Riders, welcome Lorilee Lillibridge to the ‘vert today! Comment and you could win a copy of HILL COUNTRY MAN.
I was fortunate to be raised on fine Texas cooking heavily influenced by comfort food from the deep South. My mama prepared magical creations in her kitchen resulting in a line-up for whatever tempting dish she brought to the church suppers. Pies were her specialty and huge favorites of the congregation. Her pecan pie was the only birthday “cake” I ever wanted. On occasion, she’d whip up Daddy’s favorite, a delicious, mile-high angel food cake, but for me nothing was better than her pecan pie.
I felt Mama’s love in every scrumptious bite of that sticky-sweet, pecan-filled goodness. When I had a skinned knee and needed a hug or was pouting because Mama said nine was too young to wear mascara and no, I couldn’t take dance lessons, either, her pecan pie pulled me out of my blue mood and put a smile on my face again. Mama loved to sing in the kitchen, too, and I always wondered why she never sang in the church choir. Years later, I learned she’d never considered her voice good enough to sing in public. I thought she had the voice of an angel.
Mama and I lost Daddy when I was eleven. She told me God needed another preacher in Heaven and chose Daddy to fill that special pulpit. Then she baked me a pecan pie and sang When We All Get To Heaven. That was the only time I couldn’t feel the magic in Mama’s pie. In my child-sized heart, I secretly believed God had taken the magic away to share with my daddy. I was wrong. Mama made pecan pies for many years.
Mama’s Pecan Pie
3 eggs – slightly beaten
1 cup dark Karo syrup
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup chopped pecansMix all together adding nuts last . Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake @450 F. for ten minutes – then reduce heat to 350 F. and bake until silver knife inserted in center comes out clean. An hour or so.
(Mama’s note: I usually start it off at 350 F. and bake 50-55 minutes, as it doesn’t get so brown that way. Good luck!)
I guess you’re wondering what the point is to all this rambling, but I do have one. Mama joined Daddy over twenty years ago and it’s been a long time since I felt any magic in a pecan pie. Oh, I bake them once in a while but there’s no magic in them. I don’t have Mama’s special touch in the kitchen. Never did, or so I believed. Then an unexpected family trauma taught me that the magic isn’t always in the pie.
You see, two weeks before Christmas, our youngest daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent extensive surgery. Scary times for the family and for her, a young mother of three. Many tears and answered prayers later, she’s now on the long road to recovery, but during those days of pain and anxiety when I was at her side, all she asked for was her childhood comfort food, red Jello™ – always raspberry and always plain. As a mom, I wanted to do more for her than make a dish of gelatin. But her wonderful circle of friends had scheduled meals for the family for the next few weeks leaving me free to help in other ways, so I promptly headed to the store to buy every box of raspberry flavored gelatin on the shelves. If that’s what she wanted, I would make it— lots of it.
While I was making dish number three (or was it four?) of the red, jiggly stuff, I had one of those light bulb moments — the kind that makes you sit up and pay attention. Suddenly, I heard Mama telling me it didn’t matter if my pecan pies weren’t like hers or my meals didn’t always turn out the same as hers.
Surprise, surprise! My own kind of magic had been there all along in a simple bowl of “always raspberry, always plain” . . . my daughter knew it because she found the magic in a special ingredient – love. Simple magic from the heart. Once I realized that, I knew why Mama’s pecan pie was so special. She’d always added her secret magic in every dish she made. LOVE. It makes everything taste better.
Have you found your kitchen magic? If so, I hope you’ll tell us about it. Who knew mine would be in the “always raspberry, always plain” ? I will offer a copy of HILL COUNTRY MAN to be given away to one comment in a drawing.
HILL COUNTRY MAN ebook is now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.