Annual updating of address book yields new family connections, recipes

features@beaufortgazette.comMarch 19, 2013 

I usually update my address book after the holidays. I delete the names of people whose cards were returned to me; I change old addresses and add new ones; and I follow up with those whose cards included news of life's general goings-on.

My friend Thelma Webb Taborn and I are exactly two weeks apart in birth. Our parents were friends, and her Uncle Westly married my Aunt Bell. Our high school records were similar, and we graduated from college at the same time. We even got married around the same time and had the same number of children.

Marie Tann is a recently found cousin. Our mothers were first cousins. Because Marie was raised in Philadelphia and does not have the fond memories of being up the country where I was raised in Fairfield County, she is still learning about our family -- the Cooks, Willinghams and Ashfords.

It was at my 50th college class reunion when Carrie Robertson Grady mentioned that her roots were in Fairfield County. Being the type of person who always asks "Who are your people?," I was immediately interested. I found that Carrie's relatives were from the Greenbriar area of the county but were not members of Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church. I continued my search and finally found someone named Emma Julia Caldwell Padgett. When I called her number and told why I was calling, there was a pause and then a reply: "Emma Julia's mother and my mother were sisters." Carrie hails from a large family. Now we must find out which side of the tree this relationship comes from.

Shirley Ayers and I met while serving on a regional board. When the Southeast Women Employment Coalition met in Lexington, Ken., it was Shirley who, as secretary, would plan our meetings. Among the women on board was Martha Hawkins. Shirley kept us in touch with each other over time and under time. It was sad news to hear of her passing but happy news to read that Martha wrote a book, "Finding Martha's Place."

Martha's Place is a restaurant in Montgomery, Ala. Martha loves to cook as much as she loves to help people. As a public speaker, she tells of her hardships and successes.

I have "Finding Martha's Place" on my reading list, but I am already preparing dishes from Martha's Place Restaurant.

Recipes from Martha's Place Restaurant:

SALLIE HAWKINS (MARTHA'S MOTHER) CORN BREAD 1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal 1/2 cup self-rising flour 1/3 cup sugar 2 eggs 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 1 cup buttermilk 4 tablespoons shortening, melted 1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. Pour the mixture into a well-greased skillet and bake 35 minutes, until golden brown.

PORK CHOP CASSEROLE 6 pork chops 1 tablespoon cooking oil 3 large potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2 pound carrots, sliced in disks 1 large onion, sliced 1 (10 1/2-ounce) can condensed mushroom soup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in a skillet and brown the pork chops on both sides. Place the pork chops in a 2-quart casserole dish. Add the potatoes, carrots, onions and mushroom soup. Cover with lid or foil. Bake 45 minutes.

MARTHA'S MAC & CHEESE 2 pounds elbow macaroni 1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine 2 1/2 cups milk 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 1/2 pound mild cheddar cheese, shredded 1 (10 1/2-ounce) condensed cheddar cheese soup Salt and pepper to taste 4 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain. In a large bowl, combine the macaroni, margarine, milk, cheeses, soup and salt and pepper. Stir in beaten eggs.

Pour the mixture in greased casserole dish. Bake 35 minutes.

Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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