Tuesday, January 31, 2017



When Marguerite Roseberry married the oldest Ellis boy, after she finished at Mississippi Southern and he was going for his CPA at State, the ladies of the town gave several nice parties to honor the young couple.

One of the fetes was a Cocktail Supper, out at ShadyLawn on Quinn Bayou Road, at the big old family home of the Meltons---four couples went in together and threw the party. Sissy and Perk Covington, of course, as the Melton’s nearest neighbors, and the Kings and the Heafners.

They hired a lot of the food from a nice woman who worked out of her home kitchen, and had done a lot of the local parties, and they all went in together on the Marinated Shrimp and the Tenderloin in Yeast Rolls and the Caviar/Avocado mold, but the hostesses all contributed a dish or two of their own. Something about the Kitchen-Pride of a Southern Woman just WILL NOT let her set down all “Bought Food” for a gathering she’s hostess of, NO MATTER HOW GOURMET OR HOMEMADE IT IS. 

Now Sam's food, and Costco food---those are exceptions---those lovely croissants and Bagel Bites and the paper-thin salmon or already-cut little perfect cheese cubes (in three flavors) (with flags!) are quite acceptable, right out of the packages. Other stuff needs gussying up a little bit, like Miss Sandra would counsel---just pouring the small marinated Mozzarella balls into a pretty glass dish isn't quite right---you need to toss in some shiny grape tomatoes, to take away the "bought" look. 
And a pound cake, snapped right out of the clear plastic store box, flipped upside down on a cakestand and anointed with some lemon and powdered-sugar glaze, run all down to pool on the plate for even more of a homemade effect---now THAT you could set down as Preacher Food, anytime.

And so Sissy made a big platter of Crab Rollups, with cream cheese and green onion tops and a big black pound can of Phillips crabmeat, all stirred together with a clop of Blue Plate and some powdered garlic. She spread it on big flour tortillas and rolled them up, snugging them into a 9x13 pyrex with waxed paper between the layers. They needed to sit overnight in the fridge under damp Vivas to get the flavors just right, and firm up the filling.

On the afternoon of the party, she cut all the uneven ends off the tortillas, then cut them in half, half again, and then once again, to make eight neat pinwheels. She laid them in pretty rows around a big clear fish-shaped platter she had bought right out of the cold case when the folks at Piggly Wiggly realized how above themselves they had got for such a small town, so they’d closed down the seafood department and sold off all the equipment.

She put a clump of frilly parsley down on the tail-end, and arranged about a dozen tiny red crawfish claws in the green cushion---when Perk went to get a plate of crawfish off the hot buffet at the Super Lucky Eight several weeks before, Sissy told him to pick out some with some good-sized claws. She had yanked off the biggest of the tee-ninecy claws, and stashed them in a napkin for the trip home, where she rinsed them off and stashed them in a baggie in the freezer.

Sissy just feels like she should warn whatever folks need warning that there’s SEAFOOD in there.  And it’s real pretty.

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