At My Grandmother's Knee
by Faye Porter
Thomas Nelson Publishing
"Granny, Nana, Mamaw, or Gigi..."
For me, it's Mema. My fondest memory of my Mema is watching her make her hoe bread, a flat biscuit-like bread, for our daily meals. She had a drawer dedicated to her flour bin and made the bread fresh every day. I remember the way her fingers looked as she folded the flour into the milk mixture, the way she pushed the wet dough away from her fingers with her other hand. She flattened the perfect dough on to the greased black-iron griddle and casually flipped it when the first side was done. The result was a crust that was golden brown and crispy - the inside of the bread softer and more delicious than any buttermilk biscuit I've ever eaten in my life. I still taste it in my mind.
I've never learned to make her hoe bread and I've regretted the fact. That's what makes At My Grandmother's Knee by Faye Porter such a special cookbook. It captures those special moments spent with our grandmothers in their kitchens. Each recipe is accompanied by a cherished memory submitted by the recipe's contributor. And, I found it very easy to imagine myself pulling up a chair and watching these lovely Southern ladies make these dishes with their loving grandchildren looking on.
The contents of the cookbook are divided into breakfast, canning (jams and pickles), beverages, breads, appetizers (include soups and salads), side dishes, main dishes, pies (cobblers), cakes, cookies, chocolate pies (yes, an entire category itself), and miscellaneous desserts. The book is scattered with rustic, full color photographs of various recipes.
And, because the recipes are submitted by home cooks, they are simple and hearty, full of hominess. I can't tell you how many recipes I've marked to make in the future. I've included two here but how do these sound to you? Biscuits 'n Chocolate Gravy, Artichoke Seafood Dip, Creamed Chicken on Cornbread, Lemon Mist Pie, and Feel-Better Cookies.
Submitted by Sharonda Hampton
Created by Maw-Maw, Mable Mary Hill Williams
1 pound ground sausage
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. shortening
3/4 c. buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a skillet over medium heat, cook, drain, and crumble the sausage.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture. Stir in the sausage. Mix the buttermilk into the flour mixture.
Knead the dough by hand 10 times on a floured work surface. Roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out the biscuits with a biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve Warm. Makes 2 dozen biscuits.
This cookbook is sure to illicit memories of your own grandmother or mother. You'll come away from reading it determined to preserve those family recipes from your past. It will also make you realize how much of an influence we women have over our children and grandchildren - how cooking for them does more than nourish their bodies. It nourishes their memories.
P.S. Here's a bonus recipe - Chocolate Chess Pie.
Do you think you might like a copy of At My Grandmother's Knee? I hope so because I have a copy of the cookbook for you. I know you'll love it. How do you enter to win? It's simple and I'm going to give you two ways to win. 1. Leave a comment below telling me that you're interested in winning. Share a memory of your grandmother if you'd like. But, please leave me an e-mail address where I can reach you if you're the winner. 2. Like my page (A Well-Seasoned Life) on Facebook and leave a message on the post dedicated to this review.
Deadline: December 12, 2011
Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with a copy of this cookbook but the opinions here are my own.