Rain Barrel Memories
When it rains I am back in Texas and outside our back door. A large wooden rain barrel. You can smell rain and when it came what I remember is the fresh mint in the yard, the pecan trees, the figs, okra and many other edible weeds that grew in our backyard.My mother would make fig preserves for my toast in the morning and mint tea from leaves. These memories come flooding back when it rains. She would wash my hair with the water and we would be outside to pick pecans for pies, okra and other greens for dinner.
I never thought about being chef at that point but I came from a family of food lovers.
Aunts and uncles who fished, raised animals and had pot belly stoves with outdoor plumbing when I was in my teens. We would drive long distances to find the best ingredients and the best places to pick dewberries. “Watch out for the snakes” my mother would call after she had dressed me in my uncles wading boots that were way too big but kept the snakes at bay.
Buckets of dewberries would be brought into the house for my Aunt Bobby’s famous dewberry cobbler. Bits and pieces of pork raised by my uncle would be tossed into a cast iron skillet with the greens. A hot skillet with bacon fat waiting for the cornbread and you could hear the sizzle as it hit the pan. The aroma in that small kitchen with the pot belly stove fueled only by wood stayed in your hair and clothes long after the simple meal finished.