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Reunion means family favorites
Louandrea Young, center, cooked up a storm to welcome home her daughter, Lydia Tyree,left, from a 10-month deployment to Afghanistan with the Army. With them are Young's daughter and Tyree's sister, Cicely,8. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
Louandrea Young’s cooking is extra special these days.
She’s making up for lost time with her daughter, Lydia Tyree, 22, who just returned from nearly a year in Afghanistan with the Army.
While she was preparing lunch recently, Young frequently paused to hug or embrace her daughter. She has “missed her so much” that she keeps doing “things they (her children) don’t like me to do,” such as rubbing her arms and holding her hands, Young said, laughing.
“That’s a mama thing,” she added. “You (children) just don’t know how we look at you,” she explained to her daughter.
That lunch had some of the dishes that Tyree had missed most: shepherd’s pie, corn pudding and potato cakes (a standard dish of Young’s mother, Hilda France of Bassett, whenever there were leftover mashed potatoes).
Though Tyree said she is not a fan of sweets, just in case the temptation were to strike, her mother also made a platter of cream cheese squares.
Young has depended on shepherd’s pie for years as “one way I could get my kids to eat vegetables,” she said. “I mixed them all in there, and then they’d eat them.”
She also learned to disguise onions in food. Onions bring a good flavor to the potato cakes, she said, but she always would dice them up in tiny pieces so the kids would not notice.
Her other children are Cicely Young, 8, and Isaiah Young, 13, who still live at home; Jamar Tyree, 24, of Greensboro, N.C.; Joshua Tyree, 26, of Collinsville; and stepdaughter India Young, 26, of Raleigh, N.C.
Louandrea Young teaches second grade at Campbell Court Elementary School. When Isaiah was in her class, she said, he managed to call her “Mrs. Young,” but when Cicely was in her class last year, she just called her “Mom.”
When Young’s older children were younger, she used to cook bigger dinners, she said. “I used to be a slave in the kitchen. It seems I’m more on the go now.” Lately, she turns to “generally basic types of dinners.”
She often makes taco salad, and Tyree praised her pork chops. She prefers baking over frying.
Tyree added, addressing her mother, “You’re really good at making casseroles.” She also praised her mother’s quiche: “People know about that overseas — your breakfast quiches.” She said that her mother makes a great quiche with whatever she takes “out of the fridge and throws in there.”
She’s not much on desserts, which may explain why her kids don’t have the weakness of a sweet tooth, she said. When one is called for, she’ll fall back on brownies, ice cream or cookies.
Tyree mentioned a popular dessert her mother brings to functions: punch bowl cake. It involves baking a cake, then spooning pieces of it into a punch bowl, with layers of whipped topping and pudding. When it’s a chocolate cake, she pours some kahlua in the bowl and adds cherries.
While Young was putting the finishing touches on the meal, Tyree was walking around and helping, all the while quietly singing “I’ll Be There.”
They are a musical family, Young said. She sings in the choir of Rock Hill Missionary Baptist Church, and she directs all the church’s choirs except the men’s, she said.
Her father, the late Louis France, and his brothers started the popular gospel group Family Five, whose singers now include her nephews.
When she was growing up, Young’s father would gather the family around and play piano while they all sang. Now, she and her children often sing together at home.