The Hen House - Now Offering Fresh Homemade to Order Dishes and Desserts - Shipping Available
Straight Out of The Hen House!
I grew up in Oklahoma and belong to a family made up of mostly women on my Mother’s Side. My maternal grandparents had three daughters who, in turn, all had firstborn daughters and our large close-knit extended family was made up of a female majority. Every one of us, male or female, was expected to excel, or at least attempt to excel, in the culinary arts. My Granny Mitchell’s tiny house on Mohawk Drive in Pauls Valley, America (as she would say) was often filled to the brim with food, family, friends, fun and a whole lot of women and because of this, somewhere down the line in my branch, we began referring to my Granny Mitchell’s home as ‘The Hen House.’
We have been cooking and cooking well for centuries! Our distant grandmother, Mary Randolph, Robert E. Lee’s sister and the first person buried on the grounds of The Arlington National Cemetery, wrote “The Virginia Housewife,” which is the first cookbook to be published in the Americas and it didn’t stop there. A tenacious resolve and spirit were honed as our ancestors migrated down the blue ridge and into Appalachia. The Pioneer Women in our ancestry kept their families alive by creating recipes that included whatever ingredients they could find along a wagon trail and were cooked over an open campfire in a Dutch Oven that clanged on the side of the wagon as they blazed a trail west. Our Great Grandmothers and their mothers managed to create treasured dishes out of the little their families were allotted during the depression and lean times of war rations. My Grandmother’s made the most of post-war era and her forte was entertaining which included huge camping trips, fish fry, block parties, cook outs, and a major family feasts for any excuse of a holiday! Over the years, our family get togethers have grown to include friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and innumerable plus ones and the tiny house can’t hold all the people that spill out onto the porch and yard! Our mothers learned about nutrition and safety and infused that into our traditional recipes, but they always stayed true to their heritage and knew something then, that is becoming widely accepted, today: NOTHING BUT REAL INGREDIENTS WILL DO!
Once, I was trying to break up with a boyfriend and had told him I didn’t know how to cook because I knew he’d never leave if he found out. We were attending a family dinner when the boyfriend complimented my mother’s cooking and proceeded to lament over the fact that I did not know how to cook. My 78-year-old grandmother lit into him with a vengeance I’m not sure he had ever seen and advised him that, “All her girls knew how to cook and are wonderful cooks!” She had no idea why I had not cooked for this fellow because I was trying to get rid of him or that the cat was now out of the bag and tromping all through the mashed potatoes and gravy! As her time with us began to grow short, I could bring that up and we would laugh and laugh and laugh.
So, from time to time, or as any excuse for a holiday grows near, we may extend to you a version of a coveted invitation to The Hen House by offering some of our favorite dishes and desserts for sale. We don’t skimp on real butter, sugar, or cream, so please keep that in mind when ordering and don’t ask us to disrespect our heritage by removing or altering such.
Please email us using the contact form for more information or look for the new Hen House DIshes and Desserts tab to the left of the homepage screen.
- Grasshopper Girl