Tuesday, October 07, 2008
My granny was a great cook. In fact, she was so good that she could make fantastic dishes out of the most ridiculous ingredients. Actually, let me clarify. The ingredients sound ridiculous to me now. At the time, they sounded perfectly reasonable MOST of the time. I almost never had a problem chowing on anything that she made for me.
Without a doubt, my favorite ridiculous dish was vinegar pie. Granny's vinegar pie was seriously delicious. I'm not sure that is even the right word for it, but it was tasty. In fact, Bill's (that really was my Granny's name) vinegar pie got pretty famous for a bit because I have lots of cousins and once we shared it with them, it made the rounds. Anyway... The point is, it was a frickin' great pie and every time she made it, we were quick to take our places around her table, fork in hand.
Granny has a been gone for a while, but along with all the other great memories I have of her, the vinegar pie remains one of the best. She would randomly decide to make one of these tasty pies -or, someone would have a cold and would need one-and then she would call me and let me know it was ready. I think the conversation went something like, "Boog (that's what she and Papa called me), I just made up some vinegar pies. Come on over and have some." At this point, there was no reply because I would have dropped the phone and headed out the door. By the time I got within half a mile of her house, vinegar fumes would be wafting along Bluff street and all the neighbors would have watery eyes. Mmmm, mmm, good.
So, I failed to get her recipe before she left us. Since then, I've collected lots of versions of vinegar pie and I finally tried one about a week ago. Well, it was a big, fat fail. My version actually tasted OK, but it just wasn't right. The vinegar "sauce" was no where near vinegary enough and the rolls were not right either. FYI, Granny used to roll up dough a la cinnamon rolls and then she would pour the vinegar mixture over them and cook it all up. The important point is that ratio of dough to sauce must be right (I think this must be a general rule in Southern cooking, but maybe that might be a discussion for another time).
My next try will have a couple of modifications. Mama has a pretty good recipe for the vinegar sauce and I think that instead of making yeast cinnamon rolls, I will make them out of pie crust so that they don't suck up all of the sauce. I imagine that the recreation of Granny's vinegar pie will take several attempts. But, that's OK. Every time I try, I will get to spend a few minutes quietly remembering and honoring a woman whose love flowed through all the food she ever made, ridiculous or not.