Shannon here: Sherri Wilson Johnson shares a romantic excerpt from her latest Victorian Romance, To Laugh Once More, plus her recipe for fried chicken. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the Aug 1st & 2nd giveaways. Deadline: Aug 31st, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Sherri:
In 1988, I married the love of my life. I didn’t know how to cook, wash clothes, or even make his favorite sweet tea. After spending a lazy week at the beach for our honeymoon in Gulf Shores, Alabama, we returned home to Marietta, Georgia and reality: someone had to feed us.
My favorite recipe of my mom’s was her fried chicken. She refused to teach me how to make it because I might not swoon over hers anymore. One night before I was married, I peeked around the corner of the kitchen wall and watched her. The recipe wasn’t hard to make as far as mixing up the ingredients, but I noticed that she took a lot of care in turning the chicken at just the right time. Of course, she chose the best chicken and knew exactly what temperature to set the skillet on, as well.
So when we returned home from our honeymoon, I decided to make Mom’s fried chicken as our first meal. I just knew I’d make it as perfectly as she did, and I’d win the heart (again) and stomach of my man forever. I’ve included a picture of me making that chicken. The meal actually didn’t turn out too bad. Much better than the meal I made a few nights later. I decided to try my hand at sloppy Joe’s. I was super proud of myself until Dan bit into his sandwich and asked me an all-important question. “Did you drain the grease from the ground beef?”
Was I supposed to? I somehow had missed that part. Well, he was so gracious (as he’s always been when it comes to my cooking) and we had a good laugh (still do when we tell this story to people). He and I both have survived 28 years of my cooking. We’ve grown a little in our waistlines to prove just how much we’ve managed to choke it down.
A family favorite has turned out to be the fried chicken recipe I stole from Mom. I’m so glad I spied on her while she made it because she died two years later, and her recipe would have died with her.
When my son was engaged to his wife, I decided to try the fried chicken out on her. She went on and on and on about it, claiming it was the best chicken she’d ever tasted, and it was then that I gave her permission to marry my son. 🙂
In my second historical novel, To Laugh Once More, my heroine Lydia, a former debutante, learns how to make fried chicken from one of the servants she meets in the general store. Her husband goes crazy when he finds out where she got the recipe and that she learned how to pluck the chicken herself. Yes, she plucked the chicken. How scandalous!
Here’s a little excerpt of the argument Lydia and Hamilton get into:
“What did you do today at the Livingston house that could compare to time spent with women who know of exotic places in this world, who sip their tea from fine Japanese porcelain, and who wear the finest of clothing?”
“I plucked a chicken!” The words tumbled out of Lydia’s mouth like a child down a flight of stairs.
“You did what?”
“I…plucked…a chicken—this chicken.” She pointed to the skillet on the stove and bowed her head. Could she slide down into a heap on the floor and crawl out the back door undetected? How had this dream of a day turned into such a nightmare?
Hamilton covered his face with his hands. “I’m sure I’ll hear of this in the morning—about my disobedient wife who cavorts with servants. And the servants of servants. Be prepared for the looks from people at church on Sunday, Lydia.”
Lydia and Hamilton do eventually get past the issue of her choosing servants as friends over the snobby women of the community, but they have a lot of work to do on their marriage and their romance.
So what’s the secret to my chicken? Just what I learned from my mom: love and patience.
Seriously though, if you want to make some awesome summertime fried chicken, try this:
Fried Chicken Recipe
Preheat a large skillet to medium high heat with about a half an inch deep of sunflower or coconut oil (You can use other oils, if you’d like).
Use boneless chicken breasts (usually one per person), fresh or thawed from frozen.
Cut into strips or nuggets.
Crack one or two eggs into a bowl, stir, and toss the chicken. Sprinkle chicken with a dash of salt.
Roll the chicken in self-rising flour (I always use White Lily).
Place chicken in the skillet. Fry until golden brown on one side. Flip chicken pieces over and sprinkle with California Style Garlic Salt, pepper, and paprika.
After about five minutes, flip the chicken again (once golden brown) and sprinkle with the same seasonings. Keep cooking and flipping until chicken is crispy on both sides and to the proper temperature for chicken. Add some mashed potatoes and green beans and a few biscuits, and you’ve got the perfect summertime Southern meal.
Hopefully yours will turn out as juicy and tender as mine does!
About Sherri: Sherri Wilson Johnson is a multi-published Inspirational Romance novelist, a speaker, and a virtual assistant. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and is passionate about writing, publishing, and marketing. She is the author of To Dance Once More, To Laugh Once More, and When Love Must Wait from her Hope of the South series, and Song of the Meadowlark and Secrets Among the Cedars from her Contemporary Suspense series, Intertwined.
Sherri has been published in 101 Simple Ways to Show Your Husband You Love Him by Kathi Lipp (Harvest House), Powerline 365 by Nicole O’Dell (Choose NOW Ministries), Open Hearts Family: Connecting with One Another by Jane Seymour (Running Press, Hachette Book Group), The Writing Academy’s Daily Devotions for Writers, and several homeschool publications.
She lives in Georgia with her husband and her Chihuahua. She loves spending time with her adult children and friends or curling up with a good book or her current work-in-progress. Sherri loves the ocean, ice cream, anything caramel or cinnamon, AND her family. Learn more and connect: Sherri’s Website
About the book – To Laugh Once More:
A dissatisfied wife. A misunderstood husband. Three tragedies will alter their path forever. Will their choices tear them apart, or will they allow them To Laugh Once More?
Three years after her marriage to Hamilton, former debutante Lydia Barrington Scarbrough is dissatisfied with life. She has yet to have children, and she spends most of her days sitting in a circle of women chatting about homemaking. She thought life would be more than what it’s turned out to be. Hamilton travels on business and never takes her with him. What’s a lonely wife to do when she has no children to raise? She longs for adventure and romance, and really, she longs for the fulfillment of her purpose in life. A purpose beyond being a wife and raising children.
Lydia faces a series of hardships that stretch her faith beyond capacity. Leaving her childhood home in Florida for Georgia proves to be more difficult than she ever imagined, and her marriage may not survive the trials. Lydia’s own personal battles drive a wedge between them. What will it take to make Hamilton attempt to save their marriage and draw Lydia back to him?
As Lydia strives to etch out a place for herself in a new world full of unfamiliar prejudice and attempts to overcome her private battles, she must help Hamilton understand her deepest longings and learn the true meaning of joy. Will she surrender her will in order to find her purpose? Will her future hold a happier marriage, motherhood, and a calling greater than she could ever have imagined?
Can’t wait to get your copy: To Laugh Once More – Amazon
Question for Readers: What do you cook that’s considered a family favorite?
The drawing is for Reuniting with the Cowboy by Shannon Taylor Vannatter and Matchmaker Mixup by Darlene Franklin.
Come back August 8th for Jodie Bailey!