August 23, 2011

Spicy Mississippi Soul!

Everybody's talkin' bout' it........."The Help!" And to think I almost missed it! Now understand, as you know, I am very protective about my home state of magnolia's, pine trees, gardenias, the best southern food you will ever have and the softest of southern accents. My beloved Mississippi! Yes, I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi from the early 1950's through the mid 1970's. This is when Darling and I married and embarked on his Air Force career and we moved to Biloxi, then were required to relocate to Illinois. Talk about a culture shock! It's funny that when people ask where we are from and our reply is Jackson, Mississippi, the most perplexing expression comes across people's faces. Really! You can tell they are asking themselves the typical stereotype questions that arise from the volatile times of the 60's and the south.

Yes, once I read the novel, "The Help", I thought it was probably representative of the time. I was raised by Mary, our maid in Vicksburg, from birth until the age of three. Mother always said, "Why Betsy Jane, I did not even know you until we moved to Jackson!" That never bothered  me. I was well loved, happy and content with my beloved Mary. I can tell you my parents, brother and sister also loved Mary. She was part of our family. My parents took good care of her and her family. Mary came to visit us in Jackson, after Darling and I were married. I opened the front door and there she was! I could not believe my eyes after all that time had passed....she said, "Oh, is this my baby?" and we hugged each other like the bond had never been broken. Mary's daughter Gladys kept in touch with Daddy since Gladys was an x-ray tech at Baptist Hospital, where Daddy was a practicing physician.

Betsy Jane, Judy, and Steve

Bonita was our "help" in Jackson. I loved her also. She was part of our family for pretty much the entire time I grew up. She was a fabulous cook! I do remember that I had asked her if she would make a grilled cheese sandwich for my lunch one day, as she had been preparing one for herself. She said, "sure baby!" However, when we began to sit down at the kitchen table to eat, she said, "honey, you can't sit with me!" I remember feeling hurt by that...I didn't understand why not? I thought perhaps she just wanted to eat lunch alone. I have never forgotten that little incident. I also remember a very funny time when Mother wanted to relocate our piano from the lower den, into the living room. This meant the piano had to be moved across the den floor, up a single stair, across the upper den, maneuvered into the hallway, then into the living room. Are you serious? She had Bonita and my brother, Steve, trying to push and pull that heavy piano up that single stair and they all got tickled and pooled into a puddle of laughter because that piano was not budging!! Her idea was abandoned and the piano remained in the lower den.

Oh, I have stories, plenty of them. Darling's family in the Mississippi Delta all had "help!" It was the way life was. However, I never knew anyone like Hilly, who was extremely haughty and dismissive. My parents did not raise us to treat others in that manner. Bridge games were played just like what was filmed in the movie. I vividly remember the maids getting off the city bus and walking to their various employers in the neighborhood. And, yes, they took care of someone else's little children, while leaving their own babies to the care of their mother's.  Our "help" made a difference in our lives. They were loved. I only hope we made a difference in theirs.

 Anyway, I love Mississippi! Always have, always will.
They're good people! Just the best!

These are some of the best of my Mississippi Recipes!
Are they fattenning? Of course they are Baby Girl!

This salmon croquettes recipe is tasty and quick to make.
 Be sure to keep a couple of cans in your kitchen for a quick
 meal you can prepare in no time.

 Mississippi Salmon Croquettes
1 (15 oz) can of pink salmon, drained and bones taken out
1 egg
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1 small red onion
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp of garlic powder
2 tsps of Goya Seasoning
2 tablespoons of Italian Style Bread Crumbs
¼ cup of all- purpose flour
6 tablespoons of olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the drained pink salmon, egg, red onion, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, fresh parsley, Goya seasoning and Italian style bread crumbs. Stir well. Divide the mixture and shape into 8 patties, about 4 inches each. Pour the ¼ cup of flour onto a large plate. Dredge each patty with flour on both sides. To a heated large cast iron skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Place croquettes in skillet and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Cook the patties until they are golden brown in color. Be sure to turn often so they do not burn. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Mississippi Baked  Macaroni and Cheese
4 cans of Campbell's cheddar cheese soup
1 ½ pound of  macaroni
1 large bag of shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 large bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 large bag of shredded Monterey Jack Jalapeno cheese
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
½ small can of evaporated milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon of flour
1 tsp crushed black pepper
½ teaspoon of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking dish. Prepare macaroni according to package directions. While macaroni is cooking in a large bowl, combine the egg, milk and 1 tablespoon of flour and whisk together.Add to the bowl, the four cans of cheddar cheese soup, the three bags of shredded cheese, and the chopped green bell pepper. When macaroni is cooked, drain well and place into greased baking dish. Pour cheese mixture over macaroni and stir well until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until the top of macaroni is golden brown.

This tasty Lemon Coleslaw recipe is delicious.
Not your ordinary coleslaw, this recipe has the tartness from the
lemon juice and has some sweetness with red pepper.

Mississippi Lemon Coleslaw
1/2 cup of  Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup of lemon juice
2 tbs of Dijon mustard
2 tbs of olive oil
2 tbs of sugar
1 tbs of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 cups of shredded cabbage 
1 small red bell pepper sliced thinly
1 small green bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 small shredded carrot
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons of grated lemon zest

Combine the first nine ingredients into a mixing bowl. Whisk until blended and put dressing into refrigerator until chilled. Combine cabbage, bell peppers, red onion, shredded carrot, parsley and lemon zest into a large bowl. Toss with the dressing.

Mississippi Rice Pudding With Raisins
1 large egg
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of cooked cold rice
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
2 cups of evaporated milk
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
¼ cup of dark raisins
¼ cup of golden raisins

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray and put to the side. In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg and sugar and beat well. Stir in the 2 cups of cooked cold rice.
Pour in the two cups of evaporated milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, melted butter and vanilla extract. Stir until well blended. Add the dark and golden raisins. Pour into the coated baking dish and place in oven that has been preheated. Cook for about 35-40 minutes or until browned.

1 comment:

  1. I have a can of salmon in the pantry, just waiting for this time honored recipe! Loving your recipes with a side of memories...


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