In the current issue of D Magazine, I wrote this essay on casseroles. The inspiration of the story is my mother, Jo Nichols. She passed away last year but she left me with fond food memories. The strongest being the casserole. Have a safe and restful weekend and hold your loved ones close.
My mother grew up in the rural area around Estelline, Texas, a tiny town located halfway between Wichita Falls and Amarillo. The backyard of her small wooden house was filled with chickens, goats, pigs, and a couple of cows. On the west side of the house, there was a large vegetable garden. My grandmother would walk out back around 3 pm, wring the neck of a chicken, and pluck out the feathers, while my mom and her sister harvested tomatoes and okra for the evening supper.
She escaped Estelline in the late 1940s and headed to Dallas. She married my father in 1950, and, just before I was born in 1952, they moved into a house near Churchill Way and Forest Lane, in what was then Far North Dallas. The mess that is now the LBJ Freeway was a vast prairie where my friends and I rode horses.