Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

My Dad with the Great Grandkids

From Left to Right: Back row - Joshua, Dad, Judson;
Front Row - Lydia, Jack, and Annabelle

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Please Pray for Our Soldiers and Their Families

I would like to ask everyone to please say an extra prayer for our soldiers and their families. As a mother that has spent two Christmas's with a son serving in Korea and Iraq, I know how hard it is for everyone. Thank you to all our soldiers for the sacrifices they make for us everyday.

My son is home having completed his 4 years of service to this great country. I know there were many praying for him and for all his family while he was gone. Thank you to everyone for all those prayers. Please keep praying for the other soldiers still serving.

If you have someone in the military, please let us know so we can add their name to our prayer list.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Annabelle's Christmas Program

As always, Annabelle's Christmas program at Hand in Hand was wonderful. The staff always go out of their way to put on a fanastic show! Annabelle's group sang a couple of songs from "The Grinch". The teachers fixed all the girls hair and they were all so cute! Annabelle is the 5th from the left. Of course, I think she was the best!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lydia's Baby Dedication and Birthday Party

Sunday, December 6, 2009, was a very busy day. First, we had Lydia's Baptism at Riverchase United Methodist Church. After church we went back to Missy and Tyler's and celebrated Lydia's 1st Birthday! It was a little early but we just combined the two events. We all enjoyed it very much. This is a video of Lydia eating her cake while being seranaded by Annabelle, Addie Grace (Tyler's sisters daughter) and Caroline. Annabelle and Addie Grace ran upstairs after church to change clothes--they said they had to get dressed to be the "Dream Team Rock Band". Caroline wasn't there for the big change!

Lydia's 1st Birthday!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Alice in Wonderland and The Queen of Hearts!

Let me introduce you to Alice in Wonderland, aka Annabelle and The Queen of Hearts, aka Lydia. Don't they look adorable?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

West Gadsden Cafe Thursday Menu

Baked Ham
Fried Pork Chops
Beef Stew

Macaroni and Cheese
Green Beans
Creamed Corn

Fried Okra
Baked Apples (before they moved to the last location)
Pear Salad
Tossed Salad
I know there was more, I will edit this when I can remember what else we had.

And of Course All the Great Pies--Chocolate, Coconut, Lemon, German Chocolate, Strawberry, Potato, and Egg Custard.

When the cafe moved to Forrest Avenue, the crowd was much larger, so they began doing a little something different with the Pork Chops. They would fry them in a skillet and get them very brown, then put them in a large "steam table pan" (long deep pan) with a wire rack in the bottom. Then they would cover the pan with foil and put them in the oven to bake for a while. All the grease would cook out of the pork chops and settle in the bottom of the pan under the wire rack. These are the most tender pork chops you will ever eat! Try them at home!!!!!

I still cook the Beef Stew for my family for Sunday dinner. Here is the recipe that I use. I put all the ingredients in my dutch oven to cook.

1 Can Tomato Sauce ( just a regular size can)
4 Cans of water ( use the tomato sauce can)
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Dash of Kitchen Bouquet
Dash of Garlic Salt
Salt and pepper to taste (you can wait until later to decide how much)
1 regular size bag of baby carrots (cut each in half)
2 ribs of celery (chopped very very fine) I like the taste if gives but my family doesn't like to see it!
3 pounds potatoes (cut in bite size pieces) DO NOT PUT THESE IN UNTIL THE LAST 45 MINUTES OR UNTIL MEAT IS TENDER.
2 packages of stew meat (OPPS I left this out!!!!)

You may need to add more water

Bring to a boil and then place a lid on top and continue cooking on low. I can get my stew boiling, put a lid on it, turn it on low and it will continue to slow boil.

Be careful if your pan isn't a thick one.....this will stick!

Serve with Cornbread!!!!!!

I hope I have remembered everything, this is from memory. As you can tell, I don't use a recipe, I just sorta dump!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Weekend

I had a fun weekend. I kept Annabelle and Lydia while Missy and Tyler went to the Alabama ballgame. We had a fun day! On Sunday, Annabelle sang with her choir at church. She is in the pink dress with a white hair bow and of course, right in front of the microphone. She spotted that mic when she started up there and made sure she got right in front of it! It was hard to get a good picture even though we were on the 2nd row. I hope you can see and hear this.

The Pre-School Choir at Riverchase United Methodist Church.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Finally I am Posting

Well it has been a long time since I have posted. My dad was in the hospital for two weeks and my sister and I had to take turns staying with him. He is so much better now, still weak but better. I know now he is on the road to recovery. While he was in the hospital, Annabelle sang him a couple of songs. They are posted on the left.

I will post more later. I have Annabelle and Lydia today and things are a little hectic! Annabelle and I made gingerbread mini-cupcakes while Lydia took a nap! Annabelle decorated them all by herself!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Annabelle and Lydia

My Two Precious Girls!
Just wanted to show everyone how beautiful my girls are! They spent the night with me last week and we had a ball. Annabelle had "popcorn and milkshake," two of her favorite things!
I added more pictures to the slideshow on the left, so be sure to check them out. Lydia has really grown.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I'm Back!!!

Did anyone hear me screaming HALLELUJAH to the top of my lungs Monday night? Well I was screaming it very loudly. I would have sang but it would have scared Scooby and probably all my new neighbors too! The reason for all the Hallelujahs-----Matt and I have moved and we are completely out of the old house. It seems like it took us forever and I suppose it did take a long time. We have moved into my dad's house. He hasn't lived here in 4 years at least. My mom passed away 6 years ago and he was never really happy here alone. He moved in with his sister to look after her. She is 10 years older than my dad and is now legally blind. Her eye doctor took her license away and she needed someone to do the things she was no longer able to do. She does great for someone that will be 95 on July 10th.

The house is located on 10 acres of land that my grandfather bought in 1948. Mother and dad built this house in 1978 and enjoyed the house until mother's alzheimers progressed to the point that she could no longer do the things she enjoyed doing. At that point my dad cared for her until she passed away.

We are in the house, but there are still so many things to do. As my mother would say, "The carport looks like OUT OUR WAY." We will get it all done but with the way we both work, it will just take a little longer than we both would like. Matt is working full time and going to school 2 nights a week so he is pretty tired when he gets home. Bless his heart, he moved every piece of furniture by himself! He is a good son to have around!

My sister helped me too. I could never have cleaned this house and packed the other one if it had not been for her! I know she is glad her work is done. I will never be able to thank her enough!

Missy and the girls are coming to spend the night tomorrow night! I can't wait! It is so nice to have room for all of them to visit for overnight. I will try to take pictures to post. Lydia has really grown since you have seen her.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bella Prima Dance Recital

Today is Annabelle's dance recital. I can't wait to see her dance. She loves her dance class. She is the youngest one in her group. I will have pictures to post tonight!

I kept Lydia Thursday, Friday and Saturday. She is such a pleasant baby. She never really cried. She fussed a little when she was hungry or needed her diaper changed but that was it. I put her to bed at 8:00 p.m. and she slept the first night until 6:00 a.m. and the second night until 7:00 a.m. You can't ask for a better baby than that! I sure did miss her last night!

Annabelle did such a good job at her dance recital! She is the youngest one in her group, most of the other girls are 6 and she is only 4. I was so proud of her!!!!!

Saturday, May 09, 2009


I haven't posted in a while because Matt and I are moving to the country! We are moving into my parents' house in the country. My dad hasn't lived in his house for about 4 years because he moved in with his sister to look after her. She is legally blind so she can't drive.

Since the house hasn't been lived in for such a long time, it is taking us much longer to get things ready to move. It has been slow go because I can only go up there after work. I will try to get some pictures to show you soon. Matt is working on the big yard and he has his hands full with that.

We can't wait until we are ready to live there. We will have sooooo much more room.

I will try to post more soon!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Day With Lydia

Isn't Lydia a beautiful baby?

I am waiting on Lydia, my youngest granddaughter, to get here!  I get to keep her today while Missy works.  She is almost 4 months old.  I can't wait!  I will have pictures to post this afternoon. The weather today is suppose to be cool so we will be staying inside.  Check back for pictures!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Gold City Quartet

This is a You Tube Video by Gold City Quartet.  I wanted "It's Still the Cross" but I couldn't find that one but "Midnight Cry" has always been one of my favorites!  These wonderful singers are based in my home town.  The newest member is Bruce Taliaferro, lead singer.  Bruce and his family attended church with us for many years.  Bruce was in Alan Hudson's Youth Choir with Missy and Matt.  He is now living his dream!  Congratulations Bruce!!!!!  My dad worked with Bruce's granddad at Republic Steel and he tells us all the time, how proud his granddad Ed would be of him.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Easter and you share it with the ones you love.  Enjoy the music.  If Gold City is ever singing near you, I encourage you to go and see these fine young men, you will receive a blessing.  Our family went to the Gold City Homecoming  at North Glencoe Baptist Church last summer and really enjoyed it. 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

I have no idea what year this was. It was when we were living with my grandmother.  I believe this was 1964.  Our first Easter picture in color!

This is Easter 1963. 

This was Easter 1960, at my grandparents house.  I have on a white dress with red cherries ( I think they were cherries) and red shoes.  I remember going to the commisary at Republic Steel to buy these shoes.  I thought they were the prettiest shoes I had ever seen.  This is my sister Pam in the pictures with me.
This is me outside Dwight Baptist Church.  I was about 4 years old in this picture.  I guess I wasn't old enough for a hat yet.

I hope everyone has a Happy Easter!  Oh the memories this brings back!  I hope everyone spends time with family this weekend.  

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Daddy

Today is my Dad's birthday! He is the best dad ever. I have never heard him raise his voice or use profanity. He raised us in church, going with us, not just sending us. He has worked hard all of his life. He worked at Republic Steel in Gadsden and helped run the cafe until his retirement.  Above is a picture of mother and daddy, he hasn't changed a bit since this picture!


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

West Gadsden Cafe - Wednesday Menu

For many years the cafe was open Monday through Saturday. In the late 1960's the cafe began closing on Saturday and the Wednesday menu changed a little. This is the menu we served when we were opened six days a week.

Wednesday's Menu

Chicken and Dumplings
Roast Beef and Gravy
Baked Ham

Creamed Potatoes
Pinto Beans
Cream Style Corn
Candied Yams
Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce
English Peas
Fried Squash

When the cafe started closing on Saturday the menu changed.  We replaced the Chicken and Dumplings with Chicken and Dressing (which was one of the Saturday meats).  I missed having the dumplings because we never had those again.  

I hope you will add your memories of the cafe to the comments! 

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Southern Hospitality is Having a Give-a-way!

If you have never visit Rhoda over at Southern Hospitality then you are missing a treat!  She has great ideas when it comes to decorating your home.  Right now she is giving away an HP Wireless Printer!!!  Go over and sign up now!

Monday, April 06, 2009

West Gadsden Cafe - Tuesday's Menu

Tuesday's Menu

Fried or Bar B Q Chicken (In later years the Fried became Chicken Fingers)
Meat Loaf
Baked Ham

Creamed Potatoes
Large Dried Lima Beans 
(fordhooks I think my mother called them)
Turnip Greens
Harvard Beets
Buttered Carrots
Tossed Salad
Congealed Salad
Pear Salad

Special for Today was Banana Pudding
and regular pies

If you cook dried beans, then you know you have to "look" each one.  There are things in there that you don't want to eat--rocks, bad beans and etc.  The cafe cooked 25 pounds of beans at a time, so we had a lot to "look".  They would pour them out on one of the tables when the crowd was almost gone and as the waitresses had time, each person would sit and "look" the beans.  You would be surprised at the number of people that would come by and say, "Are yall counting the beans?"  My mother would always say, "Remind me to never go eat at their house."  Mother was very picky about cleanliness at  the cafe.

On Tuesday, there were several postmen that always ate a "meat loaf sandwich".  If someone came in and asked for something not on the menu, but that could be fixed from what we had, we always tried to prepare it for them.  If you were on a special diet and were a regular, then mother would cook your food as you needed it, sometimes without the same seasonings used in the regular preparations.

The waitresses had "sections" and each of them had customers that sat with only them.  If their waitress's tables were full, then they would sit somewhere else and asked for their waitress or sometimes they would wait until a table was clear in her section.

We had some very special folks that ate with us.  They became like family.  You knew them and their children.  Some had been eating with my grandparents long before I was born.  I literally grew up in the cafe.  My sister and I complained when we had to work, but we sure miss it now!

The picture above is our family eating Thanksgiving Dinner at the cafe.  There were so many of us that year that we thought it would be easier for us to eat there.  I think it is Thanksgiving but it could have been Christmas.

West Gadsden Cafe - Monday Menu

I wonder if this will bring back memories to anyone but me. I am not sure what my favorite day was at the cafe because no matter what day it was, there was something that I loved!

Monday's Menu
Country Fried Steak and Gravy
Kraut and Weiners
Baked Ham (was on the menu everday)
Creamed Potatoes
Field Peas
Baked Beans
Steamed Cabbage
Scalloped Tomatoes
Fried Okra
Congealed Salad

My Favorite for today was Dry Steak and Slaw! This was old fashion "Bucket Steak" not some frozen wannabe! We bought this from William's Packing Company on Forrest Avenue. Spencer and Bill Williams were the owners!

The wondeful smells that came from that kitchen.......I can almost smell them now.

I am sure I have left out a veggie or two. I will repost if I remember what they were. The pies were about the same everyday so I will save those for a post by themselves!

The steak was cooked in iron skillets. The stove would be full of skillets while the frying was going on.

During the summer months when fresh vegetables were available you could find us, the afternoon before, on the front porch (at home), shelling beans, peas or something else fresh to serve. We weren't able to do this after the cafe moved to the last location. One bushel just wasn't enough then.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Pioneer Woman Give-away!

If you haven't signed up over at The Pioneer Woman's blog, then you had better hurry on over.  She is giving away 3 Kitchen Aid Mixers!!!!  I love those mixers!!!!!!  You will also want to add her to your list of "Blogs to Read".  She has wonderful recipes and other stuff too!!!!!

Hurry on over!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Do you love Aprons? My grandmother wore one everyday working in a cafe. She wasn't the only one, most of the ladies in there had on aprons too! I always loved them. I have a pink one hanging in my kitchen. (Will try to remember to post a picture of it). Calamity Kim loves aprons too. She was just published in the new Apronology Magazine! To celebrate she is doing a GIVEAWAY! Be sure to check it out!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Annabelle!!!!

Today is Annabelle's Birthday! I sure hope she has a great day. I think all days are great with her. She has the most wonderful personality, very outgoing and always very lively.

I wish I could see her today. I hope mother and dad buy her a cupcake today, because she loves cupcakes.

Happy Birthday Annabelle! Your Gran loves you!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Annabelle's Birthday Party

Annabelle's Birthday Cake

Annabelle's Birthday Shoes

Annabelle had special shoes for her Birthday Party on Saturday! They were very cute! She had a great time. There was an Easter Egg Hunt, an Easter Bunny, lots of cake and ice cream and plenty of fun! I will post more pictures later.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Need Some Help

Problem seems to be solved. I have no idea how it happened but it is working now.  

If you know why some of my pictures are not showing up in my slideshow, please let me know.  They were working fine just a few days ago.  Now you see a ? instead of a picture on about 4 slides.  When you double click to go to Picasa, the pictures are there and you can see them on the slideshow.  

Please let me know if you can figure out my problem.


Please Pray for Conner

I want to ask everyone to pray for Conner.  He is the 5 year old son of Deidre and Stephen.  I work with Deidre.  This precious family learned this week that Conner has Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL).  This type of Leukemia has the most successful treatment rate.  He received his first treatment on Friday, March 20, 2009.  Please remember this sweet family in your prayers. Conner has a "Caring Bridge" site if you would like to visit, just type in connerholland.  

I would like to thank you in advance for praying for this sweet family during this difficult time.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Beef Stew - West Gadsden Cafe Style

2 Pkgs. of Stew Meat (around 2.5 - 3 lbs)

1 Can Tomato Sauce - 15 ounce 
2 Ribs Celery chopped very fine
1 Package baby carrots ( cut in 2 pieces)
Potatoes (cut up bite size)
1 Envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Sprinkle of each of these:
Worcestershire Sauce
Kitchen Bouquet
Garlic Salt

NOTE:  I don't use a recipe for you can use more or less of what you like the most. 

I put the tomato sauce in a Dutch Oven and add 3 cans of water along with the lipton soup.  Add all the other ingredients except the potatoes.  You will need to add more water when you get all your ingredients in the dutch oven.  Bring the stew to a boil and put a lid on it and turn the temperature down enough to keep the stew cooking at a slow boil or bubbly.  Stir often to make sure it isn't sticking.  I use a very thick Dutch Oven so mine never sticks.  Add the potatoes the last hour it cooks.  I usually cook this for about 3.5 to 4 hours.

I serve mine with cornbread and slaw, but you can choose whatever you like.  This would be good cooked in a crock pot too.

Please let me know how you like this!!!!  My family loves this.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Ideas for Dinner?

Do you need new ideas for dinner at your house? I know I do. I cook the same things over and over. My First Kitchen is conducting a survey right now and she is giving away a set of My First Kitchen spices for free! She is trying to make food fun again. So give it a try!!!!!! She has wonderful recipes on her site also!!!!!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Annabelle and Lydia

I went to Birmingham on Wednesday night to spend the night with my sweet granddaughters.  I kept the youngest one, Lydia, on Thursday for Missy to work.  I loved it!  She is the sweetest baby.  She is no trouble at all.  Annabelle sang some new songs on Wednesday night.  I have added Teddy Bear and Mary Had a Little Lamb to the link on the left.  I may post a few more, she made up several songs.  She loves to sing into my iPhone.  If you listen you can hear a voice get very soft and then loud.  She watches the bars on the recorder go up and down as she changes her singing voice. At the end of her singing you can hear her say, "I want to hear it."

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Something Handmade!

I was just over at Remodeling This Life and there was an offer to the first 5 people to post a comment to receive something handmade.  I jumped right in there and was the 5th person to comment!!!!!  

A few things:

1-  Your handmade "thing" from me will be a Christmas ornament.  That is the only handmade thing I can make to send!
2- You will receive it in time to hang on your Christmas Tree.
3- What I create will be just for you.
4- You have no clue what it is going to be.  I do not sew on a machine.  I am not all that crafty, but it will be something hopefully you will like.

I am so glad to be part of this, because I think it is going to challenge me to be more creative.  I love this idea of sending someone I may not know something to hang on their Christmas Tree.

The Catch is:

You must re-post this on YOUR blog and make the same offer to the first 5 people who respond on your blog entry, thereby continuing the fun!

Enter at your own risk!!!!

Share and Enjoy!

Going to See My Best Two Girls

Tomorrow I am going to Montgomery to a meeting for the day, meeting Deana at 6:30 a.m., much much too early. The only good news is I am spending the night with Missy tomorrow night! I get to see my girls! I will be keeping Lydia on Thursday while Missy works. I hope to get some new pictures to share and maybe I can even get Annabelle to sing us a new song to post!

It has been very cold since Sunday when we had a dusting of snow. Thursday the high is suppose to be around 70! Spring has to come very soon, the sooner the better for me. I am tired of being cold all the time.

Matt, my son has a Great Dane named Scooby. They live with me. Scooby had a very good snack this morning, he ate all of the Pound Cake that was left! I came home for lunch to find the 2 ziploc bags in the kitchen floor! I know better than to leave any food within his reach. (Which means not to put it on top of the refridgerator....he can get it from there too) I guess it means I will just have to cook another one sometime soon.

I will find a picture of Scooby for you all to see.  He is really a sweet dog, he just loves to eat!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Snowy Day

Alabama woke up to a beautiful snowfall this morning. We don't see a lot of snow so this little dusting is a big deal for us. We haven't missed school for snow in the last couple of years. Some of us think that is a good thing, since we have built-in weather days. Since this is a Sunday snow, we won't miss school this time either. It is really pretty to look at and the roads are clear. The ground is wet, so there isn't a lot on the grassy areas but the rooftops and cars are covered.

Annabelle was getting ready to go play in the snow when I called earlier. I hope to see pictures of her playing in the snow soon.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday. Lunch will be different today. I told my dad not to get out, I was afraid he would fall. Matt is going to deliver their lunch. Today our menu is lasagna, salad, garlic bread, and pound cake (recipe below). The pound cake I cook is affectionately call "Bertha's Pound Cake". Bertha went to church with us and every time there was an an occasion to eat, she always brought her pound cake. It has a wonderful crust on it and my family loves it!

Bertha's Pound Cake

1/2 Pound of Margarine
1/2 Pound of Crisco (sometimes I use the butter flavored)
3 Cups Sugar

Cream all of the above together

Then add 5 Eggs (add one at a time)

Add 2 Tablespoons of Vanilla to
1 Cup of Milk

Mix together 3 Cups Gold Medal Plain Flour with
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

Alternate adding flour mixture and milk. Cream together until well blended.

Pour in a floured and greased bundt pan. (This makes a large cake so be careful if your bundt pan isn't a large one) Be sure to only get the pan a little over half full. This cake will rise. I usually place most of the batter in my bundt pan and then I have enough for a small loaf pan too. The loaf cake might not take as long to cook as the bundt pan

Start in a COLD oven and turn temperature to 325 and bake for 1 hour or until done (insert a cake tester to test).

The secret to the crust is starting in a cold oven!!!!

I can't wait to hear how you like this one!!!!

Friday, February 27, 2009


Today is Friday!!!! I am taking 1/2 day vacation. My sister and I are going to take my dad to the doctor in Birmingham. He just needs to have a routine check up with his doctor. Nothing serious or anything. After the doctor, we are going to visit my sweet, precious girls!!!! I can't wait! I have not seen them since Valentine's Day. I will post a new picture when I get home tonight!!!

If you want to read about the latest misadventure of my strong willed granddaughter, Annabelle, please click here! Keeping Up With the Kemps.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

West Gadsden Cafe - Part 2

In March of 1963, my granddaddy died of a heart attack at the age of 63. This left my grandmother alone to run the cafe. She did not drive, so she was dependent on my dad or mother to get to and from the cafe. I am sure there was some discussion between my parents as to what to do, but my sister and I never heard it. My mother quit her job and we moved in with my grandmother. It was not easy combining two households. We sold most of our furniture since there wasn't any room at my grandmothers' house. My sister and I were allowed to take ONE toy with us. I don't remember being upset about giving up anything, but my sister certainly does.

My mother and dad sold our house when we moved in with grandmother. They used the money they made from the sell to move and enlarge the cafe. It didn't move far, just around the corner to 12th Street. The cafe was in the same block as West Gadsden Drug Store (Russell Prince), Daniel's Grocery Store, a Doctor's office (Dr. Simpson, I think), a barber shop and a beauty shop. The cafe moved to this location in 1965.

This is a picture of the "new" location during remodeling. It seemed huge to us!

This is my mother in the kitchen of the "new" location as they were remodeling the building.

The move brought many more customers to the cafe. Most days people were standing and waiting on a table. The cafe was in this location until 1977. The cafe only served breakfast and lunch. It was open from 5:00 a.m. until 2:00 p..m. six days a week. My grandmother and mother always got there between 3:30 and 4:00 a.m. to get everything ready for breakfast.

When fresh vegetables were available the cafe served as many as they could. It was not unusual to sit on the front porch in the afternoons and evenings shelling a bushel of beans to serve the next day.

My sister and I were required to work during the summer months. I think I started working there when I was in the 7th grade. I am sure I didn't do too much, it was probably a way to keep me from being home alone. I got married in August of 1972, after I graduated from high school and I continued to work at the cafe until Missy, my daughter, was born in 1974.

I will tell you more about the foods we served next time!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Annabelle and Lydia

I would like for you to meet my two valentines.  Annabelle, almost four, and Lydia, almost two months.  These are the two sweetest girls in the world.  I kept Lydia while Missy, Tyler and Annabelle went to the Alabama basketball game.  She is the best baby.  She never cried!  We played and had a good time.  I had to take a few pictures for everyone to see!!!!  

I hope everyone had a great day!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Egg Custard Pie

Egg Custard Pie

This is a picture of my grandmother at the second location of West Gadsden Cafe (more to come on that later). She is cutting pies. They made several different kinds of pies; chocolate, coconut, lemon, sweet potato, german chocolate, strawberry and egg custard, my grandmothers favorite. Now before you turn your nose up at the sound of egg custard pie, let me tell you it is very very good!!!! It taste a lot like Creme Brulee. Grandmother didn't eat many of the pies, but she loved egg custard. The pies were made fresh daily. If there was any pie left, the people that worked there were allowed to take it home, it was never saved and served the next day. Usually the pie was gone long before time to go home. The pies had the highest meringue you have ever seen, well at the least the ones that had meringue.

Egg Custard Pie

7 Tablespoons of Melted Butter - measure after it is melted
5 eggs
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Full Cups of Milk

Beat eggs and sugar with mixer, add vanilla, butter and milk. Pour into an unbaked pie shell and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Mother always said the pie was done when you laid the end of a butter knife on the pie and let it pierce the pie just a teeny bit (do not puncture with the tip of the knife, just barely let the knife pierce it) and a little bit of liquid came to the top. Now I like it when it is still warm and I always serve it before it has been in the fridge.

If you try this one, I expect a comment to tell me how you like it!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The First West Gadsden Cafe - 1945-1965

This is my grandfather and grandmother standing in front of the very first "West Gadsden Cafe". It was located in the 1100 block of Forrest Avenue, Gadsden, Alabama, across the street from Isbell Hallmark Furniture Store and Chandler's Fabrics. It was also next door to Buck's Boats and The Brace Shop, not sure of the name of it but it was owned by the Barnes Family. My dad told me there was a grocery store in the corner building (12th and Forrest) where Isbell Hallmark Furniture was located.

The cafe was very small at this time, with only 3 tables (2 seated 2 people and 1 seated 1 person) and 12 stools. The cafe was always a meat and three place with the best pies in town. I will try to find a picture of the inside for you to see.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Sunday Dinner

I guess most people call the noon meal lunch, but I was raised in the South where we called the noon meal dinner and the evening meal supper.

I cook for my family most Sundays. My family includes, My dad and his sister, my sister and her son and wife and their twin boys, and my son. My daughter and her family come every now and again when they can. They do not live in the same town as the rest of us, so it is more difficult for them to come to lunch.

Growing up we had two menus for Sunday dinner, fried chicken and roast beef, and you didn't stray from that! Well now that I am cooking for them, we have different menus. The first time I cook something different, my sister declared it a red letter day. She announced just how long she had been in the family (all I will say, it was over 40 years!) and we had NEVER had such a meal as I had prepared that Sunday. Not that she didn't like the meal, oh she did, it was just not our traditional meal. Since that time, we have really branched out, I have even cooked lasagna. Now that raised some Pilgrim (my maiden name) eyebrows, but not a one of them turned it down.

Today we had a traditional dinner with fried chicken, greek potatoes, (now that is a little off tradition) green beans, and rolls. I cooked a yellow cake with my mothers wonderful chocolate icing. My dad's sister came in with the paper plates (I do not have a dishwasher other than me!) and sat them right on top of the cake. I didn't even notice until I was ready to serve it. Now I had cooked it in a 9x13 pan so that might be one reason she didn't notice it. The other reason might be that she is 94.5 years old and was told this past summer that she couldn't drive anymore due to her eyesight. I pried the sack off the cake and we ate it anyway.

Cooking that icing this morning, sure made me miss my mother. She was a wonderful cook. My dad's parents, then my parents owned West Gadsden Cafe from 1945 - 1990. It was a landmark in our little town. I was raised in that cafe, so I know just a teeny bit about cooking, to be exact, meat and three. I will write more about that at another time.

This is my mothers' recipe for chocolate icing.

2 Cups Sugar
3/4 Cup Cocoa
3/4 Cup Pet Milk or any evaporated milk will do
1 Stick Margarine

Mix together the sugar and cocoa then add the milk and margarine.

Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it boils. Continue cooking for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and beat with a mixer for 5 minutes more. I stir mine with a wire whip the whole time I am cooking it.

Ice your cake immediately! Let someone in the family that loves chocolate licked the bowl!

I don't have a picture of the cake, you wouldn't want to know what it looked like after the sack was removed anyway!