For two weeks every summer we visited my Nana in Meriden, New Hampshire. My sister and I spent our days in the woods behind her house creating fairy stories, picking wild blackberries in the pasture beyond the wood line and strolling down the road picking Black Eyed Susans and Queen Anne’s Lace for her dining room table. Life was simple, clean, beautiful and full of family and food.
A lazy susan was always at the center of the table and during the summer months was decorated with a crystal vase full of the Black Eyed Susans and Queen Anne’s Lace we had gathered along the roadside. I remember so many meals at that table with the lazy susan at its center holding condiments, silver pieces or food to be passed adorned by the wild beauty of the roadside flowers. Nana detested “the boarding house reach”. Always one for manners and polite conversation at the dinner table, the lazy susan was the perfect table element to avoid such faux pas of social graces. By no means was her table restricted to conversation about the weather or children are seen but not heard. The conversation generally centered around what we had done that day, the next day’s travel pursuits, food or stories of the past. Much like the lazy susan, conversation always rotated around the table; each person telling a story or a quick quip about something humorous or ironic or in the case of my sister and I, our adventures in the woods or the restaurant we had created on Nana’s screened porch. All the while, the lazy susan would spin round and round delivering its treasures to the passerbyer, the Black Eyed Susans and Queen Anne’s Lace swaying in the artificial breeze.
Beth McKibben is the Food Editor for Twisted South Magazine as well as a freelance writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a PK (preachers kid) and the daughter of an Alabama mama. Along with her father, Beth’s large Southern family full of aunts, uncles, cousins and steps has been the greatest inspiration in her writing. Growing up in New England but considered a daughter of the South by her Alabama family, Beth has a unique perspective on Southern culture, food and the characters of this beloved land.