Maw Maw’s Naked Lady Bowls

17 11 2013

I love Thanksgiving and it’s traditions. I bring out dishes and silver that have been handled by so many loving hands in my family. I love the connection to the past and to the future.

My grandparents with their two small children moved from a small town in east Texas to south Louisiana in the 30’s. It must have been such a culture shock to all they knew. They came from white gravy and chicken fried steak and everybody being Baptist to a land of roux and gumbo and diversity and not everyone being Baptist.

My mom tells me she remembers asking her mother who those women were that wore long black dresses and covered their hair in a long black drape. She was told they were holy women. My mom thought that meant that the long black clothes were covering the holes in their body.

The Naked Lady Bowl
 naked lady bowl

My grandfather moved to Baton Rouge to be the advertising manager of the Coca- Cola Bottling Co. (It’s just dawning on me as I write this, the family heritage of being marketers…love that.) His boss was a sophisticated and learned man and was Jewish. He gave my grandfather a beautiful bowl set as a thank you for a job well done. It was a beautiful set with a large bowl with six smaller serving bowls. It’s bone china with gold inlay. It has Goddesses at play painted in the bottom of each piece.

That’s the part where I know it got complicated for my grandmother. You see, some of these goddess are bare breasted. I know my grandmother would have known the value of this gift. I can only imagine her Baptist horror over the nakedness of those ladies. This southern woman could never be anything but gracious over this generous gift. Her solution was to bring it out only at Thanksgiving and to keep the bowls filled with what else…Ambrosia…the food of the Gods.

A Tradition Continues
I will continue with that tradition this Thanksgiving. My 85-year-old mom will come over and supervise me making the fruit salad and be the official taster. My daughter will help as we peel the apples, juice the fresh lemons, add the bananas, oranges, pineapple, coconut and sugar to taste. I love that this recipe goes back to my great grandmother and has been passed down to four generations of daughters. The recipe is not written anywhere; making it together—mother to daughter, mother to daughter is how it is learned. Over countless conversations, laughter, teenage attitude at having to peel apples, it has been passed from one generation to another.

Priceless

This small bowl is chipped and glued together making it even more precious to me.

This small bowl is chipped and glued together making it even more precious to me.

This bowl set may be of some value. I sometimes imagine I could go on the Antiques Roadshow and be one of those people who gasp over how much it’s monetary value is. But I will never sell it. It’s not mine to sell. It’s my future great grandchild’s who I hope will still be making ambrosia that she learned from her mother and is teaching her daughter how to make. And will be putting it in the Naked Lady bowl.

Mother to Daughter
I am Connie Lee, mother of Jade Lee-Mei, daughter of Jimmie Dee, daughter of Jimmie Corrine, daughter of Minnie Mae.





My Guilty Pleasure

3 04 2013

SSSsssshhhhhhh…don’t tell anyone…but I sometime…okay…more than sometime…watch…I hate to admit this…okay, here goes…I watch reality shows.

I don’t know why I have this compulsion. It started out with just an occasional Real World. I tell myself it’s not that bad because I don’t know what station they’re on or even what time they’re on. Something will just catch my attention when I’m surfing around. I don’t DVR them, okay I don’t have a DVR, but even if I did I wouldn’t. I know it’s mental masturbation, but dammit; sometimes my mind just wants a trashy release.

If I want to learn something

There are some shows that I can watch in front of people. Project Runway is about fashion and the designers are so talented and Tim Gunn is just so very fabulous. There’s also real talent on Top Chef, and who wouldn’t want to hang with Tom Colicchio and the other judges. I’m a foodie and I want to go to all their restaurants and eat their special dishes. Anthony Bourdaine combines food and great travel, I’d love to do what he does, except he does eat some things that I wouldn’t touch. If I want to learn something, there’s always Pawn Stars, which is just a low brow Antiques Roadshow.

If I want to feel better about myself

Then there are the shows that I have to watch behind closed doors. All the Housewives of Where ever shows. I think I watch because most of these women are just so horrible and crazy, even though they have tons of money they are such trashy examples of women. When I watch these entitled, privileged, awful people, I feel so much better about myself and my life. A few—very few—are not that horrible and I was actually sad to hear that Bethany was splitting with her husband—as are most of the women on those shows. Maybe those freshly divorced single women should go on Millionaire Matchmaker.  I also watch how the rich and famous have fallen with Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab.  Dr. Drew appears to care, but with so many of those celebrities literally dying off from overdoses, I’m guessing this show won’t be back next season.

If I want to watch a train wreck

If I’m putting off housework, I can always watch Hoarders. No matter how messy my house gets, it would still be clean compared to the ones on those shows. Then there’s My Strange Addiction, with people eating light bulbs or foam rubber. What’s my three or four cups of morning coffee after this.

I do have standards

I never watched Jersey Shore, though I do know who Snookie is. I can’t watch anything with a Kardashian  or a Trump. I don’t watch Honey Boo Boo. Maybe it’s because I live in the South, I don’t find the redneck shows entertaining. I don’t need the subtitles because I understand what they’re saying. Or maybe it’s just because I shop beside people like that at Wal-Mart. Recently while at my favorite dumpy pizza place, I think I sat next to someone from Duck Dynasty.

I hate to admit that there’s more I could list, but I’ve got to go…Long Island Medium  is on.

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