The Poke Salat Festival

I have been to the Poke Salat Festival. Seriously. Tragedy (that’s what I call my husband because of his resting sad face compared to my perpetual mule-eating-briars Comedy grin) and I drove for more than an hour from Birmingham to Arab, Ala., just to go to the Poke Salat Festival. How could we not? Now…

My New Southern Comfort Food — Ramen

A bad cold calls for comfort food. When I was sick as a child, Mama would fix me homemade chicken noodle soup or egg custard. She’d bring it to me in bed on a tray. All of it warm, creamy, and soothing. That’s what rural Southern people eat. Simple food made with simple ingredients. As…

Sister Audnitha’s Filé Gumbo

(Just a quick note before we get into today’s post: We’ve come to the end of the See Jane Write #bloglikecrazy challenge. Thirty recipes, in thirty days. And I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who followed along throughout this month. This challenge certainly gets my mind working and gets the creative juices…

How to Put the Scald on a Bird

It was Christmas day in the early double aughts, and it was just Sonny, Brother, and me. We’d thought for a few weeks about all the good things we wanted to cook for Christmas dinner and finally settled on fried chicken. To us, holidays are not about having the fanciest dinner you can have, but…

Pralines

Picture in your mind a round disc of sugar and butter with pecans in it. Do you call it a PRAH-leen or a PRAY-leen? Only one is right, and it’s time to put the confusion on how to pronounce “praline” to bed. The candy was brought to America, particularly Louisiana, in the 1800s by French…

Lemon Jelly Cake

One of my favorite cakes is a Lemon Jelly Cake — yellow cake layers with lemon filling in between them and on top. No fussy, too-sugary icing (or Seven-minute Frosting). Just plain, buttery cake and a sweet, tart jelly. The recipe for the lemon jelly comes from my great grandmother, Ada Rowell, and I found…

Pecan Pie

We are a house divided. And it doesn’t have anything to do with football. It does have everything to do with a nut. That’s right. A nut. You see my Georgia-born boo says “PEE-can” and I of Alabama birth say “puh-KAHN.” Now admittedly this is not a subject that comes up for disagreement every day….

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…