L To R, Josh Perkins, Elmer Willis, Solomon Doyle, Mae Ashworth Willis, Nora Ashworth Griffin, Shelby Ashworth

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Real Food In A Great Era

Where do I start? I guess if someone asked me to pick my favorite meal or food, I would have to pick everyone of them. The very first, that comes to mind, Fried chicken, rice and gravy, black eyed peas, with water, milk, tea, or cool aid. The water came from a well in the yard and the milk came from a milk cow, hand milked at that.
Squirrel, Deer, Rabbit. Either one of them stewed down in gravy, with rice and a baked sweet potato with a ton of butter and the gravy of the squirrel poured over it, with corn bread or home made yeast biscuits. We loved this so much, my mother tells everyone that to feed us four kids and her and my daddy, she had to have at least a dozen squirrels to cook, in order to fill us all up.
Fried white perch,brim, goggle eyed perch or cat fish. ToledoBend and the local creeks and ponds supplied all of this we needed. With french fries, pork and beans and raw onions. Got to have the onions with the fish, period. Added to this would be corn bread or home made hush puppies.
We also would have what was called Hobo stew's. The way that worked is this. The whole neighborhood would gather and everyone brought something different, meat, potatoes, vegetables. It was all cooked in an old black kettle pot. When done ever one would gather and eat and visit.
We were really living high when we got fried frog legs that were gigged at night by my Daddy and Grand father Blackie and also my Uncle Billy Wayne Baukman, on Gum Slew or out at the Old River, The Dumps or Wide water.
Hog Head Cheese, Cracklings, Crackling Corn Bread, Pickled pig feet, fresh liver from a butcher cow, cooked in a gravy with onions. Boiled chicken feet and boiled pig tails and ears. Fresh peas and butter beans, muster greens, turnip greens, squash. You name it, we grew it.
I had mention yeast biscuits a few lines back. That was one way to get your rear end tore up fast, and that was to slam a door or run through the house and make those biscuits falls. You payed dearly. There was always home made biscuits, with home made butter and served with either mayhaw, blackberry, or dewberry Jelly. Also pancakes, with either home made syrup or the old Stein Ribbon Syrup that came in a yellow can.
One of the better things you could have while yet living out in the woods or sticks as they said back then, would be what I call country junk food. Most ever bit of it was either from a vine, tree or bush. It was in abundance in the spring and some of it didn't make until the fall. Here is a short list of what we had, blackberries, plums-red, yellow and purple, dewberries, mayhaws, huckleberries, muskydines {Wild Grapes}, watermelons, cantaloupes, peaches, pomegranates.
As kids our main drink then was cool-aid. I'll never forget when my mother brought home a Popsicle making kit. All it was was a plastic ice tray with plastic sticks. You made your cool-aid and filled the ice tray up and put the plastic sticks in it and put it in the freezer. When it froze we had our home made Popsicle. We only went to town on Saturdays mostly. Everyone looked forward to that. We went in a truck most of the time, because there was usually three different families in the one truck. Our mother would put us kids in the back of the truck and the grown ups sat in the front. If and I say, IF, there was enough money left over, we would all be treated to a hamburger or a cheese burger and a cold drink. Our favorite place to stop was at the North Side drive inn in Dequincy. It was on high way 27 north, right on our way out of town of Dequincy. It was owned and ran by the Brown Sisters. If I remember right, the burgers were either twenty-five or thirty-five cents and cold drinks were a dime. Later own another place we came to like was the old A&W in De Quincy. Our favorite thing from there was the Root Beer. Boy that was good!!
Other place's that had good food was at the old Panther Den {Drive Inn} in Merryville. Some of the best burgers you could ever eat. When we went to Deridder, there was a drive inn, some called them a frosty, on the right as you came into De Ridder from Singer. Right across from the Old School and next to the Baptist Church. everything there was good. At the old shopping center were Wal-Mart was first at, the had a food wagon or food cart as they called them then. Here you could get the very best Corn Dog ever made and cooked. Never found one better than that to this day. Then there were the fresh made doughnuts in a shop across the street from the KCS railroad track. There isn't a doughnut made today that could ever come close to bening as delicious as those were. I may be wrong, but I think the name of that place was called Daylight Doughnuts.
Then there was the best part of going to De Ridder and it didn't include food at all. We could never leave De Ridder without making our parents take us by the old Coke-Cola bottling plant. That was high teck back then. They had a big picture window {Plate Glass} in front of the building. Our mothers would pull up and park there and we were amazed to be able to watch those coke bottles going around and around, then being filled and capped.
Today, cardiologist would die if they knew folks ate this type of food everyday the way we did then. While I couldn't eat it ever day now, I would still say, filler up about three or four time a month still. If it could be made as well today as it was then and tasted as good.
By writing this little story, I see now I will be going to bed hungry tonight.

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