Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tent:House like Cob:Utensils

I am pretty sensitive to house smells and would really prefer my house to not smell like anything - not bacon, not onions, not even Febreeze or a plug-in.

So after regular Succotash which involved bacon AND onions, corn, lima beans and tomatoes (not to be confused with Indian Succotash that involved neither bacon NOR onions but did involve cream (read, Indian Succotash is better), I was pleased to see a recipe for Corn on the Cob. This involved boiling water. There was no rendering of pork product, nor sweating of onions.

Frankly, if you had previously handed me an ear of corn, I would have had no idea what to do with it. Turns out that it turns out perfectly if you cook it just like shrimp - that is, bring a pot of water to boil, put in the corn, return to a boil, turn off water and steep for 5 minutes for young corn, ten for larger corn. (You do the exact same with shell-on shrimp.) Perfection. Then butter and salt.

Except I refused to even give my family the option of actually eating it on the cob. I had to cut it from the cob. I hate to see humans gnawing on things. Tent:House like Cob:Utensils. And you will never find me in a tent.

Anyway - I am pretty smug that I now won't shy away from those great big barrels of corn in the grocery store. I know what to do with ears of corn and how to do it well. Yay me.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Big Weekend

My stepdaughter graduated from high school this weekend. For the record, I am way too young to have a daughter who has graduated from high school. My husband is much older. Anyway, I had nothing to do with it, but I am proud to say she is off to Tulane this August. As you may recall, I spent 4 fantastic years living in New Orleans, so I couldn't be more pleased for myself and proud of her. Oh the fun we will have. She has already said that she is going to pretend like she doesn't know my husband and me when we go to visit her. Which is fine. Anyway, I cry at the first note of pomp and circumstance. So an emotional weekend was had.

Also, I promised my son that if he ran two miles with me I would get him some lego. I am not above bribing. And he did. So there we were at the mall at the Lego mini figure kiosk FOR A VERY LONG TIME. Emphasis on the very long time. Because this is a big decision, you know, which Lego mini figure you will select. So I left him there but I didn't want to wander too far away. This left me wandering Talbots (again, I am too young) and Brighton. Oh Brighton. Brighton typically reminds me of middle class Dallas homemakers. Yet there I was. And I found this . . . Dear God yes please. So a successful weekend was had by all.

In re White Trash Cooking . . . we've also been successful there. Indian Succotash is lima beans, corn and cream. Southern comfort food. Just the very reason I set off on this venture; that is, to find a recipe like that. I see many repeats of that dish in my future.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Therapy Thursday, With Bacon

There have been times throughout the past several years where I have left the therapist's office thinking, "Why am I paying her to have this conversation? Everything here is good."

That thought right there? That thought right there guarantees that something is going to happen that makes me so very very glad for the next Therapy Thursday.

I can't get into it here, as this is not the forum. Things just ebb and flow, and in the ebb cycles you can feel stranded.

In White Trash Cooking news, this week's recipes included Limpin' Suzie (pork product, okra and rice), and Tomatoes and Corn (pork product, tomatoes and corn). Luckily, we are now moving on from the vegetables that begin with pork product. Pork product added little by way of seasoning but lots by way of smell, at least after you've stewed the crap out of it. Crumbled bacon stirred into things (Tomatoes and Corn) -more flavor. Otherwise, the recipes tasted exactly like what they were - okra and rice, and tomatoes and corn. And my boys liked both.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shoe Issues

Y'all. I'm having shoe issues.

I was voted best dressed in high school. And just in case you think I have lost it, my department at work was discussing just recently how I have no bad outfits.

However. Shoes. I have luscious career shoes. And I have running shoes for running. But what does one wear on the weekends that is neither career shoes nor running shoes?

I do realize how very petty this sounds. I understand many people in Joplin are without houses.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

White Trash Cooking, With Bling

So here we are with the hog jowls and my favorite new art deco bracelet from Ann Taylor. Recipe 5 is Hoppin' John, which is black eyed peas and rice. Which had no flavor at all. Which pissed me off because I had sourced the hog jowl. Also, my mom made the best black eyed peas and I wanted them to taste like that. But I guess you can only go so far with water, black eyed peas and hog jowls. Three thumbs down and a stinky house.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Creamed English Peas and Everything Must Go

We saw Everything Must Go this weekend. My husband, who prefers a good chick flick with a Hollywood ending, even liked it. Now I must read the Raymond Carver short story upon which it is based - Why Don't You Dance?. I went through a phase where I really liked Carver. But then I decided to give up reading stuff by alcoholic writers. The trick is to do it sober. Give most anybody alchohol, some time and a typewriter . . .

After the movie it was time for White Trash Cooking recipe 4, Creamed English Peas. This required me to make gravy. From scratch. Then I added the cream gravy to some canned peas, as per the instructions. Once again, delightful comfort food. The recipe said to serve with fried chicken. Of course, there is a recipe for fried chicken in the White Trash Cooking cookbook (serveral, actually), but since we are going in order, my husband sourced that at the KFC. Do you know how long it has been since I have had KFC? Years and years. That was perhaps more exciting than the creamed peas. Good ol' fresh or frozen unadorned green peas are just fine with me.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Supremely Most Excellent Sourcing

We have hog jowls! And, also, Ann Taylor has some lovely art deco accessories right now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

White Trash Cooking Recipe 3 (FRESH)

I am a lawyer so I generally don't read the large print. Meaningless usually. So I totally neglected to notice this recipe was titled BUTTER BEANS (FRESH). That is a large print title with all caps and parentheses. You can see how I would gloss over the (FRESH) part.

Also, much like those who dismiss evolution, it never occurred to me that there was any precursor to the dried butter bean. One day God said, "let there be dried butter bean" and here we are. But as a I did a little reading and educated myself, I realized that the recipe at issue here could not be for dried beans. That's when I checked the title: BUTTER BEANS (FRESH).

Although I am trying to keep this real, I have to confess that I flubbed this with dried beans. So I soaked overnight - and was also slightly tempted to do that 2nd grade butter bean project where you wet a paper towel and press it against a clear plastic glass and then stick a butter bean between the glass and paper towel and in a week or so you have a sprout. But I didn't. I just soaked and then began the regular recipe . . .

This is going to blow your mind - because it comes from nowhere - but you start by frying some pork product. Being over fatback, I just used ham, as the recipe permitted. In fact, let it be noted, the recipe did not even suggest that fatback be used.

Now, I have a recipe for butter beans - aka lima beans. You mix limas, sour cream and onion soup mix and then top it with Rice Krispies. Brilliant. So I was very, very sceptical here that these beans could outdo that, or that they would have any flavor at all. All you do here is brown the pork product and cook the beans with salt and pepper.

Do you know what? They were awesome. They were like comfort food - the mac and cheese of the legume world. My husband and I stood there and ate them right out of the pot. Mmmmmmm. These I will make again. My son? Wouldn't touch them. So, again, two out of three thumbs up.

(P.S. What word follows fresh? Exciting right? I dare you to be a child of the 80's and not know that it goes, "She's fresh, exciting!")

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Birth, Death and In Between

Eating out is very important to me, hence a reprieve from White Trash Cooking and the following observations:

1. If Lady Gaga was born that way, why did she change her name and why does she always go out it disguise. Why. I don't get it and if I think to hard on it I get a little agitated.

2. I crap you negative but one of the headlines on cnn.com today was that Jennifer Anniston's dog had died. I think those people might be right - the end of the world may be imminent.

3. I am tired. When I worked at a law firm, that made perfect sense. I was up at all kinds of wrong hours sneaking in additional billable hours. And do you know what they did despite my diligence and fine hour count - the laid my ass off at the slightest turn of the economy. (See, not still bitter.) Anyway, it was very obvious that it was the law firm that was making me tired because I was so not tired when I was at my next job that involved basically filing crap and taking 2.5 hour lunches and then wandering Target prior to going back into work to shut down my computer. But now that I am practicing law again - tired. Is it the brain workout? Anyway, tomorrow, butter beans.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stewed Cabbage

Recipe 2.

I am so over fatback.

Directions: Brown fatback. Brown cabbage in fatback. Boil.

You know in school there was always that one kid whose house smelled like old cooking. That is now my son. I feel like eau d'pig hangs heavy in all the upholstery. And in my hair. And in my clothes.

HOWEVER. They liked it. They both liked it. My son asked for seconds. My husband took seconds. Of cabbage. Perhaps it is because I was the cook, but it all seemed a little fatbacky to me.

To be fair, the recipe did say you could use bacon. But I had the fatback, so I used it. I actually really liked the cabbage after browning but before the boiling, when it was still kind of crispy. Can you eat underdone cabbage? I don't know.

Conclusion: 2 out of 3 thumbs up. My boys are loving me and my son even spontaneously told me today that I am a good cook. It should be noted that later in the evening my husband declared that he didn't think dinner was sitting so well. Nevertheless, I am feeling rather smug about the amount of vegetable consumption in my family since the beginning of this project. Perhaps I have uncovered a universal truth - Males will eat any vegetable provided that it is coated in animal fat.

1. Uncle Willie's Swamp Cabbage Stew

Recipe 1. Uncle Willie's Swamp Cabbage Stew.

I want to stay as true to the recipes as possible, so you can image I was very pleased when I read, "If you don't live along the Carolina, Georgia, North Florida coast, Hearts of Palm in a can will work."

But the fatback was another story. Fatback is just that, the strip of fat off a pig's back. It's what they use to make lard and pork rinds. If I lived anywhere near a Piggly Wiggly, this might have been easier. Alas, I do not live near a Pig. I live in the land of soy and fit people. However, after much exploration and explanation, I was able to source it right here at a grocery store.

After rendering down the fatback, which smells like hell, you add the hearts of palm, onions, tomatoes, thyme and sugar. Really, this was stewed tomatoes. It looked like something I had regurgitated after a night of Chianti. Not a stellar way to start this project, except . . .

My boys liked it! My son, who doesn't liked his food mixed, asked me what it was. I thought this was the prelude to him telling me he didn't like it. Instead, he said it was really good. And my husband had two heaping helpings. Go figure. Recipe 1, two of three thumbs up.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I got my delivery! Here's the announcement, followed by some FAQs . . .

In addition to the usual blog entries you will find here,

on this the 25th Anniversary of White Trash Cooking,

I am going to work my way through the White Trash Cooking cookbook.

1. Hasn't this blog concept been done before?

Yes. Lawyers call that precedent.

2. Aren't you making fun of white trash people by doing this?

No. Several of my family members are white trash.

3. Are you really going to cook squirrel, possum and gator?

Yes and No. If I can source it at one of the three specialty meat stores in town, or if it can be sourced from the first three pages of a Google search, I'll make it.

4. Why white trash cooking?
I've been craving real food lately - that is, a meal where something has been sacrificed, milked and/or fried for my dining pleasure.

5. Why do this recipe by recipe.

Otherwise it wouldn't get done. I would just pick one or two recipes and never broaden my horizons.

6. To what end?

If I successfully complete this, I am going to treat myself to some sort of cleanse. Whether that be one of those 5 day liquid things or a delicious trip, I have not yet decided.

Tomorrow - Review of Recipe 1, Uncle Willie's Swamp Cabbage Stew. This required the sourcing and use of fatback.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm your sister, sister.

I hosted a sorority alumni event at my house. Because someone begged me to after the original host cancelled. I cleaned my house (the parts people would see) and bought flowers. If I was the kappaprep, I would have put out jellybeans in my sorority colors and had color coordinating cake balls and printables. That might be my least favorite word after panties and scrapbooking - printables.

And you might be thinking, hey, that is the second time in as many weeks that you have mentioned the kappaprep. What gives? Well, one, I emailed her about a crazy connection that we have that I discovered out of pure randomness. Now, if someone emails you out of the blue and tells you that you have someone in common and that someone is pretty special and is going through some crazy things, wouldn't you email back? And, b, I am secretly fascinated by the extent of themeness of the things she does. And also that she sells her used clothes on her blog.

Anyway, these sorority alumni events always remind me of why I didn't love being in a sorority in university. The younger alumni (is it alumni? Alumnus? Almenie?) still sport 'tudes. Hello! I'm your SISTER. Sister. They come into my house, drink my wine, and talk amongst themselves. As if I am not still cool. Which I am.

But the rest of them are lovely. I don't see myself, you know, attending a national convention or going to the philanthropic events, but the events where there is wine and we exchange presents? Okay. But I really would prefer if we could do these things on Wednesdays because there is no good t.v. on Wednesdays. Whereas Tuesdays there's Chopped.

Location Location Location

Y'all. We're in possession of a Letter of Intent for The Franchise space. That is, we gave our bid and the landlord redlined it and we are fairly close. And I am trying to get excited. If you go in a mall, they will come. But if you build it free standing, will they come? We have to make a decision here fairly soon.

Part of me feels like we should hold out for a mall space. But even our new good broker is telling us she doesn't know if she can get us in there this year. So holding out may not even be realistic. Why has this space thing been so hard? All I know is that we have to make a decision soon, not just because everyone is waiting on us, but because every night I am tossing and turning and not sleeping and stressing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Year We All Stopped Pretending

Neither of my stepdaughters acknowledged me this Mothers Day. Nor did I acknowledge my own stepmother.

It's alright. They have a mother. I am not their mother, nor have I ever ever fallen into such a role. I am a friend and their father's new wife. Nothing more.

I spent a good many years feeling guilty about that, and perhaps shameful over the reality of divorce for the kids. I thought that in the end it was all going to be okay because the kids would go from having one family to having two families. But that's not the case. They lost a family, but still have a mother and a father. Perhaps that is the bittersweet result of a divorce where both parents still stay involved with the kids.

I want to tell myself that I did the best I could under the circumstances, but I should have done better. So its alright but it's not. It's alright in that I don't fault them for not calling, or texting, or emailing. It's not alright to the extent I am responsible for that.

Divorce was absolutely the right thing for both me and my ex and my husband and his ex and all the kids involved. I maintain that we would have done greater harm to the kids had we pretended, or not pretended, through hurtful relationships that set terrible examples and sucked the life out of the house. Yet I do realize the trade off that we made on their behalf.


1. My delivery did not arrive so I am postponing my announcement for a week. It has shipped but has otherwise fallen off the tracking record. Except for one Kate Spade incident at Christmas 4 years ago, this is the only shipping error I have ever had with on-line ordering.

2. My son and I went for sushi yesterday which means I was, thereafter, thirsty. Second of all, my son is not one to pass up a free sample. Which together means that we were ripe for the sales pitch the comes with the free samples at Teavana. Yes, we did want to try the free samples of the iced tea inside the store. Yes, the strawberry-lemonade jasmine tea is lovely, but I'll take just the strawberry lemonade.

Salesperson adds a scoop of jasmine to the strawberry lemonade.

"Oh, I just want the strawberry lemonade."

"I already mixed it."

"Oh, that's fine then."

"That will be $44."


"It's $44"

"I don't want it."

"I can't resell it. It's a blend."

I felt so duped and so stupid that I couldn't think of a way to talk myself out of it. Really, the appropriate lesson considering my son was right there was that I should have looked at him and said, "Run like hell!"

I have $44 worth of tea. You're all invited over for tea.

3. Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray is a miracle for my not curly, not straight hair.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Celebrate a Little.

Happy Friday! Is that a hot pink and orange tulip in your yard or are you just happy to see me? Really this begets two observations. (1) This picture makes us look like we have decaying white siding on our house. Our house is green brick. I can't figure out that background yet I know where the tulip is. (2) Someone should have trimmed the rose bushes a bit lower.

I hope you do something a little extraordinary to celebrate that it's Friday. I think today calls for a pre-work stop at the Whole Foods for a bunch of ranunculus and some sort of ridiculous girly flavored dessert coffee. Party on.

I am anticipating a delivery today - something that I am very, very excited about and can't wait to share with you. It's not a baby.

As much as I like my job, I could use today as a personal day. I don't think I should have to use my weekends as personal days. Weekends should be for gluttony.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Eine Kleine Night Reading

Much like J.Lo and Mathew McConaughey, I will go on record as saying that I require 8+ hours of sleep. So it is somewhat ironic that I have been blessed with a child that is an insomniac.

A great majority of the time I am in bed and asleep before my ten year old. I know what you are thinking - FOR SHAME. If he was grumpy or sluggish or otherwise unpleasant, I would say we have a problem. He just doesn't require as much sleep as normal people. This actually runs in my family (except skipped me).

He feels like he has to sneak around if he is reading in bed after his lights out time. And this makes me mad. Not that he is reading in bed, but that he feels like he has to be sneaky. Because I told him, "It's okay to read past lights out if you can't sleep, but don't be sneaky and turn on the damn lights so you don't ruin your eyes."

The other night I woke up and went to check on him. I saw that he quickly moved a big book underneath himself. And I started to get very angry. That is, until I realized he was reading the Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage. How could I be mad? Someone in this family should read it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Well, Someone Should Be on Vacation

This morning I dropped off my 10 year old for his class trip to Moab. At 5:45 a.m. Ha ha ha ha ha. Three poor teachers are with a bus load of 10 year olds that got up before sunrise this morning.

Which also begets the question. Why is my son on vacation and I'm not?

Also, as I was leaving from dropping him off, he decided he wanted my favorite Lulu Lemon hoodie that I just happened to be wearing. It's neon green. And I should also note he's wearing a cowboy hat. Which is where my husband notes it's a wonder he doesn't get his ass kicked on a regular basis.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Does Anybody Else Have Questions?

Oh where to begin where to begin.

Well, let's start with this. If someone built a three story, windowless compound with retaining walls topped with chicken wire right in the middle of my town, I guarantee my neighbors would be all, oh no he didn't. (There are strict rules about the height of your fence around here.)

Which begets the question - how is it that not a single person in that town gave him up? It wasn't like he was living in a small, single family bungalow that looked like all the other small, single family bungalows. He lived in the biggest damn house in town. They had to know.

And how was nobody swayed by the huge reward on his head. If I knew the whereabouts of somebody with a huge reward on their head, phone calls would be made. It's all so bizarre. I've got many, many questions.

The Kitchen Sink

The weekend was good. Friday we did a little margarita tour. On Saturday we sat at the shopping area where we are quite far along negotiating The Franchise space which begat some worry - but only because I saw a spot two blocks away that I want more. But we can't afford that one as it would be a build out form scratch. The one we are looking at served as a food place before.

Later that night we watched All The President's Men. I had never seen it. Two thumbs up. I spent Sunday picking up the house and I woke up this morning, looked around, and determined that someone needs to pick up this house. Ten year olds. They just don't care.

Today . . . Today people will come in my office with seemingly mundane little "just quick" questions. And those will begat major research projects with no clear answers. After hours and hours (and hours) of research, I will wind up going with my gut. I am looking forward to the time when its not all a great big research project (i) legally, and (ii) figuring out the company in general.