Saturday, December 25, 2010

Granny's 'Hot Sauce'

My grandmother, my dad's mother, had an actual name. Louise. But I only ever heard my grandfather call her that. To the rest of us, she was Granny. Every now and then she would remind me that she used to be a regular person. She'd show me pictures of her first date with my grandfather so I'd see a glimpse of her life before she was Mom or Granny.

She was a multi-talented person. She, along with my grandfather, raised 6 children, half of whom were born in the middle of the Great Depression. My dad was one of those first 3 boys. Then there was a break of about 6 years before the next trio came along: Elaine, Beth, then Aubrey. That's how I ended up with aunts and an uncle who aren't that much older than I am. I had the best of both worlds: I was the oldest grandchild (and only for a couple of years) plus I had these built-in older sisters and brother. Sweet.

My Granny could put a fried chicken on the table that had been running around earlier that day (the chicken, not the table). She could milk a cow and then churn butter - she always sat by the window to do that, I guess she liked to have a view. Maybe (probably) she was keeping on eye on us at the time. She could make homemade biscuits in an oblong wooden bowl - she started with the dry ingredients, made a well, put in the milk and eggs - and off she went. One handed. She was usually doing something else with the other hand, like stirring something on the stove or making sure we were minding.

She had a lot of recipes. One of my very favorites carries the name Hot Sauce. I do not know why. It isn't hot. And it really isn't a sauce. It's more of a sweet tomato relish, perfect on a variety of vegetables, meatloaf, or cornbread. Several years ago I asked my aunt Elaine if she happened to have the recipe. She did. She made a copy of it for me, so now when I make it, I follow the recipe from my Granny's own handwriting. Especially nice since she's been gone now for 25 years. Even as I type that, I find it hard to believe. She never met my husband or any of my children. She would have loved them all, like she loved us, I have no doubt.

This year, for my first Christmas back home in my own home, I made a big batch of Granny's Hot Sauce and took them, along with our Christmas card and copies of the recipe, to my cousins and aunts and uncles. Just a little touch to remind us of a really great lady.

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