Janisse Ray wrote the book, "Ecology of a Cracker Childhood." In the story, the author describes how she grew up, the influences that her family history, culture, and nature had on her, and how she is an individual as well as part of a whole. The memory that I believe gives a very personal insight into the author's identity details her mother's down home, southern cooking and the imprints, that her cooking impressed on her. In this exert, Ray describes her mothers cooking.
My mother was a simple cook. She prepared foods she'd been raised on, plain Southern fare-rice, gravy, sliced tomatoes, turnip greens, cornpone, grits, eggs, chicken and dumplings, pot roast, ham, field peas, lima beans, potato salad, stewed okra, pumpkin pie, salmon balls. We didn't have fancy casseroles or lasagnas or spaghetti, and nobody had ever heard of a burrito or an egg roll. I didn't know what an artichoke or a parsnip or kiwi or papaya was-certainly had never taste them. We drank sweet iced tea and sometimes lemonade.
Mama made biscuits the old-fashioned way, hollowing a well in the bowl of flour and cutting the shortening in with her fingers, then pouring milk into the reservoir and stirring until she had a ball of dough. She pinched the biscuits off one by one, rolling them into small balls and pressing them out on a cookie sheet. Each biscuit bore the mark of the backside of her knuckles (page 198-199).
This passage reveals a personal truth because, throughout the chapter, Ray keeps repeating how she never wants to be her mother for the simple reason that her mother gives up all her desires for her family and their happiness, "Growing up I thought my mother was beautiful and loved her desperately, but I did not want to be like her" (page 203) but, at the same time, Ray thinks of her mother as "...superwoman disguised as a chaste Cracker house wife with four children and a husband ..." (page 199). Also, Ray did not want to be her mother...
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