Some Things Don't Taste as Good Now!

Most of the memories of food that I have from my childhood are from the times I lived with my Morgan grandparents in Vardaman. They had a garden plot and raised most of the vegetables that we ate. A small area at the end of the garden was used to raise a few chickens for their eggs. Except for meals where special company was expected, we rarely had chicken.

Although I helped plant the garden, hoe it, and pick the vegetables, I can't remember all that we grew. The main vegetables I remember were Irish potatoes, butterbeans, okra, crowder peas, blackeyed peas, tomatoes, cabbage, English peas, corn, runner beans, purple hull peas, carrots, cantalope, squash, and hot pepper. These must have been the vegetables that Papaw and Ninny Morgan (as we called them) were used to growing and liked. Other family gardens in Vardaman had these vegetables as well as such things as eggplant and bell pepper.

Our meals were all similar. Breakfast usually consisted of oatmeal and toast or eggs, biscuits, and gravy. The main meal of the day was dinner, served around noon. This meal always had fresh cornbread and potatoes (boiled and then thickened with flour). A couple of vegetable dishes (depending on what was in season, but usually including one pea or bean dish) rounded out the meal. The evening meal, supper, usually consisted of the left-overs from the noon meal. The cornbread would be wrapped in a moist cloth and reheated in the oven and the vegetables would be warmed up as well. If they were in season, fresh sliced tomatoes would accompany both dinner and supper.

When they first moved to Vardaman from Reid, my Morgan grandparents lived on highway 8 just east of the town limits and had room for a cow. This provided their milk and butter. Almost all of the milk was allowed to "sour" and was then churned. After the butter was collected, the buttermilk was saved and this was the form of milk most often drank. When they moved into town, at first they bought fresh milk from a family down the street who were still keeping a cow. Later they bought powdered milk and made buttermilk from it.

Vegetables that I buy in the supermarkets now just don't taste as good as the ones that I remember. The tomatoes are picked green and are forced to turn red by being exposed to a gas. Even the so-called 'vine-ripened' ones in the supermarkets are hard and have little taste.

The foods that I remember and still love are now called 'southern' or 'soul food'. I don't have the room or the knowledge to adequately cover southern cooking on this page, but there are a number of web sites that do an excellent job of that.

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