There’s no cooking like Southern cooking. We didn’t have the fancy equipment for keeping things cool for a good portion of our lives. The American South is warm and tropical in parts, and we need to eat the kind of food that is going to work in a warm and tropical environment. Most of our Southern meals reflect that.
I still remember all of Mama’s favorite recipes. She came up with them all herself. She also told me that I’m not allowed to share them with anyone. She was probably imagining that I was going to be sharing them with people around the neighborhood. She never knew about the Internet, and she never knew that one of these days, I would be able to share all of our recipes with people I had never even met before halfway around the world. She would have blistered if she knew that a bunch of Yankees were going to be cooking her prized meals.
I can never know how she would have felt about me putting her recipes over the Internet. I do think that maybe she would have changed her mind, and maybe she would feel better about the idea of sharing all of this with strangers if she knew that it’s now customary to do this. People share everything over the Internet. The world is not a place that keeps on getting smaller. It keeps on getting bigger. People can share all of their mama’s recipes with everyone.
Mama always used to complain about the fact that the North was big and that people there lived in big cities where no one talked to one another. People in our hometown would just drop by. If you did that in the North, people would look at you funny. They’d think that you were being intrusive or inviting yourself over. Mama always said that this was because they were rude and you couldn’t get friendly with them. She said that people in the North always seemed scared of each other all the time and that this was because the North actually was scarier.
I wonder what she would have thought about the Internet, where people tend to speak their minds without a thought to the consequences, and they sometimes go out of their way to hurt people just because they know that they can and they know that they can get away with it. I wonder how she would feel about her recipes being released into an audience like that.
All I can say is that we all have to find a part of the world that is going to be safe and that is going to work for us. There are lots of dangerous people out there. There are lots of unsafe places in the world out there. We have to carve out our own safe spaces, and it is much easier to do that on the Internet than in many other locations.
I still won’t release her famous recipes, since that is not what she would have wanted. I just want people to know that she had them, and what her wishes were, and how she would have responded to a world like this one. It’s odd to imagine the figures from our past in the modern world.
You have to wonder whether or not they would have adapted to the world of today. Maybe some of them would have. Maybe some of them would have wished for anything that would allow them to go back in time. I like to think that Mama would have been able to adjust to our world in all its wonders. I like to think that she would have been able to move forward and not backward, which is always what she instructed us to do. That’s how I would like to remember her, anyway, so I guess that means that I’m imagining her twenty-first-century self in a certain way.