Two for Tuesday: Two Books that Remind Me of Someone

Have you ever read a book and thought one of the characters was a dead ringer for someone you knew?

Today’s #TwoForTuesday writing prompt “two books that remind you of someone,” turned out to be more difficult for me than I had anticipated, but I chose A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman and The Importance of Pot Liquor, by Jackie Seals Torrence. One is a well-known book and the other one not so much.

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman

The main character in this book, Ove, reminds me of a relative of mine who I will not identify for obvious reasons.

Ove is a 59-year-old man at odds with the world. From the opening scene of computer-illiterate Ove attempting to buy a computer from a much younger computer geek store assistant to the scenes in which Ove pays his respects to foreign cars, much of his personality and outlook on life resonated with me and brought to mind my relative. That’s what made much of A Man Called Ove so funny to me.

The Importance of Pot Liquor, by Jackie Seals Torrence

The Importance of Pot Liquor, by Jackie Torrence

Chances are, you’ve never heard of this book. Chances are, you have no idea what pot liquor is unless you’re of a certain age and a native of North Carolina or another state in the American South. I’ll start by giving an explanation of “pot liquor.” It has nothing to do with the alcoholic kind of liquor. It is sometimes spelled “pot likker.”

What in the world is pot liquor?

Pot liquor is the liquid left in the pot after beans or other vegetables have been cooked and removed from the pot. I learned the term from my mother who was born more than 100 years ago on a farm and was one of 10 children. In other words, she grew up in a household where no food was wasted.

Therefore, I also grew up in a household where no food was wasted. We would never (and still wouldn’t dream of) pouring pot liquor down the drain. (Well, actually, I don’t drink or save broccoli pot liquor. I have to draw the line somewhere.)

When a pot of beans or other vegetables had been eaten and only the juice remained, my mother would usually offer the “pot liquor” to me. I rarely turned it down. What my mother knew that I didn’t know is that pot liquor is nutritious. It contains the vitamins and minerals that the cooking water leached out of the vegetables. I just thought it tasted good. My favorite has always been black eyed peas.

To this day, I like pot liquor, but now I usually freeze it. I keep a quart container in the freezer in which I add pot liquor from the cooking of various vegetables. This combination of various pot liquors is eventually used when I make homemade vegetable soup or have a recipe that calls for vegetable broth.

A note about the author

The author of The Importance of Pot Liquor, Jackie Torrence, lived in Salisbury, North Carolina, not far from where her slave ancestors lived on Second Creek. Though born with a speech impediment, Ms. Torrence became a master storyteller and traveled the United States performing her stories and teaching others the craft of storytelling. She died in 2004, confined to a wheelchair due to arthritis.

Back to the book title…

With my explanation of pot liquor (which probably made some of you gag) out of the way, let’s get back to the book that reminds me of someone. I read the book in 2011, so I don’t remember the details of the book. That’s all right, because it is the title itself of Jackie Seals Torrence’s 1994 book, The Importance of Pot Liquor, which reminds me of my mother and also of an elderly family friend and distant relative, Miss Eugenia Lore.

Miss Eugenia and “The Wah”

Miss Eugenia was quite a character and very much a product of her generation and family history. She was born in 1888 in Concord, North Carolina. Her father served in the Army of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. She showed us the canteen he carried in the War which, in her Southern accent, she always referred to it as “The Wah.”

The portrait of Robert E. Lee that hung on her parlor wall had been purchased by her father as part of a fundraiser to secure the money needed to erect a statue of Lee in Richmond, Virginia. If anyone in her presence dared to call it the “Civil War,” she was quick to correct them with the words, “There was nothin’ civil about it!”

Unlike my mother, Miss Eugenia was raised in town. Her mother had “help” as in The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. One time Miss Eugenia made a disparaging remark about pot liquor because no one of her social status would have drunk it, and my mother responded with something like, “Oh, I love pot liquor. You don’t know what you’re missing.” Miss Eugenia was visibly appalled. In her mind, only an African-American household servant would “have” to drink pot liquor.

I agree with my mother. Miss Eugenia didn’t know what she was missing!

Until my next blog post

Thank you, Rae, of “Rae’s Reads and Reviews Blog” for this month’s #TwoForTuesday blog post prompts. I learned about it in her January 8, 2019 blog post:

Let’s continue the conversation

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today.

Is there an “Ove” in your family?

Had you ever heard of pot liquor before reading my blog post? Do you like pot liquor or do you find it disgusting?

What is a book that reminds you of someone?


12 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Two Books that Remind Me of Someone

  1. My dad was Ove only less touchy-feely. I have never heard of pot liquor though I was raised poor, in Oklahoma, as the youngest of 11 kids. But I like it and henceforth it shall be called pot liquor.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m glad I’ve given you a name — and such an interesting one — for that cooking liquid that’s left in the pot. I’ve tried to find the origins of “pot liquor” to no avail. I started reading “Where the Crawdads Sing” last night. Would you believe “pot likker” appeared in the early pages? I had to laugh out loud. I was tempted to get out of bed and edit this morning’s post before it went “live” to include a reference, but I’m basically a lazy person. I have to wonder if it should be spelled “pot licker” because I tend to think that was probably how the term originated. Makes sense to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Funny, I had that thought when reading your blog. Why did they spell it like alcohol? (A: because people will hoard it). I have Crawdads in the queue. Please tell me it is going to be good?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. LOL! Hoarding it. LOL! You crack me up!

    So far, I’m not as enthralled with Crawdads as I had expected. I’m distracted by the writing being so full of Southern accents and I’m from NC for crying out loud! I understand what’s being said, but I’m surprised it’s there to such a degree. Everything I’ve read/heard about writing in 2019 is to use such words (“gonna” comes to mind, instead of “going to”) sparingly, if at all. An example from Crawdads is, “‘Ah b’leeve ya deaf and dumb as all git-out,’ ….” I suppose I’m more surprised by it than distracted by it. It helps put you in the setting. It’s a fraction of the writing, but if I’m distracted and pulled out of the story by it, it’s either too much — or I’m being overly critical. It’s getting such rave reviews, I’m probably just getting hung up on this one thing. I think the story itself is going to be good. Sadly, my Kindle version will disappear back into that library in the sky in a couple of days, so I’m on the waitlist for the actual book. No telling when I’ll get to finish it, but that’s pretty much the story of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That makes sense. That liquid is probably used by cooks all over the world, but maybe it’s just called “pot liquor” in the American South. I had to smile at your reference to gravy. That’s considered a Southern thing in the US. I’m glad you know the joys of gravy in Australia, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you, Janet. I’ll have to think about the question. I enjoyed your choices, especially Eugenia, Sounds like a “character” in more ways than one. Best, David. I hit the “like” button. We’ll see what happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your “like” button seems to be working properly. Mine is still AWOL. I’ll be interested in knowing which two books remind you of someone if you have the time to think about it and respond. Keep working on your book, though!

    Yes, Miss Eugenia was quite a character. She and her sister shared the home in which they were born. Visiting them was a lot like going to a museum. Her sister, Miss Addie, lived to be 97. Miss Addie was the quiet one, probably because Miss Eugenia didn’t give her a chance to talk. Miss Addie did the cooking and Miss Eugenia did the driving. In fact, she continued to drive long after she should have. She had to get her driver’s license renewed before her 97th birthday. She called my mother and exclaimed, “I won’t have to get it renewed until I’m 101!” It turned out that she had to stop driving before that milestone, but she lived to be 105 years old.


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