(Unless otherwise noted, the Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her daughter, Dilcy Windham Hilley.)
“We Southerners must never let our heritage of good food and family stories slip away from us.” ---Kathryn Tucker Windham
Though she was the author of several cookbooks, my mother was not what you would call a food bon vivant.
But because she was well known for her cookbooks, the Birmingham Public Library invited her to speak at one of their lecture series. They asked that Mother tell stories about her childhood in Clarke County while she cooked a favorite dish.
Mother pondered what to cook and decided on a concoction she and her playmates often made in the woods of Hill’s pasture. They called it Rinktum Diddy. They would appropriate the ingredients from their mothers’ kitchens and take an old pot and some matches out with them for their culinary adventure.
Mother’s talk at the library didn’t go quite as planned. She had a hot plate for cooking, so she put the chopped onions and butter in the boiler and began her storytelling. She stirred and stirred and talked and talked, but nothing happened in the pan. Mother improvised and embellished the story, all the while stirring vigorously. An alert library assistant finally determined the hot plate was defective and replaced it with another. (I don’t know where libraries keep stashes of hot plates, but it is apparent they do.)
All ended well, and Mother’s audience was pleased with the storytelling and with the Rinktum Diddy. Somewhere there is a videotape of the event called “Cooking Up Stories.” You can find the recipe for Rinktum Diddy here on page 102 of Mother’s cookbook, Treasured Alabama Recipes.
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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.
Ben Windham & Dilcy Windham Hilley
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