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This picture was taken early one  summer morning by my mother-in-law near their home in Wolfe County, KY. 

Family reunions are one of the best events of the summer. Today we went to the Nickell family reunion and were treated to good company and a flat bed trailer full of delicious country food. Fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, meat loaf, salads, casseroles, breads and desserts were in abundance. The family reunion is the perfect example of how good company makes food taste even better. I ate two platefuls and then dessert. I was so full!

These get-togethers are a great way to reflect on who we are and where we are from. While the majority of the family were seated in the yard on picnic tables and around card tables, the elders of the family sat on the porch, almost as though they were surveying the results of everything they had ever worked for- the children and grandchildren, their farm land, and peace of mind. So much has changed since our families first settled into Kentucky. Today we have instantaneous technology, instant gratification, and ultra-processed foods. Family reunions are a way to bring us back to a slower (and, perhaps, better) time when conversations were had face to face. When food was fresh and the culmination of a summer’s worth of hard work.

This is one of my most favorite dishes my mother-in-law makes. I can eat it until I am nearly sick. The whole combination is just divine. The name sounds kind of strange but you should try it. It is so fantastic!

This picture does not do this recipe justice. It is much prettier prior to serving but it gets all mixed up on the plate. 

Cornbread Salad

  • 1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dry mix
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 9-inch pan of cornbread, crumbled
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 3 ounces of bacon, crumbled
Combine salad dressing mix, mayo and sour cream. Set aside. In a 9×13 inch pan, layer remaining ingredients in the order listed above. Top with salad dressing mixture. Refrigerate then serve.