Wednesday, February 22, 2012


"Sissy" Circa 1997
"Are you hungry?"
"I just made fondue. I have Chex Mix. Are you sure I can't get you something to eat? Have you eaten? How about a sandwich?" 

When you showed up at Sissy's that's what you heard just as sure as the greeter at Wal-Mart saying "Welcome to Wal-Mart." It was her thing. Sissy fed us all. 

We had big Sunday dinners, breakfast, supper, any day of the week supper, and all the snacks you could cram between those meals. Feeding us was  her love language. She was always in the kitchen. She was the only person I knew who didn't have a worn spot on her sofa cushions. She just didn't go in there. 

Since she passed away, we've all been looking for recipes she used. We all have our favorites. I don't know how many times I've been asked, "Hey, do you have Sissy's (fill in the blank) recipe?" "Remember when she used to make that for us?" 

On a trip home to my dad's this summer, we opened a box of her cookbooks and found the book of books. Her red Betty Crocker with all the hand written recipes and notes. Our family history is in this book. Not literally, but it's there between the lines. Its in the memories evoked through the tastes and aromas conjured up when we prepare these dishes. 

My heart beat all too quickly as we thumbed through the pages. I couldn't possibly bring them all on an airplane with me, and I wasn't about to let them be checked baggage or mailed. Too Risky. Finally, I bagged what I thought was most important and left a stack in order of priority, to be swapped out later. I carried that bag like it was full of gold. Twenty hours of flying from Mississippi to Alaska, and I don't think I took my eyes off the bag once.

 My big goal was to scan and catalog all the recipes and make a family cookbook, so everyone would have the recipes, and photos of her original notations in the books. I started to scan them once I got home and found that it was all just too mechanical. You see, these aren't just recipes. Remember? They are little pieces of our family's history.

Every time you waited for that "something to eat" you were also getting quality time with whomever was sharing the seat next to you, and better yet, quality time with Sis. Someone was asking you how your day went. There were no cell phones on the table, no computers, no ipods. Just talking and laughing. And eating. Lots of eating.  So, that's why the scanning and cataloging just wasn't right for this. This blog is a tribute. It is a journey through recipes from my father's and uncles' childhood, as well as my brothers', cousins', and my own. Generations of one little lady feeding us all. 

I hope you'll follow. Each post will be a new recipe taken right from the books. Old school cooking.  This isn't to win a health foods contest or creative recipe match. This is preservation of what has already been done. I will also be preparing each recipe as I blog it, so it will take some time. Hopefully my family members will  request their favorites, so I can get started on those first. And it is my sincere hope that they will share their memories of her with me so we can add them here with the food. 

Welcome to Sissy's Kitchen. Can I get you something to eat?


  1. My most cherished recipe is a recipe on an index card that my granmother wrote out herself for me. I laminated the card to preserve it, and use it often. Even though I know the recipe by heart, I still have to pull out the card and look at it when I make it. I miss her terribly. I look forward to seeing what you do here.

  2. Same here, Conni! The recipe I'm going to put up first is like that. It is one I found long before we cracked into the box of books. She wrote it for me and it still smelled like her house. Can't wait to post it. The fam already has copies of it, but the world needs to know about our fondue. :)

  3. Yay! The cheese fondue! Jennifer made a batch for us last Thanksgiving, and it was wonderful. My family on my mother's side feels the same way about my Grandmother Dear's recipes. We all have a few special hand-written recipes, but mostly copies. We made a small recipe book for each grandchild. We can try all we want, but for some reason they never come out the way they should... I think they had unspoken tricks that they didn't share :) that made each item they prepared.... WONDERFUL! I love your idea of sharing them. I can't wait to see and hear of the ones to come.

  4. sorry Kimberly I couldn't figure out how I needed to save the comment... LOL! but it was me: Jennifer Walker Hall
    sorry it says anonymous... bahh hahhhh

    1. It's quite alright, Jennifer. I figured that was you. ;) We will have to figure out this system as we go, but I knew in this case especially, it was one of those times I just couldn't wait for everything to be perfect. I just had to get started.

  5. Oh Kim....the tears started flowing as I read this, I LOVE IT!!! Not a better way to share family memories. As I was reading the memories started flooding in. There wasn't just one pot of fondue going, there was two. Just to make sure everyone was happy :) I would love to know how many loaves of bread she cooked between the fondue and her dressing. We always had to sample the dressing raw and we never had dressing without chicken and dumplings (Matt's favorite). We never had just one dessert either, I bet there were at least 4 different sweets to choose from. Her chex mix was always a surprise though because she added something new each time she made a batch. I wonder how many gallons of sweet tea she made too. I always loved opening the doors to the pantry because I thought my Sissy had everything you could possibly imagine in there. Never just one can of anything, at least 4 or 5 of each. And who can forget the smell of the smoker going on the back porch...aaahhhhh.
    When she came to visit us it was a 30 minute process to get her car unloaded because she brought a complete grocery store with her. Our kitchen floor was covered in bags of groceries. I'm still trying to master her sloppy joe's!!! Please continue to post your memories, this is great!!!! I love taking a stroll down memory lane, love you Kim and thanks so much for warming my heart today with great memories!!!

    1. YES! I can smell it all now! And Matt with his giggling at the table. We just about got in trouble. She called us "TOAD" more than once. :O) I loved that she put a little barbecue sauce in her hamburger patties. The pic of her on this page just makes me so happy. It looks like she's about to start laughing at one of us. I just can't wait to get these recipes up.

  6. Kim this is amazing, as i scrolled down through blogs I swear I could smell some of these foods I felt like a little kid again. As I scrolled further I cam upon the photo of Sis, I got chills ,and as I read through the tribute like Jen said i was flooded with memories. This truly is an honor to her memory. I am so glad to have been a part of it.THANK YOU SO MUCH for this ....... I love you guys