Writing inspiration comes from the strangest places. I often stress over what my blog topic is going to be, but the other day a Facebook Meme really got to me. Well, maybe not so much the meme, but the person who posted it. Which led to a comment about a mutual friend who jumped in and pretty soon we were walking down memory lane. Here’s the meme:
My parents divorced when I was five years old. Divorce wasn’t as common back then and it was even rarer for the father to get full custody of the children. My father did get custody of me and my younger brother, but he was a truck driver and away a lot, so we all moved in with my grandparents. Now, I’m not going to complain about my family life because my grandmother was an angel from heaven and I had a wonderful childhood, thanks to her. But I secretly envied my friends that had the “perfect” family.
Two of my closest friends had the kind of family my childish heart dreamed of. Some of my favorite memories are of sleepovers at their house. Truth be told, they spent just as many nights at my house, but oh how I loved going to their house.
At Lisa’s house we made homemade ice cream, fought the Empire while vying for Luke Skywalker’s affections, rode horses, played in the stock tank, annoyed her two older brothers and giggled half the night. Okay, well, maybe I did most of the giggling and Lisa begged me to go to sleep. Evenings at Lisa’s house were nothing short of blissful to me. After I was grown, Lisa’s mother confessed that she hated letting me sleepover because I never wanted to go to bed and often kept Lisa up until the crack of dawn.
Kaci’s house was just up the hill from me and the two of us would spend hours running around Little Mountain. [Shameful plug here, it is the same Little Mountain that appears in my March book Her Texas Rebel.] While her parents were a little stricter and I often though Kaci had way too many chores, (I have since discovered that she didn’t. I was just raised by a grandmother who found it easier to do things herself than to train me to do it. Yes, I was spoiled.) the love in that home was evident in how they treated each other and their guests. ***Side note: Kaci's family was a huge inspiration for the setting of my book. Her parents volunteered at Cherokee Home for Children and later her father was one of the administrators of the home. Sadly, he fell and hit his head while playing in a staff basketball game for the home and died from his injury. Kaci now continues her father's wonderful work with the home. Without her expertise and willingness to answer a million questions, Her Texas Rebel would've never been finished.
Now you may have gathered from my previous comment that I’m a night owl, not a morning person at all. Oh, but Kaci’s mom had me wanting to be the first one up. Every time I spent the night, breakfast consisted of homemade biscuits and chocolate gravy. Now, I grew up in Texas where biscuits and gravy are a staple, but I said CHOCOLATE gravy, people. I’m pretty sure I would’ve stayed the night even if Kaci wasn’t there.
Once I was grown, I introduced my own children to the beauty of chocolate gravy. Of course, I saved it for special occasions, like when they had sleepovers. My kids admitted to begging people to spend the night just so I would make it. And a few weeks ago I got a phone call from one of my sons friends, begging for the recipe. At twenty-one years old, he still wants to come over to have chocolate gravy.
Kaci graciously allowed me to post her mother’s chocolate gravy recipe here for your enjoyment. I hope your family likes it as much as mine.
1 stick margarine, melted
½ c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa
¾ c. sugar
1 can evaporated milk
1 c. water.
Add flour, cocoa and sugar to butter. Stir in liquids. Stir and heat while it thickens.
That one little meme brought back such wonderful childhood memories. What about you? Do you have a favorite food from when you were a child? I’d love to hear about it.
Click on the link if you would like to learn more about Cherokee Home for Children and the wonderful work they do for children in central Texas.
After her favorite aunt gave her an old box of Harlequin romance novels, LeAnne dreamed of becoming a writer. Life happened and LeAnne followed her country boy from a small town in central Texas to a small town in southern Arizona where she spent 25 years corralling three of her own children and 20+ kindergartners. Now an empty nester and new grandma, she is pursuing her dream of bringing you emotional stories that make you hold your breath waiting for that first kiss. Her motto is "Country roads, small towns & happily ever after."
What a great post! I've never had chocolate gravy, although I've heard of it. I brought the love of egg noodles from childhood, but I'm not sure why.ReplyDelete
Ah...my kids loved egg noodles with butter. That's was one of my husband's favorite foods!Delete
Chocolate gravy! Who knew? One of my favorite childhood treats was chocolate chip pancakes. I'll admit, I ate them in college also. Fun post, LeAnne!ReplyDelete
I didn't know such a thing existed until my first night at Kaci's house. I would have to say that chocolate chip pancakes are right up there on my list of favorite foods, too.Delete
LeAnne, I love this! Thank you for taking us with you on your trip down memory lane. So wonderful how these snippets inspire your writing. I just spent the weekend with three of my childhood besties. So much laughing and reminiscing about life and friendship in our little town. Chocolate gravy looks delicious. What a fun treat! One of my favorite childhood foods would have to be pickled salmon. My best friend's dad (she was also my neighbor) was a fisherman and an amazing chef. He would pickle salmon in Mason jars, give us long wooden skewers, and let us eat it right out of our own jar! Yum.ReplyDelete
Sorry for the delay! I had to step out of the house to build a fence around my garden. :) Isn't it great getting together with childhood friends? I've never tried pickled salmon. I'll have to put that on my "when I'm feeling brave" list, lol.Delete
LeAnne, love the inside look at you growing up. And dang, your recipe makes me hate even more that I had to give up chocolate. I did make chocolate chip pancakes for my kids at times, but never chocolate gravy. Who knew?ReplyDelete
I know! I didn't know either until Kaci's mom introduced me to it. If I had to give up chocolate....well....I can't even go there. It's too tragic to think about!Delete
Chocolate gravy is a staple in N. Mississippi. lol We even have it at Wednesday night church meals when breakfast is the menu. :-) Watermelon is my favorite memory. My dad would cut one after the lightning bugs came out and we'd share with all the neighborhood kids.ReplyDelete
Really???? I wonder if my friend's mom had Mississipi connections? And watermelon!!! I could write another post about watermelon! We never sliced it up but cut it in half and everyone got a spoon and dug in. I miss lightning bugs, too. We don't have any here in my part of Arizona. I don't miss blister bugs, though. :) You are bringing back a lot of childhood memories, too!Delete
First heard of chocolate gravy from my Alabama son in law. Tried a recipe but I don't think he was impressed. Next time he's home I'll try yours. Thank you! Grandmas are great aren't they. Mine made the best raisin filled cookies.ReplyDelete
I've tried several different versions of chocolate gravy and this one is by far the best! I hope your son-in-law likes it!Delete
I'll need the biscuit recipe too! :)Delete
Love the post! Thank you for sharing the recipe. What a great, chocolate gravy! I grew up on plain ole biscuits and gravy and how delicious they were.ReplyDelete
You're welcome, Melanie. I hope you like the recipe. I still love biscuits and gravy.Delete
I'm from the south so biscuits and gravy is totally a meal lol. I haven't had chocolate gravy though! Must try :).ReplyDelete
Yes, Rula, you have to try it! Let me know what you think.Delete
What a great post!! I don't think I knew chocolate gravy was a thing but of course it must be! Sounds amazing! One of my favorite childhood memories was playing outside with all the neighborhood kids--in one back yard in particular because they had a rickety clubhouse (someone fell off and broke their arm at one point--not me, LOL). Thanks for bringing that all back to me!ReplyDelete
Glad it wasn't you that broke their arm! We did a lot of crazy things when we were kids, didn't we. Today we'd look at a sturdy tree house and say "What? Are you crazy?"Delete
Wow, chocolate gravy. It moves biscuits and gravy to an entirely new level of yum.ReplyDelete
When I think of growing up in West Texas, chicken-fried steak is the food that comes to mind. Oh, and church ice cream suppers. My mother always made peach ice cream from the peach trees my grandparents planted.
Chicken-fried steak! Love that too. I make it a lot except now days I use elk meat instead of beef. I love peach cobbler, so I beat peach ice cream would be amazing too. I'll have to try that.Delete
Oh LeAnne, I loved reading about your childhood memories. My friends did sleepovers also. In fact, my high school girlfriends still get together for a slumber party twice a year. We laugh and play cards and get caught up on the news. And we always go out for ice cream sundae. Yum Love your gravy recipe. Will try it. And I was so interested in hearing how Little Mountain came to be in Her Texas Rebel. That was such a sweet story. I loved how Tony and Bree were able to help the children their using their own special gifts. Great writing, girlfriend.ReplyDelete
Aww! Thanks Sandra!I fly to Kentucky every few years to see another childhood friend and we have the best time! I'd love for it to be a yearly thing like that. :) Thanks for the shout out for Tony and Bree.Delete
First off, OH.MY.GOD! Chocolate gravy! I will definitely be making that. I love me some biscuits and gravy - any kind of gravy! Secondly, I totally understand about wanting the perfect family. My mom has been married and divorced twice and my dad has been married and divorced four times. I grew up in a very dysfunctional family with constant fighting,and if I had a penny for every time my mother took us kids and ran away from her problems I'd be rich right now. When I was a teenager, I spent many weekends with my best friend and her family because I craved the happiness her family shared (and the peace and quiet that comes from NO bickering). So, yeah...I get it. Great post, LeAnne!ReplyDelete
Hi Stephanie! I'm so sad that your family was dysfunctional, too, but thank goodness for best friends! Let me know how you like the gravy.Delete
Thanks so much for sharing those memories. I one of the reasons I write about the many ways families are created or really, "put together" is because the so called "standard" type didn't fit in some ways, anyway. I'm glad you shared this piece of yourself and the information about Cherokee Home for Children.ReplyDelete
You're exactly right, Virginia! Family is at the center of Heartwarming stories and they come in all flavors. One of the many reasons I love Heartwarming!Delete
I don't think chocolate gravy has crossed into Alberta. My best childhood memories come from raiding our giant garden, and I mean, giant, as in 600 pounds of tomatoes alone, one year. Anyway, afternoon snacks were digging out a carrot and washing it at the pump. And peas, just when they are newly round and make the tiny pops as you chew.ReplyDelete
Huge thanks to Kaci and her father for the work they've dedicated their lives to, and thanks to you, LeAnne, for sharing your memories.ReplyDelete
The favorite food from my childhood that comes to mind for me is a potato salad my mother made.
Best wishes with your books, LeAnne!
Chocolate Gravy? And I'm not even in Heaven yet....ReplyDelete