I was sitting in Amelia’s kitchen with the smell of Southern style chicken and dumplings pouring through my nostrils, when it occurred to me I should be writing her recipes down. I’ve never been much of a cook. But all of my siblings carry on the tradition of Mom’s cooking. That was in mouthwatering evidence on her 70th birthday last week, when all manner of Southern cuisine showed up on the birthday table.
Each time I visit, I ask Mom to make my favorite “growing-up” foods, comfort foods you just can’t find in the Midwest. This trip, I asked for a pot of yellow squash (which I love), and found out the secret ingredients are butter, a dash of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of bacon grease.
After the squash was well along, Mom started the dumplings, I connected the dial-up at the kitchen table, fired up my laptop, and asked her to dictate the soft dumpling recipe (passed down from her mother), while I tapped her words into this post.
Soft dumplings are a big hit any season, but perfect for leftover Thanksgiving turkey. And since Mom’s a big fan of red Ravine, we had a good chuckle imagining one of ybonesy’s wild, New Mexico turkeys mingling with the steaming Southern dumplings.
When I got back to Minnesota and ybonesy mentioned that I should start posting Amelia’s recipes, R3 sent the banana pudding recipe (complete with his commentary), which I’ll post early this week.
But for now, plan ahead for those leftovers next weekend. Turkey and dumplings, anyone?
Amelia’s Soft Dumplings
2 cups plain flour
3 tsp baking powder (make sure it’s not flat!)
1 tsp salt
Cut in 1/4 cup Crisco
Add 1 cup of whole milk (make a well in the flour, then pour the milk in; be sure NOT to use skim!)
Stir with fork (until like coarse cornmeal)
Mix until dry is all wet
Drop by spoonfuls into boiling broth
Cook 10 min uncovered, still boiling
Cover and cook 10 minutes longer on low (this steams the tops of the dumplings)
You can drop these into boiling chicken, beef, or turkey broth. Or for a sweet dumpling, slip them into hot stewed apples or blueberries.
Then, in Mom’s words, “Call Amelia!”
Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. There’s one last thing I want to mention. The pots and pans Mom used last week were antiques, probably purchased when I was about 3 and we were living in Tennessee.
Of course, she has a brand spanking new set of cookware around the kitchen. But these are the ones she loves to use for her favorite recipes.
-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, November 18th, 2007