Those are the cookies with half a cherry in the middle.
The Kansas Woman and Little Miss Phillips pawed through a box marked “Frances’ Recipes.” It was full of newspaper and magazine clippings, also recipe booklets from food makers, all saved by my mother.
One booklet included dozens of things you could do with mayonnaise.
In the Naomi community, brides were sent into married life with useful things from home and a few heirlooms.
Sets of sheets were popular, as were kitchenware and furniture. A marriage was an opportunity to entrust heirlooms to another generation.
This isn’t something we do anymore. Brides are “registered” somewhere, gifts are ordered from a wish list and paid for with a credit card. Wedding giving is impersonal.
People of this generation who own heirlooms likely don’t know what it is, or who owned it.
My maternal grandparent’s kitchen table came from the Tate family who lived across Taylor’s Ridge, my grandfather’s grandmother. It went to a first cousin: the fifth generation to own it. It might have been older.
My grandmother made a feather bed for each of her five daughters.
Today a feather bed is known as a feather mattress, if it is known at all, but it was actually laid on top of the mattress and the “mattress” was a bed-sized muslin bag stuffed with corn shucks. The mattress rested upon woven ropes, which had to be tightened now and then.
The term “sleep tight” might refer to keeping the bed ropes tight.
She made quilts for grandchildren until we started coming along too fast.
An ancient scrapbook was in the middle of the box. Little Miss Phillips opened it and whispered, “Wow.”
A custom of my mother’s community was giving brides a collection of favorite recipes from neighbors and relatives. All the names in the scrap book are familiar and represented families of the Naomi community.
She opened the scrapbook and and said, “Stuffed eggs?”
They’re “deviled” eggs today, and Edith Mullinax’s recipe calls for chopped celery. Edith’s whole family worked in the cotton mill.
Mrs. Roper’s recipe for “hot rolls” was on the first page. Her family owned the community general store.
Mrs. Moon was a relative by marriage and contributed her “old time” pound cake.
Mrs. Brown’s husband was a “convict guard” and offered her “one, two, three, four” cake.
There were recipes for sweet potatoes on the half shell, corn meal balls, jubilee jumbles, aspic, tomato juice cake. These are not names we hear today.
Later there was noise in the kitchen and soon a plate of “cherry winks” and a glass of milk emerged.
I’d like to know where these families wound up. Their descendants likely still populate Walker County and some great grandchildren might like to have an ancestor’s recipe.
Some gifts are timeless.
Joe Phillips writes his “Dear me” columns for several small newspapers. He has many connections to Walker County, including his grandfather, a former superintendent Waymond Morgan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.