Daddy & Momma had 3 gardens, a cow, pigs, & chickens.
What they didn't raise, they often traded for.
A trip to the grocery store was a rare occurrence.
When we did go to the store it was for sugar, flour, cornmeal, those things that we didn't raise, or couldn't trade for.
It was also a time to meet up with friends that we only saw on "town day".
Momma taught me at an early age how to cook, how to put a meal on the table as quickly as possible, and how to cook slow as well.
She also taught me how to expand a meal when someone would pop in at the last minute.
Her table policy was "never turn someone away hungry, the least we can do is to make sure they are facing life on a full stomach".
(That policy has served me well these 57 years.)
Momma's family was a large one. She had 2 sisters & 1 brother. One sister had 14 children, 13 raised to maturity. The other sister had 5 children. Momma had 5 herself. When you add their spouses (and their family), their kids & their friends? Well, you just lost count! Lol
Everyone was always welcome.
The only rules Momma had for her table, her home?
*No arguing inside. Take it outside so that she didn't have to listen to it.
*Come hungry. Cause there would always be food!
*Be prepared to work for your meal. Momma was a firm believer in "if you don't work, you don't eat". So she always had work to be done. Hang out the clothes. Take out the dishwater. Weed the flowerbeds. Gather firewood & kindling. Feed the chickens. Milk the cow. Slop the hog. There was ALWAYS something to be done. If someone refused to work, then they were not only served last, but they were served the least. Usually didn't take but once to learn the lesson.
*Stick around after the meal. If someone "ate and run", they were not well received the next time. Momma believed you could always sit and visit a spell after eating. Even just a 15 minute visit made everything ok.
I can cook "fancy". But I much prefer to cook "real".
I can cook for the appearance of the food on the plate, the presentation.
But, I enjoy cooking for the taste, for the comfort, for the strength the food gives.
Many of my bestest memories revolve around food.
Not just the eating of the food - but all that goes before, during and after.
Food is - and should be - an experience!