Well dear readers, do I dare say spring has finally sprung? My windows are open and warm fresh air is wafting through the room. I can hear birds chirping and the sun is shining. Can I get an AMEN?! The arrival of spring may have been long overdue this year, but it has arrived just in time for us to enjoy a Mother’s Day picnic and have a pretty bouquet of daffodils on the kitchen table.
In my family, Mother’s Day (as with any other holiday) is a time for us to get together, which seems to be a rarity these days! With my younger son actually living at home but seemingly never there and my older son and his lovely fiancé living in Buffalo we don’t get together nearly as often as I would like, but this weekend we will all be together…kids, parents and grandparents. I will be in my glory, surrounded by my family.
Our family get togethers are never fancy, and always include food. Comfort food gets its name from just those times, when good food, good company and happy memories are joined. In planning our Mother’s Day meal, I want to include something that will be not just nourishing to our bodies, but our souls as well, so I turn to my favorite, old, beaten up cookbook to find a few family favorites to prepare.
For many of the things I cook, the recipes have been handed down from previous generations. If your cookbook looks anything like mine, it is dirty and dog-eared, taped together and will easily fall open to a favorite recipe that has been used over and over. Most of my cookbooks and recipes have notes written in the margins…additions or deletions that I have found I prefer, and notes about cooking temperature or times. Many of my recipes came from my Mom and Nana, and their notes were there first, with mine added in as I go. I could rewrite the recipe, but I know I would miss something (not just an ingredient or measurement, but the recognizable curve of a loved one’s handwriting as well). Handwritten recipes are like a love letter and a hug to future generations…comfort food in which you can taste the love that it was made with, and remember the hands that made it.
While it IS Mother’s Day, I will be making Todd and Mark’s favorites, since it is a gift to me to have them home together. Beer can chicken for Mark and baby back ribs for Todd. I will probably throw together a macaroni salad (my dad’s favorite) and maybe a potato salad, too (Mom’s favorite!), and let’s not forget a couple of appetizers, like chicken wing dip and shrimp cocktail. A great bottle of wine and a pitcher of Mint Juleps (my nod to last week’s adventure at the Kentucky Derby!) and a couple of beers on ice will round out the menu for the day. Good food, great company and wonderful memories! We are so blessed…
Bundt Pan Chicken
(my twist on beer can chicken!)
- 1 large whole chicken rinsed and patted dry
- 1 T salt
- 1 t pepper
- 1 T paprika
- 1 t oregano
- 1 t onion powder
- 1 t garlic powder
- ½ t cayenne
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut in chunks
- 4 potatoes, quartered
- 1 onion, quartered
- 12 oz can of your favorite beer
Mix all seasonings together, set 1 T aside, then with remaining seasoning blend, generously rub all over chicken (sprinkling in cavities as well).
Coat Bundt pan with non-stick spray and insert large opening of chicken over the center tube. Spread veggies around chicken and sprinkle with reserved 1 T of seasoning rub. Carefully pour beer over veggies into bottom of the pan.
Bake at 400* for about 1 -1 ½ hours (until chicken reaches internal temp of 165*) and veggies are tender.
To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.