Monday, October 5, 2009

Sweet Potato Pie and Nachos

Last week, my father brought damn near a bushel of these humongous sweet potatoes. When I came in from work on Thursday, he told me about them. I could see where the conversation was headed. "Hey, if you have some time this weekend, you mind makin' me some pies?"

Not that cooking is ever the highlight of my day, but how could I resist a request from my Daddy? "Nope. Not a problem," I smiled.

So, early Sunday morning, while everyone else attended church (as I should have) I threw 5 prehistoric size potatoes into the pot to boil them. Gee whiz, it took over an hour for them to soften. When Mama and Daddy came in from church, he smiled. "What are you up to in here?"

"I thought that you wanted some pies?"

"Alright, alright!" he grinned, returning to his bedroom.

"I had a feeling while in church that you were going to start on those pies. How did you find the potatoes?" Ma asked me.

"I don't know. I found them yesterday while looking for something else."

So after hunting and pecking around for about 45 minutes I finally gathered together all of my ingredients. I barely had enough vanilla flavoring. I grew irritated when it came time to make the pie crust. We had neither lard nor shortening. "My crusts are going to be tough," I sighed. But I decided to make due with what I had. Once I added the water to flour and butter mixture, I knew then. The dough was not as soft and fluffy as I would have liked, but it would be ok. I assessed the finished ball of dough. "Ma, this is not enough to make four crusts."

"That is plenty. You make your pie crusts too thick anyway. I like a thin crust."

I frowned as she walked away. Ma likes her pies on crackers. I wrapped the dough in foil and placed it in the refrigerator to rest.

"What are you making Auntie?" my niece asked, bouncing into the kitchen from church.

"Sweet potato pies for Grandpa."

"Ooh!" She stuck her fingers into the mixture.

"Wash your hands!" My sister yelled at her. She rushed to the sink, washed up and resumed her task of licking the beaters dry.

Although I try to avoid cooking at all costs, the pies came out pretty good. Even my sister ate a piece. She hates sweet potato pie.

"I'm making nachos for Jordan. Do you want some?"

"Hecky yeah!"

"Good. You can help me fry them."

Damn! I had been hoodwinked. As my mother reclined at the kitchen table reading the paper, my sister and I set about the task of making nacho chips. I fried them as my sister balled up the dough and then flattened it with the cast iron skillet, cutting them into triangles. 1 1/2 hours later, chips overflowed the cookie sheet.

"I wonder how's Daddy's wine is coming along?"

"Good!" Dee said. She went and got the big pail of fermenting wine, scooping out a few cups, mashing the grapes, its nectar escaping. "I'll put the 'yum yum' back in."

"Just give me the wine," I said, holding out my glass. My mother swooped in, taking the freshly harvested wine and pouring some into an old barbecue sauce bottle. She put it in the freezer. "Hey, who is that for?"

"Your Father."

"How come he gets a whole bottle and I just get a little glass?" She ignored me as she poured yet another glass for my father and one for herself. "Dang, now we're gonna hafta dip some more," I whined.

"Stop being a lush. Besides, drinking too much wine will make you fat," she said as she returned from the family room, retaking her throne at the kitchen table and reading the paper. I think that she gets off on watching my sister and me cook. I know that I would. The tastiest meals are always the ones that you don't have to prepare. "Ooow!" Grease popped me.

I saw a little hand stealthily move out of the corner of my eye. "Jordan, stop stealing chips!" She giggled, running to the protective custody of Grandpa. He was not in the mood to provide sanctuary, for her squeals broke his concentration on the Bears game. "Whoa Jay! Stop all that hollerin'! What are you all doing to her in there?"

"Nothin' Daddy. She's in here stealing chips!" I told him.

"Leave her alone." Jordan returned to the kitchen and made a face of me, letting me know that she had bested me yet again. I lunged for her.

"Leave her alone Claudia! You're going to get her in trouble with Grandpa," my mother scolded me. "Come here Jor." She melted into her grandmother's arms, stopping just short of sticking her tongue out at me.


"Yes baby?"

"Do I have to eat the broken chips?"


"Auntie said that she's gonna give me all of the little broken chips. I want some big chips too!"

"What? Give her some big chips."

"Ma, I said no such thing!" I fumed. "I'm gonna git you little girl. Your day of reckoning is fast approaching. Once you turn twelve and start doing things that you have no business doing, Auntie will have her due!" Leaning back against the sink as the nachos browned, I smiled pondering the glory of it all.

"Yes, those will be days... My shoes will be polished, my clothes ironed and pressed to perfection. You will wash my car and clean my room. And depending on the seriousness of your infraction, Auntie may even convince you that it would be in your best interest to surrender your allowance." Jordan looked at me, confused. "Oh, you do not understand now, but you will. I'm going to catch you doing everything that you have no business doing. If you don't want me to tell your Mama, you will certainly opt to accept many of the settlement plans that Auntie will present to you at that time."

"Your going to hide her sins from me?" D'mona asked, amazed.

"For the right price, yes."

"Stop blackmailing her Claudia!" Grandma snuggled her close. Jordan primed her crocodile tears. "Pay no attention to Auntie. She will do no such thing." Jordan sneered at me in victory. Leaving Grandma's arms, Jordan passed her little fist before each eye, threatening to blacken each of mine. She grabbed two chips and ran into her bedroom. I ran after her little tail. She had it coming.

"Claudia, I said leave her alone!" Mama said, rising from the chair.

I ran into the family room seeking refuge in my Daddy's arms. "Bobbie, leave her alone. Dawg! What are ya'll doin' in there? It's the fourth quarter!" I made a face at Ma. She walked away.

There is always a higher court.

1 comment:

  1. This made me smile; maybe for the wrong reasons, but sweet and sour family time always makes me smile-and then be glad I can go home at the end of it all.