|Photo: courtesy Carla Hall|
Happily our bread basket arrived as she was telling this tale. It was brimming with yeasty rolls and crusty cornbread that had little kernels of corn to give it “pop.” The tomato and sweet potato bisque served as the first course, was designed, she told us, so that the sweet starchiness of the root vegetable would offset the tomato’s acidity. Everyone at our table was scraping the bowl with their spoons.
Next, a traditional fried chicken supper was served family-style.We dug into the crisp-skinned, succulent yard birds and potato salad made with both white and sweet spuds. Her “granny’s” macaroni and cheese was rich and creamy. But our favorite side was the country collard greens. Carla’s recipe calls for smoked turkey, instead of ham. We loved the deep, hearty flavor it gives to the greens that retained just a little 'bite.'
For dessert, a Dixie favorite - lemon cheese (chess) pie. It was delicious, but we would have been just as happy with another serving of the cornbread and greens. When we got home, we started reading her cookbook to learn more about what we had eaten, and got so intrigued with her stories and recipes that we stayed up way too late.