Wishing you all fair winds and following seas.
Did your mom make these when you were a child?
I still have the 1960s plastic stick molds that my mother used. I brought freezer pops for my own children for wonderful, lazy summer days at the neighborhood pool.
What was your favorite flavor?
The freedom we enjoy as Americans is a great blessing. But freedom isn’t free—our freedom cost someone something.
Some of the best Fourths are small town celebrations—my inspiration for the Kiptohanock Fourth of July.
What do you do for the Fourth? What are some of your favorite memories of the Fourth?
I love October because I get to visit family I see only once or twice a year. In early October, we have a family reunion. In late October, we travel to my aunt’s church homecoming and see cousins and other people that make up a Southerner’s extended family. This includes people to whom we’re not actually related but who were grafted in because somebody married into the family line. And despite not being blood kin, we all grew up together and enjoy getting to see each other. We have a lot of fun and it’s never a dull moment with that crowd.
I know this sounds complicated—but if you’re a Southerner, you get it. And did I mention the food at these gatherings? My children have been known to get weepy at the thought of these upcoming feasts. Barbecue—pork and vinegar-based; cornsticks, Brunswick stew; butter-beans—lima beans for the Northern brethren among us; ham biscuits; coconut cake; pineapple cake, etc . . . I’m going to stop now before I break down, too.
Here’s a sure-fire winner of an autumn recipe—from the family I married into.
Fool-Proof Pie Crust
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cups vegetable shortening
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vinegar
½ cup water
Mix first 4 ingredients with a fork or pastry blender. In a separate dish, beat the remaining ingredients. Combine the 2 mixtures, stirring until all ingredients are moistened. Shape dough into a ball. Chill at least 15 minutes before rolling into a crust. Dough can be left in the refrigerator up to 3 days or frozen until ready to use. Makes 2 pies—4 top and bottom crusts.
6-8 apples—I’ve used Rome, Granny Smith and Magnabonum
Juice of half a lemon
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. butter
Do you have family reunions or church homecomings? What recipes do you look forward to each year? Do you have a family recipe you could share?
One of the joys of childhood
Did you ever catch fireflies—or lightning bugs as they’re called in the South—as a child?
Or perhaps on sultry summer nights at twilight, you still chase fireflies with your own children and grandchildren.
As a child, I had a favorite dogwood tree that I climbed. I spent many a summer day in its highest branches looking out over my yard to the forest and into the sky dreaming dreams of my future.
This spot high above the rest of the world was my special place well into my teens. I climbed the tree just before I got in the car and drove away to college for the first time.
I climbed the tree one final time—the day before I got married.
Did you have a special childhood spot? A secret place that was all your own?
Here are a few treehouses that inspired Darcy’s treehouse in Hometown Reunion—
This is a quick, Southern go-to lunch item. A lot of Southern cooks keep a batch of pimento cheese ready in the refrigerator—just in case somebody drops by around lunchtime.
4 oz jar of pimento
1. Finely shred half of cheddar block into a large bowl. Do not use pre-shredded cheese which contains too much moisture. I slice the block into sections and use a handheld rotary shredder. I got mine at Target. My aunt is still using the shredder she bought in France sixty years ago.
2. Dump the pimento with juice onto a plate and mash (don’t you love the fancy cooking terms?) the pimentos “to release the flavors.”
3. Combine shredded cheese, pimentos, and mayo (1/3 to 1/2 cup??? experiment till “looks right”)
4. Refrigerate. Spread onto bread for sandwiches (the traditional Southern way) or use crackers.
A flavorful Southwest version might include adding some cayenne and jalapenos.
For more recipes and behind the scene photos of Beneath a Navajo Moon, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/beneath-a-navajo-moon/.