By Sherrie Norris
Topping my favorite Christmas gift list several years ago was a cookbook from my older sister, Gail, who, like many close to me, knows how I love adding to my collection.
“Recipes and Remembrances” still tops my favorites — and for good reason. It’s a collection of recipes and memories from Crossnore Baptist Church, where I grew up in the shadows of some of the world’s kindest people and greatest cooks.
I have recently revisited this treasure trove from cover to cover, my heart and mind again transformed with every page.
From the opening, containing Roberta Aldridge’s “Spiritual Feast” — a Godly woman’s advice in recipe form for living the good life — to Margaret Ollis’s “Quest for the Quilt,” I was again captivated by the simplicity of it all, while realizing many deep meanings therein. And that, my friends, was just the beginning. Again.
Each entry that followed stirred my own memories of its author. As Glenda Cornett wrote about her late mother’s stack cake, I recalled the many cakes that Glenda, herself, baked and decorated for special occasions in the community.
I could visualize Frank Vance’s stories of his Aunt Zola Ollis and her large family around the table “where mountains of pancakes” and “the gravy bowl full of chocolate gravy” were waiting; also, of his grandfather, Jim Houston, a hardworking logger who counted on sawmill gravy as part of “a real man’s breakfast” and often supper.
Polly Heafner’s “Life on the Farm” took me back in time, as well, and reminded me of my own childhood with her words:“We were probably very poor, but we never knew it because we thought country-cured ham and bacon (from our farm) made us rich.”
Tina Jarvis’s tribute to the late Libby Watson found me with tearful eyes, as I thought of each of those ladies and the impact they have had on my life.
When the actual recipes for food began to appear, even more sentiment rose to the surface.
As soon as I saw Alice McKinney’s name, I recalled the 7-Up Pound Cake she brought to our home, probably during an illness or death. It was the best ever and I just had to have her recipe. Young at the time, I didn’t realize that the inclusion of salt and soda required that the flour be all-purpose or plain, so in goes the self-rising. An hour later, I was cleaning the overflowing, but tasty “mess” from the oven.
Memories of growing up next door to the Mohr family returned vividly with Margaret’s recipes. While not in the book, I remembered well that one of Carol’s childhood favorites was macaroni, minus the cheese or sauce. I was not a fan. The laurel leaves growing in front of her granny’s porch, which we pretended to “fry” as fish, were just as appealing to me.
Of course, my sister’s contribution of Lime Jell-O Salad, in memory of our mother, did its deed as thoughts of our family’s holiday gatherings grabbed hold of my heart and gave my tear ducts a good workout.
My cover-to-cover perusal has taken me down memory lane for several good hours once again, as the names of our church matriarchs, especially, gave me reason to pause and reflect upon their influence in the life of a young girl who grew up wanting to be just like them. I haven’t made it, yet — but I’m still trying.
The inspiration of some of those women, including the late Polly Henson, Nell Aldridge, Margie Calhoun, Merrium Clark, Martha Clark, Estelle Vance and Lois Edwards, in addition to those remaining, like Pat Greene, Jane Clark and several others, continue to be a special part of who I am today, as do some of the younger gals I’m also blessed to call friends.
Sally Thompson Morgan
1 to 2 lb. red or white grapes
6 large Butterfinger candy bars
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
8 oz. container sour cream
Wash grapes and set aside. Put candy in a baggie and crush. IN a large bowl, combine cream cheese and sour cream and beat until well blended. Next, fold in grapes and stir gently until mixture is mixed well. Reserve about ½ to 1 cup of Butterfingers for garnish. Mix the rest of the candy pieces into the grapes, sour cream and cream cheese mixture. You may transfer mixture to a serving bowl. Garnish with remaining Butterfingers “crunch.” Chill one hour before serving. Enjoy. Keep leftovers (if any) refrigerated.
4 cups broccoli, chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbs. mayonnaise
1 onion, chopped
2 cups Cheddar cheese, grated
3 Tbs. butter.
Mix together all ingredients. Bake at 350 until casserole bubbles or browns.
Crunchy Chicken Roll-ups
2 Tbs. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese with chives and onions
1¾ cups chicken, cooked and diced
1 pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
¼ cup melted butter
½ cup seasoned stuffing mix
Cream 2 Tbs. butter and cream cheese in bowl. Add chicken and mix well. Spoon 1 Tbs. mixture into each triangle. Roll up and seal well. Dip each roll into melted butter and coat with stuffing mix. Bake in glass baking dish at 375 for 20-30 minutes.
Margaret A. Clark
1 box orange cake mix
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
3 tablespoons orange Jell-O (dry)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
3 tablespoons orange Jell-O (dry)
1 ( 8 ounce) container Cool Whip
I teaspoon vanilla
Mix cake as directed. Add Jell-O and pudding mix. Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool. Mix the remaining ingredients and spread over cooled cake.
Margie’s Bread Pudding
Submitted by Pat Greene
1 loaf week-old sandwich bread
8-10 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups sugar
2 Tbs. vanilla
1 Tbs. cinnamon
Break up bread into small pieces and mix with milk until very, very moist. Add eggs, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Mixture should be very sweet, but if not, add more sugar. Pour in (prepared) loaf pan or glass baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon and swirl gently. Bake at 350 until set.
Note: Under the heading of “This &That” in the cookbook, during my most recent look-through, I found something so profound, that once again I was brought to tears: “A Happy Marriage” submitted by Lois Edwards.
Mrs. Edwards recently passed away, leaving a definitive hole in the hearts and lives of all of us who grew up in Crossnore and others who knew her well.
Always appearing as the very essence of the graceful, Southern Christian lady I still yearn to be, Mrs. Edwards left an indelible mark on my life, as well as countless others. So, below, you will see her recipe that wasn’t just written, but well-lived with her late husband, Edgar Edwards, who was her male mirror image of all that’s good. I dedicate this week’s column to the Edwards family and to the memory of these two very special people who stood on the Christian principles found below.
A Happy Marriage
Take 2 happy people
Take the two happy people, one male and one female, and separate from their parents. Add the following ingredients in generous proportions. Mix together, then thoroughly sift in daily life. Strain out jealousy, arrogance, selfishness, provocation and accounting of wrongs. Bake in the trial and tribulations of life for 50 years, then celebrate when golden. Try it! It has worked for us for over 60 years.