This is the backstory to my Oven BBQ Country-Style Ribs recipe. Go here for the full recipe.
In order to supplement Granddaddy’s modest wage that he earned at the Cotton Mill in Geneva, Alabama, Granny sewed for the public and babysat. For years, she sewed on her mother’s hand-me-down peddle sewing machine. She was jubilant when the time came that she could finally afford an electric sewing machine.
“This will sho’ make quick work out of a-sewing a dress”, she declared.
It seemed like she had as much sewing work as she wanted. She would always make sure to carve out enough time to sew for my sisters and I, thank Heavens. Our wardrobes were primarily composed of hand-me-downs and the clothes Granny made for us. For as long as my mother could get away with it, she had Granny make us matching Easter dresses. I’m unsure what caused that trend to stop. Maybe my mother realized we really were getting to old to dress alike. Maybe one of us revolted.
She babysat off and on for people in the town who needed child care so they could work. I recall when she babysat for my Aunt Dottie who was on the other side of the family. Granny was my mother’s mother and this aunt married one of my father’s brothers. But, typical of a small town, there are so many connections and everybody winds up being family in some way. I long for that feeling of connection. God bless small towns everywhere.
Dottie did shift work at the shirt factory and had a baby. Granny often talked about cooking ribs for them when she was at their home watching the baby. That was a happy time for Granny. She loved cooking for people and she dearly loved babies. She told about cooking country-style ribs and how she would put them on to cook as soon as she got to work. They would cook on a low heat for half a day. She cooked them in BBQ sauce which served as a braising liquid. According to her, the ribs fell apart as they were removed from the pan. Good, tender, tasty, meaty ribs. There’s nothing better.
Each time she told the story, she would interject that when Dottie came home for dinner (lunch) from the shirt factory, the ribs were “good and ready”. And each time she told the story, she would say,
“Dottie would go to a-eatin’ them ribs and say, ‘Oh, Miss Phillips! These is the best ribs I ever put in my mouth!'”
I cook oven BBQ ribs a good bit and think of Granny each time I do. I changed her method a little over the years, but the principal is the same. And, each time I feed these ribs to people, they go on and on about how good they are. And, just like Granny, I like to tell that part of the story, too.
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