An election-free column

Published 7:48 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2016

You’ll want to thank me for this one. The only mention of an election is that this column will be election-free! Can I get an “Amen?”

A few months back, our Events Committee was thinking of different themes for our Fourth Sunday lunches. Someone thought that a “Poor Man’s Supper” would be good. Many affirmed her suggestion and I wondered “What is a poor man’s supper?”

I found that decades ago, when most everyone had some kin to common, the ladies of our church would entertain their menfolk with a special supper that would bring back all those sorts of foods that were normal, plain, and simple on their supper tables.

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Believe it or not there was a time in this great country of ours when the sort of food eaten today was unknown in our neck of the woods. For instance, there were no pizzas or tacos. There weren’t a dozen hamburger places lining our streets and teriyaki chicken with fried rice was as far from our vocabulary as Zaxby’s.

Don’t get me wrong. I like all of those sorts of food, but I’m talking about long ago and a thing called a “poor man’s supper.”

When I asked about a poor man’s supper and they began to tell me what some of the dishes were, I felt like I was listening to Granpa Jones on Hee Haw when he was asked, “What’s for supper?”

Granpa always rhymed out a menu like this one on his Facebook page. “White pepper gravy and Chicken Fried Steak, eggs over easy and the yoke didn’t break, hash brown p’taters fried crisp in lard, with hot brown toast and Mayhaw jelly that mama jar’ed.”

The committee began naming things like turnip greens and black-eyed peas and fatback. I said “Whoa” when they said fatback. I like fatback, but how many young’uns these days know about fatback? I think that’s the same thing my momma used to call side-meat.

It was so salty that if we had been taking blood pressure medicine back then, we would have had to double up on it pronto!

But, from the drippings left in the frying pan, she would stir in a little flour and some homemade canned tomatoes and the gravy made would be slathered on the half dozen biscuits I would eat. I can assure you, I did not feel like a poor boy.

My point is that we had a “Poor Man’s Supper” for lunch but no one felt poor as they were enjoying it. A large plate of fatback was flanked by some roasted pork and fried chicken. The fatback was eaten first.

There were a few dishes of sweet potatoes, some turnips, cabbage and, of course the black-eyed peas that I mentioned earlier. We also had plenty of cornbread. I wonder if I could create some sort of rhyming menu like Granpa Jones used to do on Hee Haw. Let’s see.

“Preacher,” someone asks, “What’s for lunch?”

“We got sweet ‘taters in some of the dishes and fried fatback for ever who wishes. Look over there and there’s turnip greens and cornbread to boot if’n you know whut I mean. Don’t forgit them black-eyed peas and we’ll wash it all down with some good, sweet tea. If you got a sweet tooth left get some banana puddin’ and you’ll leave this meal saying you had a good ‘un.”

I may not be Granpa Jones, but I know a good meal when I see one. And I’ll tell you one more thing. You ain’t a poor man if you had one like that!