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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

homemade everything: my gramma's influence

gramma's cookbook

I just returned from a weekend at my grandparents' house in rural North Carolina - a sprawling farm on the Pee-Dee River we call "Neal's Hill". Just the other night a co-worker's wife was asking me how I came to love food and cooking so much... If I had to pick any single influence, I'd say my Gramma. Although I don't cook mainly southern food, I appreciate the process of making things from scratch, and from the freshest possible ingredients, because of her. When I was young, I'd spend at least a week each summer down on Neal's Hill, and Gramma and I would go out and pick apples, peaches or blueberries and bake cobblers or pies. When Gramma pulled out her old church cookbook this past weekend, I was so excited - what pie was she going to make this time??

blueberry pot pie

It turns out she made this delicious blueberry "pot pie" - kind of custardy when baked. I can't describe how good fresh berries from her garden taste.

tomatoes from the garden

Gramma slices up these fresh tomatoes she grows into thick pieces for...

cucumbers from the garden

...cucumber sandwiches! I'm not sure if this is a Southern thing, or just a Gramma thing, but she makes these cucumber and tomato sandwiches with slices of cheddar cheese and some mayo, salt and pepper - juicy and crunchy and the *perfect* lunch for a hot summer day.

gramma's green beans

My gramma grows and cans her own green beans. I took it for granted growing up that this would always be available - it wasn't until I went off to college and realized that most people only had canned vegetables.

gramma's pottery bowl

My gramma is so multi-talented - she's really gotten into throwing her own pottery the last couple of years. My mom and sister always go straight to her new pieces when we walk in the door to see what all she's been working on (and inevitably try to convince my Gramma how deserving we are of some new bowl or platter). The coolest pieces in my kitchen are these homemade pottery dishes my Gramma made. This past trip I scored a new serving bowl, and a small lidded casserole dish. You'll definitely see these featured on the blog in the future...

gramma's pottery

And how cute is this little card my Gramma started putting in her new pieces? Her work is now being commissioned by local churchgoers and friends, and now she's got some pieces on display at the local art center. I had such a great time when I visited, as always, and I'm already wondering when I can head back...


Anonymous said...

I remember picking blackberries with my grand parents and making the same Berry Pot Pie shown in your cookbook. Finally, something I could make while growing up. I think we called it 1 Cup Cobbler.

KT said...

Mmm, blackberry cobbler, you reminded me! I think I'll have to cook one up now and post the full recipe :)