Pondering what makes a good meal…

    I’ve had my dander up the last couple of posts about the oil spill. The garden is starting to “come in” as they say and I thought it might be a nice diversion to write about food; especially since supper last night was some of that same garden’s produce.

     Fresh field peas from the garden, just shucked and sweet yellow cornbread; oh what memories those two conjure up. The normal conversation in my house as we sit down with our respective bowls of scrumptious garden produce goes a little something like this: me to hubby – “You sure know how to ruin a plate of field peas” (he serves them up with rice.) And, he to me – “You sure know how to ruin a plate of field peas” (I serve them up the correct way – on top of a huge, gargantuan, colossal, massive piece of sweet yellow cornbread (you can never say that enough – sweet yellow cornbread!) I remember my grandmother serving up field peas on cornbread along with her Southern sweet tea each time I visited. That amazing lady would sit back and gaze in wonder at the amount of those luscious morsels that I could fit in to my belly. As a child, I used to wander the back roads of Mississippi with her in search of the man with the pea shelling machine.

     It’s that time of the year again when the garden begins producing its bountiful harvest of wonderful succulent tender – ok, a little overboard here because I do not eat many veggies – vegetables. I can assure you, however, that there is nothing like the taste of a fresh potato fried up in oil. Yes, that would be the French fry! People have become so dependent upon fast food that I have actually met some who have never tasted the real thing (still shaking my head. Digging potatoes is fascinating in itself. My husband churns the rows with the tractor and they just) tumble out like boiled eggs on Easter morning. An Easter egg hunt was never quite this fun.

     The green beans would be another of the few vegetables that I have been known to devour; although only after I’ve completely eviscerated them of any nutrition that they might have once laid claim to. And onions; ever since I first learned to caramelize an onion, I think every dish I cook has begun this way. I can taste those beans now. First, caramelize an onion – actually lots, because this is a good thing as Martha Stewart would say. Then, add a chunk finely cut salt meat. Fry those two together a little longer and then add the fresh green beans. Now, you just sit back and wait. (You will need to stir and add water every now and then.) Once the beans have obtained the color of caramelized onion and are sticking to the bottom of that old cast iron pot that used to be your grandmothers, you will have reached the pinnacle of perfection. The best green beans you will ever eat and who cares about nutrition; it’s highly overrated in my opinion.

     Fresh from the gulf fried shrimp, soft-shell crab, and flounder. What else can I say? I’d post a picture but all that’s left are crumbs. Now……that’s what makes a good meal.

First published June 13, 2010