I took a short road trip along the annual Hwy 68/80 "400 mile yard sale" over the weekend, and bought several fundraiser cookbooks, one of which was a cookbook published in 1977, titled "Love's Chapel United Methodist Church, 3305 Brick Church Pike, Nashville, Tennessee." This wonderful letter was included in the last chapter, titled "For Daughters Only." It spoke to my heart, as it could have been written by my mother or grandmother, or even myself. I wanted to share it because I believe that we can ALL relate to it, and In my opinion, this is the heart of Just A Pinch.
This is a touching letter, from a mother to her daughter, that was included in a church's fundraising cookbook (circa 1977.)
My Darling Daughter,
Now that you are ready to "set up house-keeping", as your Grandmama would say, it comes to my mind that there are so many things I have perhaps neglected to say to you and teach you.
When you were small, I let you play in the biscuit dough, let you "cut out" the biscuits and so forth, but most of the time your kitchen chores were limited to "doing the dishes." (Unless you had very important homework that HAD to be done just at that time, and later as you grew up that So important phone call would come at just the right time!)
Preparing a meal is so much simpler now with all the "frozen quickies," "ready to eat," "heat and enjoy," "just add water" etc..., meals available to you. I can't blame you for taking advantage of all of this convenience, but I just want you to know how to prepare a few of the dishes that were the daily basics dating back even to your great-great-Grandma's day. I suppose, we might consider it a part of your heritage. I know many times I asked your Grandmother how to make a certain dish. She would only answer, "O, I just add a pinch of this and a dash of that and taste "till it's just right." How long it took me to determine how much to "pinch" and how much to measure a "dash!"
And so, my dear, that is the reason we have included the following "receeps" as Grandmama called them, remember? She had just a few "receeps" because she rarely used them and I don't remember that she even owned a cookbook. However, if you figure in her lifetime, she planned and prepared at least 54,600 meals during her fifty odd years of married life, that is three meals a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, (allowing a few days off to have babies!) I would say that would certainly classify her an expert in the "culinary arts." And that she was.
I hope in the future you will find the time to cook some of these "country fixins" you loved when you were small. I remember so well the look on your Grandmama's face when you would rush into her kitchen and ask if we were having "home-cooked beans" and "turn-it greens." And of course she had them, but there was just never any way to measure the love she included in every dish, we will just have to keep adding our own until it's just right.