With Thanksgiving fast approaching, good Louisiana cooking slides once again to the forefront. Yes good food is a staple up here at the Old Place. Whether it’s a home made persimmon pie from the old wood burning stove or steaks, cowboy style, over an open fire down by the lake food at the Old Place was and is always a special treat. My Grandmother, MahMee, her real name was Nora, didn’t always come up with the Dean Broussard back in the old days, but her old hand stitched apron still hangs on a peg next to the stove. Of course I use the one I wore as Detective Sgt. Porterhouse in the Ray Cooney’s play “Run for Your Wife.” I don't think our children know what an apron is these days. Back in the day the principle use of a lady’s apron was to protect the dress underneath because. . . she only had a few. It was also because even back then it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons required a lot less material. An apron also served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven. It was wonderful for drying grandchildren’s tears, and on occasion for cleaning out dirty ears. From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. When company came, those aprons were great hiding places for shy kids like Ms. Melinda was. I have a picture of her big blue eye peeking out from behind MeMaw’s.
When the weather turned cold, MawMaw would wrap it around her arms. Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron. From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables and after the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls. In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. And when unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch and waved her apron. The men folk knew it was time to come in from the lake or the fields to dinner. It’ll be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.
And ah how things have changed: Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Nowadays her granddaughters set their pies on the counter top. . . to thaw. And sadly it’s more likely to be a boy child with that apron around his shoulders playing BatMan than a girl playing Mom at her “Easy Bake Oven.” Shoot, modern Moms go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron and hoping to goodness no one sees them actually wearing it!