Sweet Potato Pie

The influence of African-Americans on Southern food cannot be ignored. From greens to okra to ham hocks and more, many of my favorite dishes originated from a culture that is not my own. And Thanksgiving always features something that is extremely prominent in traditional African-American food — the sweet potato. I love sweet potatoes. You…

Dressing vs. Stuffing

It’s time we had a little talk about the semantics of “dressing” versus “stuffing.” Where I come from, south Alabama, we are die-hard dressing people. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard any of my brethren or sistren from south of the Mason-Dixon line refer to the most beloved of all Thanksgiving sides…

Ada’s Rice Dressing

In the mid 1890s, my great grandfather, Andrew Joseph Rowell, Jr., was a young man in need of gainful employ. He had heard that there were jobs at a logging camp in Chicora, Miss., which was not too far away. Joby, as he was known to his family, traveled up there to sign on and…

Talkin’ Turkey

I can take a hint. That’s why when Daddy mailed me the recipe for his foolproof Thanksgiving turkey, I figured the baton had been passed and I was doing the cooking this year. The last time I cooked a turkey was about twelve years ago. I found myself trying to fish a sack of hot…

Cacklefruit all the ways

If you can cook eggs, you’ll never starve. Cackle fruit is as versatile as the day is long, not to mention cheap and cheerful. Here are my favorite ways to eat eggs. Now Mama makes the best fried eggs — lacey and blindfolded. That’s where you have a crispy edge on the egg but the…

Sweet and Spicy, it’s Pepper Jelly

Sweet and spicy are two flavors that go hand-in-hand. And way before Sriracha, which lists sugar as it’s second ingredient, took over as the condiment du jour, there was another sugary, hot contender for a place on the southern table: pepper jelly. That’s right. Pepper jelly. Hot peppers cooked with vinegar in sugar syrup. It…

Chicken and Dumplings

Granny died fifteen years ago this past March. She was just a few weeks shy of her 99th birthday. Brother and I thought that she’d live forever, and she just about did. (I wrote about what I think her secret was to longevity here.) She’d always been the same our whole lives. White hair, twinkly…

Seven-minute Frosting

I recently wrote about my Great Aunt Lois and how, along with making a mean hush puppy, she was a master at Seven-minute Frosting. For the next few days I reminisced about Aunt Lois and what a good cook she was. I mean, she could make one of the trickiest frosting recipes without even batting…

Homemade Butter Mints

Butter mints are a staple at Southern showers, teas, and receptions. Sweetly pastel, they sit proudly between the mixed nuts and petit fours on our party tables. Butter mints are no wallflower though. Their pale colors belie their assertive flavor. A few Christmases ago, Husband and I went to visit his parents. We hadn’t been…

Crabmeat Casserole

Crabmeat. It’s my absolute favorite seafood. More than oysters, more than shrimp, I love me some crabmeat. Not crab legs, mind you. Blue crab. I’d eat a cat turd if it was served with lump crabmeat on the top. One of my favorite ways to eat crabmeat is in Crabmeat Casserole. This dish is another…