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Now that Dad is up and around again (thanks to Jimmie Sue, much as I hate to admit it) I finally have a chance to get some good food into him. He’s asking for his favorite, the supper Mom always made when she felt like being extra nice to him: fried chicken, her famous succotash and buttermilk biscuits.  Mom may have grown up in New England, but she learned how to cook just like a true Southerner. “And don’t you go making things all Frenchified,” Daddy said when he questioned me about whether I remembered how to make the succotash in that old cast iron skillet. He doesn’t know what a comfort it will be for me to cook this way again,  but I just can’t bring myself to use Crisco in the biscuits, it has to be butter!

Daddy's favorites: fried chicken, Mom's famous succotash and buttermilk biscuits


Mom’s Famous Succotash

Serves 6

5 slices bacon

2 cups frozen lima beans

2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 medium onion, chopped fine

3 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped

salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste

In a large, cast iron skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels. Pour all but 3 tbsp. fat out of the skillet. Add the onions and cook until softened, then add the corn and lima beans and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are just beginning to brown. Add tomatoes; continue to cook and stir until tomatoes are “broken down” into the vegetables. Add the salt and pepper and hot sauce, if desired, to taste. Crumble bacon into the mixture in the skillet and stir to blend well.


Buttermilk Biscuits

Makes 8-10 biscuits, depending on size

2 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into bits

1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450. Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add butter pieces to the dry ingredients, mixing with a pastry blender or your hands (hands are really better) until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon  just until the mixture is combined, then turn out onto a floured board and pat into an oval 1/2 inch thick. Cut into circles with a round cutter or a juice glass and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake the biscuits until lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes.

Both recipes adapted from My Mother’s Southern Kitchen by James Villas

by Susan Sherrill Axelrod
photos by Ted Axelrod

3 Responses to “Southern Comfort”

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