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Ten, Two and Four

For people who are into fine dining, there’s big news in our locale. The news revolves around the Texas chain of hamburger joints, Whataburger, now introducing their brand to northwest Arkansas. (Yes, the fine dining reference is written with tongue-in-cheek.) I think I’ve eaten at a Whataburger maybe twice in my life.whataburger

All the buzz about this new chain coming to town reminded me of other local burger places I’ve enjoyed. Though fast food is mostly off my list nowadays, I’ve relented from time to time when I’m entertaining my grandson (actually, when he’s entertaining me). He likes kids’ meals … cheeseburger (no pickles), fries and a toy. Recently, his parents have stressed healthier choices, so Sonic and McDonalds are slightly verboten. Continue Reading →

Mairzy Doats and Dozy Doats

From the time I was born, I had feeding issues. Those were the days when breastfeeding was on the decline and my parents had difficulty finding a milk-product I could digest. Cow’s milk made me sick so they began testing the potential of other similar milks.goatsEventually, they settled on goat’s milk which enabled me to thrive. Those were also the days when goat’s milk wasn’t sold in every grocery store. I’m not sure where they found goat’s milk in our relatively large city because I doubt it was readily available … I’m just glad they found it!

Once I graduated to solid food, my belly matured enough that I didn’t have serious food challenges. However, there were plenty of foods I didn’t care to eat. (Truthfully, my daddy was a picky eater and I know I must have watched him turn up his nose at multiple foods, especially vegetables. I learned from him … but then I ventured out on my own. He’d eat peas and lima beans, while I’ve always gagged on them!) Continue Reading →

Three Squares and We’re There

By now, almost everyone has heard the news (via Mother Jones) that adhering to the Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner traditional eating plan is “anti-science, racist, and might actually be making you sick.breakfastLunchDinnerAs a carry-over from our European forebears, the B/L/D meal schedule contrasts to that of Native American eating habits. These popularly-described Native Americans tended to “graze” and follow a less rigid pattern based on seasonal variations and food scarcity. According to Mother Jones, Europeans considered the grazing model provided clear “evidence that natives were uncivilized.

Continue Reading →

Chowder Comfort In a Chicken Soup World

What is it about soup? The outdoor temperature plunges, winds blow briskly and snowflakes accumulate … and suddenly, the palate demands comfort food, a hearty bowl of soup with an aromatic bread on the side. Whether it’s chili, chicken noodle soup or a chowder, a steaming bowl lightly satisfies taste buds with each spoonful delivering goodness from the tongue all the way down to our toes!baked-potato-soup-ee2603bad9b63919Being snowed in today, my lunch clean-up moved almost seamlessly into dinner preparations … a large pot of chicken corn chowder (with potatoes, plus a cup of bacon bits). My adventurous grandson suggested I could go heavier on the comfort food by adding both beef and pork, but as my limit is two meats in one dish, his wish wasn’t granted. Even comfort has its limits! Continue Reading →

How Much Wood Can A Groundhog Chuck?

Since as early as the 1840s, Groundhog Day has been observed in parts of Pennsylvania. In places like Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the observation has become a highly-celebrated tradition, thanks in large part to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, which hosts a series of events throughout the weekend.

One of the best things to ever happen to Groundhog Day (in my opinion) was the movie of the same name. It is a great comedy, as well as a unique view of human behavior and change. It wears well and even after multiple viewings, the predicament of the main character still resonates … we identify with Bill Murray’s Everyman.GroundhogDay

A number of my mother’s ancestors hail from Berks County PA where the earliest observations of Groundhog Day took place (in Morgantown PA), so I enjoy knowing something about PA festivals. These are my peeps! However, celebrants in Punxsutawney PA claim their tradition goes back more than a century. Those are not my peeps, though having watched the movie several times, I find their enthusiasm for this event contagious!

Continue Reading →

Advent of the Pink Lady

When my Beloved and I returned to northwest Arkansas in 1977, I recall the proliferation of apple (and peach) orchards throughout the region. Since about the early 1800s when farmers first began cultivating apples in the state, orchards multiplied. With its favorable climate (situated on a plateau), the northwest corner of the state became the dominant region for apple production.

FROM:  http://tiny.cc/2t89mx

FROM: http://tiny.cc/2t89mx

By some estimates in the early 1900s, over 4 million apple trees were growing in the state’s two northwest counties (Benton and Washington), more than any other two counties in the US. The acreage in Benton County alone was estimated to be around 40,000 acres in 1900. In 1901, the apple-blossom was adopted as the official state flower.

Over the years, both apple and peach orchards have decreased in number. Fungal diseases and insect infestations often damaged or decimated the yearly harvests. After repeated weather events during the late 1970s and early 1980s, some of the apple growers in our area had simply been battered too hard to survive. In addition, I think (my personal conjecture) they were able to make better money selling the orchard properties to developers. All the growth in the area called for additional housing and rural farms were converted to subdivisions. Continue Reading →

Tin Can Alley

One of the amusing things about blogging is the Spam that seems to be an integral part of the territory. Spam … that delectable Hormel product introduced in 1937 and popularized during World War II … isn’t just for the food pantry anymore. It’s an indispensable element of the World Wide Web experience!spam_can_open

Given his experience in World War II, my dear daddy enjoyed Spam. He’d slice it up, arrange it in a skillet and fry one side and then the other to a golden brown. Usually, he’d serve the slices on bread. I don’t recall him using any condiments, just fried Spam and bread. (And he wasn’t much for vegetables, so this would be a complete meal for him.)

Looking through my blog folders today, I got to thinking about Spam. I have a plug-in set up to move what appear to be Spam comments into a trash folder. So far, I’ve set up the folder so that I decide when and if these comments are permanently deleted. This could be done automatically if I changed the setting, but I’m the curious type and these comments can be perplexing … hence my curiosity. There are certain common themes and the language usage leads me to believe these messages are machine generated, or else originate from a non-English-speaking country. I’ve never researched them, but have my suspicions. Continue Reading →

Strawberry Yields Forever

All right, y’all! There’s strawberry pie for anyone who can get here before it’s gone! Yes, yes, I’ll dress it with whipped cream when you’re served. But you’d better get here soon because my grandson and his roommate were eyeing the pie before they left to see a movie. They’ll be back, and I suspect, will enjoy this as a midnight snack.

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Now don’t look too closely at the pie … in my preparation, I didn’t make the Martha Stewart effort to have all similar sized berries. And slapping the whole mess into the pie shell, well, that’s pretty much the way I did it. I’m generally a slacker when it comes to presentation, so it may not look as pretty as Martha’s, but I expect it’ll taste as good!

I don’t have a huge strawberry bed. The plants I set in 2009 have mostly died out, but I set in a few new ones every spring and they’re going like gangbusters. I’ve managed to keep the slugs at bay … so far.

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Here’s a picture of today’s harvest. That’s a fourteen-inch square box lid and the berries are three or four deep in the box. That’s the crazy thing about strawberries: it’s either feast or famine.

Because I’m not a natural gardener − I prefer the lounge chair or a golf course for my leisure time − strawberries are the perfect crop for me. I can enjoy a generous harvest without having to break my back tending and coddling the plants!

I also have a raspberry bush that’s beginning to display the promise of a generous crop (soon). After four years of cultivating raspberry plants and having them die every year, I was pleased that I could finally coax one of the bushes to maturity and it’s looking good. Like the strawberries, though, harvest appears to be a feast or famine. Last year, we managed to get about two cups full of dime-sized raspberries. I’m hoping we’ll do better this year, but time will tell.

Now listen, y’all. Two young men are going to see that movie (I think they’re seeing the latest installment of X-Men) and be back here in a flash. If you expect to get a slice of that pie, you’re burning daylight! Hope you make it in time.

ReBlog: You Don’t Know Beans

Bio-Photo-12Did I mention I have two terrific daughters?

Why yes, as a matter of fact I do believe I did … just yesterday it seems! The younger one has become an impressive homemaker … far exceeding my limited proclivities.

(I acknowledge lots of people under the age of forty or fifty cringe at the thought of being called a homemaker. I think it’s an exceptional occupation, with the ability to bless many, but I’ll say more about that later.)

For now, I wanted to share with you one of the fruits of my daughter’s labors. (Not just her recipes but her entire blog.) I think you’ll agree with me … she is amazing! (And a culinary artist to boot!)

Raising Camelot.

Raising

Confessions Of A Comfort Foodie

2014-02-04 17.27.17Few things warm my heart − and fill my belly − as comfortably as a bowl of homemade soup on a cold evening. The picture at left shows the pot of chicken corn chowder (with potatoes) we enjoyed for our evening meal. (In contrast to my daughter who is her own worst critic, I am genuinely a crap photographer, and I’m sorry to say this photo underscores my lack of ability!)

If you’ll overlook my lack of photography skills, I think this photo illustrates (as best I can) my penchant for comfort food … because I am (to my very core) a comfort foodie. Wikipedia notes a nostalgic and or sentimental quality as a main component in one’s choices of comfort food.

In my case, defining comfort has a great deal to do with (1) how quickly the food may be prepared and (2) how filling it will be. I sometimes factor in a third possibility:  will there be leftovers? Continue Reading →

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