Great-aunt Helen’s recipe box sat lonely on my kitchen counter while I once again drowned myself in another summer of school’s out. With kids home full-time, the blogosphere disappears for me. I even wrote about it a few years ago (see?). But deLizious is nothing if not tenacious and I’m finally here to write up a recipe I baked up months ago.
If you’re new here, click on the first link (or here) for background on why Great-aunt Helen’s recipe box is important to me. Sweet or savory, comfort food or something surprising, her recipes are a window into the past and into the life of a woman I only partly knew.
Helen’s recipes represent what was on the tables of folks from the 1940s-1980s or so and these chicken wings – while not especially innovative today – were pushing the culinary envelope back in the day.
Another recipe credited to Peg B. (my mom!), this one stands out in that is typed. On a typewriter. Except for the scribble about using chicken breasts cut in half and baking longer, and my mom’s name, it’s a lovely little easy-to-read scrap of paper with a few food stains.
Already a fan of DIY chicken wings, I bought the wings, made my own bread crumbs by grinding stale bread and dried Italian herbs in the food processor, and made it happen.
The process brought back memories of my mom making Shake ‘N Bake chicken when my brother and I were younger. When asked about this recipe, she remembered it as something she pulled out when feeding larger groups at family parties. Which illustrates well the age-old cooking standard of using recipes when there’s time (weekends, parties, etc) and relying more on convenience fare (Shake ‘N Bake!) when feeding a family during the week.
Though this recipe comes from Helen’s box, to me it was more a study of my mom and her role in the kitchen as a working mother. I wasn’t overly interested in what happened in the kitchen. (Strange that I went on to build my life around food, recipes, and cooking.) From-scratch meals appeared on our table daily and even if my brother or I turned our noses up (Seeing the onions in the spaghetti sauce was too much for me. Now I love that sauce. Meatloaf and roasts were also low on my Like list. Love them both now.), we ate well.
The measure of success in my mom cooking meals for us even after a full day’s work is in part that my brother and I never thought much of it. We were fed and we never wondered that we might not be or that not everyone was. For that, I thank you mom. You’ve never put yourself in the spotlight for what you do. You just get it done and, Nike slogan aside, there’s lots to learn from that.
So the wings then.
They’re easy to throw together, go well with barbecue sauce, and are tasty and fun to eat. Better yet, they stir up (happy and contented) memories of early childhood. What’s not to like?
We’ll move on to the over-21 crowd next week as we find a suitable sipper for these nostalgic chicken wings. Be there or be square.