I know we've shared recipes on here that have come from family. I thought today I'd share some of the fun things I remember from childhood that have changed. Things I do differently now.
First, any good southerner worth her salt learned to season vegetables with fat, and maybe a tad of sugar (learned this from my mother). In fact, in my house growing up, we seasoned them with BACON GREASE. Yes, we always had a coffee cup full of bacon grease on the stove top. And yes, it lived there, not in the refrigerator. Somehow, we never died from it. :)
When I served the chicken parm (recipe yesterday), I also served it with green beans. I grabbed a bag of frozen beans. Added a dash of water, and then butter and bacon grease.
I, however, am paranoid. So on the rare occasions I fry bacon, I keep the grease in the fridge until ready to use it. I tossed it in with the butter, salt and pepper (shhh, and a pinch of sugar).
YUM. You should try it.
Also, growing up, whenever we baked, we always sifted the flour. We had this old fashioned hand-squeezed gadget. I had one that I took from home when I moved away. I just found one like it on ebay! (Click here to check it out.)
We would sift and sift until my hand muscles would hurt and my fingers would get weak. Of course, my hands were tiny and could barely reach. I never questioned my mother about it. Just figured it was some magic step that couldn't be left out.
But then came adulthood. I began to question the old ways that were a burden! :) And finally, my excuse came. My sifter rusted out and had to be thrown away. Did I quit baking? NO! I just kept right on. And whatdaya know, everything turned out just fine.
Then, one day, I saw someone on a cooking show sifting flour using a mesh strainer. I had one of those! I'd had no idea you could use that. You could just hold it over the bowl and wiggle and tap. So much easier! Why had I never thought of that?
So now, when I feel like it, I actually sift my flour. But only when I'm feeling industrious or am channeling one of the fantastic bakers here at the cafe. :)
Cool! Look what I just found. They still make the kind of sifter my mom had! Check it out here. I have a feeling they're much easier to use nowadays.
Speaking of the old days… Remember Five and Dime stores? We called ours the 5 & 10. I used to love to go there to get bubble gum and candy.
Well, talk about serendipity. These days, one of our favorite restaurants is called Five & Ten. Located in Athens, GA, it's our go-to place for birthdays and anniversaries.
We went for dinner in January for my birthday. The food is seasonal and local. And always interesting and tasty. I love the way the chef makes such creative dishes. And they're usually works of art as well (check out the website to see some).
For my birthday, I had…
BOILED PEANUT HUMMUS with Georgia olive oil and crostini (oops, ate a couple before I remembered I wanted photos!).
I'm still craving more of this hummus. Would love to try to make it at home.
ROMAINE HEARTS with classic caesar dressing, parmesan, bacon, pressed bread
How cool is that? Instead of croutons, pressed bread. Such a nice touch!
TAGLIATELLE -- That night it had root vegetable ragout, pork belly, sunflower seeds, kale (crispy chips on top)
I'm sorry this photo is so dark. I was too embarrassed to re-take it with a flash. This was one of the best pastas I've ever had.
The food was outstanding--as usual. And I even braved taking photos. A little embarrassing at a nice restaurant, but I wanted to share with all of you!
Here's a bit about the owner/chef at Five & Ten, Hugh Acheson...
From their website:
Five & Ten is Hugh’s flagship restaurant, started from scratch in 2000. “The menu,” says Hugh, “has always been an open interpretation of Southern food, melding Georgia cookery with French and Italian influences I learned growing up. It’s been a very fun restaurant over the years.”