C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Sunday Drive: Candida/Knock Three Times

My truckbuddies of a certain age will certainly remember these lighthearted tunes by Tony Orlando and Dawn from 1970, a very pleasant way to begin a warm and sunny, spring-like morning here in Texas. I always thought Tony was sexy, especially after he grew his hair and stache out. Major woof!


But what I really wanted share with you all is this clip I ran across yesterday of Tony performing a farewell concert in Las Vegas just last month - he will be 80 years old in a few weeks, and yet he is still rocking the crowds as he did half a century ago. I saw him and Dawn in concert back in 1976, and it was a fantastic show. Tony is a master showman, a true entertainer, who puts his heart and soul into everything he does on stage. But judge for yourself:


Friday, February 23, 2024

Waitin' for the Weekend

An old favorite:  Bruno.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Sunday Drive: When the Lilac Blooms Again

A beautiful arrangement of a captivating tune, which I just recently heard for the first time.

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"As Far as the East Is from the West":  a brilliant Ash Wednesday meditation by Father Sean Mullen at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Philadelphia.


Friday, February 16, 2024

Waitin' for the Weekend


Thursday, February 15, 2024

Good Eatin': Tomato Gravy

M.P. made us a lovely Mardi Gras dinner on Tuesday evening, including roast Cornish hens, pan gravy, fried potatoes, brussels sprouts, schoolhouse rolls, and a luscious King's Cake for dessert.  But as he was feeling poorly and had a bad toothache to boot, he wasn't able to enjoy it much.  He's still under the weather, and has mostly stayed in bed since.  I'd do anything I could for him, but he's the don't-talk-to-me type when he's sick, so I leave him alone.  When he's recovered, I'll get him to send me the food pics from his phone and I'll post them here.

Meanwhile, for want of anything better to do, your Head Trucker has been browsing through Google Books and YouTube for old-time recipes - and I came across these videos about making tomato gravy, a very Southern thing.  But for some strange reason, nobody in my family ever made it, so I never learned how.  

In case you are wondering too, here are three Alabama ladies who all cook very much as my mama and grandma did, and they will set you right on this subject.  Now hush up and listen, you might learn something.  First, you make a roux . . .

Mama Sue is making breakfast for supper, always a good idea: 

Miss Earline is making this video to teach her grandson in college how to feed himself: 


Miss Brenda makes a ton of gravy for a family dinner:


You'll notice they all make it the same simple way, with minor differences.  Try the one that you think is best.  The Alabama Farmers Federation gives a printable recipe here, if you want it.  It calls for chicken broth, but as you can see in these videos, plain water works just fine.

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Bonus:  How to Make a Roux.  It's just real simple, boys.  Use equal parts fat + flour, and don't burn it!

N. B. -- for the fat, you can use butter, margarine, olive oil, corn oil, canola oil, any cooking oil; or bacon grease for delicious flavor; or any kind of pork or ham grease, ditto.  Use any kind of white flour you have.  Stir together over a hot flame until it's the color you want, then turn off the flame or remove from fire and quickly add your liquid - which can be water, milk, half of each, or half cream and milk, or stock or bouillon, or just a pile of veggies, anything to stop the cooking of the flour.  Don't burn it!  

If you do, throw it out and start over; never serve burnt gravy.  But I'll let you fellas in on the Pork Boys' secret (come closer, I'll whisper in your ear):  in an emergency, stir a heaping helping of peanut butter into the hot gravy, which works miraculously and leaves no peanut taste.


Sunday, February 11, 2024

Friday, February 9, 2024

Waitin' for the Weekend

Hot buns on a cold morning are a welcome treat.


Thursday, February 8, 2024

Colonial Cookery

M.P. is taking a little holiday from cooking this week, so the other night he asked me to come up with something for our dinner.  I was glad to oblige, and after a few seconds' thought, grabbed a couple of frozen chicken legs and dropped them in the crockpot, then poured about half a small bottle of BBQ sauce over them.  

Six hours later, without further attention, they were super tender and delicious, meat falling off the bones, no fuss or muss required.  To round out the meal, I heated up a can of collard greens on the stove, also a can of candied yams, and made some Jiffy Mix cornbread muffins (just add an egg and a splash of milk).  None of this required any culinary skill, of course, but M.P. gobbled it down like there was no tomorrow.  I'm always glad when I can fix him something he enjoys, when he is always cooking up wonderful things for me.

It occurs to me that the crockpot is the modern-day equivalent of the Dutch oven, which has been a very handy piece of cookware for centuries. So here is a playlist of Dutch oven recipes from John Townsend, the go-to 18th century expert, who really knows what he is doing when it comes to colonial-era cookery.  Enjoy - and thank your lucky stars we don't have to cook over an open fire anymore!

P.S. - we do have a 5-quart cast iron Dutch oven for large recipes; but many times we prefer to use the smaller 3-quart chicken fryer, so called.  I call it a deep skillet.  Very handy for all sorts of things, and it has a convenient handle, unlike the Dutch oven.


Sunday, February 4, 2024

Friday, February 2, 2024

Waitin' for the Weekend


Thursday, February 1, 2024

Cracking Cuneiform

Cuneiform Tablet from an Assyrian Trading Post LACMA M.84.31.6 (2 of 2)

If you've ever thought wistfully that one day you might have a go at learning to read ancient cuneiform, but never quite got around to it, here is your chance.  Dr. Irving Finkel, a wonderfully bearded, very amusing curator in the Middle East Department at the British Museum, will give you a running start at it right here:

Bonus:  Now that you can read cuneiform, Dr. Finkel shows you how to write it:


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