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Columns October 3, 2017  RSS feed

Cooking Country

Sherry Matney

I just finished an article on the history of Parker Cemetery and boy did it bring back memories. When I was growing up the Parker Memorial was my favorite day of the year, excluding Christmas. My cousins and I loved to run through those mounded graves, barefoot with the hot sand burning them as we ran. We would rush to get to the next tree for the cooling shade. My mother would always caution my brother and me to be careful not to step on or over the graves. We were taught to be respectful of the dead.

I remember lengthy sermons at the memorials. Way too long for my young mind. I wanted to get to the food!! My mother prepared a full box of goodies, I still have the dish she took her potato salad in. My grandmother, having raised a family of eight kids, didn’t take one box but several boxes of all kinds of wonderful delights. Of course she had fried chicken, potato salad, and any vegetable that came out of her garden, but she also made salmon salad. I think that was the only time she made it and I loved it. I have no idea what went into the salad but it was so good. My grandmother’s desserts were all full of sugar, and butter, and fats, and eggs, and were so good it makes my mouth water. Actually, my mother made the best pies and she usually made coconut pie for the memorial. Such sweet memories.

So this week, in honor or my grandmothers and my mother and my aunts, I am printing some of the best recipes from my childhood memories. But man can you believe how much work went into the simplest meals.

Fried Chicken

Go to the back yard and snatch to plumpest young fryer you have on the place. Grab its head securely and wring until you feel the neck break. Throw the chicken on the ground and after it stops flopping, and is for sure dead, cut off its head and let the blood drain. Then dip the bird in scalding water to loosen up the feathers. If you have kids you can let them pick the chicken, making sure they get as many pin-feathers as possible. Next turn the burner on your stove and hold the naked bird close to the flame so as to singe all the little feathers off the body. Now you are ready to cut it up. Take your sharpest knife and slice off the thighs, cutting through the joint. Do the same with the wings. Feel along the rib cage and separate the ribs from the breast. Separate the back pieces where the rib cage ends. Now you must have a “pulley bone”, so take your finger and press on the top part of the breast until you can feel where the pulley bone starts. Slice along this part of the breast then separate the remaining breast pieces.

Put your grease in a large black skillet. You will probably use bacon grease because that is what you have on hand and no one has even heard of cooking oil at this point. Use enough to cover the chicken pieces. While the skillet is heating put flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and roll each chicken piece in the flour one at a time. It is best to cook the thick pieces first and don’t forget you livers and gizzards. Cook them last because the liver tops.

When the chicken is done, take it out of the grease and place on something to drain. There are no paper towels either.

Salmon Salad

I have no idea how they made this salad but I loved it so I am guessing what goes in it.

Start with two cans of the pink salmon. Use a hand held can opener to open the cans. This is one that you stick into the top of the can and kind of crank around to release the top. Drain the salmon and put into a glass bowl. Chop some green onions if you have them, add some boiled eggs, stir in mayonnaise or Miracle Whip. Mix it together and spoon into a pretty bowl. You have to use your best dishes for the Memorial.

I was going to put in Coconut Pie but I’m out of space!!

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