Robbin Bruce: Soul Food ... Bruce Style

  • Thursday, November 29, 2012

The other morning, like most mornings, I woke up hungry. I guess Iím like my Dad that way; Iíve got to have breakfast when I get up. But seeing how itís a mass exodus every morning for Mel and the girls, mostly for them itís cereal and coffee. But Iíve got a funny feeling that a biscuit is somehow part of their travel plans most mornings, they donít mention it much though, knowing Iíd be jealous. Who wants to get up, get dressed, just to grab a biscuit and then run back home to wash clothes, uh oh, make that plow the back forty. I almost lost my macho vibe there for a minute.

But if youíre stuck around the house most mornings as I am, cereal and instant grits, that gets kind of old, even the occasional scrambled eggs. But I needed something, so I got to thinking and looking, then I had me a brain storm, Iíll fix me some ďFry breadĒ. I never really called it that till the other morning at church when the kitchen crew were talking about pancakes, I told them how Mel made them, when Brother Jack told me, ĎRobbin, thatís not pancakes, thatís fry breadĒ.

So as I was putting my plan together guess what I found in the pantry, Cane Patch syrup, this is getting better by the minute. I guess by now, some of the younger generation is beginning to wonder, whatís the difference? Itís simple really; fry bread is quick fried flour and egg, mixed with a little water. You take about a cup of flour, mix in an egg, and add water till itís kind of soupy. Put a little oil in a black frying pan, just enough to not let the mix float, but not stick to the pan, and fry them till they are crispy. Makes the best pancakes you have ever eaten.

But you know every time I eat them I think about one person, a sweet lady named Carrie Altman, my best friendís Momma when I was a youngíun named W.H. He lived out in Morrisville, out past Warsaw and Piney Forest, and every summer, and most holidays Iíd go out there and stay with him. We would either be in the woods, or in the river with his brother Gene skiing. But just about every morning Ms. Carrie would fix us pancakes (fry bread) and Cane Patch syrup.

One time I asked her if she knew how to make chicken and dumplings, Iíd always heard about it, but Mom didnít make it, so Iíd never eaten it before. She did kind of look at me like I was crazy. So that evening when we came in she had a pot full of it. To a little boy, those chicken and dumplings tasted like they came straight from heaven.

Now over forty years later, I finally learned to fix it myself, and I do have a pretty mean recipe, even if I have to say so my self. But I use store bought dumplings, she made them by hand. Which is a lot of work, but there was love in those hands, and I guess thatís what made them taste all the more better.

Thatís like a corn fritter. Have you ever heard of them, I hadnít, that is till one morning at work. Ms. Carrie Green worked with us at the stacker, at the sawmill, and while we were taking a break, I saw her eating something that I had never seen before, and it smelt GOOD! When I asked her what it was she said, ďThatís a corn fritter.Ē Which is basically fried corn bread, just like a piece of fry bread. From that moment on, every time she brought her some, she brought me some too.

Now I admit, in this heath conscious, P.C. world, corn fritters and fry bread arenít the best thing in the world we need for our bodies, but every now and then we have to feed our souls. And there is nothing better for that than a little corn fritters and fry bread,

With a little Cane Patch on top.

You can reach Robbin Bruce by e-mail at robbinbruce@yahoo.com.

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