Cornbread, fresh butter, buttermilk, lettuce and onions, soup beans and fried taters. This was my favorite meal when I was growing up in the summer. Usually I had helped churn the butter and Mommy collected the buttermilk. it stayed in this big glass jar that held about two or three gallons. We would usually have about two pounds of fresh, sweet butter when it was churned if we were lucky.
Mommy’s cornbread was always golden and crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. Try as I might, I still can’t make cornbread the way she did. I think my niece Melanie and my sister Rose come closest of all of us girls in the family.
Lettuce and onions? Well, you take fresh lettuce out of the garden and green onions. You give the lettuce a rough chop and the onions a pretty good chop, but nothing has to be perfect. Salt the lettuce and onions. Then you heat up about two table spoons of lard, that’s right lard, until it is smoking and you pour that over the lettuce and onions. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it! I fixed some for my husband recently and he didn’t like it very much. When I fed it to him I didn’t have any fried taters, but did have the soup beans I had slow cooked on the stove. I am just glad he tried it.
The hot grease going over the lettuce and onions was always the last thing done and it was usually done at the table. Mommy would have me and Daddy lean way back so the pops wouldn’t get us. Daddy would break me a piece of cornbread from the pone, then one for Mommy and finally himself. Usually the wilted lettuce and onions was the first dish we would go for, then everything else, after the cornbread of course.
Mommy rarely ate her lettuce and onions with a fork. She would pinch off pieces of cornbread and use it to eat the deliciousness.
When you added in the soup beans you had the perfect meal.
A friend once said, when I told her about my favorite meal that this was a “poor man’s meal”. I never thought of it as being poor. Everything tasted wonderful and it was something we all looked forward to. As soon as the lettuce and onions were ready in the garden we would have our feast. That’s right – feast.
This meal is one of the tastes of summer for me.