Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chicken and dumplins'...

Just as music can take us back to another time, so can the memory of certain foods...the sweet aromas coming from the kitchen of our childhood...

Mama's kitchen was painted a robin's egg blue with crisp white trim and white curtains. The cabinets, stove, refrigerator and clothes washer were white. There was no dishwasher - that would have been Sharon and me. One of us washing, one of us drying and singing while we worked. There was no clothes dryer...that would have been a clothes line outside and the bright sunshine. I was trying to remember the other day how she would have dried the clothes in the wintertime when the sun wasn't shining. Seems to me, there were clothes lines in the attic for those dreary winter days. I'm sure it would have taken twice as long to dry.

Mama had so many specialties that it would be hard to say which I liked best. She made a wonderful roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh green beans, fresh butter beans...all those fresh summer vegetables. Every Thanksgiving, I long for my Mama's chicken and dressing. My sisters and nieces and I have all tried our best to duplicate it...somtimes we come close. Mama made the best meatloaf in the world which made great sandwiches the next day if there was any left. Her biscuits were legendary, and I loved her desserts.

It's her chicken and dumplings and my longing for those that prompted this post. I tried last night to duplicate them. I sauted a chopped onion in a little butter and added a little celery, garlic and thinly sliced carrots too. I added some water and a nice 5 pound chicken, along with some salt & pepper, and cooked it slowly. After the chicken was done, I deboned it carefully. I sifted the flour, cut in the shortening, added the milk and rolled the strips out to just the right size. I dropped the dumplins' into the boiling stew and put the lid quickly on. After dropping the the temperature to just a little above simmering, I waited patiently for about 25 minutes, resisiting the temptation to lift the lid and peek.

Had I not had the best chicken and dumplins' in the world
, I might have thought these were really good...but I know better.