For as long as I can remember, my family has gathered around the dinner table on Sundays, holidays, special occasions and sometimes, no occasion at all.
Great food and close fellowship. Close, not flawless. It wasn’t always a picture of familial bliss. We occasionally had political or social discussions that became, let’s say, passionate, but eventually it was resolved with another helping of mashed potatoes or pie and everything was just fine. Of course, as a child, I was oblivious to any friction. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I caught on to any tension or disagreements. And even then, my main concern was what was on the menu and was there enough for seconds.
But even though it wasn’t always perfectly peaceful, it was good. Really good. It was something I could count on. It gave me a sense of identity and security. Seeing my grandfather at the head of the table every week with his head bowed for the blessing made an impact on my life. And I am so grateful. My fondest childhood memories are of our family sitting around my Mema’s dining table or in my Aunt Sandy’s kitchen on a Sunday afternoon perfecting a certain recipe.
I come from a long line of amazing cooks, most of whom never wrote down a single recipe. However, they would be glad to tell you exactly how to do it if you asked, using measurements like “a handful of this” or a “pinch of that”, ending with “you just need to make sure it tastes good”.
I went home to Florida last week and in keeping with tradition, we got together for dinner. We gathered at Mama’s around my Mema’s dining table and here are a few of the things we had. My mother, my Aunt Sandy and my cousins Robert and Emmie have actually written the recipes – yippee! Just click on the name of the dish and it will take you to the recipe. Hope you enjoy it!
Top photo – Emmie’s Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes.