Growing up in an extremely rural East Texas area I was blessed to watch my grandparents, who lived “off-grid” since the electric lines did not make it all the way to their remote home place “make do” in creative ways that would make the modern Pinterest DIYers scratch their heads.
My grandpa, who hunted and fished for all their meat would make a mulligan stew that was so good it was indescribable! Luckily I didn’t find out until I was grown that it was made from squirrel!
Those times are gone in some ways, but in others, they live on, because they instilled in me a sense of taking whatever you have been blessed to have and making it work and then turning around and improving it again just because it makes life a little better.
My grandmother figured out how to pressure can the boney part of a river fish that was normally thrown away and she used it to make the best fried fish patties… She once came and stayed with me after I had my own family and asked me what it was like to “eat out of a bag” referring to my having to buy what I needed to feed my family from the grocery store.
As a youngster, I never saw my Grandma Vivian put a meal on the table without some form of homemade bread. Sometimes biscuits, sometimes cornbread, but always melt in your mouth good!
These breads were made in heirloom cast iron skillets and had a crunchy crust that tasted divine when they were split open and buttered while still warm.
When I grew up I also made these same breads, using my grandma and my mom’s skillets, until just a few years ago when I learned that the combination of fuels (fats and carbs) in those breads were fine for farmers who burned 7000 calories a day, but they were a big part of a large dietary problem for me and mine.
As time goes by I learn more and more about working with these unusual ingredients and how to encourage them to act like we want them to act. The flavors and textures continue to improve but it’s line upon line and precept upon precept… So, let’s keep on cookin’ ~ Teresia, Nana’s Little Kitchen