What a memorable food week. It began with the funeral of one of my favorite cousins and ended with a family reunion today. During that period, my favorite size six black shorts will no longer zip. Even if they would, they have become an inch shorter and the waist rolls over. Mystery, huh?
It eases the pain of losing someone you’ve known and loved since you were a child, and helps spread the joy of seeing family members you only see once a year and usually even less than that.
I thought Mississippians had a corner on the market when it comes to fabulous funeral food but I was wrong. The congregation of Underwood Baptist Church in Florence, Alabama, win hands down. (Please note that First Methodist Church in West Point is gaining on them – mainly because my friends Norma and Judy are first in line when the food brigade reports for duty.)
The Braddock family at the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church in rural Tippah County takes the reunion prize. I never saw anything like it, and I put a dab of everything on my plate. Turns out I was afforded a taste test for four different versions of Mac and Cheese – each one better than the last. Wish I hadn’t lost track of my favorite so I could print the recipe.
This little church has been serving as the center of the spiritual life for the Braddock family since my great great grandfather and his brother were brought as an orphans to the remotest corner of Tippah County. It was about 1835 and the boys worked hard and made a decent living.
Today, I asked what became of those two boys and our local family historian whispered, “My Daddy said there are some things we just don’t need to know.”
Huh? Well, thank goodness at least one of them took a wife and had my great grandfather Rennie, who had my grandfather Thomas Braddock Sr. who had my daddy,” Dr. Braddock,” who had me. Whew, I barely made it. If there weren’t Mothers we would all be in trouble.
Yokay, nuff of that. On the brighter side…
One of the most interesting recipes today was a “Popcorn Cake” which incorporated most of the things I remember enjoying when I went to the movies as a teenager. If you want to throw together something sure to get people’s attention, here’s the recipe.
11 cups popcorn (2 bags microwave popcorn)
2 cups (medium bag) M&Ms
1 1/2 cups broken pretzels
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
8 cups mini marshmallows (16 oz. bag)
Spray large tube or bundt pan evenly. Dump popcorn into large bowl. Be sure to pick out any unpopped kernels. Mix in M&Ms and pretzels. Melt butter on low in large saucepan. Add marshmallows and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and pour over the popcorn mix. Stir until all ingredients are combined and press into prepared pan. (It helps to spray your hands with some cooking spray to keep the mixture from sticking to them.) Cover and let cool for at least an hour. When ready to serve, loosen sides with a butter knife and turn over onto a platter. Let it cool completely before cutting it. Store covered tightly for 1 day. Best if eaten the same day.
I don’t have another reunion scheduled until next June and I pray to heaven, no one that I know and love dies before I do. And I need to get back into my favorite black shorts.