In honor of Mother’s Day I’m sharing mom’s best advice, memories, and a coveted family recipe. Happy Mother’s Day!
Mom always told me…
“You can be or do whatever you want as long as you work hard and put yourself out there.” My mother gave me this advice at a very young age and continues to remind me of it…probably because I have had several dreams/career aspirations from being a professional horseback rider when I was 8 to wanting to be an art gallery director when I was in college. I have worn many hats already in my young career and will probably wear several more; I know as long as I remember her advice I will continue to enjoy my career journey and find what “makes me tick.”
One of favorite memories with my mother is from Christmas 2007. I had recently moved to Maui that August with my boyfriend Ryan. The big move was hard for my whole family, but it was really hard on my mother and me because it was the first real time I was moving far away (not to mention halfway around the world). That December my family decided to come visit us in Maui for a week and spend Christmas and it was fantastic. For better or worse, daughters always want to impress and gain the approval from our mothers and thankfully this trip went off without a hitch!
For Christmas Eve and Christmas day, we decided to take the family around to Hana on the far eastern side of Maui, spend the night, and then hike to a waterfall in the National Park on Christmas Day. After a three-hour drive on “the long and winding road” to Hana, the men treated us to grilled kabobs for Christmas Eve dinner followed by the usual story telling and a Christmas Vacation marathon. Christmas morning activities vary in our family, but one thing is constant, a big breakfast. Even though we were in the land of spam and poi, my mom, sister, and I made our traditional Christmas day breakfast casserole complete with skillet sausage and lots of cheese. As usual, we spent the morning gabbing over coffee, prepping the casserole and other sides, and she told me how proud she was of me for taking a chance on an incredible adventure I’d always remember. This Christmas will always hold a special place in my heart.
In our family, like most Southern families, good recipes are passed down by the mothers to their daughters as they grow up or after they get married. My great grandmother’s Chicken Pot Pie is one of those rich and comforting dishes that children would eat everyday if they could, and adults love it because it transports them to their childhood.
Nannie (my great grandmother) surely got it from her mother, and passed it down to her daughter when she got married. Called “Bunny” by most, my grandmother Nome, made it for her children throughout their lives. The original recipe called for homemade pastry for the crust, and my mother said that sometime in the 1970s, Nome gave Pillsbury pastry sheets a try and passed the test! Needless to say the scratch pastry was never made again. When we grandchildren came along, so did the chicken pot pie. Anytime we made the trek from St. Simons Island to Birmingham, she had it waiting for us that first night. The rich, buttery smell of the pastry cooking instantly takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen; me setting the table, filling the tea and water glasses for everyone and placing the trivets in their appropriate places on the farm table in the kitchen.
Regardless of who was at the table, the vintage recipe always got everyone talking about time gone by. My aunts would reminisce about growing up, as would my grandparents. As her mother had done, Nome passed the recipe down to my mother and her sisters so they could do the same with their children one day. My mother continues to make this beloved recipe when we ask (or beg) and she and I go through the same ritual Nome and I did. My mom gets the plates and pot pie and sides ready and I set the table and then call in the others. Even though we lost Nome several years ago, as we indulge in this classic Southern dish, we always end up talking about her delicious comfort food and the warm memories we have of her and the ones we shared with her. It’s incredible how much love and history can be within a simple recipe isn’t it?
Chicken Pot Pie -Bunny Hamrick
I whole chicken
2-1/2 c. Water
2 chicken boullion cubes
1 onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. cornstarch, dissolved in milk
I box Pillsbury pastry sheets
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
Cook chicken in water with onion and boullion cubes until done. Remove chicken when cool. Remove skin and pull meat from bone. Set aside. Add cornstarch to chicken stock and heat until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add cut chicken back to stock.
Line a I3 X 9 X 2 inch casserole dish with 1 pastry sheet, cutting strips to line the sides. Pinch together at seams. Cut second pastry sheet to cover the top. Cut the trimmings off ofthe second sheet into small pieces and stir into chicken mixture. Pour mixture into pastry lined casserole. Add sliced eggs. Top with second pastry shell and pinch together at sides.
Bake in preheated 400 degree F. oven for Io minutes. Remove and cut slits in the top, and pour a couple of tablespoons of milk into the slits. Lower temperature of oven to 350 degrees F. and continue baking for 20 minutes until golden brown on top.
This recipe was passed down to Bunny (Nome) by her mother Peggy Brannan Cobb (Nannie). It has always been a family favorite, especially loved by her grandchildren-Sarah, Emily, Keith, Madeline, Trey, Miller, Matthew, Molly, and Reilly.
I Remember Mom: Random Storyteller