Read an Excerpt
At My Grandmother's Table
Heartwarming Stories & Cherished Recipes from the South
By Faye Porter
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2013Faye Porter and Bryan Curtis
All rights reserved.
KENTUCKY-STYLE SOUTHERN SWEET TEA
Kristin Cederlind currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, but she comes from a long line of Southerners, including her parents and grandparents. Kristin visits the South often and shares that her grandmother, Dorothy Hurst (Ashland, Kentucky), used to always make her Southern-style sweet tea for the family when they would visit and sit on the porch. Grandma served this tea in her beautiful Pilgrim Glass glasses and would always say, "Be very careful, honey—don't break Grandma's special iced tea glass; hold it with both hands." Kristin says that her grandma's tea was always made with love, and she still uses her grandmother's recipe to this day.
6 to 8 tea bags
6 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 to 3 oranges, sliced
Sprigs of mint
1 In a large pot, add the tea bags and water. Bring to a rolling boil, remove from the heat, and let steep 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags.
2 Pour the liquid into a gallon jug and add cold water to fill. Add the sugar (you can add more if you want sweeter tea). Add the oranges and mint and stir. Pour over ice and enjoy.
MAKES 1 GALLON.
MIMI'S HOT TEA
Laurel Standifer (Franklin, Tennessee) was born in Dothan, Alabama. Her grandmother was affectionately known as Mimi. Mimi was Helon Barron Standifer (Dothan, Alabama), who was born in Panama City, Florida. Growing up, Mimi was very poor, one of six children. Laurel shares that "Mimi told us how she would hide in the bathroom sometimes during school lunch because she didn't have food to eat. I think this may have helped to develop her love for cooking as she grew up. Out of all her siblings, Mimi was known as the cook of her family. She was so loving and generous, always helping and lovingly caring for our family." Sadly, she passed away in 2000.
4 medium oranges
2 cups sugar
1 gallon water
1 tablespoon black tea
1 teaspoon cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 Slice the oranges and lemons thin. Place them in a large pot. Cover with the sugar and let stand 1 hour.
2 Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil over high heat. Add the tea and allow to steep for 4 to 5 minutes. Strain the tea over the fruit.
3 Add the cloves and cinnamon and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Allow to simmer 2 hours. Serve hot. You may add 4 tablespoons of rum, if desired, per serving.
MAKES 16 (8 OUNCE) SERVINGS.
Grandma Mac told Elizabeth "Lib" Bowman Hauser (Liberty, North Carolina) that Lib needed to learn how to make biscuits from scratch, as it was a good way to "catch a husband." Grandma Mac, Alivie Elizabeth Bryan Mcpherson, was born and raised on a dairy farm in Burlington, North Carolina. Lib has fond memories of her grandma fixing fried chicken for Sunday lunches and of her tradition of putting a pitcher of cold milk on the table when serving her homemade cookies. Grandma Mac would say, "You need a glass of milk for cookie dunkin'." Lib shares, "This punch was served at my wedding reception more than fifty years ago—and, of course at that time, wedding receptions were held in the church. To serve seventy-five people it took someone constantly mixing the punch! It was always served in a large crystal punch bowl in crystal punch cups along with cake, mints, and cake squares rounding out the menu."
1 1/2 cups fresh
hulled and sliced,
3 (6 ounce) cans
1/2 cup sugar
2 quarts ice water
1 quart ginger ale,
3 (6 ounce) cans
frozen orange juice
Frozen ring of ice
1 Place half of the strawberries in a blender. Add the lemonade concentrate and the sugar and blend on low speed until mixed well, approximately 90 seconds. Let stand for 30 minutes.
2 When ready to serve, pour the ice water and ginger ale in a large punch bowl. Stir in the blended strawberry mixture and the thawed orange juice concentrate. Add the frozen ring of ice.
3 Cut the other half of the strawberries into quarters and add as garnish in the punch. Mix and enjoy. Serve cold in 4-ounce crystal punch cups.
MAKES 32 (4 OUNCE) SERVINGS.
MAMO MAY'S 1920S-STYLE CHRISTMAS FLOAT
Betty Rich Normant (Henderson, Kentucky) shares that her grandmother, Maggie May (Salyersville, Kentucky), was known as Mamo May. A homemaker, Mamo May and her husband, Eli, raised two daughters—Lucille and Nancy. Betty's mother was Lucille, who married Walter Rich of Lancaster, Kentucky. Following World War II, they moved from Salyersville to Union County on the opposite end of the state, where Eli began farming. While she never lived in Salyersville again, Lucille taught her daughters, Sara and Betty, to love the mountains of Kentucky. They frequently visited their grandparents and enjoyed the incredible meals that Mamo May prepared. It has been said that proposals of marriage have been made over a cup of this delicious float. Regardless, it is a favorite of all ages and evokes warm memories of the loved one who made it for you.
1 quart whole milk
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 Heat the milk over medium heat in a double boiler to avoid scorching. Heat but don't boil the milk.
2 Meanwhile, beat the eggs, sugar, and salt together. When the milk is hot, beat a few tablespoons of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Then add the egg mixture slowly back into the rest of the hot milk.
3 Stir continuously and cook until the mixture coats the spoon. Remove from the heat and set the pan in a larger pan of cold water and continue stirring. Add the vanilla.
4 Continue stirring to cool the mixture and smooth the texture. When cool, store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. Serve in crystal punch cups with a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry on top.
MAKES 16 (1/2 CUP) SERVINGS.
B. G.'S LEMON TEA FIZZ
Betty Keeling Green Wooten (Nashville, Tennessee) is known as B. G. to her six grandchildren, and to the rest of Davidson County as Judge Green. She has served as a Davidson County Juvenile Court judge for fourteen years beforing retiring in 2012. When grandson MaClaine Butters (Brentwood, Tennessee) was little, he loved to visit her at the court, which was right beside the Tennessee Titans stadium. There was always a candy dish to raid or a treat to be had. Every now and then, she would let him sit "on the bench" and bang the gavel—a dream for any kid who loves to make noise. MacLaine loves this recipe because it has two of his favorite things to drink—lemonade and Sprite!
1 1/2 quarts water
9 tea bags (or 3
1/2 cup sugar
1 (12 ounce) can
1 (12 ounce) can
Sprite or other
1 Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags, and brew 6 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly and mix in the sugar until dissolved.
2 Stir in the can of frozen lemonade concentrate. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, add the soda and mix well. Serve over ice.
MAKES 6 (8 OUNCE) SERVINGS.
GREAT K. K.'S STRAWBERRY LEMONADE
Growing up, siblings Allyson Adams Johnson (Hendersonville, Tennessee), Mandy Butters (Brentwood, Tennessee), and Andrew Heltsley (Nashville, Tennessee) would visit their grandmother, K. K.—Katherine Cortner Keeling (Nashville, Tennessee)—in Tullahoma, Tennessee, on the weekends. They would typically find K. K. and her husband, Jackson, sitting on their front porch on East Lincoln Street, rain or shine, watching the world go by. They share that K. K. cooked huge family meals served on HUGE plates. And she kept adding to her collection. It became a joke in the family to see how much bigger in diameter the plates could even get (to hold more food)! They also used to take family trips to Florida, where the "make-your-own-fun" included theme parties (such as a toga or tacky theme) hosted by K. K. for the family in her hotel room. K. K. kept the tradition alive by taking Allyson, Mandy, and Andrew on short weekend excursions from time to time to Tennessee locations that included Henry Horton State Park or the Smokehouse in Monteagle—nothing fancy, just something to make them feel special. Now grown and married, Allyson, Mandy, and Andrew each have two children. They are so grateful their children have gotten the chance to know their beloved K. K. (The six great-grandchildren call her Great K. K.)
1 1/2 cups strawberries,
1 1/2 cups fresh lemon
juice (5 to 6
1 cup sugar
4 cups water
1 Puree the strawberries and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour the puree through a sieve into a bowl to remove the seeds.
2 In a 2-quart pitcher, stir the strained puree, the remaining lemon juice, sugar, and water. Taste and add more water if desired. Serve immediately over lots of ice.
MAKES 8 (8 OUNCE) SERVINGS.
GRAMMY'S BACON CRESCENTS
Dillon Young (Nashville, Tennessee) was born in West Palm Beach, Florida. Dillon is the first grandchild of four for his Grammy, Ernie Young. Ernie was born in Richmond, Virginia, but she now lives in Franklin, Tennessee. Ernie loves to cook and bake, and Dillon's favorite things she makes are her biscuits and her roast beef with carrots and potatoes. Ernie is also known for crocheting blankets, and Dillon, of course, has been the recipient of a couple. In 2012, as a freshman at Vanderbilt University, he received a new blanket in the Commodores' colors. Ernie says these crescents are great as an appetizer or as a breakfast treat.
1 (8 ounce) package
1/3 cup grated
1/4 cup finely chopped
1 teaspoon milk
2 (8 ounce) cans
8 slices bacon, cooked
1 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2 In a medium bowl mix the cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, onion, parsley, and milk. Blend well.
3 Separate the dough into triangles. Cut each triangle in half lengthwise and spread each with the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with bacon and roll up. Place seam side down on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
MAKES 16 ROLLS.
SELENA'S FAVORITE JELLY
Granddaughter Selena Jade Seate doesn't open her homemade biscuits, shares Carol Ann Rupp Crawley (Alton, Virginia); she just spreads the jelly all over the top of a whole warm one! Selena's most favorite food is homemade biscuits with freezer strawberry jelly, so this favorite is now known as "Selena Jelly" to this family. Selena and her younger sister, Brett, spent the summer of 2012 in Alton, Virginia, living with their grandparents, whom they affectionately refer to as Old Mommie and Ampy. Selena is the oldest grandchild, and she lived with her grandparents most of her first year of life, as her daddy was in the Marines, serving in Cuba. Old Mommie kept her a great deal while her mama worked evenings and weekends, so Selena started calling her Mama. No matter what other usual grandmother name they tried, Selena could not pronounce the "grrrr" sound. They explained to her that she only had one official "mommy"—so they finally decided grandma would be her "Old Mommie." And that is what Carol has been to Selena and the other eight grandkids ever since.
2 pints strawberries,
and mashed (about
2 cups crushed
4 cups sugar
1 (1.75 ounce) box
3/4 cup water
1 Place the strawberries in a large bowl. Add the sugar to the crushed berries and allow to sit for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to dissolve the sugar.
2 In a small saucepan bring the fruit pectin and water to a boil and gradually add to the berry mixture. Stir until the mixture is no longer grainy, about 3 minutes.
3 Pour the jelly into freezer-safe glass jars with tight-fitting metal lids or rigid plastic containers with tight-fitting lids, leaving 1/2-inch space at the top for expansion when frozen. Screw the lids on and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours until set. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to a year.
FILLS 8 (1/2 CUP) OR 4 (1 CUP) CONTAINERS.
In addition to putting God and family first in her life, Grandma Josaphine Catignani (Nashville, Tennessee) also taught her granddaughter, Sherrie Cunningham (Old Hickory, Tennessee), how to cook some traditional Southern and Italian favorites. While Josaphine was born and raised in the South, it was important to her to learn some of the dishes of her ancestors. She had a love of Italian spices and cooking traditional favorites too. Sherrie shares that Grandma Josaphine used to say, "When the children are little, they step on your feet, and when they are grown, they step on your heart." Sherrie indicates this pizza is a big hit with family and friends!
to prepare pan
1 (8 ounce) can
6 large eggs
1/2 pound sausage,
drained (or bacon
1/2 cup each chopped
1 cup shredded
1 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
2 Place the crescent rolls on the prepared pan to form the crust, pressing the seams together and the sides up slightly.
3 Beat the eggs and pour over the crescent rolls. Add the meat and optional vegetables. Sprinkle cheese over the top.
4 Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until the egg mixture is set. Slice with a pizza cutter and serve warm.
MAKES 8 SERVINGS.
BABE'S SUNDAY MORNING FLAPJACKS
Frances St. John Nix Lavey's (Nashville, Tennessee) grandmother, Martha Hightower Turner (Demopolis, Alabama), is affectionately known as Babe to her six grandchildren. Babe lives in an antebellum home in Demopolis on the high bluffs of the Tombigbee River. Frances shares, "When I visit, the smell of hot flapjacks wakes me up on Sunday mornings. My feet hit the cold wooden floorboards as I tiptoe into the warm, bright kitchen. I hear Babe humming quietly to herself as I walk up to the high linoleum counter. 'Good morning, darling,' she says in her deep Southern accent. 'Morning, Babe' is all I can manage to say because I'm half-asleep. I start mixing the ingredients for the next batch because I know once everyone else wakes up, these pancakes will be eaten like it was the Last Supper. Once every last one is done, Babe and I clean up the kitchen and put the griddle and mixer away—where they will wait in that cabinet until next Sunday, ready to be used again. This recipe is for small, light, tender pancakes with oh, such a good taste!"
Butter to grease
4 large eggs,
2 cups all-purpose
2 teaspoons baking
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons melted
2 cups milk (whole or
1 Grease a griddle and preheat over medium-high heat.
2 Place the egg yolks, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter, and milk in a large bowl and beat with a mixer until well blended.
3 In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.
4 Ladle 1 tablespoon of batter at a time onto the hot griddle. Turn when the surface is dry. These are just as good Monday through Saturday!
MAKES 4 TO 5 SERVINGS.
YESTERDAY'S GRITS FOR BREAKFAST
Tammy Algood (Nashville, Tennessee) called her grandmother Mama, and together they'd sit in aluminum-framed woven plastic chairs on the back porch, where they would talk while shelling peas or snapping beans. Mama, Lucille Windham Cummings (Ecru, Mississippi), always had homemade sugar cookies in her cookie jar that looked like a ceramic woven basket with lemons as the lid. Tammy has that cookie jar today, and it makes her smile just seeing it. "Mama's calm attitude and grounded spirit helped show me how Southern women behaved. Love oozed from her, and I always knew she adored me no matter what. Spending the night with her on a Saturday was always such a treat—our ritual included watching The Lawrence Welk Show. I thought life couldn't get better than that," says Tammy. "This recipe was how my mama used leftover grits, because no food was ever thrown away. We enjoyed them for breakfast, usually after a big feast the day prior."
Vegetable oil or lard
2 cups leftover grits,
1/2 cup all-purpose
1 In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat the grease to a depth of 1/4 inch.
2 Meanwhile, press the cold grits down and cut into 1/2-inch slices. Coat both sides with flour. Test the grease to see if it is hot enough by dropping a drop of water into the grease—it will sizzle when hot enough. Fry the coated slices on one side until golden brown, around 2 minutes. Turn and fry the other side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve warm.
MAKES 6 SERVINGS.
Excerpted from At My Grandmother's Table by Faye Porter. Copyright © 2013 by Faye Porter and Bryan Curtis. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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