(Unless otherwise noted, the Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her daughter, Dilcy Windham Hilley.)
My mother was a good cook but not the fancy gourmet kind. She once told me that if you could cook one thing well, people would assume you were a good cook. Once Mother graduated Huntingdon College and was out on her own, she learned to cook scrambled eggs well. I’m not sure how long you can get by with serving scrambled eggs repeatedly, but that was her claim to being a good cook.
Of course, she eventually learned to cook other dishes and even wrote several cookbooks. I don’t recall her testing out many of the recipes on us children. As a matter of fact, I remember growing up eating lots of fish sticks and macaroni and cheese. That was an easy and inexpensive supper for a single mother working full time while raising three hungry children.
I recently came across an old recipe box stuffed with all sorts of magazine and newspaper clippings, yellowed with age and cooking oil. Because her handwriting was barely legible, even to herself, Mother rarely wrote out ingredients and directions. Instead she typed recipes on her old Underwood and, later, on her Smith Corona electric typewriter. In that box, I found one that was a family favorite. Monkey Bread.
I can remember the boozy smell of the dough rising as it sat by the wall heater in the family room. Then came the baking, a smell as close to heaven as I’ll ever get. Making Monkey Bread was time consuming. It took patience. And it was a golden gift of love no material possession could hold a candle to. Make some sometime….
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"Some people are important to intellectuals, journalists, or politicians, but Kathryn Tucker Windham is probably the only person I know in Alabama who is important to everybody."
–Wayne Flynt, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Auburn University.
Dilcy Windham Hilley
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