Ruth's Sunday-in-May dinner

Where Mother Nature and Mother Worked Together

Where Mother Nature and Mother Worked Together

For the May, 2008 issue of Nougat Magazine, dedicated to mothers, I wrote about the ways Mother Nature and my mother agreed on one big principle: What grows together goes together.

My mother, Ruth, loved growing, foraging, and cooking wonderful food in south central Kentucky. In the Nougat article, I described a meal I imagined she would have cooked for Mother's Day dinner around 1959 or so. Links to recipes for key parts of Ruth's menu are included in the article.

One recipe that is not there is Mother's version of scalloped potatoes. She made a simple version. Peel and slice white potatoes. Put them in a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with flour, salt, and pepper. Turn the slices over a few times to distribute the flour. Pour whole milk over them, enough to come just under the top layer of potatoes. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about an hour. Take the foil off after about 45 minutes. If you like, grate cheddar cheese on top of the potatoes at at point. Let the cheese melt and even brown very slightly.

For a much more savory version, layer country ham slices between the potatoes, usually two layers of ham and three of potatoes. Proceed as described above, going easy on added salt. Perhaps bake this dish a bit slower and a bit longer, maybe 325 degrees F for 75 minutes. No cheese. Just some of the best tasting potatoes ever!