Two males, no less, recently engaged in a highly significant cookbook swap at a meeting of a Garland city governing body.
My hubby--my biggest fan--and his fellow City of Garland Plan Commissioner, Truett Welborn, toted and traded brand-new cookbooks that were near and dear to their hearts. While Truett got to take home to his wife, Linda, a hot-off-the-press copy of Way Back in the Country Garden, Hubby brought me a copy of Neta's Favorites. As a result I acquired a wonderful new country-fresh recipe . . . and confirmed what I've maintained in my own books--that when special recipes are shared, memories of a person go on forever.
Truett's book is one he compiled to honor his mom, Neta Welborn, who died in 2009. Not only was Neta a reputed great cook for her family, she also prepared food for kids at Greenville Senior High School and Lamar School and in her time also was a church hostess. Some of her recipes, such as Neta's Hot Dogs, were original to her and were highly regarded by students in her cafeteria line.
Along with each recipe Truett included one of his mother's favorite maxims, such as "You never know what you can do until you try" (my mother pontificated this one to me as well) and "What the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve over" (a good warning for those of us who sometimes suffer from "Too Much Information" when we pore over our loved ones' escapades on Facebook.)
The recipe I was happiest to see among those in Neta's collection was one for Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad, which I adore when it's offered at a cafeteria such as Luby's or Furr's but which I never have prepared in my own kitchen. I've always wanted to know just exactly what those cafeteria cooks use in that terrific salad dish, which is just brimming with healthy vegetables.
Now, thanks to Neta (and Truett's work in preserving his mother's masterpieces), all is revealed. Just this past weekend, when we had family members as houseguests, I got to serve Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad (featured below) for the first time. I felt as though I really had accomplished something.
I love what Truett says about his mom: "The reason this recipe book was started was because if your recipes are not shared with your family and friends, they will soon be forgotten, but when they are shared, your memory will go on forever." (Preach on, Brother! Exactly my reason for producing first Way Back in the Country in 2002 and then Way Back in the Country Garden in 2010.)
Best of all he concludes by saying of his mom the same statement I draw about my relatives whom my cookbooks honor: "Most of all I know you loved the Lord and you are now in heaven."
What greater words could ever be spoken--even in a cookbook--of a loved one who's gone before?
Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad
6 to 8 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled (we used turkey bacon)
1 head broccoli
1 to 2 cups grated mild cheddar cheese
1 cup mushrooms
1 head cauliflower
1 small onion
1 cup light sour cream (we used fat-free)
1 cup light salad dressing or mayonnaise (we used fat-free)
1/2 to 1 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
Cut broccoli and cauliflower into bite-sized bits. Chop mushrooms. Toss together all salad ingredients. Mix dressing ingredients and pour over salad. When vegetables are evenly coated, refrigerate at least one hour or overnight before you serve.