Okay, I'll admit it. I'm turning into my mother. I think as all women get a bit older, they see their mother in themselves. If you are lucky enough to have known your mother, then you see it with your own eyes and hear it with your own ears perhaps. If your mother passed before you had a chance to know her, other people tell you so. Ahhh, you look just like your mother or The way you said that sounded just like your mom. Because I was one blessed lady to have my mother for 58 years, I myself can see her in me as I get older. Sometimes I'll say something and I'll think ooh, that was so my mama coming out of me!! My mom was a wonderful woman. She had some habits that I don't necessarily want to inherit as I'm sure my daughters would say about me (hey, nobody's perfect), but overall I can truthully say that being like my mother is a really good thing. So I guess it's not mysterious that, just like my sweet mama, I like to eat. This is certainly nothing rare because we all like to eat but, I mean, the women in my family really enjoy our food.
So, just like Mama, I've had a lifelong battle with trying to keep my weight down. I remember when I was very young (back when I was very slim and still enjoying a killer metabolism) that my mom lost a significant amount of weight drinking Sego and Tab diet drinks and exercising with Jack LeLannne on TV (blast from the past!). I couldn't really relate at the time, but in more recent decades I too have had times when I've had to hunker down and make weekly apointments with the scales to make sure it didn't tip past the dreaded weight. What is the dreaded weight you ask? Now, you don't think I'm actually gonna tell you what mine is, do you? Every woman -- unless you're one of those aggravating gals who keeps a super powerful metabolism for life -- has her own personal "dreaded weight" that she simply refuses to go past. If you are one of those who has no clue what I'm talking about, I don't like you very much right now! But I've had my "Jazzercise" days, my Jane Fonda-video days, my high-protein/low-carb diet days, counting calorie days, and many other attempts over the years at keeping my weight in check. In recent years I've simplified my philosophy for good health by trying to eat better and walk. Walk a lot. A whole lot. Luckily, my daughters are avid exercisers so they can pretty much eat what they want (in moderation). They'll have an occasional treat as opposed to me, who thinks I deserve pie or cake or cookies every single day. Sometimes I wish I didn't love food so very much but, hey, food is life, right?
The hubs and I have been making monthly treks to Emory in Atlanta for eye appointments recently. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind going because he needs a driver on the way home with his dilated eyes and whatnot, but the day trips to Emory are long, tiring, and boring. So to reward ourselves, we try to go by one of our favorite restaurants in Atlanta to have lunch when we're in the area. My children were raised on S&S, Morrison's and Piccadilly Cafeterias. When I wasn't feeling well or had had a rough day, the hubby would bring home dinner from one of these restaurants. I don't even know of any Morrison's Cafeterias that are still around and many of the Piccadillys have closed, but there is still (to my delight) an S&S Cafeteria in Dekalb County right off I-285. I have such wonderful memories of eating at these places when my kids were young and, much to my surprise, they do as well. Unlike when they were little, they enjoy eating there when they're in town and I hear absolutely no complaining, just umhs and ahs. Abbie used to say "That ol' Piccadilly again, mom?" My girls say they can't even have a guilt-free meal as adults now without the inclusion of veggies, so I guess I did something right teaching them to eat their vegetables! Great affection is stirred in me remembering this act of kindness from my husband on hard days when the kids were young and I was exhausted and, to this day, just the mention of one of these delightful cafeterias prompts heartwarming nostalgia of the days when we were a young family.
So it's really no surprise that when we walked into S&S this week, just the sound of dishes clinking and silverware clanging was enough to make my heart pound a little faster. We eat so much fast food these days, we don't hear that sound much anymore. This establishment is a bit dated and occupies part of an old shopping center that has been around since the beginning of time (well, the seventies), and some of the booths are a bit lumpy, but then there's the food -- oh, the food. The food also hasn't changed and is exactly the way I remember it and I sincerely hope they keep it that way. Cooked and seasoned southern-style, served cafeteria-style, and worth every penny you pay to indulge in this delightful eating experience. A couple of my favorites they serve? Summer squash casserole, their unique coleslaw (made with sweet pickles), baked chicken, carrot souffle, sweet tea, and their legendary german chocolate pie as shown in the picture above. All their pies are heavenly and a slice is a must if you plan to eat there. There's nothing my sweet mama loved better than a wonderful southern veggie meal with cornbread that ended with a piece of pie. And, like her, I love pie, cornbread, and every imaginable vegetable. Well, except rutabagas...what my mama saw in rutabagas is beyond me. Yuck-o. But it's funny how we develop our tastes and likes and dislikes mostly on what we're taught when we are young. I didn't like English peas so I very seldom served them to my kids. My mom was a wonderful southern cook and, as I did with my own children, she taught me early on the importance of eating your vegetables and making the family meal something special. I have vivid memories of my mom cooking dinner in the early evenings when I'd get home from school. I loved everything she cooked except for salmon (and, of course, rutabagas). But you know what? Today I even love salmon. And I would love to be able to indulge once again in my mother's southern salmon croquettes. I have also learned to love English peas, not from the can but frozen and cooked ever so lightly or added to salads. It's amazing how southern cooks can put together a delicious meal with very little in the cupboard to pull from. It is truly a gift.
If this blogpost has made you salivate for the flavors of home, whether it's your Italian family's favorite baked ziti or your Polish family's secret Kielbasa dish, then I've accomplished my goal! Even though I am not in any way, form, or fashion a food blogger or a foodie as the food bloggers call themselves, eating is one of life's greatest needs and pleasures. To enjoy what we eat, whether it's our own imaginative creation, our mom's signature dish passed down, or the S&S Cafeteria, food is indeed life. Okay, now I'm getting really hungry.
Posted by CC
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