Monday, April 28, 2008

A Home Made Meal

After several weeks of feeling downright icky and not up to making a home made meal, I finally made us something worth savoring. I pulled out my Mom's trusty pot roast recipe, although I know it by heart now, and went to work making us a proper meal. Instead of cooking the roast in the oven I decided to use my crock pot and let it slow cook the meat, potatoes and carrots over the course of the day. Our house still smells of delicious pot roast. Mmmm.

I ran to the nearest grocery store for all the fixins around 8:00 am and had it all in the crock pot by 9:00. At 5:30 pm, Gregg was carving the meat while I prepared the sides. Although, there wasn't much carving to be done as the meat just fell apart, it was that tender. For the little effort that I put into the meal it felt like I had prepared a feast. We gobbled up as much as we could eat and thankfully put the leftovers in the fridge, anticipating seconds tomorrow.

There really is no substitute for a home cooked meal. The convenience of the drive thru is exactly that, convenience, but there is no substance to what you bring home. I realized today that I need to cook more often for my family. The meal is much more enjoyable not to mention healthier. I was proud of myself as my little family sat at the dinning table and feasted on the meal I made for them. Violet dipped her green beans in ketchup, not unlike her Great-Aunt Debbie did when she was younger. Is it possible Aunt Debbie still does this? Watching Violet dip her green beans in the ketchup made me wonder about Aunt Debbie's current eating preferences and I need to ask her the next time we talk. Which reminds me, I need to call my Aunts and catch up with them, it's been too long since we've talked.

It's amazing what a family meal can bring to your mind. You catch glimpses of your past and desire to pass along certain traditions. Will Violet make her MiMi's pot roast when she's older? How about her Great-Great Granny's chicken and dumplings? That's the next recipe I need to pull out and try my hand at. In making the meals I grew up on, I feel like I am passing on a bit of history to my daughter. I can't wait to share the stories that go along with certain meals to Violet.

I love the story my Mother tells of Daddy and my Great Granny's chicken and dumplings. My parents hadn't been married very long when my Mom asked my Great Granny to teach her how to make her famous chicken and dumplings. This happened to be my Dad's favorite meal of my Great Granny's. So, while my Dad was at work one day, Mom and Great Granny went to work in the kitchen. Great Granny had never written the recipe down, it was just one of the many meals she threw together. Mom sat in Great Granny's kitchen and wrote down every thing she did, watching as Great Granny turned simple ingredients into one her most requested meals. Mom didn't touch a single thing other than paper and pen.

After the chicken and dumplings were cooked to perfection, my Great Granny took enough of the meal for her dinner and sent the rest home with my Mom. Mom was beyond proud of herself because she finally had Great Granny's recipe and could surprise Daddy with his favorite meal. As my parents sat to eat that night, my Dad looked at Mom and told her that the dumplings were good but, "They're not as good as your Grandmother's." To this day he swears that is the one and only time my Great Granny messed up her signature dish.

I never ate a meal of my Great Granny's that wasn't tasty. She worked wonders in her kitchen. Great Granny's hands moved with confidence in everything she touched and her meals were short of being called masterpieces. I love my Dad, and think the world of him, but I think he couldn't conceive the possibility of my Mom making a meal as good as her Grandmother's because that would have taken her off her pedestal of master cook.

My Mom has gone on to master my Great Granny's chicken and dumplings. I need to have her walk me through the recipe when Violet and I visit them in June. Just like my Mom's pot roast, Great Granny's chicken and dumplings are comfort food to me. These are just a few of the many recipes I hope to teach Violet someday. While teaching my daughter these recipes I will be teaching her about her family and where she comes from. Maybe someday Violet will teach these recipes to her own children, passing along the stories and traditions of the comfort foods that her Mommy grew up with as a child.

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