Pearl Bailey's Corn and Tomatoes
Pearl says, "Boil corn (cut from cob, garden-fresh, canned or frozen. One pkg. frozen corn works well) with 1 can plain tomatoes, a little dip of sugar (about 2 tbsps.), salt and pepper. Mama would either put in bacon
grease (1-2 tbsps.) or she'd fry a little salt pork (2 tbsps. cut in small dice, fried in skillet) and added to tomatoes and corn. Take a little flour (about 1 1/2 tsps.) and water (1 1/2 tbsps.) and cook to thicken it. Serves 3 or 4."
Thoughts: The success of Pearl's cooking lies in the fact that she cooks by instinct and by restraint. (She avoids the use of extra herbs or spices and adds sugar to bring out the natural flavor of foods. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pearl Bailey's Macaroni and Cheese
4 cups cooked macaroni
1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 pound longhorn cheese
1 small can evaporated milk
Milk (to cover)
Salt and pepper to taste
Run cold water over cooked macaroni. Put in casserole with butter. Cut half of cheese and put on top of macaroni. Pour on condensed milk. Cover with regular milk till it "swims." Add seasonings. Cut remaining cheese into large slices and place on top. Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 1 hour. Serves 6-8.
Pearl Bailey's Rice Pudding
Pearl says, "Take about 2 cups rice (long-grained), cook that (according to box instructions). While the rice is cooking, I throw in my roasting pan--a medium-sized one, big enough to roast a big turkey (at least 17x12x6-inches deep), well-greased:
butter (1 1/2 sticks, cut in bits)
sugar to taste (1 cup plus)
vanilla, about half a bottle (3 tbsps.)
3/4 to 1 box raisins (2 1/2 cups)
eggs galore, 4 to 6 (depending on the size, 4 large eggs work well)
milk, enough so it's actually floating (about 1 1/4 qts.)
Then stir in hot rice. Taste it before baking in 350 degrees or 400 degrees oven (preheated to 400 degrees F.) until it has a nice brown coating on top and that certain firmness (bake about 45 minutes or until silver knife inserted in pudding comes out clean). Cut to serve hot or cold. Serves 12 generously."
Thoughts: In deference to Pearl Bailey's credo--"I can't tell you what quantity to use"--amounts have been kept flexible. (Helpful hints are given in parentheses.)
The pudding is even better the next day if baked until firm but still soft-textured so it can even be reheated. Larger roasting pans shorten cooking time, smaller pans lengthen baking time. Pearlie Mae says, "Some people like it hot or cold. I like it cold. Cook it long enough so you can cut it but don't overcook it. But it's really divine! I must tell you!"
Pearl Bailey's Zucchini with Tomatoes and Corn
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsps. salad oil (olive or corn oil)
6 cups chopped zucchini
1 clove pressed garlic
1 pkg. frozen corn
1 can plain tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Brown onion in salad oil with zucchini and garlic. Put corn on top with tomatoes; simmer until thickened and reduced in volume. Taste to season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.