Making Mama’s Sweet Potato Pie And Dealing With Her Loss During The Holidays

LadyG: Seekthebestblog.com

For Thanksgiving this year, I did my best to replicate my mama’s sweet potato pie. 

I haven’t tried to make one since she walked me through the process about a year before she died.

With every passing holiday since her death, I simply could not bring myself to attempt to make one of mama’s sweet potato pies because the whole thing was too much of a reminder that she was gone.

So, I retired that dessert from our holiday menu and, in the interim, lost the instructions—which I wrote down the last time we made one together. 

Remember, Mama was a southern girl, her recipes are in the etheric, so there had been no written recipe.

Mama cooked everything ‘by heart’; or should I say ‘soul.’

Yes, loves, my hastily written instructions were lost to the annals of time.

Ah, but this year, I decided to un-retire that pie and consult the ethers for guidance.

Of course, I know that there is no such word as un-retire, but I’ll bet you know what I mean.

You see, I simply woke up one morning and said, I’m going to try to make mama’s sweet potato pie.

Well, that idea fell flat nearly as soon as it had arisen.

There was a major problem.

I didn’t have the nutmeg.

I thought to myself, “No Nutmeg? Aw hell—this ain’t gon’ work.”

So why was this a problem?

Because my mama was a simple cook.  She used very basic ingredients, and, in her world, nutmeg in a sweet potato pie is a MUST!

 And I had NONE!

So much for all that smack I talked about being ready and prepared for your holiday meals!

But I refuse to be so hard on myself. 

Basically, my idea to bake mama’s sweet potato pie was very much a ‘last minute’ thing.

So, what do you do when you don’t have any nutmeg?

Go buy some.

But wait, here’s the kicker!

When I went to the store to buy nutmeg, they were out. 

They had NONE!

I forgot to mention that it was the day BEFORE Thanksgiving…and what with the supply chain and all…

The closest thing I could find to nutmeg was pumpkin spice.

Now, you best believe that my Black southern Mama gave me a seriously shady ‘side-eye’ from heavenly realms.

Sensing Mama’s ‘thoughts’ on the matter, I hesitated.

Then I commenced to buy that damned pumpkin spice.

Fun fact, I had never tasted pumpkin spice in all the days of my life!

But after a closer look at the ingredients, I noted that it contained: cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

Mama never used cinnamon and ginger in her pies, but there was nutmeg present.

Still, I hesitated.

“This is not going to be Mama’s sweet potato pie,” I thought.

And in that moment, I could ‘hear’my Mama saying, “Ba, don’t worry about that, just use the pumpkin spice if that’s all you can find.”

For Mama knows, in Heaven, as she did on Earth, how type-A I can be when it comes to following directions, rules, traditions and such.

SIDE NOTE:  My Mom and Dad always called each other, me, and my brother, ‘Ba’—pronounced the same way that kids today pronounce ‘Bae.’

See how easily I can get sidetracked?

Anyway, it was time to start on the pie.

All in all, I pretty much stuck to Mama’s ‘recipe’ by adding butter, white sugar, vanilla and evaporated milk to a couple of baked sweet potatoes—again, my only variance was the pumpkin spice.

Now, I warn you, mama’s sweet potato pie seems simple, but, alas, it is not.

My son calls it “labor intensive.”

To put it bluntly, you’ve got to get the strings out.

In essence, Mama taught me to use a mixer to de-string the sweet potatoes. 

In case you didn’t know, sweet potatoes are notoriously filled with fibrous strings!

Trust me, this part takes some time.

As a matter of fact, back in the day, it was not unusual for Mama to run that mixer through her sweet potatoes several times before they were smooth enough to meet her standards.

Now, if you ask me–and I will assume that you are asking me–most people who say they hate sweet potato pie probably ate some that was prepared by someone who did NOT de-string it!

It ain’t nothing worse than a stringy sweet potato pie.

Again, I did everything I was supposed to do to make Mama’s sweet potato pie—save adding pumpkin spice—and it turned out to be damned good!

But I guarantee you this, though it was ‘inspired,’ it was not Mama’s sweet potato pie.

It was mine.

And next year, Mama, I’ll have nutmeg.

I miss you Ma!


A video about coping with loss during the holidays

5 Reasons Why Your Food Doesn’t Taste As Good As Your Mama’s

…Or your grandma’s or granddaddy’s or whoever your culinary hero happens to be—personally, I have several!

Anyway, now that we’ve got that settled, please feel free to accept or decline the following holiday cooking Public Service Announcement, from me to you.

LadyG: Seekthebestblog.com

Flat out, your food will never taste as good as mama’s.

Come on now, somebody must tell you why your apple pie is pallid and your fried chicken is fretful. 

Apparently, I am that ‘somebody.’

Yes, my love, I know… It hurts.

But be of good cheer, there is joyful news!

Yes!

I’m here to call out your mistakes and to help you figure out how to fix them.

As such, you may refer to me as your culinary ‘good fairy’ or ‘kitchen witch.’

Allow me to thank you, in advance, for welcoming me into your home.

And so…

Let us commence!

There are at least 5 reasons why you’ll never reach ‘legendary’ cooking status within the realm of mama–and they are as follows:

You chose to use different brands. In the words of my brother, Tack, if you want your food to taste like Mama’s, you gotta buy what Mama buys. So, if Mama used ‘Dixie Crystal,’ do not get ‘Thriftymaid.’

You make unnecessary modifications. Substituting margarine for butter, using the ‘lite’/’light’ version of things, using canola for shortening in the can, Splenda for sugar, or, God forbid, canned fruits and/or vegetables for fresh. Of course, you must follow your doctor’s dietary guidance if you have certain medical conditions.

You fail to time your cooking. Simply put, you cannot start cooking all of your food at the same time. Start slow cooking things first, then gradually cook other items as you go by cooking fast cooking foods last.

You’re doing too much with seasonings and spices. Stop experimenting with everything you ever thought you heard about how to season things. As for my mother, she typically only used about 2 or 3 seasonings. Baking is the only real exception to that rule; however, my mom was decidedly not a baker.

You’re not cooking your food long enough (or vice versa) or not blending, stirring, or mixing long enough for certain items. ‘Nuff said!

Now that you know better, do better! LOL! By the way, there are plenty of other reasons why you can’t beat Mama’s cooking! LOL!

LadyG loves YOU!

*This post is NOT sponsored, brand names shown are for illustrative purposes only. It’s all in fun!


Video:

Evening Porch Talk Podcast With LadyG | Southern Churchgoing Rules Back In The Day

In this video, I’m on my porch talking about rules oldhead Southerners had to follow regarding churchgoing back in the day.

I also share a nice bowl of redbeans with rice and a good old cold can of coke.

Don’t forget the Texas Pete hot sauce!

I also show you what I did with the prepped mushrooms that I shared in a previous video about meal prepping.

I made a nice Alfredo pasta dish with langostino, scallions, and spinach.

Okay, enough about that, let’s go out on the porch and sit a spell.


So let me go ahead and lay out these old school churchgoing rules:

Church was pretty much non-negotiable!

No church?

  • No TV
  • No radio or record playing–what was a computer or a smartphone?
  • No playing outside
  • No alternate spiritual activities like meditating or lighting candles – that was considered to be devilish! Me chatting about the moon would have been considered damn near satanic–in fact, in many places in the South, it still is! LOL!
  • BTW, we hedged our bets on hoodoo and rootwork though–do your thang, just don’t tell nobody!
  • If you went out Saturday night, you best be in church on Sunday. If you’re well enough to go out in the street, you’d better GET well enough to go to church the next morning.

Let’s not forget the good part–Sunday dinner, no fast food!


Clearly, times have changed, but personally, I think we should all consider doing something to either acknowledge our creator or at least soothe our body, mind, heart and spirit chile!

I’m serious bout that thing!

So many folks are way off track.

Many of us have lost any type of moral compass–that’s assuming there was one there to start.

Ah, but it ain’t nothing new bout what we’re seeing nowadays, hell three baby girls were blown up while at church in Birmingham over 50 years ago and what’s more, if you’d asked the bombers about their beliefs, they would have sworn themselves to be good Christian folks.

Look at what happended to those folks praying in Charleston.

There are countless acts of terrorism against churches, schools and other places of worship.

Recently, a lovely 69-year-old lady was brutally killed at church in Maryland.

What’s wrong y’all?

I just don’t know –so I pray and try to keep on the sunny side!

How were your beans and rice?

Anyway, I’m LadyG out here in the Southern skies, north of the sunset, east of the moonrise.

Remember,

LadyG loves YOU!


Enjoy the video:

A Better Way To Meal Prep

LadyG’s butternut squash, mushroom and spinach medley with baked salmon

Stop! 

Don’t waste your time prepping the same or similar meals for a week in advance!

Consider prepping several items in bulk in order to create various combinations so that your taste buds will remain happily stimulated.

Personally, I often prep sides in advance, but I prepare my meats just prior to meal time.  

Steamed Brocolli

For me, it’s a matter of preference since I can’t appreciate the taste of certain meats/seafoods after they have been cooked and reheated—especially in the microwave.

That said, feel free to cook your meat in bulk if that works better for you. 

Of course you could also leave the meat off and make it vegetarian/vegan.

It’s all up to you!

Seriously, you can do this!

Just think about all of the produce that many of us buy and ultimately waste because we didn’t take the time to cook it before it spoiled.

Use that good food!

Here’s a plan:

Go through your fridge/storage bins and find some vegetables that you can prepare in bulk to pair with other items for upcoming meals.

Next, designate time to steam, roast, sauté or bake whatever you have on hand–all in one go!

Recently, I prepped several sides, then combined them later. 

Here’s what I prepped:

  • Steamed broccoli
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Roasted butternut squash
  • Baked sweet potatoes

Roasted Butternut Squash

How did I combine them?

So far, I pan seared slices of baked sweet potatoes and drizzled them with honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon. 

Sweet potatoes

On a different day, I sautéed some of the pre-prepped mushrooms and butternut squash—I added a handful of fresh spinach to round it out.

Neither of these meals took more than 5 minutes—excluding the salmon which took a few additional minutes to wash, season and bake.

Anyway, let me know what you think in comments!


Check out the video!

Real Good Food: Let’s Chat While I Make Lasagna: I Apologize in Advance To My Lovely Italian Friends!

‘Homemade Lasagna’

Come on in the kitchen with me while I cook this lasagna!

We’ll go out on the porch and chat while we wait for it to bake.

Now, before I go any further let me formally apologize to my Italian friends for the ‘abomination’ that I am presenting today.

Let’s be real, the lasagna that I made is the ugly step-sister to the real thing.

Bella, I am sorry!

Though I would love to…

  • Grow and can my own tomatoes
  • Make the pasta from scratch
  • Spend at least 8 hours making the ‘gravy’

Alas, I just ain’t able!

So, again, I apologize!

I only wish that I will someday be blessed to enjoy an authentic lasagna made with such love and care!

Until then, this one will have to do.

But, you know what?

Cooking with love and patience is not just an Italian thing!

(Though I will admit that they have taken the concept to grand heights.)

No!

Cooking with love and patience is worldwide!

Flat out, in every country in the world you will find people of every make and model who are extremely meticulous about the foods that they procure–not to mention how they prepare them.

In fact, as you read this post, there are magickal concoctions being lovingly planned and served by folks everywhere!

And now, I ask, what concoction is your country known for?

Let’s discuss in comments.

Meanwhile, enjoy the video!

Evening Porch Talk Podcast With LadyG: Ancestors, Deceased Family And Friends | Just Because You Died Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Communicate, Right?

In this episode I talk about communicating and acknowledging our ancestors, deceased family and friends.

I also share a true story that I believe shows that my ancestors and deceased family and friends were listening when I decided to acknowledge them.

Enjoy the video!

Thanksgiving Dinner: Wanna Save Money? You Betta Get Up EARLY!

Some things are well worth getting up early for, and these days, a $0.49/pound turkey is well worth it!


You might as well know that I am not above dragging my baby out of bed a couple of hours before school just so we can run like HELL to the grocery store to buy a cheap turkey.

Nope, it’s not above me at all!

To be honest, this past Saturday, I was just about to go ahead and purchase a turkey for a horrifically high price!

Child, that damned thang was $25!

Alas, the manager of the meat department noticed my tomfoolery and stopped me in my tracks!

“You might wanna wait until the 10th,” he said with a devilish grin.

He went on to say that the supply will be low and that some people went ahead and paid the regular price just to be sure that they’d have turkey for Thanksgiving.

The hell you say!

I decided to take the chance and wait to see what would be available for the future sale.

So I stepped back from the freezer and said, “I’ll see you Wednesday!”

Now…

Am I a victim of a capitalist machine that has convinced me that I must celebrate Thanksgiving and that I’m required to buy a turkey?

Probably.

Did I get that damned turkey?

Hell yeah!

The first step to getting well is admitting the problem!

LOL!!!

Enjoy this video of me running my ass off to get that TURKEY!

Thanksgiving Dinner: Stay Ready So You Don’t Have To GET Ready

If I’m being honest, you probably should have already purchased everything you need for your Thanksgiving dinner.

No tea, no shade…just facts!

And…you should know by now that LadyG runs a very strict ‘no judgement zone’ on this blog; however, I will let you know when you are flirting with catastrophe.

Hence, this post.

Seriously, what with all these supply chain issues, food is getting harder to come by so extra planning is a MUST!

As for me, I have been buying things for Thanksgiving since September!

In other words, I’ve been watching sales and picking up stocks, soups, flour, pastas and pretty much anything else that I know I’ll want for Thanksgiving dinner.

The other day I purchased some tylenol, cough drops, cotton swabs and a can of cranberry sauce–’cause it was on sale.

A strange combination of purchases?

Yes.

Crazy?

Hell naw!

I stay ready so I don’t have to GET ready.

So should you!

LOL!

Now, here’s how I prep my Thanksgiving meal part 1 and part 2.

Let’s GO!

Evening PorchTalk Podcast with LadyG: Homemade Shrimp Fried Rice, Signs, Omens, Portends and Moon Magick

Homemade Shrimp Fried Rice


Come join me and let’s chat about:

  • Cooking your own shrimp fried rice (You get to watch!)
  • “Signs, Omens and Portends” (Stolen from ‘The Andy Griffith Show’)
  • Being aware and open to messages from nature (See the bird and owl)
  • Setting new moon intentions–What have people said about it?

The next new moon is Nov 4, 2021.

If you are watching this in the future, never fear, there is a new moon every month! LOL!


Enjoy the video: