Defiantly straight

16 hours. That’s how long I was in my mother’s home for a Thanksgiving visit before I found myself with not one but two different kinds of product in my hair. My limp, straight, ornery hair has been a source of consternation to my mother my whole life, and one day, by God, she will…

Count Furcula – or – Happy Wishgiving

Furcula. That is the funny-sounding, official name of what we commonly refer to as a wishbone. It means “little fork” in Latin. Furcula. During this season of giving thanks, it is traditional for two people to rend this little bone from the turkey carcass and, in a sometimes spirited contest of hand strength and cunning,…

Creamed things on toast

With Thanksgiving looming before us, it’s time we had a little cooking lesson. I am going to share with you the the first thing Mama taught me to cook. With this recipe she gave me the key to making most anything reasonably palatable, using up leftovers, and making the perfect gravy. Just this one basic…

Sweet Potato Cobbler and a Lesson in Love

If it’s true that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then my husband’s heart belongs to another woman. Since we’ve been married, he has sung the praises of her pinto beans, her cornbread, her fried pies. She had the culinary Midas touch. At her hand the most common ingredients turned into…

Have you got game?

“Taste this and guess what it is!” Aunt Lois* says to me one Thanksgiving morning while jabbing at me with a carving fork, a piece of grayish meat dangling from the tines. “Go on; taste it!” Now I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to readily identify my food. Even at…

Baby Jesus would not approve

Something is missing. I’ve looked for it in my neighborhood, at the mall, on television. Nothing. It was a homely little thing that used to pop in once a year between the end of October and the beginning of December. When it came to visit, it usually brought with it some family — both blood…

Rice Dressing

In the mid 1890s, my great grandfather, Andrew Joseph Rowell, Jr., a young man in need of gainful employ, decided he would try his hand working at a logging camp in Chicora, MS. Joby, as he was known to his family, was hired on as an ox driver pulling great pine logs out of the…