Ode to the Southern Kitchen of Years Gone By

(from a wild write 2021)

Praise the fried chicken massaged with egg then rolled in flour, paprika, salt, and pepper; then bathed in egg again and gently patted back into the flour for an extra crispy doubled dipped southern crust.

Praise Crisco and Saturday morning cartoons. How after minutes and minutes of crisscrossing my knives back and forth, as I watched Tom and Jerry, it would turn flour into tiny balls of sand just right for fluffy biscuits.

Praise the bacon grease that sat proudly in a jar on top of the stove, layered in slightly different colors like a candle. Vegetables don’t naturally taste like bacon? Nonsense!

Praise Buttercream freshly whipped by my mama’s hands, no machine in sight. Strong wrists and strong arms a proper farmer’s daughter. Bless the cake holding the heaping snowy mounds chilled in the refrigerator and the sweet cold taste akin to fudge.

Praise cinnamon and homemade Sunday bread: knead, wait, rise, knead, wait, rise until you could finally start rolling. Lather butter on the dough like lotion on dry skin, and you could never have too much (you guessed it) cinnamon.

Out of all my childhood foods, cinnamon is the one that still accompanies me today. In my hot chocolate, tea, or coffee. As I slowly bid farewell to tastes of home that were wreaking havoc on my body, cinnamon has become a most endearing companion.