Saturday, May 8, 2021

Pat Kennedy on Pigs in a Blanket and Our Other Mothers

LUCY BURDETTE: I'm so happy to welcome another friend back to Jungle Red Writers. This time it's Pat Kennedy with a lovely essay about extra mothers and how they might show love. You will thank her forever for the recipe she's agreed to share!


PAT KENNEDY: I am a mother and grandmother many times over so have done plenty of mothering in my time. I was also fortunate to have an ample-bosomed mother whose soft hugs were so awesome. And an inspiring mother-in-law who encouraged me to read Dostoevsky and true crime books. As Mother’s Day approaches, however, I have been thinking about another woman who showed me “how” when I was a newbie through her simple but profound generosity.

Pat with 11 of 16 granchildren

 She taught me how to make wonderful pigs-in-a-blanket – among other things. This is a recipe (and lesson) that stuck.

Very young and pregnant when I moved to Omaha, Nebraska, I knew no one and felt so adrift with a baby arriving in eight weeks. My Iowa mother-in-law suggest that I call Lucy Phipps, her high school friend. Lou was married to an old-fashioned newspaperman who wrote for the Omaha World Herald back when a newspaper was a newspaper. I wanted so to be just like him – a big city journalist. (I was a very young and naïve thinking Omaha as the big leagues.) But it was Lou who had the lasting impact on me.  She was a very Midwestern homey cook and taught me the sweet art of caring for others through shared cooking. I realize now that she understood that I was lonely and scared, so she invited me into her kitchen. 

“Let’s make something really tasty.”  


We made pigs-in-a-blanket, of course. They were so delicious and so was our conversation about “new babies are hard, but you’ll learn quickly,” “Would it be OK if I come visit after the baby comes home?” “You can call me anytime.” I still get choked up remembering my relief that I now had a friend.

I have Lou’s handwritten recipe for The Pigs which she copied from HER grandmother’s handwritten page.  I often cook with one or several of my grandchildren now and remember her advice. “It’s best,” Lou counseled, “to make something tasty and homey and not too complicated. Something that allows a conversation while you mix things up. Folks and children find it easier to ease their hearts when their hands are covered with flour.”  

You’ll have to try this recipe and her advice the next time you have a child or friend who needs comfort or support.  It’s a very tasty way to do it.  

PIGS IN A BLANKET

Ingredients for the dough

3/4 cup butter 

3/4 cup sugar 

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 cup boiling water

2 packages dry yeast

2 eggs

1 cup lukewarm water

6 cups all-purpose flour

The Pigs

1 package of Hillshire Farms Lit’l Smokies (you can use other small sausages but they aren’t nearly as tasty)

Small chunks of cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions

In large bowl blend softened butter, sugar and salt; then add boiling water; cool.

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water; add to above and mix in.

Mix eggs with a fork or spoon; add to above mixture.

Blend flour in gradually --½ cup flour at a time beating well. (A large standing mixer makes this easier) Cover dough bowl with plastic wrap; place in refrigerator for 4 hours at least before using. You can leave it in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Punch the dough down and then take portions out to use as desired.

When the dough is ready, flour your hands then take a small pinch of dough and roll it out into a worm like shape and then roll it around one Lit’l Smokie with or without a chunk of cheese inserted into a split on the sausage. Place shaped rolls on a lightly greased (Pam sprayed) baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel. Let rise 4 hours (on counter). 

Bake 10-12 minutes in 375-degree oven. Check to see if the bottoms are browned too.

Serve when just slightly cooled. They go fast!


 Reds, can you think of an old recipe from a friend or relative that brings back sweet memories?


38 comments:

  1. Pat, it’s lovely to have such a special friend [and thank you for sharing your recipe . . . it sounds delicious!] . . . .

    Lucy, I’m fortunate to have several recipes from my mom and my grandmother . . . with them comes wonderful memories of time spent together.

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    1. those are so precious Joan! I'm sure your daughters feel the same about you.

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    2. I'm what's known as a "good Midwestern cook" according to a very famous Red who is a very good friend of mine.

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  2. What a wonderful memory. People like that make such a difference in your life, don't they?

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    1. People like that make such a difference in our lives, right? It is always wonderful to read about memories like these.

      Diana

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    2. One never really knows how a kind word or gesture can mean in the moment. I love the story below about inviting a poor woman into one's kitchen. AT this point in my life I am experiencing a lot of kindnesses because my husband needs a lot of help -- a steadying arm, an open door, letting him go first when there is a line for the bathroom -- those small but so meaningful actions by friends and strangers too. So keep it up world...it warms my heart.

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  3. How special that you found her when you needed her. And the recipe looks tasty!

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    1. Now I see I didn't answer the question. I have my mother's and grandmother's Christmas cookie recipes, which are dear to me and I make them every year.

      But I also have a few recipes from a group we called the Gourmet Eating Club. We are all in graduate school in Indiana, and once a month one person would cook an extravaganza for everyone, and copy the recipes to give out. This was pre-email days, of course. I still use that cheesecake recipe, and make that Ode to summer fruit tart, and Bobbi's black bean extravaganza. And every time I do, I remember the friend who made it the first time.

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    2. that's so sweet Edith. We cooked a lot in grad school too, it must have let off steam. Plus we had no $$ to go out:)

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    3. Edith, I'd like to know more about Bobbi's black bean extravaganza.

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    4. Edith,

      Agreed that the recipe looks tasty and these are wonderful memories. I love Christmas cookies, especially gingerbread cookies. Yum!


      On another note, that photo of you and Jay on FB was wonderful.

      Happy Mother's Day (I may take a break from social media tomorrow)

      Diana

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  4. Pat, welcome to JRW and thank-you for the recipe. My husband and I met shortly after he bought the condo across from mine. When we married, he rented his condo for 1 year to a wonderful couple from the San Francisco Bay area. My basic chili recipe comes from Linda who was a lovely person in every way. Although I have experimented with that recipe in dozens of ways over the years, it remains the footprint for my concoctions and I remember her fondly whenever I make chili.

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    1. Love that Judy, plus the serendipity of meeting your hub!

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  5. Pat, how lucky to find a surrogate mother, just when you needed her! The counsel and advice of a kind, older woman is invaluable. I've tried to pass that on to younger women in my own life, I hope with success.

    Two special recipes--that I rarely make these days--come to mind. My dad taught me to make Swiss steak when I was about 12 or 13, which is a rare memory of a good time with him. And I found in my mother-in-law's recipe file after she was gone a handwritten card for my father-in-law's favorite dish, Johnny Marzetti. I'd tried to make it for him several times, but it was never quite right. Wish I'd had the card before he died.

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    1. It's a macaroni dish with ground meat, tomatoes, and green peppers, among other things. Some people like it with cheese, but that's not the original preparation.

      They served it in our cafeteria when I was a kid in school.

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  6. And PS what a good looking group of grandkids!

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    1. Now you got me! Nothing makes me happier than cooking a family meal for them. Last summer, tho, we had 3 teenage grandsons with us all summer long. It was wonderful. But they were hungry all the time. One night I made two huge chicken-pot-pies for dinner. As I put them on the table, grandson Dylan said, "Is that all there is????" I had used two rotisserie chickens in the filling. Now Joe and I share one small chicken and it lasts for three nights.

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  7. Shalom Reds and readers,

    My mother once told me a story from her childhood. Apparently, my grandmother would regularly invite what we might now call a “bag-lady” into their small kitchen just for some tea and talk. She would cook while talking with this woman. My mother would ask her mother about this and her answer was that this person didn’t have anyone to talk with. So, it was their job to give her a place to sit and talk.

    I long ago, lost a hand-written recipe of my mother’s which might have well come from my grandmother for banana bread. I remember making it a few times as an adult.

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    1. that's a wonderful story! and the banana bread recipe should have been a comfort this pandemic time...

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  8. Pat Kennedy, welcome to Jungle Reds!

    Did anyone ever ask you if JFK is your brother? He has a sister named Pat Kennedy who became an Ambassador.

    Love your recipe. Looks yummy, though I cannot eat wheat (allergies). I will try a gluten free modification of your delicious recipe.

    Happy Saturday,
    Diana

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    1. People often ask if we are related to the "The real Kennedys" and I say no. But we are indeed real and we are Kennedys. But if the powers that be want to appoint me to an ambassadorship, I would say yes, especially if it would be in Ireland.

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  9. As someone who is NOT a pigs in a blanket fan, I've had Pat's and they are fantastic. The supreme comfort food. I generally steer clear of anything that has yeast in it, but I think I could manage this.

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    1. Oh, Hallie! Thanks for the endorsement here. As you know, cooking for my family -- and yours -- is a pleasure.

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  10. I so agree that cooking with someone simply opens the dam and conversation and confidences follow. Not long ago my 17year old granddaughter came over to make me a scone recipe she had found (I assisted). The scones were delicious, but mostly I think because we made them together.

    Whenever I make stuffing (dressing?) for turkey I think of my grandmother who showed me how she made it. It was different from my mother's, who was an excellent cook, but I liked the idea of sautéing the celery and onions first. Not sure why my mother didn't do it that way but she was the daughter-in-law and that could have been reason enough.

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  11. My aunt's chicken with mushrooms recipe. I like to call it "My Aunt's World Famous Chicken Dish". However, it's not any kind of groundbreaking recipe or anything.

    But I'm an extremely picky eater. I like what I like and I rarely, if ever, try something new. Especially it is out of my "dead animal and a potato" wheelhouse OR if it has anything resembling rabbit food.

    But this dish found a place with me because it was shockingly delicious. As I said, it's a pretty simple recipe but regarding the bringing back of sweet memories, the only time I got to have the dish was when the extended family gathered at my aunt's house for Xmas Eve. Since we no longer do the gathering, thinking about the dish let's me remember those gatherings. One in particular was funny because when we arrived at my aunt's house one year, she came out to the car to give me something that she didn't want my mom to forget to take home.

    In turn, I handed her an empty Tupperware container and said, "I'll trade you". She asked what the container was for and I said, "You can put my leftovers of the chicken dish in there now." (You know, before the food had even been served to the family.)

    I had two helpings at least when we were at my aunt's and then I would have some of the leftovers I brought home for breakfast on Christmas Day.

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    1. Jay,

      That's a wonderful memory of your Aunt. Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

      Diana

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  12. That recipe looks delicious, Pat! Very much like the Texas Czech sausage kolaches. Most of our family likes the infamous green stuff (jello-based salad with the works) recipe that my mom got from her sister-in-law in the Panhandle, that she got from who knows who? Mom also used to bake a plain butterscotch cookie recipe that she got from her mother-in-law. I just remember when our mouths ached from braces being tightened those cookies were just the thing, nice and soft.

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  13. My mother made me green Jello with bits of celery suspended inside! She also liked orange jello with grated carrot. Not for me! I haven't had a box of Jello in my kitchen for years.

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  14. My "other mother" was probably my Aunt Calvetta, who despite financial and romantic ups and downs (five husbands!) never stopped being fun loving and well, just loving. I'll never forget a visit when I was in college and poor as the proverbial church mouse. She took me to Dillon's department store and bought me FIVE pairs of shoes. It was so extravagant and impractical and delightful. I wore the red shoes I got that day for another decade, at least. She wasn't much on cooking, so I can't share a recipe, but if there's a recipe for joie de vivre, she had it.

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    1. A recipe for joie de vivre is simply delicious! My kind of lady -- red shoes, I love them and have at least five pairs.

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  15. These pigs in the blanket sound so good, Lucy. I'm trying to decide what to fix with my son and his girlfriend coming in tomorrow for a couple of days. My daughter was here yesterday, and I had chicken spaghetti and salad and chocolate cherry cake. I'll make another chocolate cherry cake for son, but main dish might be his favorite, baked spaghetti. The pigs in the blanket would make a great appetizer.

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  16. I've had these pigs in a blanket and they are amazing.

    I am lucky to have a book filled with my grandmother's favorite recipes written in her own handwriting. Some are originally German from her mother's mother, while others are true 1950s and 60s made with flavors of Campbell's soup you can't even buy anymore. I love them all.

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  17. OMG - I forgot all about pigs in blankets! I will have to make the recipe. I loved them growing up.

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  18. Hi Pat and welcome to Jungle Red. Sorry to be late to the party today, but I've enjoyed everyone's stories. Just yesterday friends were saying how surprised by how much my five-year-old granddaughter loves to cook with me. But we've been cooking together since she could hold a spoon and it's great bonding time. Whether she'll remember anything we made together, I don't know!

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  19. Deborah, I assure you she will!

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  20. Hi, Pat, You are welcome to any party I ever host! Yum yum yum!!! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

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  21. Thank you for reminding me of my Mom's Pigs in a Blanket, which she made for dinner many times with a mashed potato wrapping instead of pastry, and baked beans on the side. A happy memory for me. Happy Mother's Day to all.

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