  When I was a child and throughout my teenage years my mother cooked for my father, my two sisters and me every day and she cooked big meals.   Momma knew how to make a meal out of anything she had on hand.  We always had meat, vegetables, bread, milk and dessert.  I remember having fried chicken for breakfast or a rabbit my father had killed while hunting.  She made the best biscuits and cornbread I ever ate and desserts that would melt in your mouth.   My parents grew a large garden and my mother canned and preserved most of the fruits of their labor.  We had all kinds of fruit trees, blackberries, chickens, a milk cow, and a grape harbor.  During the winter we had jam cakes and grape juice made from the grapes and blackberries, green beans, corn, green and red tomato ketchup, and lots of fried chicken.  I was so fortunate because I can never remember going hungry.  We did not have a lot of money but we always had plenty of food on the table and my Southern momma knew how to make it taste like a little bit of heaven!

My mother-in-law was a Southern lady from Mississippi.  She was Southern through and through and from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.  She was tiny, soft- spoken, with that Southern drawl, and one of the most hospitable people I ever met.  No human being or animal was ever turned away from her door hungry.  She never wore slacks and never went bare-legged to town.  She prepared great Southern meals like collard greens, beaten biscuits, country ham, red eye gravy, tomato aspic, and fruit salads.  Her table was set with her best china and silverware and guests were always served in the large dining room of her home.

These two Southern ladies taught me all I know about cooking.  How could I possibly go wrong with such great teachers.  I am so thankful that I had them both in my life. I will never prepare a meal, read a cookbook, or entertain a guest without feeling their influence in my life.