Nostalgic Food From My Childhood

My mom is a great cook who was raised by a great cook. Many summer days and nights I remember her cooking all of the meals outside and on the grill. Steaks with baked potatoes and a salad full of garden-fresh vegetables was a standard summer meal. She also fried okra and chicken fairly often. Especially the okra. To this day, I think fried okra may be my all-time favorite food.

We had family over regularly for fish fries. She’s known for her barbecue and homemade breads.

My mom is notorious for big breakfasts, even though growing up I wasn’t much of a breakfast eater. We usually had eggs, bacon, toast or biscuits and some sort of fruit. Now that she’s a “granny,” though, and not just a “mom,” my kids have Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes each time they stay with her.

One meal in particular, though, is nostalgic for me. I honestly haven’t made it as an adult because it won’t be as good, I’m sure. I may cave soon, though, because just thinking of it gets me excited!

It was the meal where I knew my mom had had a longer day (she was a high school math and computer science teacher), but it was amazing. Fried spam, ranch-style beans and Kraft macaroni and cheese.

Seriously. Out of everything my mom made, this meal has continued to stand out to me. The spam had a crust from where she had fried it, and it was the perfect salty bite. The Kraft mac and cheese kind of congealed as it cooled, making large bites easier. The ranch-style beans were different from the pintos my granny regularly cooked, making them a bit special, even though they were from the can. The best part? It was a splurge. This meal didn’t happen often, and it came together quickly. Clean up was a breeze, which was an added benefit for me.

Maybe I will have to try this meal just once for my kids to carry on the tradition.

When Efforts Pay Off

My mom, my kids and I just got back from the most amazing trip. We started out on Thursday morning before the sun was up, and we made it to New Orleans for our 1:30pm reservation at Commander’s Palace. I was ecstatic to get a lunch reservation for that day, as we wanted to keep the trip as schedule-free as possible. This, if you know me, is not my norm. I thrive on schedules, but, even though I did have moments of terror wondering what we were going to do, I loved the freedom of this trip.

I usually find that scheduling my time is more purposeful, and I’m able to get a lot more done. But this trip wasn’t about getting as much done as possible. It was about spending as much time together as possible. We were able to do a lot, which my Type A side appreciated. More than that, though, we were able to do a lot together. I loved sharing a meal at Commander’s Palace with my babies. Having my daugther choose to take a buggy ride as her choice of activity warmed my heart. We hit the highlights in every town, choosing the touristy route, and we spent most evenings playing for a couple of hours in the pool – which the kids absolutely loved.

In New Orleans we ate at Commander’s Palace and Cafe Du Monde, followed by a buggy ride; In Pass Christian we played in white sand and ate the best crab I’ve ever had. In Natchez we toured three homes and took pictures of the Mighty Mississippi; In Natchitiches we ate meat pies; In Jefferson we got Moody Dogs and Riverport barbecue and showed the kids where their daddy proposed to me many moons ago.

I wouldn’t have changed anything about it for the world. This trip also helped me realize something. I’m raising good humans. This will likely come across as though I’m tooting my own horn. My intent is not that at all. My intent is to encourage you to slow down in life long enough to see the good around you. I worry so much about making sure I’m doing everything in my power to ensure that my kids are smart, kind, outgoing, etc., etc., etc. I don’t slow down enough to always recognize that they are truly good people. They’re respectful. They thank others without being prompted. My daughter, at one point in a restaurant, even said, “I know what ladies do. They do this!” Then she promptly placed her napkin on the seat of her chair. This warmed my heart. She’s listening. They both are.

Most importantly, they pray for others who are hurting, such as those currently impacted by Harvey. They are good souls, and I’m thankful I get to be their momma and spend this time with them. I’m thankful for the reminder that they are enough. We all are.

Our prayers are with those who are impacted by Harvey.