For the uninitiated, this is a pot of burgoo. Probably this pot is being made at one of my sibling’s home, because it isn’t one of my pots, but this is definitely the much coveted food of the gods in my family, at least the family that still eats meat (speaking of my daughter here, a vegetarian now.). And to add a note about my daughter and burgoo, she once attempted to make a vegetarian version of this sacred dish. Don’t ever try that! My daughter is a great cook, a worthy member of a family filled with great cooks, but to leave the meat out of burgoo was not her shining moment. It just never works. The original recipe for this was whittled down from 60 gallons to approximately one gallon. It never works out as only one gallon, because by the time everything is added, mutton or beef, chicken, corn, potatoes, cabbage, onions and tomato juice, usually home canned when we were growing up, the pot always overflows! Add some flavoring to the mix and it grows a bit more. Oh, did I mention that everything except the corn is ground? That would account for the fact that we don’t make this on a regular basis.
The top photo is of some of us a day or two ago — probably in the early 1950’s. The lower picture was taken of the portion of the family who made it to our last big reunion, June of 2000. The estimated number was between 250 and 300 family members, approximately half the family. Hey, my Grandmother raised 12 kids! What did you expect to see? We are in age groups from my group — now the elders, to the ones I still think of as the children. That would be everyone younger than the brother who is just under me in age. Most of those children are grandparents themselves now, but at times like this I’m firmly stuck in the ’50’s, sometimes wishing we could go back for a day or so.
I am still working on retrieving some of the old photos, but for now will share the ones I’ve managed to save over the years. One of my cousins pointed out last week that June 12 was our Grandmother’s birthday, and this would have been 128 years, if I remember it correctly. Sometimes I forget if I remember things or not, but it is wonderful to be part of such a large, vibrant family. Only one of our biological Aunts is still living, and we have one Aunt and one Uncle by marriage still with us. The biological Aunt has always been our “second” Mom, the keeper of our history, and the one I now turn to for identifying people and dates. My Mother’s youngest sister, “Mama Rie” is closer in age to my generation than the others, 10 years younger than my Mom, and I won’t even try to do the math on that one. Numbers still give me a headache, make my eyes cross, and when I run out of fingers and toes are completely impossible to do anything with. We should all ban math from our lives just to save people like me the headaches that go with it.
Have a good rest of your weekend. I’m gonna be spending most of my time for now looking for my lost photos. A.