Our delightful neighbor dropped in on us last evening. My daughter saw someone approaching the back door as we were having a few restful minutes in the living room. She was rolled up In a fleece wrap on the floor with a small pillow while I was reclining on the sofa and reading aloud to her from Raja Rao’s Kanthapura. Sure enough, the approaching shadow proved more than leafy branches swaying in the evening breezes. Mrs. Tuttle was at the back porch door with her walking stick in one hand and a small bag of goodies in the other.
“I hope I am not interrupting anything,” she said in her gentle southern drawl which has its own way of insisting that she was born and raised below the fateful Mason-Dixon Line of yore. She was raised on a Kentucky farm and was 13 when Gone With the Wind was released.
My daughter and I were thrilled to see her and we insisted that a friendly backdoor visit from a neighbor was always a joyful moment of celebration. She has brought us slices banana bread out of her oven. We immediately made tea and shared a few warm minutes chatting while marveling over button-size lemon cookies that my shouted set out in a small dish.
When the cookies were gone and the conversation was over my daughter walked the octogenarian whirlwind home and returned with her fresh made Kentucky chowchow. Lip smacking delicious and puckerishly tart. I have the recipe in her spidery school teacher writing. I will share it soon. Fresh cabbage, celery, cucumber, onions, carrots, vinegar, oil, and salt, it says. I am fairly sure she is holding out. I’m going to make it with a few variations like julienned jalapeños and Italian parsley.
We had dinner with a side of chow-chow over steaming broccolini stems and homegrown tomatoes.
The blessings of good neighbors are surely one of the greatest of gifts.
Chopped and diced vegetables tossed with drained sauerkraut.
Mix all the ingredients well in a large bowl, cover, and chill overnight.
Optional variations could include a cup of minced Italian parsley and/or one or two Jalapeno peppers, seeded and Julienned, a cup of green olives or even a 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro.