Sunday, October 19, 2014


Food is such an important part of our culture, especially in the South.  I can recall growing up in the early 1950’s, when making a living was a struggle, and the simple food on the table reflected that struggle.  We grew most of our food, and preserved it by canning.  Peas, snapped green beans, tomatoes, pickled peaches, and cucumber pickles were regular staples.  As our quality of life improved, though we were not aware of that fact, the purchase of a family freezer  replaced canning for keeping food for future use.  Okra was there for the taking during the coolest of weather days if we so desired.  The food was prepared and preserved much differently.  Then came the purchase of a larger freezer, which provided the space for almost anything it was desired to keep for any  duration of time—breads, meats, vegetables, nuts, ice cream….the list was virtually endless.

In my early childhood days, the meals were simple for the most part—peas,  potatoes and cornbread.  Fried chicken was reserved for Sunday dinners (the noon meal).  Eventually that changed.  From the freezer could be taken pork chops or a roast, or maybe, catfish.  The possibilities were available  just by lifting the freezer lid.  Of course, the food did not magically  appear in the freezer.  It either had to be purchased from a store or grown on a farm, harvested, and prepared for freezing.  There was expense and time involved with whatever came from the freezer.

 Presently, as we return to the home of my youth during special holidays, the foods most requested by our children are my mother’s green beans and creamed corn— all made possible during the winter months because of a large freezer.  But the emphasis is on the importance of food and the pleasure of being together as we sit around the table enjoying all our favorites.  

Our family has favorite recipes that my wife has discovered and perfected during our 47 years of marriage.  The most notable ones are special chicken sandwiches, an authentic Italian spaghetti sauce, and Whoopee pies. Our children would fight over the Whoopee pies when they were small and they always want the spaghetti when they come home.  

Granny Kilgore

When I reflect on my Granny Kilgore and her cooking, I remember very little. But there are some special memories of the watered-down hot chocolate and the cat head biscuits. During one of my visits home, I was looking through a cookbook from Oak Grove Church, and there was a recipe of Granny Kilgore's.  I don't remember her making the recipe for butter rolls, but my cousin, Patricia Phelps put the following recipe in the cookbook as a memorial to Granny Kilgore. 


2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup milk  
1/2 cup Crisco
2 cups sugar, divided
1 stick butter, melted
lemon or vanilla flavoring
2 cups water
Mix flour, milk, and Crisco forming a dough. Chill.  Roll out chilled dough on floured board.  Spread with melted butter and 1 cup sugar.  Sprinkle with lemon or vanilla flavoring.  Roll up and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Place in an oblong pan.  Mix 2 cups water and the other cup of sugar.  Bring to boil and pour over rolls.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until done and browned.

I think it is a special thing that we have Granny Kilgore’s Butter Roll recipe as a remembrance of the hours and hours of work she put in, raising and feeding a large family.   I hope some of the family will try this recipe, and remember its source.  It is another way of acknowledging our Kilgore lineage.  A very rich heritage it is.  Enjoy the butter rolls.

November 3, 2014
Since the original posting of this article, I cooked Granny Kilgore's Butter Rolls.  The turned out beautifully.  It is a very sweet dessert.
Here are some photos.


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