Thursday, July 6, 2017

Food For Thought - Get Those Family Recipes

Family Reunion about 1921, Burdeshaw Side of Dad's Family
by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

So here it is, summer once again, that time of year when families can finally carve out some time to be together. If you are fortunate, you have scheduled the get-together when all or most of your family can be there, and that is a blessing.

When I was a kid, my daddy’s side of the family, the DuPrees, gathered near Dothan, Alabama, at a place called Kelly Springs. Most of Daddy’s family lived in or near Dothan so it wasn’t hard for us to get there. But Daddy’s twin brother, my Uncle Bill, and his family lived in Pennsylvania at the time. But they came every summer, without fail, to see the brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and Granddaddy, when he was still with us. Their mother passed away when Daddy was only sixteen, so we were very happy that we still had Granddaddy.

At the time, I was too young to consider how difficult and expensive that trip must have been for Uncle Bill, Aunt Margaret, Jeanette, Linda, and Carol. They had to have made some sacrifices to be able to make that journey, year after year, and on a preacher’s salary. I hope that they know how much that meant to the siblings and Granddaddy.

Kelly Springs, Dothan, AL
Those gatherings at Kelly Springs are one of my treasured memories. I wasn’t more than ten or
Granddaddy DuPree and Kids with Spouses
eleven the last time we gathered there. What I remember with clarity is how cold the water was. It was freezing. In fact, the water was so cold, that they placed the watermelons in holes in the ground that had been created by the flow of the spring. By the time we were ready to dig into one of the big, red smiles, they were icy-cold. Yum-a-dum.

Daddy had been a mess-sergeant in the Army, so he was always the designated cook. He grilled your typical hot-dogs and hamburgers and sometimes, he grilled chicken. We had potato salad, sliced fresh tomatoes, deviled-eggs, baked beans, and Mama’s crystalized green-tomato pickles. Aunt Cleolua would always bring her lemon-cheese cake. No, it wasn’t a cheesecake. It was a lemon-chesse cake. It was a family favorite and our outing wouldn’t have been completed without it.

The talk of food brought this to mind. Have you written down or asked for favorite family recipes? My sister and I were lamenting this past week about not having asked Daddy or Mama to write down the recipes for things we often had on our dinner table or at our family outings.

Our Daddy, The Cook
As mentioned above, Daddy was a mess-sergeant, so he had to feed thousands of men three meals a day for months on end. He was accustomed to feeding large crowds. When we moved to Andalusia, Alabama, when I was about to turn ten, Daddy joined the Civitan Club. As part of their fund-raising events, they had a spaghetti supper once a year, for which Daddy made his famous spaghetti sauce. Daddy also made his sauce for East Three-Notch Elementary School during their fall carnival.

Once I was married and had moved to Birmingham to live with my husband, our church choir was planning a trip to Europe. As part of our fund-raising efforts, Daddy took a bus from Andalusia to Birmingham (Daddy didn’t drive) to make pancakes for the choir-sponsored Shrove Tuesday pancake supper.

Sadly, we never asked Daddy to write down his recipe for the spaghetti sauce. Or for his oh-so-delicious barbequed beans. Just thinking about those makes my mouth water. He made those beans for another Civitan event held at the Point-A Lodge in Andalusia. Thankfully, I found his hand-written recipe for the pancakes when we were moving from North Carolina back to Florida last year. I did a happy-dance over that discovery.

Lost To Time - Don't Wait
There are so many things we grew up with that we have no clue how to duplicate. Sis and I could probably get close to some, but many things, like Granny’s blackberry nectar, which was always in our refrigerator, or her delicious cobblers with the slick-dumpling-pastry are lost to time. I’m sure we could find a recipe online, but it wouldn’t be Granny’s.

Because we helped her with them and they are so easy to make, Sis and I can, and do, make Mama’s oven-fried pies. I’ll include her recipe at the end of this post.

Before your food memories are gone like the all-too-soon-vanished days of summer, ask the cooks in your family for their recipes. If they are handwritten, ask for permission to have them copied, or just take a cell-phone photo of them. Believe me, there will come a day when you will regret not having those treasures. After all, they are a part of those lazy summer days, the family gatherings at holiday time, and a part of our very own wonder years. Just food for thought.

What foods were your favorites? Did you get the recipes for them? Share your favorites with us here. Bon appetit!

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                                                                                   Mama’s  Oven-Fried Pies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
1 to 2 cans of Pillsbury Grands Flakey Biscuits
Pie Filling of your choice, apple, peach, blueberry, chocolate, etc.
Peanut or other liquid cooking oil

Sprinkle a bit of flour on your rolling surface
Roll each biscuit until it is flat and circular, about 6-7 inches in diameter
Fill one side of each with 2-3 T. filling of your choice
Add butter to your taste, I use a teaspoon or two for each

“Glue” the sides together by wetting your finger in water and running it along the edge of the flattened biscuit
Fold the empty side over the top of the filling, stopping just shy of the edge, forming a half-moon
Fold the bottom edge over the top edge
Poke holes in the top with fork tines to release steam, poke 5-6 times
Press edge down with tines of a fork to seal and to make it look nice

Pour about one-third to one half-cup of oil onto pan, enough to cover the entire bottom
Place the pan in the oven for about 10 minutes to heat the oil
Remove pan and place the pies onto the heated sheet
Bake for about 10-15 minutes
Turn and bake an additional 5-10 minutes or until golden brown
Sprinkle with a bit of sugar if desired

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