For Frankie Lee, it wouldn't be a picnic without the aunts, not to mention the uncles, cousins and grandchildren, who gather annually for the Mitchell/McGinty family reunion.
Lee, a Fort Worth resident whose maiden name is Mitchell, is one of the chief organizers of the event. In the 15 years since the two family branches held their first weekend gathering, a number of traditions have evolved. That's why McGintys and Mitchells wearing matching reunion T-shirts knew just what to expect when they converged for this year's outing.A hymn, a scripture reading and a prayer started things off. Family members young and old were recognized for their special accomplishments the preceding year. Children rode the zoo train while grown-ups played bingo and dominoes.
But nowhere was tradition more evident than on the food table, laden with family favorites served at the gathering year after year: Debra Mitchell's corn pudding, Ella McGinty's dirty rice and buttermilk pound cake, Aunt Elnora Brown's marinated carrots.
Here are some of the favorite recipes.
ELLA McGINTY'S DIRTY RICE
5 pounds ground beef
5 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 (4.5-ounce) packages Lipton Cajun Rice & Sauce mix
2 (10-ounce) cans Ro-Tel tomatoes
Brown beef lightly and drain well. Transfer to large stock pot. Add water and oil and bring to a boil. Add rice mix and tomatoes, stirring well. Let mixture come to boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for about 25 minutes or until rice is done. Serves 50.
- Nutritional analysis per serving: 199 calories, 8 grams fat, 16 grams carbohydrates, 37 milligrams cholesterol, 429 milligrams sodium, 40 percent of calories from fat.
DEBRA MITCHELL'S CORN PUDDING
3 green bell peppers, chopped
3 onions, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 (6-pound, 10-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained
1 (6-pound, 10-ounce) can creamed corn
2 (4-ounce) cans pimentos, drained
5 tablespoons sugar
5 eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cracker crumbs
Saute first 3 vegetables in 1/4 cup butter. Pour both cans of corn into large disposable aluminum roasting pan. Add sauteed vegetables and pimentos. Whisk together sugar, eggs and flour. Pour into corn mixture and mix well.
Bake in 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter. Remove casserole from oven, sprinkle with cracker crumbs and pour butter over cracker crumbs. Return to oven for 30 minutes. Serves about 50.
- Nutritional analysis per serving: 135 calories, 3 grams fat, 26 grams carbohydrates, 26 milligrams cholesterol, 469 milligrams sodium, 23 percent of calories from fat.
ELLA McGINTY'S BUTTERMILK POUND CAKE
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup solid shortening
1 cup butter or margarine
3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
Cream sugar with shortening and butter. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add 1 cup flour and the baking soda. Add buttermilk, salt and lemon extract. Add remaining 2 cups flour. Bake in greased, floured bundt pan at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes.
For glaze: Combine all ingredients in saucepan and mix well. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for 5 minutes. Pour over warm cake.
- Nutritional analysis per serving: 399 calories, 11 grams fat, 70 grams carbohydrates, 75 milligrams cholesterol, 188 milligrams sodium, 26 percent of calories from fat.
NEYSA KOGER'S RANGER COOKIES
1 cup margarine
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 beaten eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup chopped nuts
Cream first 4 ingredients. Add remaining ingredients in order given.
Drop by teaspoonfuls on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Nutritional analysis per cookie: 103 calories, 6 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates, 6 milligrams cholesterol, 80 milligrams sodium, 51 percent of calories from fat.