We didn’t talk much on the ride down the highway to Gretna, a town about 12 miles south of Altavista.
Earlier that day, we had heard from the vet’s office: Sam’s ashes had been returned from the pet crematory. So we had picked up the small, cedar box, gone home and sat together for a while.
We knew we needed to get out of the house, so Larry suggested we go for an early dinner at C & E’s Restaurant.
This restaurant serves Southern, country cooking and includes a buffet. Mashed potatoes with butter, macaroni and cheese, pinto beans, stewed tomatoes, green beans, fried chicken, baked chicken, cornbread—comfort food.
I figured Larry needed comfort food. And I did, too.
So we drove to Gretna and entered the restaurant, quiet before the dinner rush. Soon we had our plates piled with the good food.
A side note: I was raised in the South and in the country, just one county north of where Larry was raised. But there’s a dish that I had never heard of until I met Larry and learned about C & E’s: pig’s feet.
Larry grew up eating pig’s feet occasionally, and he loves them. The only place we know of that serves them is C & E’s, on Fridays.
So last Friday, Larry got his bowl of pig’s feet. He put vinegar on them.
As we started eating, the man who had seated us returned to the table.
“I noticed that you were eating pig’s feet,” he said to Larry. “Have you ever tried them deep fried?”
Larry hadn’t, so the man described how good they were breaded, then deep fried for a few minutes. It gave them a different taste, he said.
“Would you like me to fry you up some?” he asked.
Larry said sure, so the man went back to the kitchen. A few minutes later he returned with a basket of the fried pig’s feet.
Larry thought they were delicious. The man seemed so pleased with Larry’s review and so interested in food, I had to ask him about it.
“It sounds like you enjoy food. Do you love to cook?”
“Well, it’s one of my loves,” he said, laughing.
We chatted for a few minutes. We learned that his family runs the restaurant. He’s an electronics engineer by trade, he said, and has a business in Atlanta, but when he comes home to Virginia, he puts on an apron and helps out at the restaurant.
He talked about fixing turkeys for takeout for Thanksgiving and a little about the process he goes through to get them ready for cooking. He talked about the taste of deep fried turkeys, something Larry and I have never tried.
We had a nice visit with him. And good food.
As Larry and I left the restaurant, we were both smiling.
We had eaten our comfort food. And we had enjoyed good company.
What’s your favorite comfort food dish?