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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Fried chicken. Tasty. Crispy. Brown. Greasy. “Finger-lickin’ good.” KFC. Why fry chicken when some one else can fry it so well? Last night, Dave, my husband, was really craving fried chicken and loads of carbs, commonly know at KFC as creamed potatoes.

Extra crispy. Requires loads of napkins. So juicy one almost needs a shower when finished eating.

Fried chicken reminds me of my mother cooking fried chicken when I was growing up. No one, absolutely no one, could fry chicken like my mother. She would take chicken pieces and wash them off. Each piece of chicken would be dipped into buttermilk and dredged through a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. The process of dipping into buttermilk and dredging in the flour mixture was repeated and then the chicken was dropped into hot oil. Mother would fry the chicken until it was golden brown. Scrumptious! Eat your heart out, Colonel!

Although we never had a garden, my parents would buy bushels (literally) of beans, peas and corn every summer from the Atlanta Farmer’s Market. When my mother was working full-time, my grandmother would come early in the morning and she, my sister and I would shell peas or beans, or snap green beans all day long. Or we would shuck beautiful ears of corn, pulling off the green husks and silky strands to reveal the golden yellow kernels of corn. Once my mom arrived home from work, she would “blanch” the beans or peas – a procedure that required bringing the legumes to a boil and then sitting the hot pan in icy cold water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled off, the beans or peas would be placed into containers and in the freezer.

When we had corn to freeze, my mother would stand on her feet for hours cutting the kernels of corn off until nothing was left but the cob. It was quite a sight to see, as the corn kernels fell into a large dishpan and the white, milky cream dripped off the cob. Sometimes, if she cut the corn too quickly, the kernels would fly across the table, usually landing on the floor. Once all the kernels were in the dishpan, my mother blanched the corn just like she did the beans. All of the corn, every vegetable we snapped, or shelled, or sliced or cut went into the freezer so that once winter arrived, we had fresh vegetables all season long. But the corn was the best and my favorite. My mother would add a full stick of butter, salt and pepper and cook the corn until it was tender and soft. The corn would literally melt in my mouth!

I have truly missed my mother’s cooking since she has not been able to cook due to her health. Unfortunately, I did not inherit her cooking “genes!”

Addendum: I had a “Betty Crocker” Day a few weeks ago. This is what my children say when I decide to experiment in the kitchen, bake – any of those domesticated things that “Betty Crocker” would do. So I purchased corn on the cob and blanched some on the cob and froze it. Easy enough. I got bolder and cut the corn off the cob and blanched it. Not too bad. Now we wait and see how it tastes!

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