Sunday, June 26, 2011

Biscuis: The Remake

For a while now, MyFella has been encouraging me to broaden my cooking skills away from the two items I have successfully learned how to make: biscuits (taught to me by my Aunt B) and pound cakes (made from my great grandmother's recipe). And at the same time, he's encouraged me to learn how to make biscuits like his father does (a man now 77 who can make biscuits as easily as I can turn on the telly).

So I've watched him a couple of times, and his technique is quite different than my aunt's. He starts with the same ingredients in a similar way (flour, milk and oil) and the mixing process is almost identical, except he uses way more milk than I do. Way more.

After that though, the techniques diverge completely. But I've watched him twice now and thought I could tackle it.

This morning MyFella's niece (who learned from him) supervised while I made them, and I'm quite proud of our biscuits. The best thing is when someone said, "They taste like biscuits." That's what I'm trying to do.

MyFella suggests I use the two techniques to find my own way. Either way, they taste like biscuits. And I like it.

A prayer for Amber

Oh, Amber. I will remember you all the days of my life; whether they be numbered one or one hundred or ten thousand. I will remember the way your family sang you into Heaven. I will remember. I will remember the sound of your mother's voice reading from the bible and the sound of your sister's voice as she prayed. I will remember the smile of peace and contentment on the reverend's face as she clapped. I will remember the day you first came in the store and left your resume. I will remember the bright and shining you on the day of your interview. I will remember you coming back from lunch breaks saying, "It's hot!" and us telling you it wasn't even hot yet. I will remember you saying you had to get a new weave. And hitting your head and the whole piece moving from side to side. I will remember the way you dealt with that super annoying lady and never let her under your skin. I will remember me telling you that you must have sinned over the weekend, because that lady had to have been penance, and you should consider your coworkers the next time you went to do whatever it was you did that caused her. I will remember the way you sqeualed over that young, dark, black man in his military uniform. Oh how you giggled over him. I will remember how you asked me in front of him if you could discount his accessory, and I thought, "Well, you asked me in front of him, so I guess so." And then when he left you squealed and I figured it out. I will remember the way you loved that new phone of yours, and played with it the way a child plays with a new toy on their birthday. I will remember you talking about your sister coming to visit and bringing your cousin for the summer. You sounded so excited to see them. And telling us that, as hot as it is, you bet your sister never left the house. I will remember CJ telling me that you got tired of listening to me complain about the vacuum's cord being so short so you brought me an extension cord. I will remember the sound of your voice and the smile on your face.

I will remember you, whether I am given one day or one hundred or ten thousand. I will remember you, Amber.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day

and in honor of Father's Day, this is the meal blessing my Dad uses for family gatherings and holiday meals.

Our Gracious Heavenly Father, Once again we thank you for this day and for our many blessings and this food before us. Pray that you continue to be with us and bless us in each and every way. Amen

Let Us Pray

For several years, I was a member of a Rotary club in a Southern state. One of the members, a founding member, became over time sort of the unofficial every meeting prayer guy.

The words below are a typical prayer at Rotary as spoken by him.I found myself able to visit the club again this past week, and purposely moved closer to him so I could record it. His prayers are such a part of the Rotary, that I didn't want to miss a chance to get it, to record it, to keep it. The reading of it doesn't quite do it justice. It's best heard, with his tone of voice and inflections. My favorite part is always "touching us with thy divine finger of love." Spoken, it lasted two minutes this week. They vary some from week to week, but the themes are always similar. ~

Let us pray

Our Father in Heaven, we come before Thy throne of grace this Wednesday morning thanking You for life and thanking You for another day. We thank You for watching over us last night while we slept and slumbered, touching us with Thy divine finger of love and enabling us to get up and witness the light of another day. We thank You for life, health and strength. Thank You for the food you placed on the tables before us for the nourishment of our bodies and we thank You, Master, for the hands that prepared the same.

And as we come we pray that You will be with us throughout this day, guiding us and directing us in the way that You would have us to go.
Watch over us we pray Thee as we go about our daily tasks. Take care of us we ask in Thy name.

We pray for our nation, state and county in which we live. We ask the blessings upon the leaders thereof. Help them to look to Thee, from whence cometh all the help ,we pray in Thy name. We pray for our club, we pray for its officers. Endow them with the knowledge and wisdom to lead and direct in such manner as Thou would be pleased. Have mercy upon us, we humbly ask Thee.

Our Father, we pray for our young men and women defending this great nation around the world. Bless the families and loved ones who they left behind. Bless those who are bereaved. Strengthen and comfort them, we humbly ask Thee. And help them to look to Thee from whence cometh all the help, we pray in Thy name. We pray for the sick, shut in and those who are in need of Thee. Just touch them in Your own special way, as only Y
ou can.
Be with us, Father, we pray. Take care of us we ask. Oh Lord, this is my prayer. In the name of Thy Son we pray.


June 9, 2011: Inheritance

My Mamaw is 86 years old. And it’s been an exciting 86 years, not the least of which involved meeting me some 20 something years ago. I was somewhere around 14, 15 when I met her. The grandmother of a friend of mine, who has become “sister to my heart”*, I was instantly taken by her. Now in my 40’s, she has been a constant source of love and support in my life. And I hope that I’ve been the same to her.

As the years marched by, more things have taken place than could be put in one blog. Including a fun, on-going competition among her grandchildren to get her to admit “I’m your favorite.”

On a visit to her home two weeks ago, she gave me my inheritance. She didn’t really know it, and I didn’t expect it. But there it was, more precious than gold and jewels. One of her sons called her, and while talking with him she said, “He came to visit me. He’s my adopted grandson. The first time he met me, he called me Grandmaw. I love that boy.”

* phrase loosely borrowed from the Valdemor series by Mercedes Lackey

June 5, 2011: Yellow Meat Watermelon

When I was a kid, one of the rites of Summer was our yearly visit to Daddy’s great uncle and great aunt in Pope, Mississippi. Siblings of his paternal grandfather, they had, as I remember it, lived most of their lives in, around and near the very land they lived on at the time. A married brother, and just down the road, his widowed sister. My great grandfather had long since passed, but these very tangible connections to him were enchanting and mesmerizing.

Aunt Hattie lived in a newly built brick home. She would cook lunch on the day we came, and my memory recalls my Dad relishing her cooking the way I now relish the cooking of my Mom and Aunt B. I recall she owned some type of sette couch that was antique. I think she said it had been used in a psychiatrist’s office. It had been stuffed with horse hair before she had to have it redone.

Uncle Homer and his wife lived just down the road in a much older home. I imagine they had raised children in that home. Though I knew none of them, and can’t recall ever meeting any of their descendants. Sometimes I wonder about these people that I assume exist somewhere.

Uncle Homer drove an old pick-up truck, and seemed to be “really old” to me at the time. Looking back, I can’t quite determine what his actual age may have been. But he was healthy enough to plant a garden that to me seemed huge.

And he planted the most magical, the most wonderful, the most incredible thing of all . . . Yellow meat watermelons. Uncle Homer would pick a yellow meat watermelon right off the vine and cut it open right on the tailgate of his old truck. The way I remember it, he used his pocket knife to cut the meat out of it. It was delicious beyond anything I’d tasted, and in my mind it was exotic. Who had ever heard of a yellow meat watermelon? Suddenly red watermelons seemed so normal, so average, so “everybody.”

And never since those relatives passed on and I grew up have I seen a yellow meat watermelon. Until today. MyFella picked one up this morning from his uncle, who makes regular runs to somewhere or another and brings back lots of fruits and vegetables to sell. This weekend, he had yellow meat watermelons. MyFella knows I’m looking forward to eating the yellow right out of it. But he doesn’t know why. And that’s OK, too. I know that childhood is childhood and adulthood is adulthood. And I know it won’t taste the way my memory tells me it tasted. But I’m still looking forward to cutting it open and eating it right out of the rind.