Category Archives: Family

Happy Birthday, Mama Chris

Though we lost her in 2005, I still celebrate February 3rd every year by using a certain china set…

china

Colclough CLC58

…reliving fond memories full of unconditional love…

ERH & MC

…and appreciating heirlooms that I treasure every day.

ringWatch

Happy Birthday, Mama Chris. You are so very missed.

Mama Chris

Mama Chris

The magic of family recipes

towelIt has always amazed me how a certain taste or the smell of something cooking in the kitchen can instantly bring back memories. Over the years, I have found that making my mother’s fried green tomatoes, German potato salad, and other favorite recipes are almost a way of visiting with her.

I’ll never forget the day I finally mastered Mama Chris‘ fried okra. Hers was never over-breaded or slimy. It almost had the texture of popcorn, was lightly salted, and had just a dusting of corn meal & flour. When I finally figured out her secret (cook it much longer than any recipe advises) and bit into that crunchy okra treat, I almost got a little teary. I hadn’t experienced this particular taste and texture in nearly a decade.

For my mom’s birthday this year, I decided to gather scanned photos of handwritten family recipes and have them copied onto a hand towel. Zazzle did a great job for a very reasonable price. I LOVE the finished product…such a nice reminder of countless meals and gatherings, enjoying dishes that only a loved one can make.

Thanksgiving 2012

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for simplicity. After a year of traveling and moving, I am so grateful that we decided to make this holiday all about relaxing. I’m only making a few favorite dishes with the rest being cooked by our local Whole Foods. The table is even set simplistically.

20121120-175037.jpg

This year, we have no plans to go anywhere nor to have any visitors. Thursday is strictly a day of good food, good wine, and (hopefully) some decent football. I am all the more grateful for my home and my tiny family since I haven’t seen much of either this fall.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Things I’m Loving…

Another post of random things I’m loving this week:

1. If Georgia wins over GA Tech and Bama, we could have a repeat of the 1980 National Championship game against Notre Dame. Go Dawgs!

uga

2. Great gift idea: scan handwritten family recipes, then have them printed onto a tea towel.

towel

3. I just love this eBay seller that Entertaining Women recommended to me about a year ago – quality linen hemstitched napkins, placemats, & table runners for a fraction of what they usually retail. The picture below shows one of my placemats in “steel blue.” (I knew I should have ironed before I started taking pictures…)

placemat

4. Finally, I followed (as closely as possible – our grocer was fresh out of calves’ feet) Julia Child’s recipe for braised beef (AKA pot roast) earlier this week and it was DELICIOUS. Her cookbooks, along with my Williams-Sonoma series, continue to be favorites.

cookbook

(Image from Amazon)

Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

Papa Ross’ Mint Juleps

barDerby Day is always a little bittersweet for me, as the last conversation I ever had with my Grandfather Ross involved his giving me his mint julep recipe. I do like that it gives me an annual reason to toast him, however!

Ingredients:

  • the smoothest Kentucky bourbon you can find (I prefer Blanton’s)
  • fresh mint leaves
  • sugar
  • water
  • crushed ice
  1. Boil a desired amount of sugar into a pot of water, then cool in the refrigerator. (I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so my sugar water is rather weak.)
  2. Crush half of the mint leaves and rub them in the inside of the glass (which is preferably a sterling julep cup). Discard the leaves.
  3. Combine the sugar water and bourbon to taste over crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
Wishing everyone a safe and joyful Derby Day!

Time Traveling

This weekend was so summery and wonderful that I found myself sifting through my jewelry box for forgotten spring-like gold pieces that I haven’t worn in ages.

I have already blogged before about how much I love wearing Mama Chris’ Movado watch. I also wear her amethyst ring given to me in high school, but not appreciated until very recently. Both of these pieces make me feel close to my grandmother, though I don’t have memories of her wearing either of these.

Saturday, however, I found my mother’s gold sanddollar charm, hung on a gold box chain from decades ago. I vividly recall her wearing this with her gold-rimmed Ray-Bans and a navy blue bandeau bikini.

sanddollar

I put it on and INSTANTLY…

…it was 1982 on St. Simon’s Island, GA…

…we were on Brad’s Hobie-cat…

…then on the beach listening to Dire Straits’ Communiqué album…

…reapplying our Bain de Soleil…

…enjoying summer.

Ross tartans

Last St. Patrick’s Day, I posted a picture of me in my Ross Hunting tartan, given to me by an aunt, and commented that I would love to someday get the Ross Dress tartan.

tartan

While I love the hunting, I’ve always wanted a straight pencil skirt in the more formal Ross Red. In fact, when my husband asked what I wanted for my birthday this year, it was the ONE thing I really wanted. I ordered  the skirt from Linda Clifford, who did a great job!

Ross red

I also loved seeing, instead of a size, a little tag that reads, “Made to Measure.” I’ve never had anything “bespoke” before and, I must admit, it’s the best fitting skirt I’ve ever owned.