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  • Vernalee


By Vernalee

There has always been a tradition in our family of passing down possessions. It is funny how the little things in life mean so much! Allow me to share a cooking story that occurred a few years ago. Lemon juice can be used to jazz up many dishes. Its tartness enhances the flavor. Squeezing those tiny lemons can be a chore. Not anymore! I inherited the perfect kitchen utensil that makes the job spontaneously effortless. Using my Mother’s recipe, I made a delectable cherry cheese cake utilizing an old fashioned lemon squeezer (pictured above). The squeezer belonged to my Grandmother Eleonora. It worked perfectly! I never knew my Granny. She died when I was only two years old. I have always heard family recant stories about how she had me “spoiled rotten” by holding me continuously, picking me up when I fell, and gingerly wiping every tear away from my crying eyes! Go Granny! I love it! Emotionally and ironically, my Granny and I cooked together yesterday when I used her vintage appliance. It was as if she was standing in my kitchen looking over my shoulders! Imaginatively, I could hear her say, “Dash a pinch of vanilla flavor to liven up the taste. Grating a tad bit of the lemon peel won’t hurt!” Those Southern cooks knew how to put a meal on the table from scanty ingredients are something else! Aren’t they? Perhaps, you could say that my Grandma’s hands guided mine. Alright, the judgment was still out. The proof is in the pudding! Let’s see if I passed the taste test. I cut a slice for my Mother, Miss Phoebe! Understand this! Miss Phoebe, a master chef, can detect a 1/2 teaspoon of salt missing from a three layer German Chocolate cake. If she liked it, you were “home free.” Drum roll, please! Momma loved it and said, “Job well done!” Of course, I couldn’t “leave well enough alone.” I kept going! So, I made lemonade. Upon taking a swallow, Momma said, “Girl, this lemonade is entirely too sweet. Cut back on your sugar! In fact, put a little warm water in first to crystallize the sugar and then add the remaining lemon juice, rinds, and sugar from there!” I did and it salivated off my tongue as I drank it!

I give a shout out of thanks to my late Momma and Granny! Though neither walk this earth now, their guidance and presence will never leave! Some folks say “too many cooks in the kitchen” will never work. Well I beg to differ. With this aged cooking experience, I had it just right - the memories and the ingredients! Photo credit:

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Jul 01, 2023


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