I don ‘t understand retail therapy, it could be that I worked in retail most of my life; so let me share some real therapy for real Southern ladies –
- Taking care of the cast iron
- Checking the baseboards to make sure they’re clean
- Polishing silver is especially rewarding
- Buying Silver Queen corn– the crowning staple of Southern cuisine
If there is ever an upset in the home or community- Southern women of my era have reliably turned to these activities for therapy– we calm our nerves this way, we settle down into these rhythmic, meditative, even ancient practices.
Cast iron is inherited- it must be taken care of…and the bonus is when something unsettling happens, you can always clean it out with salt, then fry some bacon in the pan to re-season it…a little spat with a husband can be cured just by frying some bacon…trust me on this one! He’s irritated, you’re unsettled and start thinking about your inheritance…you grab your grandmother’s cast iron skillet and start frying bacon…before you know it, he comes up behind you, tugs on your apron strings or eases his arms around your waist and says, ‘hey good lookin’ whatcha got cookin’?‘ You sort of give him the cold shoulder and just say ‘Get on out of here now, I’m just seasoning this skillet…‘ He keeps on hanging around…looking sort of sheepish…bacon will do this to man, he forgets why he’s irritated, hoping he’ll be the one who gets the crumbled bacon, instead of humble pie. Southern women have a great affection for their Baseboards…I have never heard women of other cultures quite so fascinated with whether or not their baseboards are clean. A friend told me recently that she wasn’t sure her housecleaning service was doing a good enough job. She shares the same cleaning service with another friend, who had called and said, ‘I’m not sure they’ve been cleaning these baseboards!’ My friend said, ‘Well I have to tell them to clean mine, they don’t think of it on their own, but Lord knows I asked them when I hired them if they clean windowsills, crown molding and baseboards, though I never asked about the chair rails.’ Now, if weeds are God’s invitation to pray in the garden, checking baseboards will get you on your knees in the home. It’s upsetting to be paying someone to do this – however, when life isn’t going all that well…get on your knees and get those baseboards clean– cleanliness is next to godliness, you know.
Polishing Silver is often group therapy in the South, we Silver Queens are sensitive about our silver, after all, we barely had it buried in the ground before the Yankees ran through all those years ago. Polishing ancestral silver is almost as sacred as putting Alabama Marble Monuments on the graves of our loved ones. It’s a little known fact that women start polishing silver the minute they hear anyone is getting married, christening a child, or Lord forgive, someone has died- women just start in polishing silver- you can hear the silver chests opening, the pleasant clink of silver and the distinct smell of silver polish. The most humble foods are elevated by silver trays; and one must be careful to make sure fine paper doilies are always on hand in several sizes to fit the silver trays. The high holidays call for silver trays, flatware, chafing dishes, candlesticks and even mint julep cups. Instead of fretting over the guest list, the menu or even the guests- start polishing silver; the mind sharpens and before you know it- all the ‘I’s’ will be dotted and all of the ‘T’s’ will be crossed off your lists.
Buying Silver Queen Corn is a summer infatuation- folks will say ‘We’re going to stop on the way to the beach and get some Silver Queen Corn’ or ‘I’m going to fry some chicken Sunday and if I can find some Silver Queen Corn- I’ll fry that to go with it.’
- Fried Chicken.
- Fresh sliced Tomatoes.
- Fresh Pole Beans.
- Fried Silver Queen Corn.
If there is a more perfect summer meal on earth I do not know what it is. Yes, you read that right, fried corn. And it must be white Silver Queen Corn. Do not try to pull a fast one over on us on this… I have seen southern women make big corn fed farmers cry over this.
- ‘Now is this field corn or Silver Queen?
- You know when I start cutting it from the cob, I’ll be able to tell the difference right away.’
- ‘Who do you think you are labelling this Silver Queen when you know full well it’s that new hybrid Silver King, I’m not having it, I’ll tell you.’
- Then she insists on the farmer pulling back the shuck so she can make sure it’s not wormy!
You can tell a Deep South pedigree quicker from who buys Silver Queen Corn than you can on Ancestry. Com or that TV show ‘Who Do You Think You Are?‘. We prefer white cornmeal, white grits and blinding white Silver Queen Corn. If you don’t know what real fried corn is? Well, I might not be able to help you. This picture is the best one I could find and to tell you the truth? This Silver Queen doesn’t think the corn is cut as fine as it should be or cooked down quite enough!
Seasoning a cast iron pan, cleaning baseboards, polishing silver and cooking something fit to eat, are just a few of our Southern therapies- I know, I know- Southern people can get irrational and over emotional about some things…just thought you’d like to know how we make it through…
Love y’all, Camellia