In Texas, when my parents were still married, we ate fried chicken, mashed potatoes laden with cream gravy, green beans flavored with bits of bacon and buttery light biscuits. Every item on the menu had its own serving dish, and cloth napkins were always used.
“May I have another biscuit, ma’am?” I would say.
“You surely may, Sandra Mae,” my daddy’s mama would reply and everyone would smile. Or we’d have fried pork chops and suck on the salty bones, but only when it was just my mama and me at the dinner table.
In Texas, there were black-eyed peas and ham and all manner of greens and put-up preserves. There was watermelon and homemade ice cream from the hand-crank ice-cream maker. Daddy held a bourbon and water in one hand, and turned the handle with the other, while Mama and my daddy’s mama drank iced tea on the back porch and exchanged polite insults. My grandma didn’t like it that Daddy had married a Mexican.