My mom grew up on a farm. Her parents planted cotton and corn, had a huge garden and raised cattle, pigs and chickens. In addition to raising the bounty of the earth, they lovingly raised nine children who helped tend to all this.
My mom told me stories of how my granny would stretch one chicken to feed her entire family simply by the way she cut the chicken into pieces. There was always an abundance of potatoes or corn or bread or seasonal vegetables to make their plates seem fuller.
I remember what an honor it was to get to go pick something from the garden for the family meal or gather potatoes from under the house where my granny stored them after harvest or getting to help pick corn or eggs or feed the cattle. I even remember shelling black-eyed peas in my granny’s kitchen. And my grandmother never sent any of her kids home without a carton of eggs and a basket full of vegetables.
Life on the farm was never dull…or easy. I don’t think it’s something I would want to do every day, but it definitely helped me appreciate where my food comes from.
I know my mom’s style of cooking came from that life on the farm. We didn’t have much money when my sister and I were young but what we lacked in money, my mother made up for with the meals she prepared for us. We always had a protein, a vegetable, a starch, salad and bread at every dinner. The protein was never very big, but who needed a lot when you had yummy side dishes to make up the difference.
I don’t remember when my mom came up with her recipe for black-eyed peas, but I do remember how much I always loved it. What I do know is that everything she made was made with love that originated from the love that came out of her own mother’s kitchen.
As I prepared to write this recipe, I made many variations. I had both my mom and dad sample them as well, and they gave me their “thumbs up”. So I am dedicating my version of my mom’s recipe to her. Thanks mom for instilling a love for food in me.