Unexpected reunion spurs memories of food, friends

October 13, 2010 

  • Oven-fried Chicken

    3 pound broiler chicken or chicken parts
    1 egg, slightly beaten
    Bread crumbs
    Salt and pepper
    Juice of 1 lemon

    Cut chicken into serving parts. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Juice of lemon may be used in place of salt. Marinate overnight or several hours. Drain. Dip pieces of chicken in lightly beaten egg then bread crumbs. Place in a lightly oiled baking pan. Place in oven heated to 400 degrees. Bake until lightly browned, about 1 hour, basting occasionally.

    Waldorf Salad

    1 1/2 cups diced apples
    1 cup diced celery
    1/2 cup nut meats
    1/3 cup mayonnaise

    Mix apples, celery and nut meats which have been broken into pieces. Thin mayonnaise with a little milk. Combine mayonnaise with mixture. Serve on lettuce.

    Bread Pudding

    2-3 cups leftover homemade biscuits
    3 cups milk
    1/4 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    Pinch salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
    1 cup raisins

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    Soak leftover biscuits in the milk, which has been scalded, until soft. Add sugar, slightly beaten eggs, salt and flavoring. Mix well. Add raisins, stirring again. Bake for 45 minutes.

There is nothing so wonderful as being a part of the senior retreat sponsored by Beaufort County Parks and Leisure Services. This year's trip took us to Springmaid Beach Resort in Myrtle Beach.

Roommate Lillie DeVeaux and I picked an afternoon to walk the pier. Here we had a chance to see the fishermen with their gear, buckets and baits. DeVeaux and I never have a schedule for returning to our room; this walk is like a ritual to us and we stroll along, just enjoying seeing the moods of those who are there.

As dinnertime approached, we headed back only to be stopped when someone asked me, "Are you Anna Mable's sister?" Only a person from Columbia would ask me that and only one who grew up in our neighborhood, as my sister has made it clear that calling her "Anna" is enough at her age.

I would not have recognized Gloria Whatley if she had not spoken to me. But at the instant she spoke I called her by name and what a conversation began.

When we were young, Whatley was in and out of my parents' home. Mama took her and many others under her wing. Whatley began to share about her moments with Miss Anna Bell, as the young folks of the church called my mother. Many times they would follow Mama home from church, and although Mama did not know just when they might come, there was always food for them. They would stay and talk, getting advice on how to be fine young ladies.

Whatley and I talked about the time in June 1972 when Mama traveled with me and my four children to Boulder, Colo., by Greyhound bus. Chad was a year old, and Mama had agreed to be my baby sitter as I studied at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

When we stopped in St. Louis, I was down to the last eight ounces of milk for Chad. I dreaded having to purchase milk from the restaurant at the bus station, but this seemed to be my only choice. As if touched by an angel, in walked this lady who said, "Hello, Mrs. Wilson." Mama looked around, and I asked "Who knows you here?" Not answering me, she said, "Is that Gloria?" "Yes, ma'am," came the response. Whatley invited us to come visit with her, but I suggested that she and Mama spend this time together.

Here on the pier -- 37 years later -- Whatley and I caught up on the happenings of our families, much like the fishermen were enjoying the tales of their hobby. Whatley asked, "Can you cook like Mrs. Wilson?" I told her some things I can prepare like Mama and some I cannot. I assured her the trait of preparing good food seasoned with love had been passed down to me. I shared with her the love I have of giving from my kitchen, just like Mama.

From the love of Mama, I share some of her favorite recipes with you.

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