No surprises here today–title and opening photo have given it all away. The latest run through Great-aunt Helen’s recipe box turned up a recipe written in a familiar hand. I was tickled to find a recipe attributed to my mom, written up when I was only eight.
Figuring mom must have made this “Chicken Barbecue Sauce” when I was growing up, I was excited to try it in my own kitchen. It was only slightly more complicated than emptying a bottle of barbecue sauce over chicken, but knowing that DIY usually tastes better I gladly assembled the ingredients and combined chicken, onions, and sauce in a pan. Stoneground mustard subbed in for regular, though all else stayed the same. An hour in the oven made the house amazingly fragrant with the scent of sweet-tangy barbecue sauce.
Though not overly photogenic, the chicken made a lovely (and winning) dinner. Sides of roasted sweet potato and steamed veggies completed the meal.My mom noted that she had gotten the recipe from her sister-in-law’s mom, convoluting its origins further. She cites it as a favorite chicken recipe, remembering an engagement party for my cousin where the grandmother-of-the-bride made multiple large foil pans of this dish to serve all who were gathered to celebrate.
This triggered the memory that celebrating with family was important to Helen. With no immediate family of her own, she joined us for every birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Easter. I also remember picnics at local parks, celebrating nothing more than a fine summer day.
In the spirit of Great-aunt Helen, then, give yourself permission to celebrate something–anything–tonight. While birthdays, engagements, and the like are wonderful reasons to gather and enjoy food and drink, it’s just as valid to celebrate that you’re making and serving a meal to those you love.Next week we’ll find even more to celebrate as we find another cocktail to pair with Helen’s recipe collection.