A few years back I picked up a magazine and read the most amazing article about the most amazing person. A woman who’d left her life in the big city to return home to Alabama and buy her own creamery. She began a stunningly successful venture that has earned accolades and awards in abundance.
The photo showed her walking in a field among goats. It was beautiful, just looking at it made my heart soar. I wanted be her when I grew up.
I’ve often thought things like that, particularly when reading about life on a farm or one of those pretty magazines that show women in aprons with contented smiles on their face like they woke up in one of those early Judy Garland films.
Well guess what? I talked to that very same woman on the telephone yesterday. We were introduced by the photographer for my book, Jennifer Davick. Jennifer had been to her house recently to do a photo spread for an upcoming story and as it turns out, the woman walking among the goats in that idealistic scene lives about ten minutes from where I am. After a brief email introduction we found ourselves on the telephone talking kids and food – and I realized, the woman walking among the goats was just like me in more ways than not.
I think we all have a tendency to look at the lives of others through rainbow colored glasses, but you know what? I can assure you there is someone in this world who would view you in a similar romanticized fashion. So why do we tend to do this with others and not ourselves? I guess it’s just easier when you’re on the outside looking in. Our nature has us thinking he or she has it all, life must be grand, and ours would be too if only we had X, Y, and Z. Experience and wisdom from the old folks has taught me that this is where the rubber meets the road for most of us in terms of whether or not we are going to achieve (or choose) happiness. You see, at the end of the day, it’s all about blooming where you’re planted. Hang in there, my point is coming…
I try to always appreciate what I have and focus on the positive. Last year, when we moved to our new home, I felt a tremendous appreciation and gratitude towards not only the house itself but the land surrounding it as well. Everything was green and lush and to me it just looked magical. Wildflowers sprang forth in little nooks and crannies like treasures presenting themselves to me. Ferns sprouted up randomly out of the yard as if they are checking up on us and just wanted to say “hi”. Having always longed for a hydrangea bush, imagine my delight at finding not one but seven hydrangea bushes flourishing in my new back yard, each producing my favorite color of hydrangea – blue. I had found, in my mind and my heart, a utopia to raise my family in.
I wanted my new home to have a name and eventually (through a neat course of events) settled on Bountiful, due to all of the bounty it had offered up to us as a family. I’ve often had folks email me when I speak so lovingly about Bountiful and ask me where it is. Since I view my home in a very romantic fashion, I tend to talk about it that way as well. From time to time I show photos from my yard and take care to frame them so I can bring you the beauty that I see. Over time, people have come to think of Bountiful as if it is some grand Southern plantation and in my mind, it truly is. If you were to come visit Bountiful, though, you might be at once struck by the fact that it rests right smack dab in the middle of an ever crowding city and close enough to municipal buildings that every time there is a medical or police emergency our serenity is pierced with sirens and flashing lights.
But to me and to those who read my ramblings, Bountiful is how I see it. It is my home, my utopia, my own Southern plantation. I don’t sit around wishing for white columns on the front porch, instead I focus on the lush green grass and the gardens I planted with my kids. The strong and sturdy walls that protect us from the elements and the sunshine that beams into my window each morning. I decided to fall in love with my home and each day I decide to fall in love with my life. I make it a point, whenever I put those rainbow colored glasses on that we tend to view other people’s lives with, to look into the mirror and be sure to give my own life more than just a passing glance.
Your life deserves no less.
Now that I’m off my soap box and we’ve passed out our rainbow colored glasses (make sure you got a pair!), I’m gonna bring you today’s recipe: Basil Corn. This is a quick and easy go to side dish for me that uses frozen corn and ingredients I have on hand. It is a neat way of sprucing up corn when I can’t have fresh and the hubs and son love it.
You’ll need: Frozen corn, salt, basil, corn starch, and butter.
One stick of butter is not pictured. Use butter or margarine, whatever you have on hand. Pretend you see a smidgen of sugar in there, too.
I don’t sleep much lately so y’all gotta bear with me here.
Dump your frozen corn in a pot.
Cover in water
(that’s not a type o, I just talk like Donald Duck’s uncle sometimes when I’m cooking)
Bring that to a boil over medium heat and then drain.
In a sauce pot, place your stick of butter and add a tablespoon of cornstarch.
and about 1/2 of a teaspoon of salt
and a tablespoon of dried basil.
Now you can add a little more if you like but I’d start low. If you aren’t sure how your family feels about basil, you might want to do 1/2 tablespoon.
We love the stuff.
Put that over medium heat and stir well until all of your butter is melted and the corn starch is blended in well.
then add about 1/2 a tablespoon of sugar.
stir that in, too.
here is our drained corn…
Pour your butter sauce over it.
Now y’all don’t go getting into a tizzy because I put a whole stick of butter in here. You’re gonna stir it all up and a great deal of it will end up sitting in the bottom of your pan so just use the whole stick and take a deep breath. It’s gonna be okay. There are far worse things you could do.
Look how purty!
aww, it’s posing for us!
This is an old Southern meal of “Poke chop, Corn, and Loaf Bread!”
Growing up, Mama always had two or three sides as well as a bread and a main entree at every meal (dessert, too!). I’ve found, though, that my family really only needs one meat and one side and so most of our meals look about like this one except for when we have company or on weekends. If I made two sides, food goes to waste (or gets recycled into leftovers). If I make one side, we have just the right amount. You gotta go with what works for you.
I was talking to Mama about this today and said “You know Mama, I feel bad putting a picture up on Southern Plate of just one side, it just doesn’t look right”.
She said “You know, I’ve always felt bad that I didn’t cook as much food as Mama Reed did. She’d have two or three kinds of beans, fried potatoes, corn, relish tray, biscuits, then the main course and dessert. But the thing is, they worked all day long in the fields and she’d made enough to feed ten kids and then the grown men that worked with them, too. You just gotta think practically in terms of your family nowadays. Make the one side and be glad y’all don’t have to work in the fields.”
Isn’t Mama smart?
Lets chat in the comments. Tell me about rainbow glasses, what you see in your life when you put them on, and how you’ve modified traditional cooking or servings to work for your family today.
Oh and by the way, have I told y’all that I love you lately? Well I do.
The struggle stops when the gratitude begins.
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