I don’t cook like a lot of Southern mountain women I’ve known and loved, with fatback in green beans and bacon grease on lettuce, lots of salt and butter in everything, but I DO like sugar on my fresh strawberries, enough to make a nice sweet syrup when mixed with the fruit juice after sitting for a little bit of time. And the best shortcake, when I’m in the mood for more than just “fruit” is a sweet biscuit, not really cake at all (the texture of the biscuit just sops up that fruit juice in a different and tasty way, and you can make a good one with Bisquick if you want to take a little bit of a shortcut), topped with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (I believe the word is dollop), just because. Heck, I’ve actually been known to crumble up a lemon Fiber One bar when I don’t have a biscuit of any sort in the house, like about 15 minutes ago! I remember years ago picking my own strawberries at the old Brinkley Farm up past Cullowhee. There’s something to be said for making dessert as nearly from scratch as possible, though I now buy the berries, sometimes from the nearby Darnell Farms down Bryson City way that sets up shop out of the back of a pickup truck on the side of the road when the fresh berries are in season, or the local produce stand, or even the grocery store, although local is always better, for lots of reasons. I’m not the biggest fruit eater ever, but there’s something real special about a bowlful of ripe, red, sweet, juicy strawberries. Food purists probably shake their head in dismay at messing up a perfect strawberry with sugar, and I get that, but I guess some of the old cooking ways have just stayed with me.
copyright (c) 2016 by Raindrop Ridge Press
My mom and I rode down to Dillard, Georgia, this morning to have breakfast at the Dillard House. It wasn’t too crowded, and when we left, it was so quiet and peaceful, a little cloudy and foggy but the sun shining through and starting to get hot. A nice way to spend an August Saturday morning.
On the way back, in Franklin, North Carolina, we passed a little produce stand with fresh veggies and blackberries, some strawberries, too, and they advertised homemade fresh strawberry milkshakes, something I’ve never actually seen in that setting before, and there are lots of little produce stands in these mountains. I was way too full from the big family-style breakfast to even entertain the idea of a milkshake, but it sounded scrumptious. Regardless, that’s my kind of produce stand!
Copyright (c) 2013 by Raindrop Ridge Press
Being a little more active on Facebook these days, I shared my delight with an article from the February 2012 issue of “Our State” magazine. a well-written and heartwarming piece praising the merits of banana pudding. Yep, just simply banana pudding. The point really was that banana pudding is the quintessential southern dessert – it’s simple, it’s satisfying, it’s comforting, it doesn’t take many ingredients and you can get them year-round, and basically the best banana pudding is the one you have sitting there in front of you, no matter where you get it or how basic or fancy it may be. So, don’t be worrying about whose is the best. My oldest daughter might actually disagree with that analysis because I have a friend who makes a scrumptious banana pudding of her own, using more ingredients than the very basic version, and my daughter thinks it’s truly the best she’s had (I don’t have the recipe for that one!). Now, don’t get me wrong, I love it, too, but this very simple and basic banana pudding I made today is tasting mighty good. It’s a rainy gray day, and I found that making it and then eating some of it really did nourish my soul as well as my taste buds.
Copyright (c) 2012 by Raindrop Ridge Press