In our Family Recipes & Stories: Volume 2, Karen Clark Rasberry shares southern anecdotes and recipes that are essential to the Mississippi way of life. Karen Rasberry is Erin's mom and an IPPY-award winning author and realtor in Laurel, Mississippi. When she isn't playing competitive league tennis, you'll find her playing on the banks of the family's lake with her grandchildren or sharing her favorite southern stories here. Her most notable novels are A Southernmost Journey and Travelers In Search of Vacancy.
There's an old saying we've all heard since the beginning of time: "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach." However; I would like to recommend: "The way to a man's wallet, checking account, credit card, life insurance policy, and retirement savings is through cooking him a pot of chicken and dumplins'."
It's truly amazing what persuasive powers lie within in a little flour and shortening. Here in the South, the humble dumpling reigns supreme as the ultimate comfort food. They are really in a class all by themselves. Homemade buttermilk biscuits rank very high on the sacred food and not the main course. Because we throw in a little chicken, dumplins' magically become the main course. Chicken and dumplins' are what filet mignon to a Little Debbie snack cake. To a man, it is a Hail Mary pass that wins the game. It's a 20-yard putt for birdie. It's catching a 10-pound bass on your birthday. It's bagging a 50-point buck on opening day on hunting season. You get the picture.
Men believe that making dumplins' is one of the ultimate acts of love and devotion. They watched their mothers and their grandmothers labor for hours with a wooden rolling pin, flour and shortening. Some of them even witnessed an unfortunate hen being sacrificed at the altar for the sake of chicken and dumplins.' They believe that any woman who would do this for them should be exalted, lifted up, adored and held in esteem above all others. Little do they know, that Mrs. B has taken all the work out of making dumplins' while leaving all the glory and adoration in place. Ladies, don't throw away your rolling pin just yet. Put it out on the counter and sprinkle flour all over and around it. For special effects, spill some on the floor and then dab it on your face and in your hair so he'll know just how much work is involved in the process of showing him love.
For women, making a pot of chicken and dumplins' can put a buffer zone (a free pass, if you will) between you and purchasing a large unbudgeted item such as a $3000.00 leather sofa or a $40,000.00 car. Sofas and cars are kind of impossible to hide in plain sight, so you must always have a pot of dumplins' simmering on the stove as a distraction for the unbudgeted item you just bought. When he says, "You bought a car without discussing it with me!!?" You say, "But, look baby, I made dumplins'. Sit down and let me fix you a plate."
My suggestion is to use the persuasive power of dumplins' to buffer the blow only for items you can't hide in plain sight. Diamond and gold jewelry, designer purses and shoes, botox, etc. can go unnoticed for years until one day he might ask, "Did you get a new (whatever)?" And you innocently reply, "Naw, this is just an old (whatever) I bought at (wherever) five years ago."
There's wonder-working, persuasive power in dumplins'. Use it wisely, my friends. — Karen Rasberry