Saturday, August 22, 2009

A veggie tale of sorts.....

I am a proud product of the South...... except for some of the food.

Fried chicken? Check (okay, these days, it's faux-fried in the oven but that's not the point). Buttermilk biscuits? MMMM.... gimme!!! Cornbread? Very much so, but it took me a few years to get there. Same with bluegrass music; took years me to appreciate it. Collards or turnip greens?..........

Well, let's pause there.

My parents, every New Year's Day, would have black-eyed peas and turnip greens. Mom is not a fan of collards so they substituted turnip greens for the annual New Year's Day ritual. Supposedly, you eat these foods as a symbol of the money you hope to obtain throughout the year. Frankly, I prefer -- and practice -- the money-burial ritual instead (don't ask, it's a long story). And to show our disdain for those disgusting foods, my brother and I made a tradition of splitting a frozen pizza and bag of chips.

I'll also say that while I was a somewhat picky eater as a child, as I've grown older my tastes have developed and changed. The broccoli I absolutely hated as a child is the same food that I have never gotten enough of from age 12 on. The cornbread that I refused to eat all through my childhood and teen years (except as Thanksgiving dressing) is the stuff I love now. I still don't like black-eyed peas or field peas or butter beans or anything of the sort.... I do like a small amount of black beans (usually as part of a soup or corn salad), and I love kidney beans in chili, but that's about the extent of my bean adventures.

About a year ago, we had a catered luncheon at work from a local upscale barbecue place. One of their sides that came was cooked collard greens, cooked "southern-style." Flavored with ham and onions. I needed a couple of extra veggie servings that day, and I knew I couldn't count macaroni as a vegetable (much as most meat-and-three places try to convince me otherwise). So with much trepidation, I got a small serving of the collards. I wouldn't have called it love at first bite, but I did go back for seconds.

Now, eating Smoke on the Water's collards is one thing. But to fix them myself is another. And to venture even further is yet another. But it happened. I was passing through Durham NC a few weeks ago and stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch. And with hardly a second thought, one of the sides I ordered was the turnip greens. Now that was love at first bite. I downed them pretty quickly. It had to be a fluke, right? I mean, really, there's no way this can be happening to me.

This past week, I went to Whole Foods' hot bar for lunch. One of the veggies? "Southern-style Collards"...... and they were very good.

What is happening to me? Are black-eyed peas next (I like their music, but....)?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Are you ready for some......


I love football -- a near-unhealthy love of it, compared to others of us who have a set of double-X chromosomes. Any future husband had either better love it as much or prepare to be a football widower. The tailgating? Check. And I'm far less apt to look at cute tight pants as much as I'm looking at their stats and how the team is doing overall and compared to their opponents. College is my favorite, but there's nothing like a Sunday pro game too. AAAAAH!

And with that in mind......... I have two pro teams to which I have pledged my allegiance: the Carolina Panthers and the Green Bay Packers. I've been a Packer-backer even when they sucked very badly in the late 70s/early 80s, so it wasn't just a Favre thing. (Matter of fact, I kind of hope Favre STAYS retired at last. The drama is useless, and he ought to know better.) And I've been a Panthers fan since the expansion. When it comes to it, I'm an NFC girl, and mostly the NFC South. I'll root for the Packers and whomever plays the Bears (ha!) in the NFC North. NFC West? Snore.

NFC East..... well, I've never had much of a favorite team..... of course, it's only recently been aligned the way it is now (last few years). When I was a kid, I was a Dallas fan..... but as St. Paul says, "When I was a child, I thought as a child, I reasoned as a child...... but now that I am a man, I put away childish things." Well, that and Jerry Jones unceremoniously dumping Tom Landry, the last of the true gentleman-coaches. And in the last few years, nothing has given me greater thrill than watching the 'Boys lose. But they've been replaced on the bottom of the NFC East rung by...........

The Philadelphia Eagles. And if you need to ask why, you have obviously been living under a rock or not watched the news in the last couple of days. Michael Vick has a LONG way to go to prove to me that he's a changed person. I think what bothers me most is referring to his crimes as a "mistake." Again, a mistake is leaving the iron or coffeepot on all day, or messing up a formula in a spreadsheet. Bankrolling an illegal activity, participating in it (and not just merely watching the dogfights), and killing the losers....... that's evil. Just plain evil. That's not a mistake, that's a deliberate disregard for God's creation. There's no amount of money that can get his PR back on track -- it will take years of concerted effort, of genuine remorse, and of owning up to what he did instead of glossing it over and calling it a "mistake." It was no mistake; it was a crime, both against society and against creation.

And until he decides to do so, I cannot support him or any team that takes him on. Let's hope that Tony Dungy (as his mentor) and Andy Reid (as his coach) will help him see the light.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Proud child of the 70s.

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You know, I was talking with some girlfriends recently. I mentioned that I had a cousin's wife whom I don't think I ever saw without a ciggie hanging out of her mouth from the time I can remember first seeing her until she passed a few years back. I also remarked that back in the 70s, when I was getting my vaccinations, etc. in my family doctor's office, he smoked in there. The whole office smelled of smoke and no one thought anything about it.

We rode around town in big ol' honkin' ugly woodgrain-paneled stationwagons. Without seat belts or car seats (car seats? you got out of those once you turned a year old!). Standing up in the passenger seat or sitting on the fold-down armrest. Riding our bikes all over town in the summer without parental supervision.... sometimes without direct parental knowledge (oopsie). Actually being encouraged to stay outside all day and NOT come home until called for a meal. Walking to the store for penny candy (only by then, 2 for a nickel) .... in my case, the Speedy Mart and Mr. Owen's store (OMG, does anyone else remember Astro Pops??)

Seeing the pictures of me in my Girl Scout uni with my other Brownie friends. Going to Camp Wabak...... oh my. Plaid. Plaid. Plaid. My orange-and-black rugby striped shirt for my 4th grade picture.

I'd love to hear some more of your 70s memories -- share them in the comments!!