Drunken Chicken ...  

I know. It's not what it sounds. We don't have a chicken coop, and I wouldn't have watered em with booze. Not in this heat anyway. Although when I was little there was that one mean chicken at my MaKee's farm that chased me around and around in the yard. Gave me nightmares for weeks. I still remember it to this day. Would have given it shots of tequila and not batted an eye. That tone set in childhood, I'd probably not make it as a 'Coop Mother'. Same as a den mother .. but different.  Although I have plenty of friends who can and do. Julie, in particular, can tame any beast she sets her mind to .. well, except for her new lab puppy. Other than that, she manages her farm and all its creatures with what looks like the ease of Noah on his Arc. Her chickens fawn all over her like she was Mother Goose herself. I didn’t get that mothering chicken gene.

I cook mine. With no regrets. Chase me in childhood, and I'll eat you in adulthood. Karma is a .. well, you know. It begins with a female dog. 

So in contemplating what I would cook for our kids coming for dinner, I asked my expecting daughter, who has been having those pregnant food avoidances and cravings what she would like. Mamas get what they want to eat. It's the law. I had a day to cook, so I gave her any option, no rules barred. It wasn't like when she was younger and walked in at four o'clock and asked for Chicken Spaghetti. "Chicken Spaghetti!" I would exclaim. It's four o'clock in the afternoon and I need at least a day or a whole afternoon to prepare that. It's no 30-minute meal, mind you. It's a massive multi-step production, sometimes spanning two whole days.

So after being asked and she sat there in her pregnant fog, letting out a soft "Ummmmm" that went on longer than a balance of nature commercial, I introduced a golden oldie.

"Drunken Chicken?" One more pregnant "Ummmmm" followed by a quick "Yea?" Perhaps wanting to say yes, but not sure if it was acceptable? I'm not sure. Deciphering the pregnant thought processes or even communication is not always easy. Instead of trying .. I just took charge and ran with it. 

I do believe tastes run in family DNA like hair and eye color. Daughter and I are much more adventurous in the food realm than our forefathers, but there are still little oddities of preferences that run in the gene pool. My Dad and I liked the same kind and amount of sweetener in our coffee as well as cream. We both had an affection for those little cheeseburgers from a familiar and wide spread fast food joint.
Daddy would eat bread with ketchup as a snack, and his great grandson would eat ketchup on every single thing he ate if only his Mama would let him. Good ole tuna casserole is a favorite our grandmother and my mom made with our whole family. We had a Christmas dinner potluck once with all kinds of good foods. That casserole was the first to go.

So when I mentioned Drunken Chicken to the child of my childhood tastes, yet the Mama to her own, her tired little baby making body perked up. We have a winner. Ding, ding, ding, ding!  

There are a few things that each of us makes that summons our mothers from the grave into our present day kitchens. And our grandmothers. Drunken Chicken is one of ours. My Aunt Sheri coos when she hears I have made it. "Can you make it when you come next time?" she pleads. There are few things that make me say "MMMmmmm" outloud with several syllables of exclamation, but this is one of them. So the time invested in making it is well rewarded. Even the extra steps I add to my mother's recipe, which was handwritten for me on a scratchpad, are well worth it.

The paper the recipe is written on has worn from thin to fragile so I handle it like it has the historical significance of the constitution. It is a family treasure, even if I have Susanized it to my own version. In honor of Mom, I usually pull out one of her spoons to help assemble it. It is the best way I know to honor her memory with all of my senses.

Proverbs 13:22 says “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children.” I'm sure there are multiple meanings to this verse, but I also think there are many ways to leave an inheritance. The women in our family left many different gifts of inheritance that still linger in the current  generation, and the ones to come. I pray to preserve those, as well as leave a few of my own. Art, royalties, furniture, recipes, and memories from the past enrich our present keeping heavenly loved ones close at hand, as we pass on what they instilled in us with love to the next generation. Love lives on from us beyond our time here on earth. We inspire and cook from beyond Heaven's gates.

What recipes are we leaving our children? For it seems even the silliest ones like Drunken Chicken may tickle their tongues in ways we'd least expect. Thanks Mom. I know you're near, and it was yummy. 


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