Fried green tomatoes, ice cream sodas & Kentucky travels

July 31, 2014

in Travels

southern cooking Fried green tomatoes.

 

Kentucky The Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg. I remember coming here when I was about 10.

 

Growing up as the daughter and granddaughter of southerners, I was served a lot of
country cooking: cornbread, fruit pies and biscuits, green beans with ham, fried chicken, homemade bread and butter pickles and jams. These things I could tolerate. But fried green tomatoes, country ham, gravy and grits did not make the cut for this “northerner” and I spent a lot of time wishing that my family would eat more “normal” food like tacos, pizza and pasta.

These days, I can appreciate my southern heritage a lot more and while fried green tomatoes, for instance, are not in my own cooking repertoire, I am happy to have them when I visit my parents. While in Kentucky last week, I had to sample some of the local fare. And to that end, that meant I was compelled to have fried green tomatoes, fried chicken, okra, cornbread, biscuits. I even sampled  my Dad’s country ham and grits (still not a fan, though). It felt like I had stepped back into some of the food of my childhood.

 

Liberty, Kentucky The barn that my Grandfather helped to build in the 1930s.

 

Liberty, Kentucky Liberty is the town where my Mother was born.

 

Then taking the journey back in time one step further, we stopped at a soda fountain in Harrodsburg. The Kentucky Fudge Company is an old-fashioned soda shop that dates back to 1865 in what used to be Dedman’s Drug Store. We sat at the counter and while my Dad had an ice cream sundae, Mom and I each had an ice cream soda. This quaint old store still had many of the old cabinets that were used in the pharmacy and it was fun to look around and see what was there.

And of course, it was good to reminisce. I remember being about 5 years-old and going to the Center Drug Store soda shop that my grandmother used to work at in Cincinnati. (What’s a soda fountain, you ask? It was a small ice cream shop/eating place that was often in a pharmacy). I would sit at the counter on one of the stools that I “had” to spin around on while having an ice cream soda.

Living so far from my “roots,” it felt good to reconnect, to see so many places from my childhood, including the barn that my grandfather helped to build in the 1930s and the small town where my mother was born. It was a good couple of days.

On an extra note, here’s my Mom’s basic fried green tomato recipe, in her words: “Slice the tomato. Beat an egg in a bowl, then add milk or water.  Dredge the tomatoes in flour, dip them in the egg mixture and then in cornmeal (or panko). Fry the tomatoes in either canola or olive oil until golden brown. If the tomatoes are hard, I put a lid on the pan to soften them as they cook. Sometimes I will serve them with a remoulade sauce, but more often just on their own.”

 

soda fountain An ice cream sundae at the Kentucky Fudge Company in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

 

soda fountain At the soda counter.

 

Harrodsburg Pharmacy antiques.

 

Harrodsburg In front of the Kentucky Fudge Company.

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