Nothing Tastes Quite Like Mom's Home Cookin'

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MY mother's kitchen makes my mouth water. Even if there are no aromas stirring in the air, I know of the possibilities to be found in the form of luscious leftovers. I know everyone thinks their mother's cooking is the best, but I know for certain, and I have two sons as witnesses to prove it.

Whenever the boys want to visit my parents, the motive is freely expressed. ''Mom, can we go to Grandma's and get something good to eat?'' You won't get anything less than good food from my mother: She's incapable of mediocre cooking.

Grandma's specialty is fried chicken and homemade biscuits. No one, including Colonel Sanders and Bojangles, can fry chicken like my mother's. I used to think her secret for crispy, falling-off-the-bone tender fried chicken was the black iron skillet she used, until she gave me one. She even ''seasoned'' it for me by rubbing it with lard and brown paper bags. Of course, she never told me the amount of lard to use since she only measures in globs, pinches, and dabs.

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It wouldn't matter anyway. When I put the chicken in to fry and then proceed to turn it, it never fails to stick to my well-seasoned skillet.

My mother's homemade biscuits are another delicacy I'll never duplicate. I've watched her hundreds of times with her hands in the dough skillfully kneading and stopping to add a tad more buttermilk or flour until the dough is just right. When she rolls it out and starts cutting out the biscuits, I realize she is still using an empty Vienna-sausage can turned upside down. She reminds me of a potter working with clay. Her touch is gentle, yet confident. The result is extraordinary.

My boys love to tease me, when we eat at my mother's house, about my tendency toward repetition.

''Mom,'' my youngest son reminds me, ''You already said this was the best meal you ever tasted. You said that last time we ate at Grandma's. You say that every time we eat at Grandma's.''

''Do I?'' I answer, feigning innocence. ''If I do say that every time, then it must be because it's true. Now would you please pass the biscuits and more fried chicken?''

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