Family Members: Grammy-my wife, Pappy-me, Claire-my oldest daughter, Phil-Claire’s husband, Annie-Claire’s newborn, Beth-Claire’s first born, Ella-my middle daughter, Amy-my youngest daughter.
It has been brought to my attention this weekend just how much “food” and “Grammy’s cooking” means to our family. Grammy has been really busy lately tending to the health needs of our aunt and the kids. Yet, on Sunday, she mustered up the energy to make her “Famous Fajitas.” Happiness was in the air at our table. Smiles appeared on all faces as we immersed ourselves in Grammy’s art form, cooking.
It took the whole family, including Claire, Phil, and our grandkids, Annie, and Beth about an hour to consume a table full of Mexican cuisine. We had Grammy’s homemade guacamole, refried beans, and hot sauce for starters. The chicken, fresh off the grill, was then wrapped in a tortilla blanket. Fresh onions, and bell peppers were cooked and applied generously to the creation a festival of food, a delicacy of delight, a tempting taste from south of the border in our mouths. It was good.
Grammy learned to cook from her mother and her grandmother who raised her with her 7 brothers and sisters. She was the oldest daughter and had to learn at a young age. Before long she came of age and learned many new recipes from her folks and fast food restaurants where she worked until her early 2o’s. Pappy is merely the recipient of the years Grammy has put in to learn her trade, family rearing, and cooking.
Years ago when I first met Grammy, I realized there was something I liked about her besides her good looks and charm, which is substantial. I liked her warm heart and care that she seemed to give to all she did. It was this attribute that inclined me, no, compelled me to ask her to marry me. This humble husband, this subtle squire, this manipulated hen-pecked Pappy was so lucky that from that point on I have had many wonderful meals at Grammy’s table.
The kids and I have told her she needs to open a restaurant but she has declined to turn her hobby into a business. She has created a cookbook for the girls in our family called “Southern Comfort” that she keeps on a shelf in a cabinet to high for Pappy’s reach. Secrets of the ages I am sure are kept in this book. There might even be a few generations of cooking hidden in its pages. I have threatened to sell her book for a profit this very weekend and was scorned. I bribed my own children to give a copy of its secrets for publishing to no avail.
Grammy gave one look at the kids and they were as pale as ghosts on Halloween night. She threatened to never give them anymore cooking advice and recipes if they ever gave me her secrets. Each recipe has its own story, each idea has been scrutinized with hand written notes in the corners to give it just the proper flavor and fragrances. It’s Pappy’s piece de resistance of family happiness that is fostered behind these pages of Grammy’s prideful meal memories.
What I like most is the numerous ethnic recipes from her Irish and French lineage to my traditional steak and meatloaf dinners. I guess thats why her Chicken Kiev to her chicken fried steak with cream gravy is always artery clogging good. She lights up our lives with her French toast and eggs benedict for breakfast. Her holiday recipes are spectacular ranging from cream puffs to turkey dressing with giblet gravey. What has always amazed me is how she brings it all together at one time, piping hot on Pappy’s plate.
My kids demand Grammy’s cooking. The in-laws clamor for her cuisine to prepare their holiday feasts. I am just happy to be a part of it. True, it’s a secret I can’t sell, but at least I can enjoy it. It’s a rainbow during a rainy day; it’s a lift when you are down. It’s a celebration when most needed and an annual anticipation at birthdays. We all love Grammy’s cooking at Pappy’s Place, and though all people have their strengths and weaknesses they each bring to their joyful marriage union, I am glad this is but one of Grammy’s many talents. (Maybe the girls after reading this will reconsider my offer.) Pappy