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Her cooking

Kristle Hodges, 2010

Bigmama would say: clean your kitchen as you go, season your food
in layers, I don’t like that store-bought stuff, go down to the village
farm stand and get the vegetables fresh, and above all else, cook in love.

These were the notes I took as I watched her cook, and then began to help her out.

All day, in school, I would imagine myself being at home eating her
fried chicken, or greens, or cabbage, or black-eyed peas
with rice and a little okra, or cornbread, or roast with veggies
all around it, or ox-tail soup, or shrimp creole, or fish and spaghetti,
or baked macaroni and cheese.

I could see the stove being on, and four pots cooking all at one time
to cover the surface area, or across the kitchen the crock pot would
be simmering, or perhaps the oven was full, cooking something great,
or maybe all of the above.

She taught me how to make dressing, just like she does, and how to
make cornbread, not the kind my mom made, but the cornbread on the stove,
it comes out looking like a dark pancake, but it’s so good. And she taught
me how to make greens, fresh greens—you pick them, then you wash
them, then you cook them and they will always cook down to less
than what you thought you had.

And instead of chips for a snack, we would slice up fresh tomatoes
and add a little salt and pepper—it was a me and her thing.

So, when I came home from school, this is what I looked forward to.
I would get off the bus and smell her cooking, and it would make me walk
a little faster, and when I came in and reached over just to grab a corner
of one of her dishes, she would tell me to wash my hands and fix a plate.
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All Information Copywright by Chimes Publication, Saint Mary's College 2010