Granddaddy was Mississippi born, bred and raised in or about Bunker Hill, MS which is close to Columbia which is close to Hattisburg. Not sure the name of the specific community but this is close. He was a carpenter by trade but did some oil field work during the depression to feed his family. A jack of all trades is a good description for him for he also preached during his latter years as a Baptist preacher. I never heard him preach but I saw him reading his Bible and studying a lot but I just never could picture him in the pulpit for he was a pistol ball! I think that is why I see all preachers as not perfect, for I knew my granddaddy. Sorry Ben.
The coffee making came from his years spent in Louisiana and he became partial to their coffee with chicory in it. The best I remember he used Luzianne with chicory for many years and there were hard and fast rules about the coffee making process. These were - never wash the pot with hot water and soap, always begin with fresh, cold water from the well, percolate until strong enough to eat the finish of the spoon and serve hot with nothing added.
Now for those who don't know what a percolator is, it is a metal coffeepot with a basket in it where you put the ground coffee after filling it with water. On the top, there was a little glass bubble thing where as the coffee bubbled you could see it in that little bubble thing. Of course it was not electric but sat on the wood stove or the eye of a gas or electric stove and you had to watch it carefully to keep it from boiling over. There was a fine line between percolating and boiling over and burnt coffee is not a very pleasing smell.
Years later, there were electric versions and this was wonderful for it was set not to get too hot and boil over. That was a miracle for us coffee adicts and then came the drip pot, etc and etc. As you can tell coffee is a staple for me and is at the top of the food pyramid.
Back to Granddaddy. He would start the coffee every morning with fresh cold water and the Luzianne coffee in the pot that had only been rinsed out with cold water and you could smell it all over the house and it was like a bugle call to me. When I would crawl up in his lap as he drank his coffee, he would take a spoon, fill it with coffee, blow on it to cool it off and then slowly let me drink from the spoon. Soon this wasn't enough though and as soon as I could drink from a cup he would fix me my own cup with half coffee, half milk and lots of sugar. Talk about good! That was nectar from heaven or hot stuff from Louisiana.
He also never made a lot of coffee and warmed it up during the day. You had to have a fresh pot several times a day for old coffee was unacceptable. I kinda think that myself although I will drink warmed up coffee if that's all I can find. There is one big line I draw however and that is instant coffee. That would be a "Williamson sacrilege" and I will just do without before drinking that stuff. It would make my granddaddy roll over in his grave to see me drink instant coffee.
I'm so glad that he taught me one of the finer tastes in life and how to enjoy this nectar of the gods. I don't follow all his rules but there are a few:
- Buy good coffee - cheap is cheap and doesn't taste worth a flip
- Drink coffee from a mug when at all possible for you don't have to keep refilling and it stays hot longer.
- If you have to have a cup and saucer - don't saucer your coffee to cool it. That is unmannerly. Now for those that don't know what saucering your coffee might be, it is pouring some coffee in your saucer, blowing on it and drinking from the saucer. That is ill-mannered and only the ones their mama didn't raise right do that. WE DID NOT - our mama raised us right and so did our granddaddy.
- Drink it strong and drink a lot.
So, if you want a good cup of coffee, come on over for I have Granddaddy looking down from heaven to make sure I do it right.
The Georgia Peach