Archive for the ‘Food and Recipes’ category

The Smell of Chocolate Is Brain Therapy

September 24, 2009


Our family is addicted to chocolate!  Not just chocolate, anything sweet will do, but chocolate is our favorite.  It’s Mother’s fault!!!  It’s her fault because she consistently filled the air in our home with the aroma of  all things yummy.

Homemade fudge was one of her specialties.  She made it in an iron skillet.  Once the butter, sugar, chocolate, and vanilla blended and heated, it emitted a smell that lodged in my brain when I was a young child, and it is there it has remained.  The hint of the smell of chocolate, takes me back to my mother’s hip, where I stood and, she stirred the heavenly concoction. She would pour it onto waxed paper to cool.  “Who wants to lick the spoon?” she would call out.  That generated a flurry of activity as we scurried to the kitchen, often pushing another sibling aside, to be the first to get to get there.  If there were several of us at home, she was careful to leave enough in the skillet so that we could all have a taste.

On rare occasion, there would be a box of store bought chocolates in the house.  “You can have two pieces per day.” she instructed.  She attempted to teach moderation with sweets, but they were a weakness for her, too.  She was the guiltiest of the whole bunch of us.

Mother had a habit of applying a thumb print to the bottom of the pieces of chocolate.  The purpose was to discover what the filling was, prior to committing to the entire piece.  I tended to take my chances and dive right in.  Suz would do the same, except that if she didn’t like it, she returned it to the box and continued to sample other pieces in the same way. “EEWWWHH! You ruined it!” was the response to that antic.

Forrest Gump was right when he coined the phrase, “Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re going to get.”

I learned from the box of chocolates that:

1. Testing the water before diving in is probably wise.

2. Diving in head first, and committing to it fully, will get the job done, and with some degree of satisfaction, but not without a few bumps and scrapes.

3.  We should be willing to share good things with others.

Jeaneane just sent me Mother’s fudge recipe, so here it is:

1-1/2 cups milk
2-1/2 cups sugar (mother’s recipe called for 3 cups, but I think that’s too much)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 stick margarine
1 tsp vanilla
Chopped walnuts (optional)

Combine first 4 ingredients and stir.  Cook over medium heat until boiling (bubbles should become small).  Test by dropping a small drop of mixture into a cup of cold water.  If it forms a ball, remove from heat and place pan in cold water.  Immediately add margarine, vanilla, and nuts.  Stir quickly.  As soon as mixture begins to harden, pour into a glass container that has been greased down good with butter.



The Annual Haggard Smoky Mtn. Picnic

July 27, 2009
The Haggard Family Shindig is on for this Saturday, August 1st, in Cades Cove, which is located in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park at 12:30 o’clock in the afternoon, but still in time for lunch. 
Cades Cove, Tennessee

Cades Cove, Tennessee

 We don’t have a rainy day plan, so pray for no lightnin’, no pourin’ down thunderation thunderstorms, and no strong and mighty wind forces.  If’n you don’t pray, pack your rubber boots and rubber duckies, cuz you will be eatin’ you some wet chcken little. 

The information listed below was provided to me by my next of kin, kindred spirits, and various and assorted other individuals, who shall remain nameless, but their initials are Aunt Wanda Byrd and Sonny Payne.  Hereunto let it be known and acknowledged that the following persons will be bringing the thereafter following vittles:

Aint Wanda – cold slaw, tater salad, and a yummy, even delicious cake

Karen Broke & Jordie – don’t know yet, but I’m sure it will be delectible

Sonny Boy & Reva Jo – a bucket of dead chicken and slaw.  All that and a bag of chips

Jeaneane (Nene Mae), and Becky Sue – a bucket of dead chicken, original recipe, with baked up beans

Donna Roberta and Tommy Wayne – a decadent, sinfully delicious dessert, and whutever else she wants to throw in

Dianer and John Boy Nevinz (or a friend, if JB can’t come) – more dead chicken, slaw, and whatever else they’re hungry for

Pammie Poo and Chuckie Do – a few newspapers to sling over the tables, sum tin foil to eat off of, a box of kleenex to wipe our hands and mouths on, moonshine, tin cups, some kind of bread, and burnt beans

If’n you don’t see nuthin here that you are a cravin’, pick up your most favorite food and bring it with ya.

Rules for August 1st, in the year of our Lord, 2009:

No gripin’

No complainin’

No rollin’ of the eyes

No talkin’ behind one t’others backs

No cussin’ or fussin’

No squirt guns or other such objects, cuz if we are askin’ the Lord for His blessins with good weather, we shouldn’t bring water toys.

Must laugh

Must wear a smile

Must bring an appetite

Bug spray is optional

Let’s round em up and move em out.  See ya on the Saturdee!

Luv from your cousin, mother, sister, wife, aunt, niece,


P. S. 

Those of youin’s that can’t make it this year, we will do better next time and git an invite to you much more earlier.  We’ll be missin’ you!

I will write about what I learned from this experience after it’s over and done with.

I fount this blog about somebody else’s love for Cade’s Cove.  Have a look at it, too.  Tell her I sent ya!

Rocky Top Tennessee –

Drive-In Movies and Drive-Up Meals

March 20, 2009


We didn’t have drive-thru fast food restaurants in the early sixties.  What we did have were drive-in movies and drive-up diners.

One of the main differences in these two establishments is that we were allowed to go to the diner, but never the drive-in!  Rumors had it, and most were probably true, that the attendees spent a good deal of time necking, and my parent’s daughters were not to go near this den of sin.  Mother took it to a bit of extreme, because when we would drive by the theater, we were told to look to the other side.  We were not even allowed to glance at the screen during a drive by!  It’s pretty hilarious, when I think about it.  When a parent puts that many restrictions on a place, it makes it all the more appealing to adventurous and curious daughters, like the Payne girls.


There was a drive-up diner directly across the street from the drive-in theater.  Malcolm’s was one of our favorite places to eat.  We often stopped there after church on Sunday night to get a Full House, which was hot tamales and chili, or the best hot dogs in the universe.  Malcolm’s had car hops that would come to the car to take your order; later returning to bring a tray full of food.   Daddy would roll down the window about three-fourths of the way, so that the car hop could attach the tray to it.    The only thing I had my mind on was sinking my teeth into the hot dog that Daddy passed to the back seat, where Suzanne, Jeneane, and I were sitting.  Suzanne had other things on her young, nine-year old mind.  She spread her napkins in the rear window of the car.  She sat on her knees to eat her food out of the car window…while she watched the drive-in movie screen across the street.  Mother and Daddy never suspected a thing, and never said a word about it.  It didn’t occur to either Jeaneane or me what she was doing, or I’m certain that one of us would have called attention to it.  We lived (The ‘i’ is not a typo.) to get each other into trouble.

I didn’t get off quite so easily.  One of my dates convinced me that it wouldn’t be bad if  he took me to the drive-in movie instead of the walk-in.  I really liked this guy, so I agreed.  Though we didn’t “neck”, he did kiss me.  He did NOT know how to kiss!  He latched onto my lips with his teeth!  He just about sucked my lips down his windpipe that night.  Nothing was noticeable until the next morning.  I got up to get ready for church.  I couldn’t believe what was glaring back at me from the mirror!  My entire mouth was encircled with a huge red ring.  My lips were so swollen, you could have wet them and stuck me to a window.  I was left shaking in my penny loafers, because I couldn’t think of a good enough story to explain it away.

Judgement was imminent.  There was nothing to do but to go straight to mother and pray that she would pave the way before Daddy saw me.  I came clean with her, mostly.  I did admit to the horrible kiss the guy had given me, but I didn’t tell her I got it at the drive-in. I will say I never went to the drive-in again without their knowledge.  I went out with the guy a couple more times, but didn’t allow him to put the jaws of life on me again.

I learned from this experience that:

1. We had all been conned by the youngest of the Payne family.

2. That one can weave a web of deception, but it generally unravels over time.

3. That my parents were usually right.

If you enjoy vintage pictures, check out I Do Weddings  today.

Hot Tamales and Chili

March 13, 2009


Papa Haggard was my maternal grandfather.  In the mid-1930’s he owned a restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Mother worked in the restaurant.  When she was sixteen years old, she had to quit school to help Papa.  One of her jobs was making hot tamales.  She didn’t make them for us very often, because she said she had to make so many of them when she worked at the restaurant that she didn’t want to make them any more.  It was a real treat for us when she did make them, and a taste bud party I will never forget.

With the last days of winter nearly gone, and during the dogwood and blackberry winters of colder days, maybe you would like to try Mother’s recipe for hot tamales.  I only recently found it.  Mother dated a lot of her recipes.  This one is particularly special for me, because it is dated November 9, 1950, the day before I was born!


Milly Payne’s Hot Tamales

Meat Center:

3/4 pound sausage

1 pound hamburger or lean ground chuck

6 teaspoons chili powder – more or less as desired

1 teaspoon salt

Mix together well and form in rolls, about 3 inches long and maybe 1  1/2 inch diameter.  Place on wax paper until ready to cover with cornmeal mixture.

Outside of tamale:

8 cups white cornmeal ( you can use self-rising or plain)

1 teaspoon salt (even if you use self-rising)

2 cups buttermilk, or enough to make the mix a consistency to pat around the meat mix.

2 teaspoons chili powder.

Mix well with hands.  Pat around meat mixture until well coated, about 1/4 – 1/2″ thick.  Set aside.

Soak corn shucks in hot water.  Place around tamales and tie each end with a strip of the corn shuck.  Tie a strip in the middle of the tamale.  Cip ends.  Be sure the tamale is well-covered with shucks.  Cook in boiling water for 30-35 minutes. 

Remove tamale from shucks and cover with chili.

My favorite chili recipe is by Betty Lynch from My Country Kitchen.  I encourage you to visit her site, not only for the amazing chili recipe, but for all the other fabulous recipes she has there. 

I hope you enjoy the tamales and chili.  You many find it will be one of your favorite winter foods, too.