On Mother's Day, remember the lessons mama taught you

features@beaufortgazette.com May 6, 2014 

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Ervena Faulker's mother and mother-in-law taught lessons of giving both in and out of the kitchen.

BRENT CASTILLO — Witchita Eagle

  • Buttermilk Biscuits

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    5 tablespoons shortening

    3/4 cup buttermilk

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sift dry ingredients into bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk and stir vigorously to make smooth dough. Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead about 10 times. Roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into rounds by pressing straight down with floured 2-inch biscuit cutter or floured drinking glass. Place biscuits 1/2-inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.

    Remove from baking sheet immediately and serve hot.

    Variation: Baking Powder Biscuits

    Substitute milk for buttermilk, omit baking soda and increase baking powder to 1 tablespoon.

    Source: Ervena Faulkner's personal files

  • 7-Up Cake

    2 sticks butter

    1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening

    3 cups sugar

    3 cups all-purpose flour

    5 eggs

    1 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

    1 ( 7-oz.) bottle 7-Up

    For the glaze:

    1 cup powdered sugar

    1 (7-oz.) bottle 7-Up

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter with shortening. Add sugar, then cream until fluffy. Add flour alternately with eggs. Add extract. Fold in 7-Up a little at a time. Bake in greased cake pan 1 1/2 hours. Do not open the oven while baking.

    Glaze: Mix powdered sugar with 7-Up until it is a pouring consistency. While the cake is still warm, poke holes in it and pour the glaze over it.

    Source: Ervena Faulkner's mother-in-law's recipe

  • Pound Cake

    3 cups sugar

    2 cups eggs

    1 teaspoon lemon flavoring

    1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

    3 cups flour, sifted

    1/2 teaspoon baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    2 cups butter, softened

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat sugar and eggs until light in color. Add in flavorings. Combine sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in butter. Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients. Bake in a greased tube or bundt pan for one hour.

    Source: Ervena Faulkner's mother's recipe

When I was a girl, Mama sent Daddy to check on Mrs. Massey, a widow who lived a few blocks from us on Farrow Road in Columbia. She was without heat and needed coal. Mama thought there was no need for her to be without, so Daddy was to purchase coal and Mama would make sure there would be no cold or hungry days or nights for Mrs. Massey. Mama began sending cooked food to her and developed a meal plan with the other ladies of the neighborhood. Most of the time I had to deliver the food using a bushel basket. After that first delivery of coal and food, Mrs. Massey never wanted for heat or food until her passing. It taught me a lesson in neighborly giving and sharing.

The same kind of giving and sharing was in the heart of my mother-in-law, Roberta Faulkner. On one occasion while visiting in Kannapolis, N.C., we were told a nearby family had been evicted and was house-hunting. Row, as she was fondly called, said she could not provide living quarters but she would be able to feed the family. I helped her prepare dinner, which was enough to feed the family and then some, on a daily basis.

Recently, a neighbor came to borrow butter. I said I did not have any. I really meant that I had only a fourth of a stick. But, as I closed the refrigerator, I realized I had no plans for this fourth of a stick. I called the neighbor back to give her what I had. I also thought, "Am I thinking clearly?" My neighbor had none, and I nearly gave up a chance to give all I had to someone in need. I knew better; I had seen better. My actions should reflect the habits of those from whom I had learned. I could hear Mama saying, "You know better," and Row saying, "It does not hurt to give, it helps."

Traditions should be passed down because they tell the story of one's upbringing. They connect one to the past and shape identity. Mother's Day can be a time to connect with traditions. As it approaches, I ask myself if I am the true offspring of Anna Belle Moore Wilson. I should be molded with her traits and do those things that will not block blessings. My mother and mother-in-law were great cooks who kept a welcome table. That's a tradition I will continue to keep.

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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