Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Taste of the South

My mom grew up in the South. The deep South. We're talking the "Delta of Mississippi" South. Where the tidy rows of cotton fields stretch as far as your eyes can see and the selling price of a bale of cotton determines what kind of Christmas you'll have. If you have read the popular book, The Help, you have a picture of some of the things that were common in my mom's growing up years. My mom's family did have "Help", and let me clear, she was dearly loved and well taken care of. She was a valuable part of the family and worked for them from the time my mother was a child until I was a teenager. My grandmother and Mary Lee worked side by side in running the Dunaway household and there were plenty of things (my grandmother would readily admit) that Mary Lee did even better than her!

While there may be some things that could be criticized about the deep South in Mississippi, there is a way of life so thick with culture and tradition that it demands a little appreciation and admiration. Like the fact that an 8 year old girl would know how to properly set a table with fine china, crystal, linen napkins, and REAL silverware. Or that women would often get together to play a game of bridge at 3 in the afternoon. Or that it's not uncommon to plan the dinner for your own funeral before you die, making sure everything (especially the deviled eggs) are assigned to someone's care. You may not care about these things, but once you have seen it and experienced it, there is something to appreciate about it.

One thing that the South knows how to do is COOK! Not so much the "Cooking Light" or Weight Watchers version of cooking. But if you want to find some good 'ol comfort food to warm your soul, Southern Food is the way to go. The South...where macaroni and cheese is categorized as a vegetable. Where no meal is complete without at least one casserole. Where everything tastes better with cheese or barbecue sauce. And where it would be seen as absolutely rude (and unheard of) to end a meal without some type of dessert.

On that note, I would like to share with you my Grandmother Dunaway's Deluxe Pound Cake, straight from Hollandale, Mississippi. Please do not post a comment informing me of how many calories this one recipe contains. :-) Just bake it and blindly enjoy it! Think of it as a lesson in Southern Culture...

Grandmother's Deluxe Pound Cake

(Let butter and eggs get to room temperature.)

2 sticks butter
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup Crisco

5 whole eggs (1 at a time)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. rum flavoring
1 tsp. coconut flavoring

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Alternate adding to the batter the flour mixture and 1 cup of milk until all is added.

Pour in greased and floured tube pan or 2 loaf pans. Bake 90 minutes (or so) at 300 degrees.

Optional glaze once cake is cooled:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. almond flavoring

Serve with a dollop of Cool Whip and some fresh cut strawberries!

No comments: