Tag Archives: Grandparents

Remembering With Recipes

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The First Page of My Grandmother’s Homemade Cookbook

When my grandmother, who I always called “Mamaw”, died a few years ago, I realized just how many of my memories of her included/revolved around food. I think this is often true about the women in our lives, because we are usually the ones doing the cooking for family gatherings, Sunday dinners, etc. The exception is cooking that involves the outdoor grilling of some slab of meat or another, in which case the memories would be of the man of the house. Because in my lifetime I don’t think I’ve ever known a guy who would allow anyone to cook anything on his grill while there was still breath in his body.

AKA, “Kay” to Everyone Who Knew Her, “Mamaw” to Me

Mamaw was a good cook—not a gourmet chef, but a good, memorable cook. Over the years she collected various recipes from friends and family members that she made a lot and that all of us remember her preparing. She is the reason that I have a particular fondness for the easy but unbelievably delicious dishes one can make by simply opening a bunch of cans and bags, mixing stuff together, and baking for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

A Favorite From the 80’s…I prefer these days to use an equivalent amount of fresh chopped broccoli instead of frozen.

And then there were her Christmas specialties such as her fabulous Bisquick Sausage Balls—to die for, people! For those of you who aren’t from the South, sausage balls are a common Christmas-time staple in our neck of the woods. They always have ground country sausage, mixed with cheddar cheese, and some sort of biscuit type ingredient to make them stick together and bake in the oven. Every Northerner or Californian I’ve ever made them for has fallen in love—with the sausage balls, not me. Mamaw found the easiest and also the most delicious sausage ball recipe ever, of course, and not only do I associate them with memories of her and her annual Christmas Eve buffet spread, but when I make them myself I can literally feel her presence in my home.

Mamaw’s Infamous Sausage Balls! I make them with less Bisquick, and more cheese, but try to get them just as “crumgly” 🙂

Food, especially a loved one’s trademarked recipes, is a conduit of memories, love, and comfort–even more so when they are gone from your life. Those sensory memories that familiar flavors spontaneously evoke are one way to keep your special person close to you always. Several years before she became ill and her health began to decline, Mamaw and my grandfather, who I always called Papaw, gathered up all her best recipes, typed them out (complete with some really endearing typos and misspellings), and made handmade cookbooks for all us kids and grandkids. My copy is well worn, and I have often referred to my “Kay’s Kollection” cookbook when planning a meal, or looking for something different to take to a potluck or Holiday gathering. And this book of Mamaw-related memory treasures honestly means more and more to me as the years pass on. Now I am somebody’s grandmother and I can only hope that my kids and grandkids will want to make some of my signature recipes someday. I have my own, and I have Mamaw’s originals, and my own versions of those with my special tweaks, that I can envision my kids and grandkids making years from now, and maybe remembering me when they do.

A 70’s Sunday Dinner Staple, Of Course! Who didn’t love to talk about Tricky Dick then?

I wanted to share all of this with you because I think more people should consider putting together handmade cookbooks like the one I treasure so. It’s a priceless gift for your kids and grandkids, a great way to carry on family traditions, and to remember all the precious times we’ve shared with the people in our lives, who all will inevitably leave us at some point. And my Mamaw’s simple recipes and some of the memories they hold for me are worth sharing with the world, I think. So, hats off to my special someone, and her knack for the simple and delicious! A few of my favorites are scattered throughout this piece, and have been photographed just as they appear in Kay’s Kollektion, with her typos and my kitchen spill stains. If you click each of the photos to view its actual size, the recipes should be very readable and, of course, easy to follow.

I hope you enjoy them, and they will encourage you to make your own memory filled cookbook for your family!

She Made This Concoction During the 70’s & 80’s. And she got it from her sister in law and friend, Opal “Opie” Hunt, who also happens to be Phil Hunt’s Mom.

Another Christmas Celebration Favorite From the 70’s!

My Grandparents, “Mamaw & Papaw”

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

A WittyBizGal Authentic Winner E-terview; Artist Jon Coffelt

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Powder Blue Cosmos on Space Blue Field
acrylic, canvas (heavy stretcher)
30.5×30.5 cm (12×12″)

When I first saw the work of New York artist Jon Coffelt, I was blown away by his originality, his use of color and form, and especially his genuine character, which shines through in every piece he creates. The icing on the cake where Jon is concerned, however, is that he has chosen to utilize his exceptional talent not only to make quite a name for himself in the art world, but to create meaningful miniature works of art which capture the essence of individuals. These particular pieces bring joy to people who commission them as keepsakes for themselves, and also serve as a touching and unique memento for those who are left behind when a loved one passes on. I am so pleased to present this third in my Authentic Winner E-terview series. Readers, you are in for a real visual treat, as well as an opportunity to learn more about this very talented, yet wonderfully humble and gracious artist!

 

 

WBG: Jon, you grew up in small, rural areas of Tennessee, where there probably wasn’t as much access to art or formal art lessons as young aspiring artists in urban areas can take full advantage of. When did you first discover your love of art, as well as your own amazing innate talent? Did you have a special person in your life as a youngster, and/or a professional mentor who helped nurture your artistic development?

JC: My grandfather was my mentor. He was an artist in his own right. He helped me understand color. One of the things I remember him telling me was that “I would have to learn to draw things from nature before I could understand abstraction.” In his words, “I have to paint what was on the outside before I could paint what was on the inside.”

 

66a

cotton, thread, buttons

15.5×15 cm

“These are from the pajamas my grandfather was wearing when he died in 1993. They are among the first of the garments that I miniaturized. They were an ode to him. Some special way for me to thank him for teaching me to love art, to love myself. Oh!, and another thing, my grandfather and I spent many, many Saturdays in the floor making doll clothes for Barbie. He will surely never be forgotten.” – Jon Coffelt, 1993

 

WBG: Please tell my readers about your Miniature Clothing Project! What is your overarching purpose in transforming pieces of clothing into art, and how might someone go about commissioning a piece made from their own, or a loved one’s special item?

JC: My purpose in working on my Miniature Clothing Project is to transform the idea of loss and memory by using garments that hold emotional value for their owner.

 

379

cotton knit, knit

16×16.5 cm

“The miniature helped us transform our experience of Janet’s death. We used her garment as a celebration of her life. Her turtleneck is 100% cotton. She wore it in her retirement, when she could relax and spend time with us. The simplicity of the garment reminds us of her dedication to service. She was a real example of a disciplined life. Her legacy is one of simple truth, and intense dedication. Thank you for your assistance with our journey of letting her go.” ~ The Loved Ones Left Behind By Janet L. Engstrand 1926-2007

WBG: I think that some readers may assume that a special item like this from a renowned artist might be out of reach for them, but the Memory Clothing is actually relatively affordable. Could you tell us what the approximate cost of, say, their Dad’s favorite flannel shirt, or Grandma’s cardigan sweater, if you were to make these into Memory Art Pieces for them?

JC: My pricing starts at $250 for a regular shirt to $500 for a jacket or coat so this work is very well priced for your readers.

 

388

cotton, thread, buttons

15×15 cm

“This is a miniature shirt that Johnny made from my favorite shirt. He bought it for me from Dee and Dee on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for about $7, I love that shirt. Every time I wore it someone would say, “man that shirt is bright,” and I would reply, “no this is not my bright shirt.” (Just a little wry Shawn humor for those that don’t know me) I wore it so much that I put it on a couple of weeks ago and my hand went through the fabric in the sleeves. It’s the shirt that I am wearing in my first Facebook profile picture.” – Shawn Boley, 2009

 

WBG: On your website, you say that you are exploring duct tape as an art medium. Intriguing! What made you decide to work with it in your art? And what sorts of projects can we expect to see in the future from Jon Coffelt implementing duct tape? Do you often draw inspiration from everyday household items like this?

JC: In 1993 I designed a duct tape wallet and started playing with all the colors of duct tape that I could find. The wallets were featured in New York magazine and I did thousands. I had lots of scraps left over and these scraps became the material for the “Circuitry” series that I continue today. I still do special orders for wallets too. My future work always jumps ahead and then pulls back to meld with my older work so I am, at this point still not sure what I will be up to next but it will be exciting.

 

Cosmos Pink Spiral

duct-tape, vellum

91.5×91.5 cm (36×36″)

WBG: You’ve lived and worked in Manhattan for a number of years now, and began your career there in the fashion industry in the 80’s working with well known designer Willi Smith. How do you feel that working with fashion early on, as well as your surroundings and the cultural environment in the city have affected your current work and the pieces you produce now, and will produce in the future?

JC: My view of the art world has always been fluid. I mean everything is integrated. My art has always been about fashion, painting, sculpting and designing to me and living in New York affords me opportunities that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

Mayan Circuitry Fetish

duct-tape, Tyvek

129.5×129.5 cm (51×51″)

WBG: And finally, Jon, you have been so successful in your chosen career field, and I bet there are many budding young artists out there who could benefit from your wisdom. What three pieces of advice do you have for someone who thinks they may have talent and might like to pursue art as a career path?

JC:

1. Believe in yourself no matter what happens around you.

2. Have integrity in your work and in the world around you.

3. Never let the word “No” hurt you because it always opens a door to something new.

 

Jon talking to students at GCSU Georgia College and State University,  Milledgeville GA

WBG: Jon, that is wonderful advice for anyone who wants to live their dream, be it as an artist, or some other profession! Thank you so very much for taking the time to talk with us. It has been a pleasure!

To learn more about Jon Coffelt and his art, or if you would like to contact Jon to commission an original Miniature Clothing Piece, please visit his professional website at: http://joncoffelt.com/home.html