May 24, 2011

Just One Whole Fryer?

Chickens to the Rescue     I know Jesus fed multitudes of people with just a couple of fishes; but that was Jesus. I wonder how my grandmother fed five of us with one whole fryer. Don't get me wrong I really believed that my grandmother had powers. I was really convienced she could read my mind; but turning water to wine was more than even she could do. I worshiped her for taking care of us. I now realize it may have been for more selfish reasons that I did never want her out of my sight. She fed us and gave us all she knew to give.
     There were five of us all the time and my two male cousins alot of the time. My cousin Bryan had dibs on the pully-bone. How he rated that I still don't get. My little brother was really Grandmother's pick. He was maybe not so much when we were little, because he did have this crazy temper. I mean a fit pitching roll in the floor temper if he did not get his way. Me I just cried all alone, wishing for what I really still don't know.
       Chicken was and has always been my favorite meal. Fried chicken, creamed potatoes, green beans, gravy and biscuits. There has to be sliced onion to go along with the green beans. White half runner beans are the best tasting of all the green beans in the world. The perfect green bean was cooked all morning; cooked down to the point no water was left in them. The beans were salted by pouring the salt into the palm of your hand filling the cup your hand forms. That was the salt measuring cup of the greatest cook I have ever known; my grandmother.
     Frying a chicken for the five of us for dinner or for Daddy to take to work with him was typical everyday thing at home. Still how could she fry a whole chicken for him to take to work, just for him and expect one whole fryer to feed all of us at dinner. Must be why they always made it a big deal for us to eat bread. It was as if it were a sin if you didn't eat bread with anything you were eating. I always thought you would get sick if you didn't eat bread with your meal; now I get it it was because if you ate bread you didn't need as much fried chicken. Now I also know why a fried chicken neck tasted so good. My aunt always saved the gizzard for her youngest daughter. I was really shamed one time because at their house I ate the gizzard thinking that nobody else would want it. I was wrong and told quickly that the gizzard was not for me.
     There was no real recipe for those whole fryers either. The chicken was salted and covered with flour that was it. It was cooked in a black iron skillet only turned one time. The first side was totally cooked before it was turned over. Deep frying was out of the question, because of wasting too much grease. The grease was that we rendered out in the winter when we killed hogs. In late summer we sometime ran out of that and used the lard that came in a square paper box. If memory has it right it was Frosty ? something brand because of the elf emblem on the box. Paper box that in hot summer was saturated with the melted lard.
    One chicken that feed us all, if divided into the favorite parts that the grown-ups designated who got what piece; Doing the math makes me know for sure that I ate a whole lot of bread and green beans. Green beans, biscuits and onions are great. Biscuits and Gravy with onion is wonderful. Fresh tomatoes made it all taste heavenly. Maybe my grandmother really didn't have the Jesus' and the fish gift after all. She had a way of making a little go along way.
Chicken and Dumplings was her extra special way of making the chicken feed a bunch. That is why I am sure that Sunday Dinner most of the time consisted of Chicken and Dumplings. She had making them down to a science. If you had to use self-rising flour; you made the dough up ahead of time and let the rising of self-rising go away. If there was plain flour no waiting time, but add some lard to the dough. Dumplings are supposed to be flat. Plain flour let them be flat.
Chicken and Dumplings are not the same without the bones either. The bones were left and you got you a wing; if you were lucky to go with your dumplings. I always loved cornbread with dumplings, but even grandmother thought that not necessary. Dumplings are bread is what she had decided, therefore you did not need cornbread. We still had cornbread with just about every meal. If not there were biscuits. The biscuits went with salmon patties, tenderloin, and fried chicken.
     Rarely was there leftover cornbread or biscuits; but I know a trick to warming that makes them taste freshly baked. Sprinkle water on the bread before you put it in the oven to warm. It is amazing how this works. "Will just sprinkle 'em down." That is what my grandmother said we could do to the leftover bread.

1 comment:

  1. Yuummm!! You have gone and made me hungry for some dumpings!!! LOL!! You always make it so easy to see every thing you write...great as always!!!