I'm writing tonight, waiting for the "Honeymooners" to come on, and thinking about why I love those old TV shows so much.
It is, of course, because they are filled with my memories, not only of the people and times they represent, but memories of me and my family watching them (after we actually got a TV of our own), memories of our home, our clothes, what we had for supper (not "dinner", for that was what we ate at noon), and most of all what our plans and dreams were of. Not only do I miss those times, but it makes my heart ache to know that time of trust, innocence, and feeling secure will never be for me in that same way again.
Well, one thing is the same, we still like to eat, although the style of food preparation has certainly changed these many years later. No freezer for us, we were proud to have an ice box. No microwave for sure, my grandma was still using her iron, wood-burning cook stove, and we were blessed with a gas range. No wraps, plastic bags, paper towels, etc. We used cloth dish towels and real dish "rags." We covered bowls with plates or saucers. Sometimes food was left on the table for the next meal, and it was covered also, with a table cloth. Both my mother, her sisters and their mother were great cooks and kept their houses as clean as a pin. (Don't expect anything like this when you come to my house, I've got the genes but not the energy.)
One of my favorites that my mother made was cracklin' cornbread. That is the same thing as "shortenin' bread." Little pieces of pork skin and fat, fried crispy are often sold as "pork skins" or "cracklin's." They are good, but they are not true cracklin's. Cracklin's come as a result of cooking fresh cut pork fat to make lard. When the lard has been cooked, and cooled enough to pour into containers, the cracklins' will be ready to harvest. Few people use lard for shortening any more, although lard really adds something good to pie crust, cookies, biscuits, etc. The lard you buy at the store is already processed, of course, so it will not produce cracklin's.
To make cracklin' cornbread: Heat and crisp in the oven about two cups cracklins'. Make your cornbread batter as usual, add the hot cracklins', mix and pop into a 450 degree oven. Bake until bread is risen and brown. Serve with beans, fried potatoes and wilted lettuce (just as my mother would do).
It is time for my visit with the Kramdens. Hope to see you next week.