A while back, Ma posted about how to cook my Grandmother Mammy’s Chicken Fried Steak but what was fun about the whole thing was while she cooked she told me what she was doing as she cooked and why she was doing it. It was like a cooking class, she taught and I asked questions.
During Christmas break the children and I drove down to Smith Mountain Lake to my parents house to spend a few days with them. I always like going “home” because my mother pampers me. I know I am a mom but I really like being a daughter. Even though my kids are there my Ma makes sure that she mothers me too. I love her big meals. I know I cook too but there is something about Ma cooking for me.
See that KitchenAid mixer up there? While we cooked we did some math to figure out how old that mixer is. It is 28 years old and still going strong. It has some dings and nicks but it has worked well for her. Below is a tip I learned from her on this last trip. You don’t need another gadget to keep the food from spattering, she simply covers her mixer with plastic wrap when mixing anything messy, in this case mashed potatoes or whipped potatoes I should say. I have used a towel but it is not as efficient as the plastic wrap. Isn’t it nice to watch other people cook?
My mom also shared stories about Mammy (her mother-in-law) and her cooking and I was glad to know that she and my own mother had a good relationship. One funny story is that Mammy was a Texan and every time she visited my Ma (who is Italian), Ma would make Mammy Italian food and it wasn’t until many years later that Mammy finally admitted to my Ma that she did not care for it! While we cooked Ma pulled out this old pot to boil the potatoes. “This was Mammy’s pot.” she said. I think it is very special that some of Mammy’s cookware made it into my mother’s own kitchen.
TIPS I LEARNED WHILE COOKING WITH MA
1. When you dredge meat in flour, use that flour to make the gravy then throw the flour away.
2. When mixing something messy in the KitchenAid cover and seal the entire bowl with plastic wrap, no gadget to wash!
3. If you are having difficulty getting everything on the table hot at the same time, then turn your oven on low and place hot covered food in there to keep warm. I knew this one but it is so good to be reminded of the obvious!
4. Mammy’s fried chicken, pork chops, and chicken fried steak was always so tasty because she was never afraid to “season the heck” out of the flour. The flour should taste seasoned!
5. Mammy made sure to have one vegetable on the table that each child liked. That meant 6 different veggies for them! Does ice cream count?
6. Ma also told me that Mammy’s green salads were so simple. Lettuce, tomato if she had it, cucumber, and carrots. But the neat thing was that she chopped everything up very small. I thought about this and figured it is probably easier for little ones to eat it that way too. We asked my dad what Mammy served as dressing and he said, “salt and pepper!” Umm, no, pass the Ranch please!
Do you have cookware, cookbooks, or gadgets in your kitchen passed down to you from a loved one? Or special tips from mom, grandma, or an auntie?