Launch date of Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar will be . . .
January 29, 2015
More details to follow soon. Thank you for your patience.
Thankful to the good Lord for the journey.
Thanksgiving—Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house . . .
Our family nearly always went to Ethel and James Hopper’s house, my mother’s parents, along with cousins and aunts and uncles—a gathering of the clan dressed in their finest attire.
Along with the chatter, the laughter, sometimes drama and tears, and playing games with cousins, I will never forget the food.
My favorite was dipping into the steaming bowl of chicken and dumplings and we never seemed to run out. There were probably dozens of other dishes around the table, but I chose that one more than any other. I did sample the home-canned corn cooked in an iron skillet, bread-and-butter pickles, and finally the jam cake with Carmel icing.
Today, one of our family's favorite is made from some of the Thanksgiving leftovers and we always enjoy it the next day: Kentucky Hot Browns.
The recipe originated years ago at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, but the cheese sauce—perfected by my mother—turned an ordinary-sounding dish into something scrumptious. The secret is in the sauce.
Kentucky Hot Browns
6 T. Butter
1/2 Cup Flour
3 Cups whole milk or you can use part half-and-half
½ t. Salt
½ t. Dry Mustard
1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
2 t. chicken bouillon granules
1 Cup shredded extra-sharp cheese
Melt butter, add flour, and cook one to two minutes or until browned, stirring constantly. I use a whisk. Gradually add milk. Heat until thickened. Add seasonings & cheese.
6 slices toast
Turkey, sliced thin
Ham, sliced thin
6 slices tomato
6 strips Bacon, cooked
Shredded Parmesan cheese—about ¾ Cup
You can make these in individual baking dishes or in a 9x13 pan. Spray dish with Pam.
Arrange toast slices in dish. Add turkey & ham. Cover with cheese sauce. Top with tomato & bacon. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 425 degrees until bubbly.
My daddy joined the Army during WWII, but soon after completing his basic training, he was honorably discharged. I think it was due to his lack of nighttime vision and though he didn’t like to talk about it, I once heard him admit to a friend that being unable to fight alongside his fellow countrymen brought feelings of guilt and shame.
After his discharge, he was determined to help in any way he could so instead of going back to a job he knew, as a coal miner in Kentucky, he became a welder in the shipyards of Mobile, Alabama. He learned to repair damaged battleships or helped build new ones. He could no longer wear a military uniform, but his skills were needed for those thousands who did.
Thank you, Daddy, for serving your country.
My sister, Bonnie Rae, and I were born in 1941 and 1943, respectively. We endured chicken pox, cod-liver oil, and having our tonsils removed—together. Mother sewed us plaid, white-collared dresses with puff sleeves. She platted our hair or clipped it with beribboned bobby pins.
When Bonnie entered first grade, I turned a clock’s hands forward because I thought it would speed her return home. I was a tag-along and a pest.
One day she told me to climb inside an abandoned truck tire. I did, and she rolled me down a hill. When she said a hobo living in the miners’ bathhouse was a boogey-man, I believed her. As young teens, when she walked down our church isle during revival, I followed.
In a school musical, she was cast as a southern belle. I had to black my face and ‘pick’ cotton. She played clarinet. I attempted trombone. She liked to sweep and dust. I baked cornbread and pastries. She favored one aunt, I another. Yet we double-dated, shared prom formals and a wedding dress.
At thirty-eight, Bonnie chose scriptures and hymns for her funeral, gave me her string of pearls. She died of bone cancer. I miss her; wish I could be her shadow still.
I am thankful for the promise of eternal life. One day, when I see her again, we will laugh and dance along the hillsides of heaven.
Who has touched your life with joy?
Give thanks to the good Lord for them.
This page is dedicated to my inspirations and those who have enriched my life along the way.