In a recent Talk of the South newsletter, we asked readers, “What’s a favorite childhood meal you still think about today?” Here are some of their responses:
Daddy’s soft crab sandwiches, made from fresh crabs we caught in the shallows of Cattail Creek and fried in butter. He served them to my boyfriends, the crabs’ crispy legs hanging outside the white bread, to test if the boy was good enough for me! —Marianna K.
Every once in a while, supper was all the cold watermelon you could eat, consumed wearing bathing suits, sitting at the backyard picnic table, and cleaning off by running through the sprinkler afterwards. —Ann B.
Mama took Sunday night off, so Daddy cooked. That always meant dropping by the local bakery on Saturday for cinnamon rolls, to be part of bacon and eggs supper, titled “breakfast-supper.” It was eaten sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the TV (never allowed for other meals), watching Lassie, Ed Sullivan, and Bonanza. —Ann B.
Country-style steak and gravy, rice, butter beans, macaroni pie, and sliced cucumbers. Still my favorite. —Norma H.
We’d go visit all the Tennessee relatives in the summer. The aunts would all try to outdo each other. A plate couldn’t hold it all—fresh-sliced tomatoes, creamed corn made from corn picked that morning, butter beans with bits of ham, hot buttered biscuits or cornbread. Dessert was fresh strawberries or our South Carolina peaches in syrup over pound cake. —Jane C.
My mother’s fried chicken and mashed potatoes. She would get up early on Sunday and fry the chicken partly in bacon grease. The mashed potatoes would include a small can of evaporated milk. The meal was ready and waiting when we got home from church. —Karen H.
Daube, made with round steak and served over egg noodles. There was always enough extra gravy to spoon over a piece of crusty French bread for my “seconds.” —Jay B.
When we would spend the night with our grandparents, my grandmother would make us a full Southern breakfast. Grits, eggs, bacon, the works. They’d even let us taste their coffee. —Anne S.
Fiddleheads, with a smidge of butter and vinegar. For two days now, I’ve been researching how I might possibly grow my own, perhaps an impossible feat in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. —Rosalyn B.
The smell of breakfast cooking early in the morning at my grandparents’ farm in Dubach, Louisiana, stands out in my memory. The biscuits my grandmother made were perfect with home-churned butter and ribbon cane syrup. I have spent my life looking for a biscuit that could rival hers, and so far at 82, I have not had a better one! —Pat T.
Warm, freshly boiled eggs, chopped and stirred with soft butter and a sprinkle of salt for breakfast. My grandson had this for the first time this weekend, and he loved it too. —Paula C.
My dad and I took a roadtrip to Florida when I was 15. We had breakfast at a diner in South Carolina at a place called, of all things, Dad’s. The best biscuit I have ever had in my entire life! Still think about it today. —Rob H.
A fried bologna sandwich with yellow mustard. Yum! —Debbie M.
My granddaddy had a smokehouse, and every Easter he would smoke a ham. I can still taste the ham…salty and smoky with a sweet glaze of molasses he would brush on the outside. And every Easter lunch ended with Mama’s coconut cake with dyed green coconut and brightly colored jelly beans tucked into the top. —Leigh B.
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and LeSueur peas. I still ask my mama to fix that for me when I’m home. —Elizabeth O.
My grandmother made biscuits from scratch and baked them on her wood-fired kitchen stove. I was a thin sickly child, so she made me gravy and biscuits every morning. I think of her every time I see gravy and biscuits on a menu. —Steve S.
Breaded fried bone in pork chop, crowder peas, fresh-off-the-cob creamed corn, right-out-of-the-garden fried okra, sliced ripe tomatoes with Duke’s mayo, spring onions and hot buttered cornbread. My favorite both then and now. —Van H.
Oscar Meyer bologna and Kraft cheese on white bread with a side of Lays potato chips and a Coke. Best eaten with dirty hands from playing outside all day. —Stacey J.
Grits with little smokies in them. —Ken F.
My grandmother would send us Texas sausage in North Carolina. There is nothing like the flavor or the smell of it cooking. Mother would open the box, pull out a good long piece, and have us hang the rest in the attic. My grandmother, Mimi, had wrapped all of the sausage in newspapers in a large cardboard box. Pat Pat would fry up a huge amount of sausage in an iron skillet and make scalloped potatoes and green beans with a health slab of country ham. Let me tell you, that was some good eatin’. —Lyndon F.
Mother always gave us hot cocoa with five Saltine crackers in our little mug-cup before good-night prayers. —Lois M.
Hot dogs with mashed potatoes baked in the oven. I have five siblings, and my mother would take leftover mashed potatoes, top a split hot dog (slathered in mustard) with the potatoes and some onion. Then bake them until the potatoes were browned. Don’t know why this combination worked, but it was delicious. —Marchant W.
My granny’s freeform pancakes, ladled out of the bowl and into the pan with love. —Hilary A.
Chocolate syrup and biscuits were the Saturday morning staple growing up and probably why I wore husky jeans. Daddy concocted the homemade syrup while Momma scratched up the biscuits. Add a few pieces of bacon (covered in the chocolate of course) for good measure. In fact, anytime my brother or I return home to Momma and Daddy’s for a weekend, it still shows up. —Chad K.
Loved fried frog legs. My dad would go frog gigging in the summer, and we would have a frog leg dinner. —Buddy S.
Driving two hours to Henderson, Louisiana, on a Sunday during crawfish season and spending a couple of hours at Las’s eating almost every crawfish dish on the menu. Our favorites were the fantastic crawfish bisque (with stuffed heads) and the flakey crawfish pie. —Will S.
Every Wednesday evening, Mom played Bunco with her friends and she made spaghetti sauce early in the day for us. It was my job to clean up after dinner and I enjoyed doing an extra special job just for her. —Susan T.
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