Sunday, September 19, 2010

Elderberry Jelly

     While walking on a country road during a recent trip I saw wild elderberries growing alongside a field.  I was immediately reminded of a favorite activity of my mother.  When I was growing up she liked to drive into the country in the late summer and hunt for these berries; she collected them, took them home, and made elderberry jelly.  This was a summer tradition. 
     I have been thinking about other food memories.  One involves my mother's large, yellow corning ware bowl.  I have it now, and every time it is used I think of my mother.  My favorite recollection is watching her make toll house cookie dough in it.  YUM.  And she always let us lick the bowl.
     Mother was a good cook.  Two favorites were baked beans and her version of macaroni and cheese.  The beans were always baked for two hours and were never runny; the mac and cheese was just boiled macaroni baked in milk and cheese and covered with crushed crackers.  No sauce, but cheesy, with crunchy stuff around the edges.  We loved it.
     She made good meat loaf, homemade noodles, and chop suey.  When I grew up chop suey vegees came from a can........bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts...and there was pork or beef.  Her special ingredient was bead molasses. We loved chop suey!
     The best thing she made was FRIED CHICKEN.  It was to die for.  We used to have contests to see who could eat the most (my poor the time I didn't realize how much chicken she fried!!).  Years ago I tried to duplicate it but I was not very successful.  Now it is not healthy enough.  But what a treat it was!!
     In her younger years she baked cookies for friends and neighbors at Christmas time.  Two kinds she always made were Mexican wedding cakes and Spritz.  Sometimes there were lemon bars and pecan tassies.  And sometimes we were naughty and sneaked a couple from the freezer...........
     Before ending I must tattle on what my mother fed us for breakfast when my sister and I were young.  For some reason she insisted on feeding us each a soft-boiled egg. I did not complain much about what we ate, unless we had these. UGH.  We had to try not to gag.......and sometimes we just did.  She could not get us to enjoy oatmeal, either.  Chocolate chips did not help.  Just nasty gunk in our opinion.
     All this from elderberries.  Who knew it would end in soft-boiled eggs.  Maybe I should have stopped with the yellow bowl..............


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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.