I remember my mother telling me how she felt like she had no windows or doors. No way to climb out of the situation that she was in. Through out it all, she still had God to depend on to get her through the day. Her faith is even stronger today, than it was back then. As a single parent, I can relate. My mother grew up hard and had a hard life. Trying to take care of three children on her own. She was also very sickly. She took care of us the best way she knew how. I never lacked love from my mother. We(my sister and brother) lived in a two bedroom apartment, and I slept with my mother until I was about 12. I had hand me downs galore. Until now I never knew how happy I was in that tiny apartment. My mother had the only tv and on special nights we would pile up in her bed and watch roller derby, Family Classic and Jubilee Showcase. She loved watching wrestling and her soap operas. She would rise about 5 every morning and sit at the kitchen table, looking out the window, reading her bible or one of her romance novels. Dinner would be done by 9 am. All we had to do was heat and serve. I use to wonder what she thought about looking out that window. She told me she thought about ways to take care of her family. She knew how to wring every drop from a dollar bill. She also taught me about life, myself and trusting in God.
One of her best lessons was in her cooking. My mother prided herself on her how good a cook she was. She learned from the best. My grandfather. He taught her and she taught us. She was well taught. But because she had three children to feed, my mother had to make the most of what she was given and give the most of what she was making. Here is how she was able to feed 3 three children who ate like 10.
Lets start with my favorite food day
Sunday menu:Neckbones in gravy with potatoes, fresh cooked mashed sweet potatoes, cornbread, greens(mustard, turnip, collard), potato salad. The best meal. Sometimes we would have ham or maybe chicken. I am smacking my lips just thinking about it.
Mondays menu: Remember the ham from Sunday’s dinner. That meat and bone would be used the season the Red Beans and Rice for dinner. Leftover cornbread accompanied the meal. We had Red Beans and Rice every Monday, with or without the ham bone. I forgot to mention, Red Beans and Rice is a staple of New Orleans, LA. My mother was born in Baton Rouge as were my grandparents. Enough said.
Tuesday’s menu: Always meat loaf. If there was any cornbread leftover, was held to Wednesday.
Wednesday’s menu: Chili. Made from the leftover Red Beans and leftover meatloaf. I told she knew how to stretch a dollar.
Thursday’s menu: Chili, if there was some left over. For special occasions we would have pot roast(I don’t think I have seen a pot roast in a very long time). We didn’t eat the pot roast. It was used to make hash. Cole slaw rounded out the meal.
Friday’s menu:Always fish(cat or buffalo), spaghetti and left over cole slaw.
Saturday’s menu: Hamburgers and french fries, always home-made. We sometimes had hamburger buns.
Of course there was variations on meals, but this was it while growing up. It brings back memories, smells and devotion. I wishes I had pictures of these fantastic meals. My cooking veers in other direction these days, but I long for the good old days. Thank God for my mama. Where would I be today.