Laughin’, Talkin’ Southern, and Cookin’ Fried Green Tomatoes

Last week, I wanted fried green tomatoes in a bad way. Just couldn’t remember how to make them so I called Mother. After being diagnosed with CELIAC DISEASE six years ago, I hadn’t eaten any.

 “I love it when you ask me cooking questions,” she said. “Makes me think I’m a good cook.”

“You are. You just don’t like to cook.”

“I’ve never made fried green tomatoes, but it’s probably like frying okra. Oh, look,” she said. “One of the stray kitties I’m feeding is sitting in my jardiniere.” ( Jawwww-den-ah-yah is how she pronounced it.)

I had no idea what the word meant. And once Mother starts talking about animals, you’ve lost her. I just wanted some fried green tomatoes.

“I’ve been feeding two of the sweetest–”

“I know about the cats. I don’t know what that other word means.”

Jawww-den-ah-yah? It’s the cement thing on the porch that holds flowers. Your grandmother loved jawwww-den-ah-yahs. I’m going to start saying it all the time. Jawwww-den–ah-yah. Jawwww-den-ah-yah. It’s a wonderful word. Say it.”

I wanted to talk about tomatoes, but the softest, sweetest thought bubbled up.

This moment is a gift. Enjoy it.

“Okay. Jawww-den-ah-yah,” I said.

Then we got tickled for a minute or twome calling for a recipe and her talking about jawww-den-ah-yahs.

When we finally stopped laughing, she told me to soak the tomato slices in egg and milk.

“For how long?”

“When I don’t know the answers to your questions, I make something up.”


“Soak them ever how long you want to. Just get your oil good and hot.”

“Do I dip them in cornmeal and flour?”

“If you want to.”

The only thing that beat my fried green tomatoes was laughing about jawwww-den-ah-yahs.

Mother doesn’t follow recipes. Or too many rules.

She believes laughter bonds people together.

She’s right.

I just had to let go first.


 Say jawww-den–ah-yah a couple of times and make some fried green tomatoes today. 🙂

P.S. For my gluten-free friends, I used PAMELA’S GLUTENFREE PANCAKE AND BAKING FLOUR. No cornmeal.






  1. Kay Elrod says:

    Such sweet memories!!! I love it.
    Blessings to you both.

  2. Anna Haney says:

    LOVE this. You and your mom bring to mind Momma and me when she is having a good day. There is nothing as wonderful as just getting tickled to the point of not being able to talk and you are laughing at something that no one else would really get —those family, insider jokes. I thank God for moments like that–the ones you have with your momma and the ones I have with mine. And I truly thank God for you!

    • I know–nothing like that kind of funny, Anna. And everybody wouldn’t understand the bizarre humor.

      I’m thankful for you. You’re an amazing encourager!! Hugs to you and your precious family.

  3. Hi Julie

    What an inspiring blog! You and your mother share more than looks – a heart for God and others.

  4. Julie, I just love your posts, especially when your mom is included! She’s such a neat, unique individual, and you two are so blessed to have such a wonderful relationship. I can just hear here say “jawww-den-ah-yah!” And the fried green tomatoes look so good! But I think I gain weight just looking at the pictures 🙁

    • I know, Marilyn. I’ve been whispering, “Jaw-den-ah-yah” all afternoon. Can’t quit saying it!! I had leftover fried green tomatoes yesterday. They were almost as good. I guess they’re my pound cake these days, since I can’t have any. 🙂

  5. Melinda Franklin says:

    Those tomatoes look delicious! And so are you and your mom. Miss my mama every day. I have to call Melodie for recipes. And isn’t a “jawww-den-ah-yah” a flower?

    • I didn’t know your mama is in heaven, Melinda. So sorry. “Jawwww-den-ah-yah” is a pot for flowers. I was a little afraid to ask her what it mean. :/ I thought it might have been a mini-toilet or something. Give my love to your sister!

  6. donna schmoyer says:

    Fromdonna schmoyer

    ToJulie Garmon

    perfect post. you beautifully describe an interaction we all yearn for & seldomn experience. but we got to experience it with you! many thanks.

    • Oh, thank you, Donna! And I had to quit pushing my way to have that sweet experience. I wanted to say, “Mother! Enough about Jawww-den-ay-yahs! Just tell me how to make my tomatoes. 🙂


  7. YUM!! That’s one of the first things I tried when I moved to Georgia – pronounced Jaw-jah. I learned to say it right, too. ;o)

    • Yep, you’ve got Jaw-jah down pat, Ane. Can’t think about you without smiling. And laughing too! Looking forward to next month’s get-together. 🙂 Maybe I’ll bring some fried green tomatoes!

  8. How fun! You lit my day up with smiles, a new word, and a quirky notion to try fried green tomatoes! One of the 1st things I’m going to do when I get to heaven- catch up on being a friend with my momma! hugs Julie!

    • Awwww, Cindy. Your words pricked my heart–catching up with your momma in heaven. Love you, precious friend.

      Fry your green tomatoes! I bet Bethany will love them. 🙂

  9. Brenda Greene says:

    Another wonderful blog, Julie Girl!! Feel SO connected to you and your Mom having read all of her books and now enjoying these blogs with you! My Mama “stepped over” nine years ago Oct. 8 (she would have been 92 on Nov. 9). Loved calling her to get a “long-lost” recipe and now our youngest does the same with me…just the other day: “Mama, walk me thru making gravy.” Priceless.

    Your fried green tomatoes looked SO good, made my mouth water and jaw tingle just remembering that distinct taste! Last Friday we were visiting hubby’s Mama at her assisted living home. We were sitting up front chatting and waiting for the ‘lunch call” when the wonderful dietitian came out with a bowl offering to those of us sitting there…fried green tomatoes!! Been way too long since I enjoyed them (hubby doesn’t eat ’em). But that’s okay, his Mama and I enjoyed ours immensely!!

    Happy Julie Day, Sweet Friend! Love and hugs!! Brenda

    • This is EXACTLY what I’m talking about, Brenda. And, oh, for years, I didn’t think too much about it…calling to get a recipe as being a Divine moment. But it sure is. I love how you say, “Stepped Over.” Have never that! Beautiful.

      And Happy Brenda day to you. Sooo happy you got to taste one of our favorite foods again. Surely they’ll have them in heaven.


  10. Fried Green Tomatoes. I have to admit I have never had them and probably won’t (kind of a funny color for me). I do like red ones, though. And those I like to slice about a 1/4 inch thick, lay the slices on a piece of tin foil, then sprinkle the top of the tomato with Parmesan Cheese. I bake them in the oven until brown-ish. Makes a lovely addition to a dinner plate without a lot of fuss!

    So, let’s make a deal. I’ll join you with the tomatoe part, but mine will be red, okay?

    • Ooooh, your dish sounds delish, B.J. Yum. And, I have to admit, more healthy than mine. :/

      Sounds like a wonderful deal, Pal of Mine!

  11. Kim says:

    Oh, I love fried green tomatoes. Love this exchange! Funny, sweet and so precious! Thought of you last weekend. Daughter had soccer tournament in Athens. (Yes in all the rain) Going home, (McDonough) I exited too soon. Found myself in downtown Monroe. That was my 3rd turnaround of the day!

    • Ahhhh! You were in Monroe, Kim!!! And what about all this rain??!! Can’t believe the sun is out today!

      It was the most simple, yet beautiful conversation between Mother and me. Such a moment. Glad you can identify.

      Just wanted to make sure I slowed down long enough to appreciate it. I think I did. After I moved past my stubbornness. 🙂

  12. Sandra Walker says:

    It doesn’t get any better than this one!!!

  13. Jan Olson says:

    I laughed at your “Mother!” Could just hear that. To slow down for joy

  14. hooooowwww I love your southern mama and your southern self! Smiling from ear to ear…thank you xo

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