No, I am not talking about the holiday season, or the end of the year. I am referring to the end of the college football season. Yes, I know there are still bowl games to be played. But it is not the same as waking up on Saturday morning and planning your activities around the football schedule. It’s time to pack up the folding chairs, tents and tables (all with college logo, naturally), the electric grills, coolers, blankets, sweatshirts, jackets, rain gear…
Whether tailgating or TV watching, college football plays a prominent role in our household. All food decisions are based on what time our alma mater will play. Jambalaya, chili, meatball hoagies, ham biscuits, and Bloody Marys or beer. All these foods can be enjoyed at any time of the year, but for us, they are synonymous with football Saturday.
I have no idea what I am going to do with myself, much less serve for lunch or dinner this coming Saturday. Only 8 more months before the cycle starts again. I can hardly wait!
Top Ten Things I’m Thankful For: (not in any particular order)
- Wonderful, crazy, loving (did I say crazy?) friends
- Wonderful, crazy, loving (did I say crazy?) family
- Beautiful granddaughters
- Good health
- The simple things that make us laugh
- A good glass of wine
- Dark Chocolate
- An abundance on great quality fruits and vegetables
- Mother Earth Meals fans
Time to let the turkey have his day. Enjoy, and from the both of us at Mother Earth Meals, Happy Thanksgiving!
MaryAnn & Penny
Recently Paula Deen made an appearance on The Chew. She and Carla Hall talked about food memories and the emotional responses they triggered. For me, food has been and always will be synonymous with celebration. I don’t mean that every meal was necessarily special, but that some of my happiest childhood memories centered around the table with our immediate family, multiple generations or friends and neighbors.
Grits make me think of the Sunday morning breakfasts of my youth. Always served with eggs, bacon, hash browns, biscuits and melon. We didn’t mess around in those days. I rarely make a large breakfast for my family anymore. I am not sure why, because there is nothing like a steaming bowl of hot buttery grits to put a smile on a southerner’s face.
Hard shell crabs recall memories of hot summer afternoons spent on our neighbor’s porch. The adults would always try to trick us by insisting that we couldn’t have ice cream if we ate shellfish. We never bought that line, and would have gladly forsaken the ice cream anyway. Hard shell crabs covered in old bay seasoning, the sound of cracking mallets, icy cold beer and cola – what I wouldn’t give to be sitting on the Gladstone’s porch again.
And peach ice cream reminds me of those lazy weekend afternoons when Dad would pull out the old hand-cranked ice cream machine. Three or four generations of family members would wait patiently for the ice cream to set up. Personally, I never cared for peach ice cream, but for some reason I was still thrilled by the process. As a kid, I could never figure out what salt had to do with freezing ice cream. I hadn’t yet taken high school chemistry.
In my kitchen, at a restaurant or a friend’s house, a certain aroma, sound or taste will give me pause and for a moment I stop and reflect on my childhood. The memories always leave a smile on my face. I wonder what foods will trigger a memory and bring a smile to my daughters’ lips.
I’m the type of person who likes to try to find humor in any possible situation. So, here I am, laughing about how I almost caught my kitchen on fire last week as I baked my daughter’s birthday cake. No, seriously – it was like an “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy is baking something and through a comedy of errors, the kitchen is smoking and she’s running around frantically trying to figure out what’s going on. That was me. Okay, I will walk you through my little “incident” and hopefully you won’t judge me too harshly.
Simple task. Put the angel food cake in the oven but first, need to move the rack to the lowest position. So, with my oven mitts on, I move the rack, put the cake in, close the oven door and go upstairs for the 30 minutes while it is baking. After about ten minutes my husband yells upstairs that it’s smells like something is burning in the oven. Unfortunately, this is not an unusual event in our household so I just ignore him thinking it is something in the oven that had spilled to the bottom from the last cooking event. About another ten minutes passes and my daughter proclaims that it “REALLY DOES SMELL LIKE SOMETHING IS BURNING IN THE OVEN,” but again, I ignore them because I am confident it could be nothing. Finally, the timer buzzes and when I go to take the cake out of oven, the cake is done, but the side of the oven is smoking. When I reach for the oven mitts in the drawer to take the cake out, I realize the smoke is REALLY coming from the drawer. A lot of smoke. I start to scream, “OH MY GOD,” repeatedly giving no information to anyone except panic and confusion. Once my husband and daughter run in, they see the smoke and immediately spring into action. The drawer was on fire! “How” you ask? Evidently, the oven mitts I used when I originally put the cake in the oven, must have touched the heating unit and caught on fire without my knowledge. I put the mitts back in the drawer, and for thirty minutes guess what happened? All the cloth mitts smoldered and the embers spread. Even the wood above the drawer underneath the counter was hot. We actually were very lucky the entire cabinet did not start to burn. Oh, what a story that would be.
Lessons learned: 1. Be careful of the heating unit when putting something in the oven, 2. Probably should check things out next time someone tells me it smells like something is burning, and 3. Smokin’ hot cooks like me should use flame retardant oven mitts in the kitchen!