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Recipes from Secret Graces

Marco’s Sweet Tater Pancakes


Near bouts 3 quarters pound of sweet tater
2 eggs that you beat with a fork, but don’t be beating it to death
1 and one half a cup of milk and not that skim kind but real fat milk
Half stick of butter you melted and don’t be using no margarine
1 and a half cup of flour
3 and a half teaspoons of baking powder

Thereabouts a teaspoon of salt and thereabouts a touch of fresh ground nutmeg, don’t be using that stuff been on your shelf for fifty years, and add a tiny bit of cinnamon and cloves—but I won’t tell you exactly because that’s my own secret. Maybe I got another secret ingredient, too, but it’s a family secret and I won’t tell it.

You got to cook them sweet tater until they’re fork tender. Drain them, let them cool, and then take off the skin. Then you mash them up. In a bowl, mix them mashed sweet taters with the eggs and milk and butter. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and the spice. Blend them two bowls together, but be sweet about it, don’t want them pancakes to be tough, do you?

On your greased griddle, spoon out the batter to the size you looking for and cook them until they are a pretty golden color. Look for that bubble, that’s how you know to turn them. I like to serve mine with grandmere’s strawberry syrup, but I won’t be telling you that recipe, no sir and no ma’am.

Miss Darla’s Crisp Butter Cookies

Before you even go any further, gather all your ingredients! You don’t want to be started on the cookies and then realize you are out of something. Then the cookies-making joy is ruined. Gather then begin.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons lemon juice (you can use orange if you want)
Teaspoon of good vanilla and I mean the good kind—some things are worth it.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

In a bowl, stir together the butter, sugar, and the egg, and then beat at a medium speed. Now, you’ll need to scrape the bowl every now and again, for you don’t want lumps or bits of flour finding their way into your cookies, do you? Of course not! When the mixture is creamy, add the citrus and your good vanilla I urged you to splurge on, and mix well. Then, turn your mixer down on low or else you’ll have flour flying everywhere—add the flour and baking powder and mix until blended.

Divide dough in three pieces, wrap those pieces in wax paper, and place in the refrigerator a couple of hours until firm. While you are waiting, sit on the porch and have some tea, meditate, or have you read a good book lately? Or sat quietly and thought about things? Or taken your dog for a walk? Then do so while you are waiting for your cookies to chill.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll the dough on a light-floured surface—just one dough ball at a time! The others must remain cold! Don’t make the cookies too thick, you want them thin and crispy. Cut with the cookie cutters that make you happy. Put about an inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes—just until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned—don’t over cook! Paying attention when baking cookies is important. But so is having fun eating them—enjoy them with a good tea!

Amy Campinelle & Mr. Husband’s Fried Catfish

Go to Tony’s and get some cleaned catfish. Cut it up in strips and soak them strips in buttermilk. Put some cornmeal and spices in a paperbag. Toss the catfish in the paperbag and shake shake shake shake. Fry the strips in hot lard—now our sweet Virginia Kate will get upset at the lard, yeah, so if we make the catfish for her, we don’t fry them in no lard, but in the Crisco. Fry them catfish until crispy and serve with some hushpuppy and some French fry. That simple is that good, yeah.