Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Green Box

Some of my first memories in the kitchen were the recipes pulled from "the green box."  This box held a treasure trove of Momma's tried and true recipes.  Momma would clip,  cut and stuff every little recipe that she wanted to try into that little box.  She had index cards in the box with recipes written on them.  Each card had a letter on the tab written in black bold print.  I never had the opportunity to ask her why the recipes were written in such a random order and didn't correspond with the correct letter.  It didn't really matter, Momma new exactly where every special recipe was located. 

I was the lucky one to receive "the green box" and many of my Momma's recipes.   Sometimes I just open the box to see her handwriting.  I get such a sense of peace flipping through and looking at her handwriting.  Each recipe seems to say "Chris...remember when I made this?"  It took several times of opening the box before I stopped shedding a little tear each time I opened it.  Tucked far back in the box was her Jam Cake.  This cake was the centerpiece on the Christmas table (along with her fresh Coconut Cake) every year at our house.  Sandra made the recipe last year for our family get-together and flooded our home with the sweet smells of childhood.  It was a three layer dense cake with caramel icing...which I might add...turned out perfect every time.  She scoffed at humidity and was never a timid baker.

Today I found her recipe for Black Eye Pea Dip.  It was one of those recipes that she quickly wrote down on one of her writing pads.  Often she would be listening to "Talk of the Town," a local talk show on WTVF in Nashville, chatting with a friend on the phone or copying from the newspaper.  I knew that I had become a pretty good cook when Momma started asking for my recipes.  I found several of those recipes in "the green box."  When I saw them I smiled and tucked them back in with the other countless recipes.  Thank you Momma for keeping that box.....

Black Eye (Eyed) Pea Dip (enough for Coxey's Army)

4 cans of black eye peas with juice
2 cups of chopped green pepper
1/2 cup of chopped onions (Vidalia works great)
1 cup of chopped green onion
1/2 cup of chopped green chilies
8 oz of pimento
1/2 to 1 full cup of Italian dressing (I use fat free Zesty Italian)
1 tablespoon of garlic salt

I added 2 tablespoons of sugar (never hurts)
Juice of 1 lemon (the brightness really brings out the flavor)

Mix together and let sit overnight. 

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