Tennessee

I fell in love with the lyrics to this song a while back. And I thought I would share.

Tennessee, you’ve been good to me
Yes, I’ve come to believe you’re where I wanna be
You may not be what everybody needs
but Tennessee, you’re good enough for me
20130831-064755.jpg
I can see stars shining in your night
Your daytime seems like Cash and Patsy Cline
They may not be what everybody needs
But they touch my soul
That’s good enough for me
20130831-065650.jpg
It’s been ten years now, and I’m rooted in your soil
I am rooted in your soil
Give me ten more years, I’ll be rooted in your soil
Right here in your soil
20130831-064831.jpg
You may not be what I will always need
But I call you home
If I can call you home
Then you’re good enough for me

20130831-064515.jpg

Standard

Mush Mash

I grew up a few streets over from my grandparents and that meant lots of sleepovers or afternoons spent scooter pootn’ (Scooter poot’n is a southern term that simply means running errands and seeing what needs to be seen.) On those Saturday mornings after our Friday night sleepovers, my grandfather would greet us with a small juice glass filled with orange juice and he would gently scratch our back to help us wake up and start our day. My sister and I would then get out of bed and turn the corner from the guest room right into the kitchen. Breakfast was usually a piece of toast, a canned biscuit, or a frozen waffle.

My grandfather was an inventor at heart. He was always coming up with something new in his shop in the basement. But long before I knew about any of those things, I knew that he had “invented” the most wonderful tasting breakfast condiment. Mush Mash.

Papa’s voice sounded like the texture of his stubbly facial hair. Once we were all seated at the small table that filled the tiny kitchen- you couldn’t open the fridge and unload the dishwasher at the same time- He would ask us, “Hey, you want some mush mash?” Who could say no to those puppy dog brown eyes and the buttery sweetness that was to come? A little pat of butter, a little squeeze of honey or molasses, He would add one or the other until  the mixture was just right. Eventually the two simple ingredients would be transcended into perfection. A good slather of Mush Mash would make any day better and a morning spent with my grandparents perfect.

Standard

In the balance

Food we share isn’t always passed around an actual table. There’s tailgating, picnicking, and some eat while driving, walking or standing. There’s an element of balance and coordination utilized when an old fashioned table is not involved. These are qualities that don’t come naturally to me. This weekend I was reminded of one of those situations. One I’ve been practicing ever since the first time I saw a bride-to-be unwrap a crock-pot.

The ladies in my church live for a baby or wedding shower. They plan every detail, flowers that coordinate with tablecloth, that go with the matching paper napkins. Then there’s the food. They thoughtfully plan a menu of chicken salad croissants that balance the sweet fruit skewers and accent the herbed cheese ball and crackers. And don’t forget about the cheese straws. Note- if you don’t know about these southern delicacies, make some or buy some, you must get them in your belly. Usually there is something sweet at the end of the long table of silver platters. Cupcakes are the latest circulating trend and that’s fine with me.

So, I’m at a church shower the other afternoon and I have my plate of goodness, my cup of punch and my purse and thankfully I’ve already dropped my gift off at the overflowing table of generosity. As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve been practicing this balancing act for years. I sit, ankles crossed, and holding the plate, cup and paper napkin with my left hand hoping that a grape doesn’t roll off my plate and trip a cane up.  I look over and an older lady says, you’ve got this down, don’t you? I smile and think to myself, this might be the only time in my life I look like I’m semi-coordinated. I guess it takes practice.

Standard

Back to School

Seems like every other post on my Facebook feed is another adorable back to school photo of a friend’s child. It got me thinking about my first days of school. Even at a young age I would obsess over what I was going to wear or how I was going to fix my hair. Some things never change with kids.

Image

My first day of kindergarten

There was that part of every first day of school that was either the social highlight or, depending on the year, the most anxiety inducing hour of the day. Lunch period. My mom fixed my lunch on most days and I would buy my little carton of milk for a dime. The contents of my lunch were very healthy. Usually it was a half of a ham sandwich on wheat bread with yellow mustard, and some form of a fruit and vegetable. No chips and no candy.

Regardless of the contents, my lunchbox was always in vogue. Luckily, my uncle worked for Aladdin in Nashville. He was able to outfit me every year with the latest in lunch box trends. If I only had that collection now, I’m sure I could sell them to collectors for a pretty penny. I’m sure that tin Strawberry Shortcake number would fetch a buck or two.

These days, my lunch hour is spent running errands or grabbing a “healthy” bite from the fast food place down the road. But what I would really love is a ham sandwich with a side of raw broccoli florets especially made by mom. 

Standard

Camping

My Papa loved to camp and my Grandma loved my Papa. So, they camped a lot. Long trips, short trips or sometimes just a Sunday drive in the RV. During the summer weekends you could find them just a few minutes down the road camping by the lake. My parents would drive my sister and I over for a day and spend to night and make the drive back with them home. The best was when all the cousins came. There were four of us. We would spend the day swimming in the lake, attempting to fish or riding our bikes around the campground.

scan

Lunch and dinner was very casual almost a grazing of what seemed to be endless choices of crackers and peanut butter or ham and cheese fold over sandwiches. Side dishes might include carrots and celery dipped in ranch dressing or potato chips. Oh, yes and there was always cantaloupe, my Grandma’s favorite. Cut up in manageable chunks for little hands, sealed tight in a Tupperware container.

As soon as lunch and the 30-minute wait period was over, we rushed back to the lake to play hours of our childhood away. Most people wish they could go back to those days, but I’m glad to have the memories just as they are.

One of my Grandparent's last camping trips together.

One of my Grandparent’s last camping trips together.

Standard

Chicken Parmesan

I’ve always been blessed to be surrounded by people who are full of grace. Especially when it comes to my cooking experiments.

I was a young homeowner and needed some heavy furniture moved to the upstairs of my tiny house. I successfully negotiated a home cooked meal in exchange for the moving skills to two of my friends. The furniture had been moved and I had fixed each hungry man a pretty plate of homemade chicken parmesan. We sat down and said grace. I eagerly encouraged my guests to eat up.

I must interject here and tell you about a dessert that I had made earlier in the week. A no-bake cookie recipe made with orange juice, coconut and vanilla wafer crumbs. Tasty little things, but back to dinner.

Guest number one took a bite of the crunchy chicken doused in marinara sauce and laying on a bed of spaghetti. I was so proud of this meal, I had guessed at how to make it all by myself! It looked like chicken parm and it smelled like chicken parm. Success! After his first bite, he looked up and right at me. I asked him how it was and he replied with “Sweet!” Oh, Good! I thought, he likes it! So, I took a bite. Apparently, sweet in this case wasn’t slang for good. It actually tasted sweet. I took another bite. Nope, nothing changed it was defiantly sweet. What had I done?

Well, those orange cookies, the ones made with the vanilla wafer crumbs? You can bread chicken with them too! Vanilla wafer crusted chicken was a pretty “sweet” mistake!

Standard

You’re Invited

The Inherited Table has a Facebook page!

You are invited to come on over and chat about what’s going on at your table. I’m going to be starting a series of posts called “What’s on Your Table?” Where I will be sharing what I’m serving. 

Here’s a link- don’t be shy!

https://www.facebook.com/theinheritedtable

This was last night’s dinner- roasted vegetables, flank steak with balsamic glaze and parmesan polenta

What's on Your Table?

Martha helped me out with this “do-over” as the husband calls it!

Standard

Breakfast Love

I made my husband’s favorite breakfast this morning. The recipe isn’t a new concept but the result of a happy accident. To get the full picture, I have to go back to the very beginning, a very good place to start.

Saturday morning breakfast was a pretty big deal growing up. We were all together, with our untamed hair (even dad had one or two out of place) and morning breath. My sister and I puttered around in one of my dad’s old T-shirts as a make shift gown.

Most Saturdays it was muffins from a mix or peanut butter toast and scrambled eggs. But some Saturdays mom would pull out the big guns and make cinnamon rolls. Made with a basic biscuit recipe, it was filled with all the goodness she could concoct, raisins, pecans, sugars both dark and white, cinnamon and butter- no recipe is ever made the same way twice in my mama’s kitchen- that’s how she rolls.

My sister and I would stand on either side of her, holding our breath as she carefully and evenly rolled the dough, keeping all the insides where they belonged. And then she sliced them, baked them, and we devoured them.

Fast forward to my college years. I shared an apartment style dorm with three other girls. There were no mothers around to make us cinnamon rolls, so I attempted to replicate all the steps. Surrounded by my roommates, I rolled the dough while they held their breaths. The most nerve wrecking part of the whole process is transferring the cut rolls to the baking pan. Raisins get lost every time. The roommates had captured their breath by now and had moved on to more important things… like homework. So like any college kid would do, I thought, what’s the easiest way to do this? And thus, the log of love was born.

I took the rolled dough and shaped it into a doughnut shape. The ends did not quite meet so I tucked them into the center and Walla! A heart shape cinnamon roll! I baked it, drowned it in glaze, and suddenly my roommates appeared ready to share in this sweet breakfast treat. We sat around our small table with untamed hair, morning breath and wearing our boyfriend’s old T-shirts, comforting ourselves with tastes and love  of home.

Image

There’s no guarantee that the roll will come out looking like the perfect heart shape, but isn’t that the chance you take on love?

Standard

Table Style

I love a well-styled table. Fancy or casual, the perfectly placed fork makes all the difference. I styled this table using ordinary things I had lying around the house.

Image 

• Plates- Kate Spade

• Tablecloth- a find from TJMaxx- one of my favorite tableware destinations

• Place Card- a leftover Christmas tag

• Napkin- a square of fabric from a sewing project that is begging to be finished.

• Silverware- Oneida 

Image

The stripe cup was a gift from my dear friend Anna. She brought a pair from Starbucks for me when she came to visit a while back. She may live a plane ride away- somewhere in the middle of America, but even if it’s just over the phone, we always have time to dish.

Standard