Our oldest daughter lived in Noo Yawk City for fifteen years, only coming back to Brownspur every couple of years for a visit. She called the Opening weekend of Dove Season (which we celebrate as New Year’s Day!) to say she was getting some vacation time, and would be home for a Thanksgiving visit. Betsy naturally asked what she might request to be on the menu while she was at home, figuring that she might be ready for some good ole homestyle grub.
Christie considered only briefly: “Oh, I’d really like to get Adam and Daddy to save me some dove breasts, and have some marinated, wrapped in bacon, and grilled. Then of course I’d like some of them broiled in your sherry sauce, served over rice, okay? Maybe with some boiled new squash and baby butterbeans? And the grilled doves, obviously Daddy will cook mixed sliced zucchini, peppers, and mushrooms on the grill too, with that balsamic vinegar and olive oil baste? And Barbequed Bananas for dessert.”
She continued, “I’d really like one meal of Adam’s fried venison steaks, rice and gravy, and blackeyed peas, if you’d make a pan of cornbread, too. Do y’all have any ‘sogum molasses’ so we could have hot buttered cornbread with ‘lasses for dessert?”
Betsy was nodding, writing all this down. Christie was just getting warmed up.
“What about one night a venison loin, marinated in soy sauce all day and lightly introduced to a hot fire? And of course, I’d want Daddy’s shish-ka-bob duck breasts, with that orange sauce baste he won the cooking contest with. Do y’all have any rabbits, since the last beagle died? I’d really like some rabbit shish-ka-bobs one night, with that mint sauce baste Daddy invented, and saute some mushrooms to go with the rest of the vegetables on the skewers. Maybe with some homemade wholewheat bread and dewberry jelly, unless you’ve made muscadine jelly this year, then I’d like that. Heck, maybe both!”
Now she was getting enthusiastic. “Duck gumbo! You’ve got to make some duck gumbo, with the deer sausage cut up in it, served over wild rice with some real New Orleans (she went to Tulane) French bread for sopping with! Oh, Mom! I can smell it when I walk in the house, after you’ve been cooking on it the whole day!” By this time Betsy had her over the speaker phone, and I was getting hungry myself.
“I know you’ll have on a crock-pot of venison chili when Daddy brings me home from the airport, that goes without saying. Could I maybe try some of those jalapeno goose breasts that Adam said were so good last year? I’ve never had those, but I’d love to try them. And surely you’ll be making a pot of squirrel and dumplings, like we always have around Thanskgiving? Speaking of Thanksgiving, is Daddy going to slow-smoke a wild turkey over sassafrass coals, like he usually does? Gosh, I can’t wait for that! Be sure you’ve got plenty of Jezebel Sauce made up to go with it, and a pan of cornbread dressing. Did you know that these yankees call it ‘stuffing’? I told them that’s what you do with a big buck when you hang the head on the wall!
“And it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without your Oysters Johnny Reb casserole. Could we have spaghetti squash and some of those baked acorn squash with brown sugar and nutmeg for vegetables? Oh, and one night a big pan of your zucchini lasagna. For breakfast, I’d like your egg, cheese, & sausage casserole, that Tommy Paterson used to call ‘Miss Betsy’s Opening Day Slop,’ every morning, with the homemade wholewheat bread and your strawberry fig preserves!”
Then the crowning feast: “Then, for the last supper before I leave, of course we’ll have fried quail on toast with dewberry jelly, rice and gravy, and lemon meringue pie!”
Betsy was a little sarcastic when she paused. “Okay. Anything else?”
Christie was having no part of it. “Yes’um. Plenty of mint tea, and Daddy’s boiled coffee every morning when I wake up. Can he bring it to me in bed?”
What’s that old saying? “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl!” This one had been Raised Right! Hardly anything she had named could be bought in a grocery store.
But I draw the line at taking her my Famous Boiled Coffee in bed. At least, not every morning!