My husband Bud is the cook in the family. Seriously. People beg for his potato salad, his cornbread dressing and his Bloody Mary’s. He’s particular though – not the kind of guy who just throws together whatever is in the kitchen for dinner. He’s the kind who makes the cornbread a day early so it dries out just right for the dressing. He’s the kind of guy who knows the difference between Helman’s and Blue Plate. And, he’s the kind of dad who packs his suitcase full of Martha White Self-Rising Corn Meal and Wondra so his girls have the kind of Thanksgiving dinner he’s come to be known for.
He says it’s because he married someone from Wisconsin right out of college who didn’t know the first thing about the Southern cooking he loved. He had to learn it for himself if he wanted dressing instead of stuffing at holiday gatherings. Since then, he’s cooked Thanksgiving dinners every year and his girls travel from wherever they are to have his turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes.
He claims there are a few things you can’t do without in the kitchen. Blue Plate Mayo is one of those. It’s the secret to his potato salad (well, that and a little splash of dill pickle juice) and his pimento cheese. It’s all he’ll eat on a brat or a burger. This 4th of July, we debated a friend over the virtues of Blue Plate over Duke’s when the friend finally said “If you ain’t got Dukes, you ain’t got s*#t!” Bud held firm and the friend agreed he only preferred Dukes because his daddy once sold it and his mother had cases in the house.
We came home from the July 4th holiday in Greenwood, Mississippi, with an order for White Lily flour and 4 jars of Blue Plate from friends here in Arkansas. Seems you can’t get either in Mountain Home. We’ve taken for granted that our favorite products would always be available, and when they aren’t, you resort to stocking up when you can. That’s why a daddy will do whatever it takes to cook the way his daughter’s remember his cooking! Even if it means taking Wondra and Martha White Self-Rising Corn Meal to Wisconsin, or grits to California. A man’s gotta’ do what a man’s gotta do!