Last week, while working in my studio, a thought of my Mother’s fried chicken and baked chicken came to mind. It reminded me of Sunday.
As a young child I never liked getting up so early on Sunday to go to mass. I barely kept my eyes open during the mass which started at 7:00 a.m. A few years later, fortunately for me, a 10:00 a.m. mass was added. The new time for mass meant I could snooze until 8:00 a.m., get dress and be ready to leave by 9:30 p.m.
While I snuggled in my bed, my Mother was up early and in the kitchen preparing dinner that we would have following mass. In the farm country of Iowa the dinner hour was at noon so my Mother needed to get everything organized and made before we left for church. After she woke up my sister and me to get dressed and I went downstairs to join her in the kitchen. I often remember Momma finishing up the dinner and setting the table. She scurried around in her smock with jewelry, make up and high heels. Finished with the dinner prep, two details still needed her attention: combing her luxurious hair and putting on her outfit.
As soon as we arrived home, Momma wrapped an apron around her waist and returned to scurry around to finish off the dinner. She always made two entrees. My father did not like chicken so there was a pot roast for him. If she made a roast chicken it was in the oven and ready to eat. When she took it from the oven the aroma was heavenly and the crispy skin always beckoned me to sneak a little piece.
When she made fried chicken, the coating for the chicken pieces was ready, as well as, having her large fry pan on the stove. I stood right by her watching every move. When one side was golden brown she flipped it to the other side and then continued cooking it until done. I loved its crisp light coating and looked anxiously forward to eating it.
Much later in life and I asked her specifically why my chicken wasn’t like hers and was there something I didn’t know. She asked if I put cornmeal with the flour when coating the chicken. I answered, “You never told me that!” and to my self I said, “How did you miss that after nearly 10 years watching her fry chicken?!”
It is strange. I want her fried or baked chicken. I know I won’t make it for myself since mine will not compare to hers even if I add the cornmeal. I will just continue to enjoy the memory.