In the novel, The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop Fannie Flagg reminisces about Christmas Day dinners at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Each year Idgie and Ruth, along with Sipsey and Big George, would serve lunch to the entire town. In addition to the wild turkeys brought in by local hunters, they served fried chicken and pork chops, plenty of mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken and dumplings, homemade rolls, cornbread, and biscuits, and at least ten different kinds of dessert. What a feast for those lonely railroad workers, people suffering through the depression. What a joy for the community to be in fellowship on Christmas Day.
I love chicken and dumplings, but my late husband did not like them. I decided to give them a try for the first time in nearly forty years. In the first batch, I used frozen chicken, regular chicken broth, and a can of cream of chicken soup in the broth. I took the easy route and used a baking mix for the dumplings. It tasted like a salt lick. Yuck. I threw it out.
Thankfully, this next recipe is much better. The moral of the story: Use fresh chicken, low-sodium broth, and make your own dumplings. It only takes a few minutes longer and is worth the extra effort.