Homecoming on the grounds….
Too bad you couldn’t hear me working on the mouth-watering, deeply poetic account below. I was laughing my head off–even though the menu is pretty much a killer! One of my favorite memories from the 1950s….
Homecoming this Sunday on the grounds
of the Montgomery Presbyterian Church
Come One, Come All!
Sunday, 12:30 to 5:00 pm
All Ages Welcome!
Beneath aging water oaks
Long wooden tables covered with oilcloth
and butcher paper groan with food
Children race shrieking with joy
Ladies arrange and surreptitiously rearrange
table settings to favor their own delicacies
properly positioned for easy access
and maximum compliments
Piles of coated, crispy southern fried chicken
Bowls of homegrown boiled corn on the cob cut in 2-inch portions
Mounds of southern white potato salad swimming
in mayo, relish, cut-up hard-boiled eggs, salt and pepper
Molded bright green and orange jello ‘salads’
laced with canned mixed fruit, grated carrots and raisins,
small-curd cottage cheese and pineapple bits or
My Mom’s strawberry jello salad
with real strawberries and rhubarb!
Platters of thick-sliced juicy homegrown tomatoes
Hunks of sugary-sweet southern-style cornbread
Pots of honey-bee honey and real butter
Obligatory cut green beans drowning
in canned cream-of-something soup topped
with crispy brown onion fries
Boiled collards and turnip greens swimming
in chunks of fatty ham and Tobasco laced broth
Plates of beguiling, deviled eggs dusted with red paprika
Baskets of buttery white rolls and salty potato chips
Nary a boiled carrot to be seen
Lemon chiffon pie, sweet potato pie
and banana pudding with soggy vanilla wafer edges
Cheesecake in graham-cracker crusts
topped with canned cherries
smothered in red glop
Pecan pies and German chocolate cakes
Chocolate chip cookies, decorated sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies
Moon Pies and Tootsie Rolls
Hot coffee with caffeine and real cream
Sweetened iced tea with lemon slices
Water and funeral home fans for the faint of heart
Yet more glorious still—
Pit-cooked, falling-apart whole barbecued pork
prepared and reverently tended overnight by real men
on the grounds of hog heaven
I was 8 years old when we moved to the Deep South. I loved nothing as much as potluck dinners. This annual event, however, outdid all the others.
I never could get enough of that sweet-potato pie. What about you? What’s your favorite potluck dish?
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 January 2016, reposted 22 May 2022
Luscious image of classic deviled eggs from vintagecooking.com