BROWN: Nanny’s Cooking Lessons | Opinion

Nanny was delighted when her first grandchild was a girl because she and her grandfather Scott had two sons. She was excited to have someone she could teach to do what she believed were important life skills, like cooking and sewing.

As you may have guessed, that lucky girl was me.

Nanny grew up during the Great Depression living in a boarding house owned and operated by her mother, a single mother for many of those years, supporting three strong-willed daughters.

Duties at the boarding house were divided up, and Nanny remembered standing on a stool as a child in an apron made from an old sheet to protect her clothes while stirring pots of boiling vegetables that were cooking on the wood-burning stove. The kitchen helper enjoyed the heat produced by the stove in winter but the heat could be unbearable during the summer months.

Thanks to Nanny’s lessons, I am able to harvest, prepare and serve vegetables and I know how to cook several different types of delicious cornbreads. Although I have learned several other ways to prepare vegetables years later, I will always remember how to choose a mess of

purple shell peas, shell and wash, trim any blemishes and cook with a piece of pork until just right.

Vegetables and cornbread or crackers were served at her house every day. There were no eating out or fast food in their lives.

Nanny always had some kind of dessert at her house, she baked pies and made pies because she served dessert after every meal. During the holidays, her pie safe was filled with treats, but her favorite sweet concoction was a sour cream pound cake.

One of my first lessons was how to correctly measure ingredients.

I measured out the flour, raked in the excess with a butter knife, and added it to the sieve where we combined other ingredients until complete. Next, the wet ingredients were measured and combined as directed by your well-used recipe.

There were times when the pound cake came out a bit uneven, but the flavor was always delicious. Her pies were so good that many of the neighbors ordered and bought their Christmas pies from Nanny. She baked cakes for years, but her favorite recipe became a red velvet cake with a cream cheese frosting and finished with pecans. In fact, my son Scott has kept the recipe she used; the paper has splatters of the red food coloring that colors the popular Christmas cake.

Nanny also perfected a recipe for divinity and is the only person I know who could make it during inclement weather. Hers was just as pretty and tasty every time. She made delicious chocolate candies and something she called pecan rolls.

In the early fall we helped her pick pecans and she kept a pan full of cracked nuts to pick from while she watched TV.

Next time, my sewing adventures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *