It is amazing to think that she has been with me my entire life. A sweeter person you could never find. One of the reasons I have such good childhood memories is because of her (and her sister, Ruby Lee Pfenninger). In my adulthood, she has always been there for me with encouraging words and faith that the Lord will cause everything to turn out right.
In all the lifetime of years I’ve known her, I’ve never seen her lose her temper nor heard her say a bad word about anyone. She didn’t gossip, nor meddle, nor utter a cussword one. She is one of those people who finds good in all situations and never complains, no matter what changes she has had to face. And she always remembers to be grateful for the blessings that come her way. She sounds too good to be true, I know, but she truly is full of goodness.
She was one of those ’50s housewives who put on a fresh dress and make-up before Uncle Ed came home from work, who ironed her cotton sheets, and who made three home-cooked meals a day, complete with dessert. I still remember her prune cake, which had the best icing. She also made beautiful quilts and the best fig preserves you ever tasted and all the while she kept her house spotless.
She also loved to learn to do new things once her kids were grown and gone. About 20-plus years ago, she took up decorative/tole painting. I spent a few weeks of one summer with her and that is when she taught me how to paint, too. We spent wonderful days together painting and talking about anything and everything. I even drove her to Houston for a special painting class. She still talks about how much fun we had that weekend.
The things we did most together involved cooking, painting and shopping. Throughout this last year, I’ve shared many of her recipes with you and there will be more to come. In my food memories, certain foods (chicken and dumplings, fried catfish, fried bread, etc.) will always be associated with her. I feel very blessed to still have her in my life. I hope you have/had someone this special in your life, too.
Happy birthday, Aunt Naydine. I hope you have many more.
(Best eaten warm with slices of boiled ring sausage, real butter and
homemade preserves. This was an often-requested supper.)
• 2 cups warm water
• 2 pkgs. dry yeast
• 1 tsp. salt
• 4 cups flour
• Dissolve yeast in the warm water.
• Add salt and flour and knead until firm.
• Cover lightly and allow to rise 3-5 hours or until doubled in size.
• Shape the dough into golf-ball sized pieces and place on a floured surface.
• Cover and allow to rise again.
• Press dough balls into a circles and fry one or two at a time in hot shortening, turning once, until golden brown.
• Drain on paper towels and eat as soon as they are cool enough to handle.
(This came from a “Meals for Two” cookbook she received when she was a new bride. They always turned out crispy and were often eaten
for supper, too.)
• 1 cup sifted flour
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• ¼ tsp. salt
• 1½ tsp. sugar
• 1 egg, separated
• 1 cup milk
• 3 tbsp. melted shortening
• Sift the dry ingredients together.
• Beat the egg yolk and add to it the milk and shortening.
• Combine with the dry ingredients and beat until smooth.
• Fold in the stiffly beat egg white.
• Pour about ¼ cup of batter onto a preheated waffle iron and cook until golden.
• Makes four waffles.
Wild Green Grape Preserves
(When she was just a tiny little girl, she made up a name for these
preserves as she couldn’t yet say her mother’s German word for it, so we still call this “koola-mousse.” These preserves are unlike anything you have ever tasted. I love this stuff!)
• 6 cups sugar
• ½ cup water
• 4½ cups wild green mustang grapes
• Boil the water and sugar together for 3-4 minutes until sugar is dissolved.
• Add the grapes and cook for about one hour or to desired thickness. Makes three pints.
Cook’s notes: You must pick your grapes when they are very small, about the size of a green pea, before they develop seeds. You will know you are close to “done” with these preserves when the grapes and syrup turn a purplish-brown color. I did not process mine but rather just put it in jars and kept it in the refrigerator as I gave it away almost immediately. I tried my hand at it because Aunt Naydine said she wished she could taste it one more time. If you give it as a gift, be sure you include a loaf of homemade bread and some real butter as that is how you “must” eat it.