My cooking style evolved based on what I am curious about, and what I can get locally. I have always liked foods that are particular to one culture or another. I make a lot of Asian inspired foods as well as cajun/creole dishes. We don't eat a lot of meat in our house hold, and the Old Woman generally reserved meat for company.
Oddly, I don't make the foods I ate at the Old Woman's table. For the life of me, I cannot make a good pot roast. I blame the lean meat that just isn't as good as what she got.
I have never tried to compete with the Phenom's mother's cooking. She did teach me how she made biscuits. And, although I more or less do exactly what she taught me, the Phenom insists that my biscuits are nothing like hers. I do regret that I didn't claim her cookbooks after she died. (I let the Phenom's aunt take them. I didn't find a treasure trove of hand written recipes or a notebook with her favorites collected. . . I would have claimed those.)
Lately, the Phenom has been bringing up how much he misses fatback on the table. It was, apparently, a staple in his childhood home. Fatback was not only NEVER served at the Old Woman's table, but she would have screamed at the suggestion of it. (Much too unhealthy.)
Today, at the grocery store, the fatback was in a location that I noticed it. Honestly, I have no idea if I've ever seen it in the store before. I'm sure I have, and ignored it. But, I bought a packet of the stuff. I put about half of the packet in a cast iron pan over fairly low heat and turned it a few times. I had the Phenom look at it and tell me when he thought it was "done."
Tonight, dinner was turnips with their greens, new potatoes, and for the Phenom, fatback. (I had sliced radishes from the garden.)
The Phenom said the fatback was as good as his mother's; the highest possible compliment. I understand that memory will taint taste. I'm glad he liked it. I hope he eats what is left in the fridge.