Noon meals were a big deal at the Garrison house. It was the main meal of the day. There was always quite a spread, including lots of vegetables and several different kinds of desserts. Persimmon pudding was my favorite! I had never had it before Grandma made it for us. A batch was always made for us when we came to visit. Applesauce cake was another family favorite as well as fruitcake. Fruitcakes would be made for the holidays and some kind of liquor would be poured on them, like rum, and they would sit for weeks before they could be eaten. I still love fruitcake, much to the dismay of many of my friends! Although not the same, Collin Street Bakery, in Corsicana, Texas, has the closet thing to Grandma's that I have had. We used to receive one for Christmas each year from a friend out in Utah. Needless to say, the year after he died, I was very surprised when the annual fruitcake was delivered to our door. The tradition was carried on that year by his children.
Whenever we would visit, there would always be a large pot on the stove, many times containing a bunch of field peas. I absolutely loved these little, brown, plump morsels of goodness and could just sit down and eat a big bowl of them and nothing else. I have not been able to find field peas like that outside of North Carolina. There were a lot of "southern tradition" foods that I loved and don't get to experience, except when we're back there visiting. Carolina barbecue is one of those foods. Vinegar based, sometimes spicy...nothing like it.
We would all gather in the big dining room for meals. It had a big table that would seat a lot of people. The room was not large, so between the bulky chest freezer, a serving table, stairs to the second floor and the big table, there was not a lot of room to maneuver around. But some of my best memories are from when we squeezed around that table and shared a meal with our family.
Just outside the kitchen was the back porch and a door that led down to a root cellar. I really didn’t like being down there alone. I would either follow someone down or ask someone to go with me. And yet, I loved all the things that came out of that cellar. Home canned veggies, fruits, jams, etc. I really loved the jams and preserves! Pear preserves on buttered toast was my favorite. They were full of big chunks of juicy pear. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. There is nothing like homemade!