The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma's Table

The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma's Table ᠔ Types of text פֿ The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma's Table ᡪ Ebook By Rick Bragg ᢐ Prologue It Takes a Lot of Rust to Wipe Away a General ElectricSince she was eleven years old, even if all she had to work with was neck bones, peppergrass, or poke salad, she put good food on a plate She cooked for dead broke uncles, hungover brothers, shade tree mechanics, faith healers, dice shooters, hairdressers, pipe fitters, crop dusters, high steel walkers, and well diggers She cooked for ironworkers, Avon ladies, highway patrolmen, sweatshop seamstresses, fortune tellers, coal haulers, dirt track daredevils, and dime store girls She cooked for lost souls stumbling home from Aunt Hatties beer joint, and for singing cowboys on the AM radio She cooked, in her first eighty years, than seventy thousand meals, as basic as hot buttered biscuits with pear preserves or muscadine jelly, as exotic as tender braised beef tripe in white milk gravy, in kitchens where the only ventilation was the banging of the screen door She cooked for people shed just as soon have poisoned, and for the loves of her life.She cooked for the rich ladies in town, melting beef short ribs into potatoes and Spanish onions, another womans baby on her hip, and sleepwalked home to feed her own boys home canned blackberries dusted with sugar as a late night snack She pan fried chicken in Reds Barbecue with a crust so crisp and thin it was mostly in the imagination, and deep fried fresh bream and crappie and hush puppies redolent with green onion and government cheese She seasoned pinto beans with ham bone and baked cracklin cornbread for old women who had tugged a pick sack, and stewed fat spareribs in creamy butter beans that truck drivers would brag on three thousand miles from home She spiked collard greens with cane sugar and hot pepper for old men who had fought the Hun on the Hindenburg Line, and simmered chicken and dumplings for mill workers with cotton lint still stuck in their hair She fried thin apple pies in white butter and cinnamon for pretty young women with bus tickets out of this one horse town, and baked sweet potato cobbler for the grimy pipe fitters and dusty bricklayers they left behind She cooked for big haired waitresses at the Fuzzy Duck Lounge, shiny eyed pilgrims at the Congregational Holiness summer campground, and crew cut teenage boys who read comic books beside her banana pudding, then embarked for Vietnam.She cooked, most of all, to make it taste good, to make every chipped melamine plate a poor mans banquet, because how do you serve dull food to people such as this She became famous for it, became the best cook in the world, if the world ends just this side of Cedartown But she never used a cookbook, not in her whole life She never cooked from a written recipe of any kind, and never wrote down one of her own She cooked with ghosts at her sure right hand, and you can believe that or not The people who taught her the secrets of Southern, blue collar cooking are all gone now, and they did not cook from a book, either most of them did not even know how to read and write Every time the old woman stepped from her workshop of steel spoons, iron skillets, and blackened pots, all she knew about the food left with her, in the way, when a bird flies off a wire, it leaves only a black line on the sky.Its all Ive ever been real good at, and people always bragged on my cooking you know, cept the ones who dont know whats good, she told me when I asked her about her craft When I was little, the old women used to sit in their kitchens at them old Formica tables and drink coffee and tell their fortunes and talk and talk and talk, about their sorry old men and their good food and the good Lord, and they would cook, my God, they could cook And I just paid attention, and I done what they done Most chefs, when asked for a blueprint of their food, would only have to reach for a dog eared notebook or a faded handwritten index card for ingredients, measures, cooking times, and the rest.I am not a chef, she said.Yet she can tell if her flour is getting stale by rubbing it in her fingers.I am a cook.I remember one night, when she was yearning for something sweet, she patted out tiny biscuits and plopped them down in a pool of milk flavored with sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and cubes of coldbutter She baked this until the liquid, half whole milk, half thick,sweetened condensed milk, steamed into the biscuits, infusing them with the flavors underneath It created not a dense slab, likea traditional, New Orleansstyle bread pudding, but little islands of perfect sweet, buttery dumplings the spacing, not the ingredients or cooking time, was the secret here Momma taught it to me, and Grandpa Bundrum taught it to her, and his momma taught it to him, and well, I guess I dont really know no further than that.In the roadside cafs, cooks in hairnets with Semper Fi on their forearms taught her to build the perfect burger from layers of charred, thin patties, melting cheese, rings of sweet Vidalia onion, and wheels of fresh tomato They taught her crisp, fork tender chicken fried steak, and how to dress steamed foot long hot dogs with homemade hot chili, just the right trickle of yellow mustard, and lots of finely diced onion, to make the pulpwooders weep She learned to slow cook pork barbecue from old men who lived in the smoke itself The workin people wouldnt pay good money for food that wasnt fit to eat I didnt make no money in a caf fourteen or fifteen dollars a week was the most I made But at Reds caf we got all the puddin we could eat Your uncle Eds momma, Granny Fair, waitressed at Reds when I was there You remember her She was kind of a big woman Well, shed bust through the double doors to that kitchen, snatch up one of them little chocolate puddins, and eat it in three bites on a dead runand not miss a step.Her big sister, Edna, taught her to fillet catfish, crappie, and tiny bream with a knife as thin as aluminum foil A brother in law, a navy man, taught her how to pat out a fine cathead biscuit, but could only bake them a battleship at a time Her mother in law showed her how to craft wild plum pies, peach, apple, and cherry cobblers, and cool banana puddings, all in pans as big as she was Her daddy shared the secrets of fresh ham and perfect redeye gravy, and tender country fried steak And her momma taught her to do it all, even with a worried mind Then, finally, it was her time, and it has been for a long, long time.I have to talk to myself now to cook, she said I have to tell myself what to do, have to tell myself to handle the knife by the right end I have to call myself a name, so Ill know to listen to myself.By what name, I asked, beginning to be concerned, do you call yourself Why, I use my name, hon I aint so far gone I dont know my name Ill say, Margaret, dont burn yourself, and Margaret, close the cabinet so you wont bump your head Its when I do call myself by somebody elses name that yall got to worry about me Till then, hon, Im alllll right.She had hoped for a daughter to pass her skills and stories tothat or a thoughtful son, someone worthy of the history, secrets, and lore instead, she got three nitwit boys who would eat a bug on a bet and still cannot do much than burn a weenie on a sharp stick, and could not bake a passable biscuit even if you handed us one of those whop em cans from the Piggly Wiggly and prayed for bread We ate her delicious food without much insight into how it came to be, which was not all our fault She banned us from her kitchen outright, much of our lives, because we tracked in red mud, coal dust, or some terrible contaminant, or tried to show her a new species of tadpole as she made biscuit We are still barely tolerated there, though I have not stomped in a mud hole or hidden a toad in my overalls for along time So she would be the end of it, then, the end of the story of her table, unless we could find another way.I made up my mind to do this book not on a day when my mother was in her kitchen, making miracles, but on a day she was not Most days, unless she is deep in Ecclesiastes, or Randolph Scott is riding at all horse across the TV screen, she will be at her stove, singing about a church in the wildwood, or faded love, or trains In the mornings, the clean scent of just sliced cantaloupe will drift through the house, mingling with eggs scrambled with crumbled sausage, and coffee so strong and dark that black is its true color, not just the way you take it At noon, the air will be thick with the aroma of stewed cabbage, sweet corn, cornbread muffins, and creamed onions going tender in an iron skillet forged before the First Great War Some nights, you can smell fried chicken livers as far as the pasture fence, or barbecued pork chops, pan roasted pigs feet, potatoes and pole beans, or blackberry cobbler in a buttered biscuit crust But as I walked into the house in the winter of 2016, to find some clothes to take to her hospital room, the kitchen smelled only of lemon scented dishwashing detergent, and a faint aroma of old, cold, burnt iron In her life, she saw weeds creep over the Model T, and church steeples vanish beneath the man made lakes of the TVA She saw great blast furnaces go up, and go dark, and ancestral mountains clear cut down to bald nobs She saw circus trains, and funeral trains, and the first gleaming diesel engine roar through these hills She saw a Russian monkey in a spaceman suit, and figured, well, now she had seen it all It made me sad, when they shot him into outer space They showed him on the TV again when he come back down, but I aint sure it was the right monkey, you know, the same one The point is, I had convinced myself she was somehow immune to passing time, that she lived outside and above the events of the twentieth century, and the twenty first She could no wear out than the whetstone she used to sharpen her ancient butcher knives, even if she had seasoned most of the vegetables she ever ate with pork fat.Gettin old aint easy, she told me, as she passed seventy nine, but its best not to try and fight it too much You know how I live with bein old I just dont look in the mirror, cept when I part my hair.She passed eighty in April of 2017 with a baseball bat beside her bed, for assassins In the past five years, she survived heart failure, serious cancer, dangerous surgeries, and harsh followup treatments that left her thinner and weaker over time Still, I rarely saw her stumble, or waver in her resolve to live as she always has, to walk her garden, gripe about the weather, and rattle her pots and pans She survived everything, but in the late winter of 2016, the hospital entrance had become a revolving door, and she was admitted and readmitted for regimens of strong medicine and rest Again, the young doctors said she would recover, if she would eat the dull, bland food and drink the foul tasting medicine that was made, she believed, from the manure in her donkey pasture She could go home again, the doctors told us, if she would behave herself, and if, after so many hard, hot, long days, she still had the will She was not an ideal patient.That stent they put in my heart a year or two ago, well, they didnt really have to do that, she grumbled from her bed That was just the style then Everbody was gettin one I didnt need it I was fine.She spent most of the spring on an IV While she slept, my big brother and I talked quietly beside her bed about being boys, running buck wild through her kitchen, about big fish, and ugly dogs, and a pearl white 67 Camaro he never let me drive The past is where we go when we are helpless the past, no matter what the psychiatrists say, cant really hurt you much than it already has, not like the future, which comes at you like a train around a blind curve But our conversation always circled back to the thing that mattered most I am not a particularly optimistic man, and feared for her Sam told me I was being foolish She would get better this time, too it was just a matter of time before she got tired of this place and walked out, grumbling He said he knew her better than I did he was living his life within three miles of her, while I went gallivanting God knows where He said the same thing over and over, like a prayer That old woman picked cotton did stuff the regular people cant do They dont know who she is.Do you remember the junk stoves Remember that graveyard he asked me one evening, and I shook my head He seemed deeply disappointed in me, as if I had somehow failed my heritage by not remembering every anthill, blown over willow tree, vicious blackberry bush, and rotted down rope swing on the Roy Webb Road How, he asked me, do you not remember that many burnt out stoves And then I did remember them, a ragged row of scorched, rusted relics banished to the deep backyard, worn out, shorted out, and dragged out of the little frame house to a place past the rusty bicycle junkyard and the doghouse, to the edge of the cotton field The years bring down everything here, in the heat, damp, and rot, but it takes a lot of rust to wipe away a General Electric The number varied, but at one time there were thirteen derelict stoves abandoned there, bound to the earth by honeysuckle, briars, and creeping vines Westinghouse, Ken, Hotpoint, GE, and , in white, brown, and avocado She used them till there was a near electrocution, or an electrical fire, till there was not a spark left.Momma wore em all slap out, one after another, he said She cooked every meal we ate, seven days a week except when she got us all a foot long from Pee Wee Johnsons caf, every payday, every Friday night To be honest, I guess most of them ol stoves was second and third hand to start with, but its still a lot of stoves, aint it Just think think what it took to wear out that many stoves.I had a big forty two inch stove in my kitchen one time, when we lived with Momma, the old woman said from the hospital bed, her eyes still closed She pretended to be asleep sometimes, so she could hear what was being said about her But it wadnt no count, to start with I melted the buttons off of it.There, in Room 411, she even dreamed of food, or maybe just remembered it She saw herself waist deep in rows of fat, ripe tomatoes hanging heavy on vines that ran green for as far as she could see She reached into a vine and pulled one free, rubbed it clean on her shirt, and took a saltshaker from a pocket of her clothes She ate it, standing in the blowing red grit, salting every delicious bite, until it was all gone, the way shed done when she was young She told me about it later, amid the alarms of the IV machines, the barking intercom, and call buttons that never went quiet, even at 3 00 a.m And it just seemed so real I could taste it, she said, and I told her she must be on some fine dope if she could taste a dream.She lay there day after day, and planned what she would cook once she got home, what she would grow in her garden and pepper pots, or gather in the woods and fields for jellies, preserves, and pickles.I lost the spring, she told me one morning, after a particularly bad few days, and for some reason that simple declaration haunted me than anything else I lost one whole spring.I would like to say that something profound happened after that, something poetic The truth is, as my big brother predicted, she just got mad It bothered her that she could not tell if she was dreaming or remembering, there in her narrow bed, and she told the nurses, I dont want no of that strong dope She had eaten very little in the hospital the cooks did not know how to use a saltshaker, she said It irked her that her vegetable garden was still deep in weeds with hot weather coming on, and that she had to dream a ripe tomato to get a good one One night, she just opened her eyes, demanded some Hi Ho crackers, an ice cold Fanta orange soda, and her shoes And tell the nurses, she said, tomorrow Im goin home.I told her the doctors would have to decide.Well, she said, doctors dont know everything, do they I told her a little rest, just a few days of care, fluids, and observation in her hospital bed, under the kind and careful watch of the fine nurses and doctors, could not do her any harm.You dont know about Irene, she said.I told her I did not remember any Irenes.She was my cousin, I guess, and she was trouble, son, trouble all her life She argued three days over what color dress to bury my aunt Riller in, and Aunt Riller was still alive, still a layinin that hospital bed, listenin to her Dont tell me there aint no harm can come to you in a hospital room If I can just get home, Ill cook me some poke salad, and Ill cure myself And Ill tell you something else Salt is good It says so in the Bible.You learn, if you live long enough down here, not to push too much against what these old, hardheaded people believe If an old woman tells you there is magic in an iron pot, you ought not smile at that The iron gets in you, through the food, she believes It gets in your blood, and strengthens you I have heard French chefs say the same, but the old people who raised her believe the iron left something much powerful than a mere trace of mineral it left something from the blast furnace itself, a kind of ferocity But how do you explain that to heathens She has cooked in iron all her life, and she is cooking in it now.But since that day in her cold kitchen, I knew I had to convince her to let me write it all down, to capture not just the legend but the soul of her cooking for the generations to come, and translate into the twenty first century the recipes that exist only in her mind, before we all just blow away like the dust in that red field.Wonderful, rollicking, poignant, sometimes hilarious tales about how generations of Braggs extended family survived from one meal to the next USA Today four stars This book is a tribute, a monument, to his mother and her people, captured here in solid recipes for good foodAll the stories in this book gleam with a special luster theyve been polished by time, and no one is meant to get hung up on the details The Wall Street Journal A beautifully written memoir For readers who crave soul with their recipes this is a fitting tribute to foodways that are fast escaping Library Journal starred review Braggs entertaining memoir is a testament that cooking and food still bind culture together Publishers Weekly starred review Heartfelt, often hilarious stories from an Alabama kitchen, a place from which issue wondrous remembrances and wondrous foods alikeAffectionate, funny, and beautifully written a book for every fan of real food Kirkus starred review His prose evokes the sights, sounds, and smells of a rural Alabama kitchen and transforms apparent poverty into soul satisfying plenty Booklist starred review MarvelousuproariousThese stories shimmer and shine, casting a Southern spell with Braggs gorgeous prose The Best Cook in the WorldisJulia Childby way of the Hatfields and McCoys Margaret Bragg can cook up a storm, while Rick Bragg writes with a powerful, page turning punch The result is unimaginably delectable BookPage Rick Bragg serves up a feast of love A love song to the woman who raised him and who has been his greatest muse The New Orleans Advocate Bragg is asoulful storyteller, a reporter with a poets eye, and an appreciative diner Most of all here, as with earlier family memoirs hes a ferociously devoted sonBragg has a bone deep empathy for people who endure hard times, and leverages that understanding to share even second hand stories The Christian Science Monitor If you let it work its culinary magic, The Best Cook in the Worldwill probably transport you to AlabamaNew York, L.A., San Francisco, and Parisian gourmets and gourmands will find a lot to enjoy in The Best Cook in the World They may want to surrender their beloved palates at least for a meal or two and savor Rich Braggs amazing culinary world New York Journal of Books Readers of this book will learn about Braggs mothers kitchen, of course, but also about what makes food good, and what role food can play in a family and in a culture Just thinking about this book is making us hungry Bookish The beloved author ofAll Over but the Shoutinhas written a loving tribute to his mother, the South, stories, tradition, and a disappearing way of life Saturday Evening Post The New Best Recipe Cook s Illustrated The Illustrated on FREE shipping qualifying offers updated version of a best selling classic Flagship book award winning series with than pages and illustrations Would you make versions creme caramel to find the absolute editors did Dane Cook Dane Troublemaker airs Friday, Oct at pm Showtime Melitta CI Touch Kaffeevollautomat Internet Ein Leben ohne Kaffee ist vielleicht mglich, aber vollkommen sinnlos Genau aus diesem Grund gibt es bereits Besitzer dieses tollen Kaffeevollautomaten Ihr knntet der nchste sein Wood Burning Stoves Online Cooking This beautiful wood cook stove is ideal for heating small places like garage, cabin, or ski lodge, as well cooking your favorite dishes Cook Recipes That Work We Test are trusted by millions home cooks authority recipes, how tips, step videos Our magazine test explain exactly why our recipes work Thesaurus Thesaurus encyclopedia that covers thousands ingredients kitchen tools Entries include pictures, descriptions, synonyms, pronunciations, suggested substitutions Apple Tim leads different Fortune assumed he was ready harsh glare shines Apple CEO He had, after all, filled in Jobs three times during founder medical leaves absence Food Timeline history notes fish shellfish Archaeologists tell us humans have been eating crustaceans lobsters, crabs, shrimp from prehistoric present They know this excavating middens, deposits N Home Piece Stainless Steel Steel Cookware Set includes quart saucepan lid, casserole dutch oven stockpot inch saute fry pan lid CooksRecipes has quality, tested every meal occasion Since , an online recipe resource offering visitors over freeRick Bragg Wikipedia Rick born July American journalist writer known non fiction books, especially those about his family Alabama All but Shoutin Bragg All A York Times Notable Book Year haunting Over Bragg, Reading Group Guide questions, discussion topics, author biography follow intended enhance group reading Book review World Rick In new book, fondly recalls mother Southern star Fort Fort Bragg, North Carolina military installation United States Army largest world population Anchor Charter Boats Fishing Whale Come enjoy salmon fishing, rockfishing, whale watching, albacore fishing crabbing Trek II Ambush Anchor CA Schedule Archive WXNA WXNA FM Low Power, High Voltage Radio Using archive WXNAfm easy Click Calendar search date Shows Glass Beach From Trash To Treasure Glass California most popular thing do On 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  • Format Kindle
  • 1400040418
  • Rick Bragg
  • Anglais
  • 23 November 2016