Southern Fried Samhain

Yeah, yeah. I’ve seen the prints and the photos of Autumn in all her glorious color; but, I have a hard time relating to that. When I lived in Pennsylvania, I walked around like a tourist every October. The colors of the trees were too fantastic to be real, and yet, they were. One of these days, I’m going to go on a Leaf Peeper tour of New England in Autumn and get the whole great, big, giant effect. In Mississippi, we just didn’t have that kind of color. Mostly trees went straight from green to brown. Usually over about a two-hour span on a Thursday night. They fell to the ground on Friday and that was that.  Autumn – or, more accurately, Fall. So, when people talk about Autumn and its beautiful color, I still have a hard time making that connection. For me, Autumn is less about leaves and more about candy!

SamtenserI still love Halloween. When I was a child, we lived outside of town where there were no neighbors to call on for trick or treating; so, we went into town. We went through neighborhoods where we had friends and came home with pillowcases heavy with goodies. Back then, those goodies included Aunt Lawrie’s popcorn balls and Miss Charlene’s pralined pecans (a closely guarded recipe my father has tried to wheedle out of her for years). Whether the night was chilly or warm (and in southern Mississippi it was just as likely to be one as it was the other) no trick or treat outing was complete without a stop for a hot chocolate or hot cider at Mister Andrew and Ms Monelle Smith’s log cabin in the middle of town. It was a wonderful tradition that I enjoyed then and treasure now.

And, now, it’s my turn. I love to watch the slightly puzzled little ones all dressed up coming around the neighborhood with their siblings and their parents. I love the costumes, the pumpkins, and I love being the one who helps make great memories for these children. This year, I had been planning to have friends over for a Samhain dinner where we could enjoy good food and each other’s company while we honored the dead by setting a place for them at the table. Alas, my vampire schedule has interfered.

Ah, but fear not, my friends! A coworker has suggested that we have our own dinner that night – at work! I like that idea and am contributing fried chicken and biscuits to the meal. Now, you know I don’t eat either of those things anymore; but, I enjoy making them and will enjoy watching others eat them – especially while I’m noshing on those vegetarian spring rolls that are being made just for me! There will be potato salad and goodness knows what else! I’m sure the Celts would be puzzled by our modern, multi-cultural (but mostly Southern) offerings; but, after a little fried chicken, I’m sure they’d get over it. I know that we’re all looking forward to it. Looking forward to good food, good company, and to enjoying an ancient tradition in a thoroughly modern way.


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