Saturday, October 06, 2012

Grandmama Aliph

I was just six years old when my grandmama Aliph died, so I don't remember her well. But I do recall that she was a kindly old lady not prone to excitement or high emotion. She enjoyed relaxing in her rocking chair on the pizer. My aunt Thelma describes her as "reserved," which makes the following story that much more noteworthy.

One afternoon she was hostess for a gathering of the Methodist Women's Society of Christian Service.

As sometime happens, even to folks who try their best to see the good in everyone, one particular woman's personality had been ruffling my grandmother's feathers for some time. Her obsequiousness and passive aggressive demeanor was becoming unbearable.

For refreshments grandmama Aliph served a favorite island dessert, blackberry dumplings with egg sauce (see egg sauce recipe below). The woman turned to my grandmother, and in an unctuous tone, announced "I could eat these until I died."

My grandmother's droll reply: "I wish I'd made more of them, then."

Ocracoke Island Egg Sauce:

3 eggs at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon extract (or sometimes 1 tablespoon of vanilla, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and a little nutmeg)

Separate eggs. Beat the whites until stiff. Add sugar, a little at a time and beat well. Add egg yolks and lemon extract. Pour sauce over dumplings.

 Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a gallery of photos of fences on Howard Street and Lawton Lane. To go directly to the this month's Newsletter click here:


  1. Anonymous10:24 AM

    Thanks :D I needed that!

  2. debbie s.10:46 AM

    HA! i can relate ;)

  3. Anonymous12:03 PM

    Oooh, indeed. Does this allow for the debate between Aliph's remark --was it sarcastic or facetious? Yes there is a fine line, I say facetious.

  4. Anonymous3:53 PM

    HA!!!HA!!!! HEE!!!!! Your grandmother reminds me of a lady I teach in Sunday School class. Love her sense of humor.

    Gotta share this one...this lady I'm talking about has a dry sense of humor. One of the fellows in our class was a constant talker. When Jessie had something on his mind, the man would twist in his chair 'til he nearly fall off his seat just to get my attention. One Sunday, our subject was on death. Jessie started getting restless and I called on him. He replied, "I'm sorry to interrupt your lesson, Ms. Nancy, but I just want to tell everyone I'm not afraid of dying. No sir! I just want to make sure I'm good and dead though when that wooden lid comes down on me." Without missing a beat, the lady who reminds me of Philip's grandmother replied in a deep and monotone voice, "Well, Jessie, if you ain't talking, then you'll be good and dead!!!!"

    NC Mainlander couldn't resist sharing.....

  5. Anonymous6:00 PM

    That was in SUNDAY School!!!! She should repent. Hate the sin ---love the sinner. That is a tough road to hoe for that woman. She is mean spirited

  6. Anonymous7:12 PM

    Thanks for the humorous antidote.
    I Googled for recipes and found two styles of blackberry dumpling,one where the prepared blackberries are placed and wrapped in the dough before baking, and the other where the the dough dumplings are dropped into the blackberry mixture and cooked. Which style did your grand mother use?

    TTFN Bear MacDonald

  7. Bear, here is a wonderful article about traditional Ocracoke Island blackberry dumplings:

    This will answer your question.

  8. Anonymous3:11 PM

    NC Mainlander wants to assure fellow bloggers that everyone, including Jessie, laughed after hearing the comments from the lady in my S.S. class. Jessie nearly fell off his chair from laughing so hard. In fact, it took me several moments to gain control of the class because we were all in stitches! I teach the class with the oldest church members (up to 93 years old and counting) and each one is a joy to teach! They are a spirited bunch with lots of sage & wisdom and yes, some dry humor, too!