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March 25, 2011

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Alternatively, this could be a thread about trying to make dishes with the wrong ingredients. Trying to make Som Tam (Thai green papaya salad) with carrots might be up there for that one.

Speaking of Southern delicacies, when I was a boy my great-grandmother would make me apricot fried pies cooked up in lard. Quite the treat for a boy from Chicago. Alas, she took the recipe to the grave with her.

The Girl Scouts here have a modified version of the Frito thing called a walking taco. Open up a bag and dump in taco stuff and you're all set for a messy treat, or so they say. I've always found Fritos to be disgusting so I've never had one.

Dude, how long you been in Mississippi?

Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Ginger Snaps

Mrs. [someone]'s Four Cheese Pierogies

Candied Yams (my girlfriend and I make these for thanksgiving)


Tate's are the best chocolate chip cookie I have had. They are crisp and salty. Try them.

Home-made bread. Man, there is nothing better than walking inthe door after school and smelling that just-out-of-the-oven bread. (I understand that those who have spent time in France have the same reaction to the smell of their local bakery in the morning.)

chicken fried steak smothered in white gravy

pot roast, mashed potatoes, creme peas, gravy

red beans, rice and sausage

cheese enchiladas, cerveza Modelo, guacamole, picante sauce, fresh fried chips

speckled trout, battered fresh and deep fried, cold beer

the list goes on and on

Gumbo made with smoked chicken.

Zipper cream peas pretty much all by themselves, but served with a bottle of red wine vinegar with the following modifications:

-Vinegar poured out into a suitable container
-Habanero peppers sliced and seeded
-Raw garlic sliced once per clove
-Vinegar bottle loaded up with loosely-packed pepper and garlic slices
-Vinegar replaced to capacity
-Let that sit in the fridge for a couple of months. Then replace the vinegar as you use it.

My wife's sweet potato pie for dessert. But the recipe for that remains a secret. More correctly: that it's sweet potato pie remains a secret, because whenever she serves it she gets rave reviews on her pumpkin pie.

Then there's the red beans and rice, the making of which can take weeks. Because that's how long it takes to make pickled pork from scratch.

Mrs. [someone]'s Four Cheese Pierogies

That would be Mrs Ts Pierogies. I know this because they're also one of my comfort foods. By the time I came along my grandmother had long since given up making pierogies by hand and Mrs Ts had become the "family recipe".

Someotherdude.
a month, from Mar 1st. This article has a byline close to where I am, and I thought you (and others) might be interested in it, so I toss it in this convenient open thread, though it has nothing to do with food.

a big batch of my grandmother's spiced sauerkraut and pork chops, simmering all day long in a giant pot on the stove. and then her crazy-dark ultra-moist chocolate cake.

i can almost duplicate the sauerkraut (two cans, mostly drained, slightly browned in a little oil. a pound or so of pork chops, also slightly browned. a tablespoon of pickling spices. water/beer. patience). but the cake is beyond my abilities.

BTW I don't use boudin in red beans and rice; I use andouille and pickled pork. And also some pickled cocktail onions.

Boudin is just too hard to get, here, and I don't have any experience cooking with it.

Abita, you say? Perhaps, Turbo Dog?

About 12 years ago I had a subscription to Beers Across America (thanks to my lovely wife). They would ship a monthy mixed case of beer (or something like that - it was a while ago) from various microbreweries in the US.

On one occassion, there were 4 or 6 (whatever the number of each beer was) bottles of some beer from Abita. It may have been Turbo Dog, which I have also had recently and enjoyed. Or it may have been whatever their more straightforward lager is.

At any rate, I was eating oatmeal raisin cookies and decided to have a beer. I opened an Abita bottle and took a sip. It was horrible. I thought it was the mixture of the cookies and the beer. Then I smelled the bottle. (I wasn't as refined a beer drinker then as I am now. I didn't usually bother with a glass to get a better look at the beer and its head or better smell it.) It smelled horrible, too.

I went into the kitchen to get a look under better light and the bottle had all kinds of murky junk floating around the bottom of it, not the normal sediment you find with some beers. I poured it out into the sink and it literally smelled like sewage, to the point that it made me gag.

I've had skunky, stale beer before, but never anything like that, before or since.

The other 3 or 5 bottles were just fine, though, even with oatmeal raisin cookies. Of course, I poured them into glasses for visual and olfactory inspection before drinking.

Comfort food: My mom's angel hair pasta with white clam sauce.

Wow. Never, ever had a bad beer of any kind (that wasn't consistent with how the beer normally tasted; I might add. I have had my share of bad beers), never mind anything made by Abita.

Amber, Turbo Dog, Restoration, Jockamo, Purple Haze, etc; never had a bad one.

It was probably a mouse.

Hot dogs, including chili dogs.

Old-fashioned spaghetti (not "pasta") and meatballs.

Corned beef on good rye bread (a rarity) with mustard and pickle.

Greasy breakfast, eggs over easy, sausage, hash browns (no grits, thanks).

Potatoes in most (all?) forms, especially if fried.

Lots of items already listed by others.

'Some things never change: What's The Matter With Mississippi?

Posted by: bobbyp | March 13, 2011 at 10:28 AM'

An apropos, albeit delayed, riposte to the above.

'This article has a byline close to where I am, and I thought you (and others) might be interested in it, so I toss it in this convenient open thread, though it has nothing to do with food.'

Comfort foods, in no particular order:

- Bacon and scalloped potatoes: Take a couple packages of the garden-variety prepared boxes of scalloped potatoes, make per instructions in an oven-safe pot, and at the end add a pound of chopped, well-drained bacon and mix well. Then toss the pot in the oven and bake open-topped for a few minutes to give it a nicely browned surface. Yum. Makes a better side than a meal, but I've been known to scarf bowls of this stuff.

- Matzoh balls in chicken soup: I don't have the recipe we use handy but it's not as if they're hard to come by. My spouse is Jewish, and introduced these to me.

- American Chop Suey: a goofy name for something almost everyone has probably made at one time or another. Cook half a pound of ground beef, break it up well while it's cooking, drain well, and pour it into a saucepan with a jar of Prego meat-flavored sauce. Serve with your preferred pasta; I like twists and shells. Guaranteed to make any real Italian recoil in horror. I prefer to start the ground beef with half a chopped onion that's been sauteed in butter with just a dash of soy sauce, but if I'm in a hurry I'll skip this.

- Sushi. Of almost any kind, unless it contains nattou (which is not really food*) or uni (the texture of which I can't deal with). Since good sushi involves a lot of prep work I'm too lazy to do unless it's for a specific occasion, usually I'll just pick up a pound of various sashimi from Uwajimaya and scarf away, dipped in wasabi-tainted soy sauce with just a splash of sake, yuzu and rice vinegar. Give me a tall glass of Kirin Gogo no Koucha milk tea to go with it and I'm a happy camper.

- Stuffing: ordinary off-the-shelf Stove Top stuffing. Any flavor. Nothing added. Don't get fancy with my stuffing, and don't put nuts or berries in it if you want me to touch it. I can eat a box of this stuff by myself.

I'm not always in the mood for any given one of these, but when I need them I need them. The matzoh ball soup in particular is great when you're sick.

You will probably note the use of a lot of off-the-shelf prepared foods in this. I can cook properly, but I'm not proud, and they're what I love and have I've grown used to. Substitute for something properly homemade as you see fit.

* A former girlfriend of mine was native Japanese, and she loved nattou--fermented soybean paste. At one point I became aware of the most astonishingly vile stench filling the studio apartment we shared, and discovered that it was her microwaving a piece of the block of nattou she kept in the freezer. I had to leave the apartment for hours while I waited for it to air out. This stuff is not food; it is a toxic waste hazard. If you ever want to play a nasty prank on someone, smear a little bit of nattou on their microwave turntable plate or in the drip pan of one of their range burners. There are some things you can't un-smell.

Since we're talking comfort food, as opposed to just generally favorite food....

Fried egg sandwich. My mother used to make them for me for lunch when I was in grade school. We only lived a couple of blocks from the school, I could go home for lunch if I wanted.

Grits and soft-boiled eggs. My old man used to make us breakfast on the weekends, and it was always either grits and soft-boiled eggs, or pancakes.

Pasta e fagioli. Not a family thing, it just makes me happy.

My mother in law's potato salad. It's delicious, and she always makes it if when she comes to visit us.

My wife's spinach and lamb soup. It takes a fairly long time to make, so I only get it once or twice a year, but when she makes it she makes a great big batch, so we eat it for about a week, and it's delicious every time.

The matzoh ball soup in particular is great when you're sick.

After being told during lunch in Lincoln Center that I would be downsized, I walked next door to the deli to sit and think. The waiter (an older Eastern European type) said I looked like I could use some matzoh ball soup, and he brought me just about the best bowl of soup I've ever had.

My favorite comfort food is homemade rice pudding.

What I had for lunch today: large order of biscuits and gravy, three eggs over easy, and an order of hash browns I split with my daughter.

"American chop suey" is kind of redundant. I made chop suey with leftover pork roast, chopped celery, chopped onions, bean sprouts and a whole lot of soy sauce. If there's a real, authentic, Chinese chop suey, I am not aware of it.

And like an idiot, I wrote all of the above paragraph before consulting Wikipedia. So I get to be wrong some more.

It's so quiet around here. Would people prefer more frequent, short posts?

Because it's perfectly easy to do lots of those. The only question is how many would be too many in people's views.

I've had the quite strong view put to me that, for instance, I shouldn't do more than two posts a day, so I save up for long posts.

But even two SHORT posts a day would be a snap.

To me, that does feel rather insubstantial. Those sort of things somehow seem to be what generate the most comments on many blogs.

What do YOU guys want out of ObWi as your comfort food? Longer and linkier and deeper posts, or more frequent, shorter, more numerous posts?

I really value all the opinions I find here, but sometimes, shorter is better. I can't read Greenwald anymore because of that. But that could just be me.

chicken fried steak smothered in white gravy

Biscuits and gravy

Bacon (crisp) by itself or with any other food

bread, hot, fresh, with butter, or oil, garlic and butter, or honey and butter, or well, anything and butter.

Breakfast:

Make bacon in cast iron skillet until nice and crisp. save grease for next step.

fried eggs - add a cup or so more bacon grease, heat in the cast iron skillet, (make sure it is enough to cover the eggs so you don't have to turn them over), fry eggs in the grease, cook until the edges of the whites start to crisp, then remove.

Pour most of the grease off before making toast. Be sure and screen the grease into the can to save for the next time.

If you want a real taste treat, take Texas Toast sliced bread, drop on hot bacon greased skillet, let brown, then butter and eat with eggs and bacon.

(note:All added bacon grease above can be replaced with butter but it tastes a little different and doesn't save as well).

I'm afraid this is the opposite of comforting, but Joe Bageant has died.

I'm very sorry for the loss to all who knew him and read him.

if you want conversation, more frequent, smaller, more topical posts would help.

when something big or interesting happens in the political world, i sometimes find myself looking at ObWi's front page and wondering why nobody wanted to say anything about it. makes the place feel a bit ... moribund.

$.01

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