My Mama’s Kitchen

Pearl Harris

One of my favorite memories of my mother was watching and being in the kitchen with her. She was a very small lady – less than 5 feet tall and never weighed 100 lbs – but she was a “little Samson”. I don’t remember her asking for help in picking up heavy objects – somehow she managed doing what I thought was impossible. She was known as “Little Gran” by her grandchildren. The kitchen consisted of a big wood-burning range, a large table, a small “dough table”, a safe (not for money – for storing food), a flour barrel, a smaller sugar barrel, and another for corn meal, and another worktable, and a firewood box. The vegetables were cooked in a large black pot over an open fire on the stove. She lifted the eye off and put the pot over the direct coals. I remember how the cabbage smelled (you probably could smell them for a mile). But I mostly remember when she cooked greens. She would lift the big black pot off the stove and set it on a square board on the floor and cut up the greens with a large knife and fork. Of course there was a big piece of fat pork in the pot. (Probably why we all had heart problems). She always made “pone bread” to go with the vegetables. She made it in big pones and baked it in the oven. It sliced like angel food cake – and with a “slab” of freshly churned butter – it was really good. She made biscuits in a big dough tray. Nothing was measured – she just knew how much of this and how much of that to make delicious meals. The big range had a warming oven on top where she stored things to stay warm until everything was ready. There was a big dishpan to wash the dishes in  and another to rinse. She made her own dishrags out of old warn out clothes and the drying towel was out of a meal sack or flour sack. She even saved eggshells, which were stored in a big black pan kept on top of the warning oven. When the pan was full she put the shells in the oven and roasted them. It was my job when I was small to stomp the shells into small pieces and feed them to the chickens. We had lost of fruit cobblers for dessert. She made and rolled out the crust on the dough table. I used to love to cut the dough into strips and help make the cobblers. We had canned peaches, blackberries and apples. My mother always wore a clean, starched gingham apron. It was always tied in a big bow in the back. We would sneak up behind her and untie it, but she would not get mad – just make us pick it up and put it back on. She never had to make up help in the kitchen; it always seemed like fun – all except refilling the wood box. I have lots of memories of my Mother but I think the favorite one was being in the kitchen and all the good meals she prepared. There were no fancy dinners – but they were all delicious. Umm – I believe I’ll go get me something to eat – but it won’t taste like my Mama’s cooking. Thank God for Mothers and our wonderful memories of them.

 

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