My thoughts have been the craziest lately and I have no idea why. Sugar has been prevalent and on my mind and why I have no idea. That is not something we use anymore. I keep a four pound container but have had it for a long time. We do not use granulated sugar for anything we eat or drink. It is not used in any dessert if such a thing is eaten here. I have learned to cook with artificial sweeteners and that is all we use.
We have eaten enough sugar in our past to do without forever. And enjoyed every bit of dessert that had a lot of sugar in it. In fact everything that was cooked or baked at our house had at least a spoonful of sugar in it. The sugar bowl was as handy to the cooking pots as was salt at our house. That really is a broad statement because lots of dishes were made without sweetener of any kind. That would have been biscuits, gravy, fried chicken, round steak, fried potatoes and roast beef.
On the other hand, pinto beans, peas, cornbread, corn, butterbeans and carrots all got a dash of sugar to enhance the flavor. Growing up most of us did not have weight problems. Whatever we ate, we worked off and not having access to snacks certainly kept the pounds off. Not long ago I found some rationing stamps for sugar from the early 1940s. We cannot imagine the rationing of anything because we were too young to remember during wartime and most everything was not available. Food items, gasoline, tires and nylon hose were just a few things that were rationed.
Christal and Ishmael were born in 1944 and Mother had to use canned milk to supplement their diet and that was hard to come by. Mother told of our father and friends making a batch of homebrew or home made beer and that called for sugar. To keep it warm so it would ferment, they put it behind the kitchen stove. Lo and behold, it got too warm and blew up making a big mess. I am sure Mother was one mad woman for two reasons. All that sugar was wasted and her kitchen was really messed up. For a woman with three babies under four years old, I do not blame her for being mad. Keeping the house clean was hard to do with the kind of floors and walls that were in our houses.
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Longtime friend LaWanna Durham Gainer and I were talking about taking home economics class (homemaking) in high school. The girls only took that class and the boys could take agriculture classes. Now you will see both girls and boys in either class. We got a new teacher one year for homemaking class and LaWanna’s group got the new teacher just out of college. Half the year was devoted to cooking the other half to sewing. One of the sessions LaWanna’s class had to prepare vegetables and they were frozen and ready to prepare for th table. LaWanna and her partner Frankie Kimmery Terry were given a box of turnip greens for their part of the meal preparation. The teacher gave instructions: pour in a pan, add a half cup water and a cup of cooking oil.
Frankie objected to that but the new teacher was not about to be wrong. You can imagine what happened with the greens. Most of us girls knew how to cook as we had seen the inside of a kitchen all our growing up days at our mothers’ elbows.
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A friend from our growing up days was laid to rest this week. Don Hudnall was 83, had served in the Korean War and was married to the late Shirley Carrell Hudnall. His parents were the late Thelma and Lamar Hudnall, brother was Darwin Hudnall and sister was Doris Williams. Don was a happy person always with a smile on his face and laughing about something. I don’t know how many games of “42” our fmilies have played. We would go to Mr. And Mrs. Hudnall’s house and there were always several tables of the game happening. Some nights we gathered at their son Darwin and his wife Evelyn’s house or it might be time for Don’s sister Doris and Buck Williams to host the games. Always Don was sitting at one of the tables laughing, playing and enjoying being with all the friends.
Don leaves his daughters to mourn and they are Donna Gardner of Lufkin, Dawn Cotton and husband James Eckles of Huntington and Debby Elliott of Lufkin. Grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends will miss Don and his smiles.
Sheila Scogin contributes this weekly column about Huntington-area residents.