Uncle Ben lives Southern Hospitality. No matter when we stop we're asked if we're hungry. His daughter, Patty, always has something cooking. Last weekend she lifted the lid on her lima beans with ham hocks. Yum! And not greasy. She mixed and baked a huge skillet of cornbread and fried green tomatoes. We didn't come to eat, but it smelled so good we did. Wonderful!
The Barrett Clan gathered the Sunday before Thanksgiving over more food than I have ever seen and more family than I could imagine. The ages ranged from one month to seventy-two years.
An eight-foot table was covered with three rows of casseroles and juicy, deep-fried turkey, spiral-cut ham, cornbread dressing and oyster dressing to name a few. Patty made Rachael Ray's potato lasagne: partially cooked potatoes sliced and layered on the bottom covered with a layer of chopped artichoke hearts, ricotta cheese, parmesan and chopped fresh spinach covered with a cooked white sauce. Repeat. Repeat. The guys loved it, too.
Good old green bean casserole graced the center of the table surrounded by a sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and raisins and two with lots of nuts, corn casserole and yellow squash casserole. I don't remember all of them. No failures, I assure you. And there was a crockpot of turnip greens.
Felix's wife bottle fed their six-month old grandson. Jason and Shannon juggled their pre-school son, Joe, twin daughters and infant son. I remember feeling like a jungle gym to my two young daughters. And there's no rushing to the store with babies in tow.
It was a pleasant afternoon of family and friends celebrating their roots in peaceful co-existence. The counter was lined with salads: ambrosia; cranberry fluff; cranberry relish; watergate and more. Among the desserts were homemade pecan pie; apple pie; Abbie's chocolate frosted cupcakes; and a banana pudding made with peanut shaped cookies rather than vanilla wafers. Some Southern cooks use Eagle Brand in their banana pudding. What's not to like about that?
I cut the pecan pie in little slices without knowing it was Uncle Ben's personal stash from Beverly. I apologized. I'll know to hide it next time.
Paper platters were heaped, mine included. Those who ate on the screened-in porch were entertained by a litter of kittens scampering and tumbling. Born in the house, they spent their early days comfy in Ben's bathroom closet. I found them on the floor nosed into a corner under the counter like geese following the leader.
Oh, there's another baby boy. Felix has twin six-month old grandsons. Life is going on double time.
2010 Red Convertible Travel Series