At My Grandmother's Knee: Recipes and Memories Handed Down By Women of the South

At My Grandmother's Knee: Recipes and Memories Handed Down By Women of the South

by Faye Porter

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Granny, Nana, Mamaw, or Gigi.

It doesn’t matter what you call her. If her roots are in the South, your grandmother’s recipe box probably includes a dish or two you’ve longed to recreate.

How about her legendary chicken and dumplings or the loaves of zucchini bread she always baked from her garden’s summertime bounty? Does your mouth water when you think back on her Sunday pot roasts or the hash brown casserole she always made on Thanksgiving morning? You remember the strawberry pudding cake she whipped up for special birthday dinners? The meals you enjoyed at your grandmother’s table may very well have been your first exposure to the notion of Southern hospitality and the idea that we really can show our love through food.

Faye Porter’s At My Grandmother’s Knee celebrates grandma’s cooking and the stories from the grandchildren whose own memories are sure to spark a few of your own. Throughout this collection, you’ll sit at the tables of dozens of Southern grandmas and sample recipes that have made them famous with their family for decades. Don’t be surprised if you see a few of your own family favorites along the way.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401604431
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 03/20/2011
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 684,952
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Faye Porter is the author of At My Grandmother's Knee , a collection of recipes and stories fromwomen of the South. She was born and raised in the midwest, butsays Nashville is her favorite place to live. This is hersecond book.

Read an Excerpt

At My Grandmother's Knee

By Faye Porter, Heather Skelton

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Faye Porter and Bryan Curtis
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4016-0443-1



Granny's Sausage Gravy
Biscuits 'n' Chocolate Gravy
Sausage Biscuits
Nanny's Hash Brown Casserole
Brunch Casserole
Nanny's Morning Crepes
Grammy Gregg's Pan-Fried Mush
Southern Batter Pancakes
Blueberry Pancakes
Patsy's Chocolate-Chip Pancakes
Cowboy Coffee Cake


J. Marie Hegler (Mount Juliet, Tennessee) shares that you can't let her Granny's silver hair and diminutive stature fool you into thinking she is the typical "sweet little ol' grandma." Marie says, "While she is sweet, she is also the biggest jock in the family! She was very into competitive sports in high school and even played in leagues out of high school. Granny rules the TV remote. If there isn't a baseball game on to watch (particularly a Braves game), you will find her flipping the channels to see what other sports are on. There have even been desperate times when the main three sports were on hiatus and we've caught her watching soccer and golf." This Granny is Margaret Poole Eiland (Opp, Alabama).

1 pound ground sausage
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk, divided
1/8 teaspoon Morton's Nature's Seasons

1 In a large skillet brown the sausage, but do not drain off the drippings.

2 In a large bowl whisk the flour with 1 cup of the milk until the lumps are gone.

3 Pour the milk and flour mixture into the skillet with the sausage and drippings. Stir well, add the remaining 2 cups milk, and sprinkle the seasoning on top. Stir and simmer until the texture is smooth. Serve over biscuits for breakfast.



Sylvia Davis, known to her grandchildren as Ma, was born in Clay County, Tennessee, and later lived in Rutherford County. Granddaughter Sandy Jackson (Hendersonville, Tennessee) shares that Ma sometimes made fried corn and fried chicken for breakfast! Sandy says, "Ma had particular bowls for mixing things such as bread and the best biscuits ever, and often did not use measuring cups or spoons. I've made Ma's chocolate gravy for my daughters since they were young—they love it so much, they still ask for it on special occasions, even as adults."


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup lard or shortening
1 cup buttermilk


½ stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
2 cups milk, divided

1 Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2 To make the biscuits, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening using your hands and add the buttermilk.

3 Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead until smooth, adding additional flour if the dough is too sticky. Roll or pat the dough to ½-inch thick. Cut the dough into circles using a biscuit cutter. Place each biscuit on an ungreased cookie sheet.

4 Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the biscuits from the oven and keep warm.

5 To make the gravy, melt the butter in a cast-iron skillet over low heat. Mix in the sugar, flour, and cocoa. Add 1 cup of the milk and stir to keep lumps from forming. Slowly add the remaining 1 cup milk, stirring constantly so the mixture doesn't scorch. Serve warm on top of hot buttered biscuits or flapjacks.



Sharonda Hampton (Mount Juliet, Tennessee) shares that she and her sister called their dad's mother Maw-Maw or Little Maw-Maw. Maw-Maw was Mable Mary Hill Williams and she was born and raised in Biloxi, Mississippi. Sharonda says, "When I was growing up, she lived next door to us and was really the only babysitter we ever knew. So many times we'd walk into her house to find her sitting at the counter with a big gray-speckled bowl, cutting up ingredients by hand with a silver paring knife for whatever she was planning to make."

1 pound ground sausage
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk

1 Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2 In a skillet over medium heat, cook, drain, and crumble the sausage.

3 Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture. Stir in the sausage. Mix the buttermilk into the flour mixture.

4 Knead the dough by hand 10 times on a floured work surface. Roll the dough out to a ½-inch thickness. Cut out the biscuits with a biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

5 Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.



Rebecca Barber (Smyrna, Tennessee) shares that her Nanny, Evelyn Barber (Nashville, Tennessee), was a true Southern lady and very proper. She was a fanatic about her hair and got it done twice a week—people joked that she kept Aqua Net in business. Even though she appeared very proper to outsiders, her family never knew what to expect. Rebecca can't count the number of food fights that Nanny started. She was naturally funny and told the best stories—she kept her family in stitches.

2 pounds frozen hash brown potatoes
1 stick margarine, melted
1 can (10.75 ounces) cream of chicken soup
1 container (16 ounces) sour cream
½ cup chopped onion
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
cooking spray

1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2 In a large bowl combine the potatoes, margarine, soup, sour cream, onion, cheese, salt, and pepper and mix well.

3 Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon the potato mixture into the baking pan.

4 Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.



Lindsey Vasgaard (Tallahassee, Florida) shares that her Nana, Betty Vasgaard (Knoxville, Tennessee), got this recipe from her Nana Western. Nana Betty served this at her infamous "Betty's Bubbly Brunches" with sticky buns, cheese grits, and mimosas. Nana loved to have guests over—she was famous for her cooking and the huge meals she'd prepare when entertaining. Nana used to say, "Do you want some toast?"—no matter what your problem, sickness, or ailment was, Nana's solution was a toasted piece of her homemade sourdough bread.

4 cups cubed day-old bread (firm white or French)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
10 large eggs
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
9 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
½ cup peeled and diced tomatoes

1 Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2 Arrange the bread in a greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan and sprinkle with the cheese.

3 Beat the eggs in a large bowl and mix in the milk, mustard, onion powder, and pepper.

4 Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Sprinkle with the bacon, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

5 Bake the casserole uncovered for 60 minutes, or until set. If the top starts to brown too early, tent the baking pan with foil and finish baking.


Note:If you want to make this casserole the day before serving, you can cover it and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking.


Lynn White (Tulsa, Oklahoma) shares that spending the night at the house of her Nanny, Doris Matthews (Birmingham, Alabama), meant she'd usually get homemade crepes for breakfast. "She used to tell me that many people eat them for dessert, but she liked to start her day with something sweet," Lynn recalls. "I never saw her in anything but a dress—usually with an apron over it—and she always wore little white socks rolled down around her ankles above her black tie shoes."

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
6 tablespoons apple butter or jelly (grape, strawberry, or other favorite)
powdered sugar for dusting

1 In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly add the milk to make a thin batter, beating until smooth. Stir in the melted butter. (Make sure the batter remains very thin—it should be thinner than pancake batter.)

2 Pour ½ cup of the batter onto a lightly greased skillet. Brown lightly on both sides. Repeat with the remaining batter. Spread the crepes with apple butter or your favorite jelly, roll up, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm.



After traveling all over the country with a husband in the Coast Guard, Grammy Esther Elaine Ferkan Gregg and her commander later settled in Lexington, Kentucky. She loved to cook and bake and you never left her house hungry, shares granddaughter Leigh Willhoit Doucet (Ruther Glen, Virginia). Leigh says, "She'd also make sunny-side-up eggs for our breakfast and call them 'dippy eggs.'"

2 ¾ cups water
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter

1 In a medium saucepan heat the water to boiling. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the cornmeal, salt, and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick.

2 Spoon the cornmeal mixture into a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3 When ready to cook, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Slice the mush into 1-inch-thick slices. Cook the slices in the melted butter until golden brown on both sides. Serve with hot maple syrup.



Katie Braman (Nashville, Tennessee) shares that her Mimi, Rudell Blalock (Paducah, Kentucky), would always make these buttermilk pancakes for her and her sister and brother when they went to visit. And she would make them in the shape of bunny rabbits. Katie says, "As we all got older, she would let us make the bunny pancakes—it was the best part of our visit. To this day, even though all three of us are out of college, she still makes them for us!"

2 large eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon double-acting baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar

1 Beat the egg whites until stiff. In a large bowl beat the egg yolks, add the buttermilk and melted butter, and mix well. In another large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix the flour mixture into the egg yolk and buttermilk mixture. Quickly fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites.

2 Drop the batter by heaping tablespoons onto a lightly greased hot griddle in a circle or your favorite shape. Turn when bubbly on one side. Cook on the other side to a golden brown and transfer to a hot platter. Serve with your favorite syrup or preserves, if desired.



Mamaw Deborah Doute lives in Thompson's Station, Tennessee. Her young granddaughter, Lili Harris (Murfreesboro, Tennessee), shares that there's nothing better than spending the night at her Mamaw's house. Lili says, "In the mornings, she lets me help her cook breakfast. I get to crack the eggs and stir up the pancake batter. These are the best pancakes in the world!"

2 large eggs
½ cup sour cream
2 cups milk
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ stick butter, melted
1 cup blueberries
vegetable oil for greasing the skillet or griddle

1 Beat the eggs in a large bowl and mix in the sour cream and milk. Add the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Stir until the lumps disappear. Stir in the butter and fold in the blueberries.

2 Lightly grease a skillet or griddle with oil and place over medium heat. When hot, pour ¼ cup of the batter onto the skillet. Flip the pancake when bubbles form on top, and cook until the second side is golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve warm with your favorite syrup or preserves, if desired.



Paige Sims (Franklin, Tennessee) calls her grandmother Patsy. Patsy is Patsy Caldwell (Charlotte, Tennessee). Paige says, "Ever since I was a little girl and would spend the night, Patsy would always have chocolate-chip pancakes waiting for me in the kitchen when I woke up. She knew it was my favorite dish for breakfast. Chocolate chips and pancake ingredients became a staple in her pantry just in case I came to visit."

1 ¼ cups self-rising flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup miniature chocolate chips
vegetable oil for greasing the skillet or griddle

1 Sift together the flour, baking soda, and sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and mix in the buttermilk and oil. Pour the egg mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Add the chocolate chips and mix.

2 Lightly grease a skillet or griddle with oil and place over medium heat. When hot, pour ¼ cup of the batter onto the skillet. Flip the pancake when bubbles form on top, and cook until the second side is golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve warm with your favorite syrup or preserves, if desired.



Cowboy coffee cake says Sunday brunch to Amy Majors (Fort Worth, Texas). Her grandma, Evelyn Brown (also of Fort Worth), would make the batter the night before. "On Sundays we'd all meet for church and then go back to Grandma's for family brunch," Amy says. "This coffee cake would smell so good baking while we set the table and helped Grandma get the rest of the meal together. Anytime I make it, the aroma takes me right back to Grandma's kitchen."

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs

1 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2 In a large bowl mix the flour, brown sugar, and salt. Cut in the shortening until the mixture is crumbly. Reserve ½ cup of the mixture for the topping. To the remaining mixture, add the baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon and mix well. Add the buttermilk and eggs and mix well.

3 Pour the batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Top with the crumb mixture.

4 Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until center tests done with a toothpick. Serve warm.



Jams, Pickles, and Canning

Nanny's Peach Preserves
Spicy Peach Chutney
Blackberry Jam
Mamaw's Pickles
Red Cucumber Rings
Bread-and-Butter Pickles
Susie's Homemade Ketchup


Katherine Finch (Forrest City, Arkansas) shares that she and her three sisters fondly remember the bustle in their Nanny's basement at canning time. Nanny, Clara Lillian Vernon Wade (Fort Smith, Arkansas), had a full-size kitchen in her basement—it was cool there (the house had no air-conditioning) and she could work long hours canning everything imaginable, getting things ready for the freezer or making jellies and jams. Katherine says, "Everything seemed so complicated to us as children, but we remember the love stirred into each bowl and placed into the canning jars. Everything was delicious that came from Nanny's basement!"

9 medium peaches (3 pounds)
1 2/3 cups sugar
¾ cup water
3 whole cloves
4 pint jars, lids and rings

1 Wash the peaches, peel them, and remove the pits. Cut the peaches into small slices.

2 In a large pot boil the sugar and water for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peaches and cook, stirring quickly and constantly, until the liquid is transparent. Add the whole cloves while cooking.

3 Pour the preserves into hot, sterilized jars and seal them with the lids and rings.

4 Place the jars in a canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water above the top of the jars. Keep the water boiling. Process the pint jars in the boiling-water bath for 35 minutes. Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool in a draft-free place—being careful not to touch or bump the jars while they sit. Allow to sit at least 12 hours. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed by verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Press gently in the center of the lid with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use the contents. Only those jars that are properly sealed can be stored unrefrigerated.



Excerpted from At My Grandmother's Knee by Faye Porter, Heather Skelton. Copyright © 2011 Faye Porter and Bryan Curtis. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Jams, Pickles, and Canning....................19
Breads, Rolls, and Biscuits....................43
Appetizers, Soups, and Salads....................59
Side Dishes....................99
Main Dishes....................131
Pies and Cobblers....................167
Chocolate Pies....................237
Miscellaneous Desserts....................251
About the Author....................269
Contributor Index....................277

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At My Grandmother's Knee: Recipes & Memories Handed Down By Women of the South 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
funnyfreefarm More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be great. Easy to follow recipes and great southern style meals. A friend wanted to borrow it, but I couldn't chance losing the book!
thornton37814 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Every Southerner will recognize the recipes in this collection. If they were not prepared in your own family, you knew someone who brought them to the church dinners. This is a collection of recipes compiled by the author. The recipes are headed by short vignettes that include a quote from a granddaughter about her grandmother who made the recipe. The graphic design and layout of the book were nice and the food photography was excellent. Unfortunately the cookbook suffers from a major problem in regards to organization. The order in which groupings of recipes were presented was problematic. For example, there is a section on pies and cobblers, then cakes, then cookies, then one on chocolate pies, and then on other desserts. Why are the pies and chocolate pies not combined or at least together? The earlier sections also suffer organizational issues. I was actually disappointed in the book. The author, in her introduction, calls this book part history and part cookbook. Unfortunately the book failed to deliver on the history aspect. The vignettes were so short that a reader never got a sense of the grandmother in most cases. If this book was a tribute to grandmothers, why weren't there photographs of the grandmothers to accompany the recipes? The e-galley I read was missing the index so I'm unable to review that aspect of the book. I probably won't go out of my way to purchase a new copy of this book, but if I do happen to find it at a bargain price in a used bookstore or on a bargain table, I might consider it. This review is based on an advance reader's e-galley provided by the author through NetGalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago