Rick Bragg's Favorite Meal

Pulitzer Prize winning author Rick Bragg describes his favorite Southern meal made by his Mama.


Hi, I'm Rick Bragg. I guess if I had to pick one thing, to finish up this life with, that my mother made when I was a boy it's, momma would take beef short ribs, and still does. We had it just the other day. Beef short ribs but only if she can get them with fat on them, and I know that sounds indelicate, but only if she can get them with fat. And then adds, and the potatoes are, are, are, are crucial to this. Either small new potatoes, or a big like baking potato. Either one will work. What won't work is all them in between taters. But, let's, let's, let's say she's using baked potatoes. She cuts them into cubes, not big cubes, I mean not little cubes, but, say about the size of a, of a yo-yo. And she takes those and cooks them slow. And lets the liquid kinda naturally just evaporate to where the potatoes begin to cook, and then she adds hot Spanish onions, and let's them kind of sink down into that disappearing liquid. So that at the, the, the absolute perfect moment, that the last dollop of water has cooked outta that dish, the potatoes have begun to kinda puff up and flake, and the onions have begun to caramelize just a little, just a little down there in the bottom of that, that pot. And she cooked, you know, simple corn bread. No cracklins, or, I love cracklins, but, no cracklins or anything special. Just simple cornbread, and green beans, and coleslaw. And there's something about the coleslaw and how it cools off everything else. You could actually take the, the beef and throw it out because, the, the potatoes have absorbed so much of that wonderful, rich taste. it, it sounds simple until you try to duplicate it in a kitchen in Massachusetts or New York or Los Angeles. I tried to do it in Los Angeles and damn near set the place on fire. It's hard to do. And it, it can only be done with your Mama standing over the pot, looking at it, as its dieing. So if I could have one day. That would be it.
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