Posted by: thescoundrel | August 27, 2008

The Full Monty


Blog visitor Pioneer was speaking his piece in a discussion on another blog about the socioeconomic significance surrounding certain meals. And after I replied, I realized that I had shortchanged Pioneer in my narration. But I did not want to further congest up QCExaminers excellent blog with another lengthy response- yet I also felt Pioneer deserved the Full Monty presentation. So I have instead decided to reprint and revise my reply to his endeavor to explore the implications behind collective food behavior–> here on my blog. You will have to read the first link to the original post if you need to know the prelude leading to this post .

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MMM, Pioneer, collard greens, fried chicken and watermelon now that is fine dining. All you need is some fresh baked cornbread (not that Jiffy Cake style Cornbread either!!!) to go with it. The thing is collard greens are labor intensive to prepare. But they are well worth the effort. Cleaning them is a real chore. You have to look them for bugs and sand. It is best to soak in water and then wash/rinse them off several more times before actually placing them in to the cooking pot. Otherwise it is tough to get all the dirt and sand off the plants. If you want to add some flavor include some mustard or turnip greens mixed in with the collards. They will give the meal some bite. Yummmmy Yum! The cooking process is pretty much an all day job. Now rich city folk also tend to boil chunks of ham in their greens. Cooking greens is faster if you have a gas stove to cook with. If you are relying on an old Cast Iron cooking stove energized by firewood you chopped and carried in to the house, the cooking might take a little longer since the fire can be uneven and you keep having to restock the wood fuel. (But the great thing about them old iron stoves is that they are great to sizzle an apple slice on top of. The cast iron makes the apple a little sooty black but it still tastes good. It might be the only treat you have for awhile. Watch out for those worms though – those critters infest your fruit trees unless you can afford the insect poisons and bird nets.) Now Ham isn’t a bad flavor addition but for the best flavor I prefer to use a smoked shoulder instead of a ham. But most of us frugal country cooks drop in a pound of smoked bacon thick or thin slab depending on your preference. Besides you might need the ham, shoulder and better cuts off your hog to sell off in order to buy the kids some new shoes for school. Now effin ya really want to set that meal off fit for a King: you will fry up some Okra rolled in a corn meal mixture. Okra is also a labor intensive food to harvest and prepare. Okra should be harvested when it is about the size of your little finger. The bigger you let it grow the tougher and more fibrous the pods become. (Most of the stuff you find in the supermarkets has been picked way past a good harvest date to be quality eating.) But Okra will grow back at a tremendous rate during the summer if you stay on top of the harvest. (Now you do have to be careful growing it around city folk as cops can get the wrong idea as to what you are actually growing. The leaves do resemble an illegal plant to the uneducated city folk.) Also when harvesting okra, it is best to wear heavy long-sleeved shirts, even in 90 degree weather, because the plant is very defensive when you harvest the pods. Effin you harvest okra in a lightweight and/or short-sleeved shirt you risk scratching yourself bloody as okra secretes a substance that really itches! Now here’s the trick to making tasty okra, it is also helpful effin you let your pods get too big. Boil the pods for a few minutes and then remove the pods from the water and let cool before you roll them in the cornbread mixture and fry. Now I do not recommend pouring that water you just boiled your okra in, down the drain. The precooking of the okra in the boiling water is gonna leave a thick heavy snotty slime residue in the water. Or you can just skip the boiling process and eat the slime. Once fried inside the Okra it isn’t all that noticeable, especially if you missed a meal and are hungry. I have eaten it both ways. Now if you are some of my relatives you probably have a jug of white-lightening sitting in the cupboard to sip on with your meal. Not my choice but -Hey- each to their own. And it is probably safer to drink than the water from your cistern well, if you have not treated your well with bleach lately. And don’t worry about those little things swimming around inside your dipper of water. Those are just wiggletails, early stage mosquito larvae that are hatching out in the water. My grandmother always pointed out those won’t kill ya. Now if drinking live critters does bother ya, ya could always boil the water on the stove and make a nice batch of ice tea to go with your meal. That is – assuming ya have enough money to buy tea bags and sugar and a running refrigerator to freeze your well water to make the ice. It sure is tastier than straight well water.

Now consuming a fine tasty meal is pretty much like the rest of life: what goes in must come out. And it is good to know that collard greens are usually a summertime meal. (Though you can also preserve them in a canning process for later consumption.) However greens can often travel through the body’s digestive system quickly. And there is nothing worse than needing to to make an emergency bathroom trip in the cold winter and the toilet facilities are a fifty yard dash through the ice and snow. And a wise man will have built a toilet that has a two seater 😉 in case more than one person has to make that late night emergency trip to the outhouse, sometimes staring Willie Makeit and Betty Dont. Ya know the really sad thing about modern toileting habits is the lack of really enlightening reading available during the process. Plus the predecessor to toilet paper – the humongous Montgomery Wards and Sears catalogs- just are not available in modern society. Not that you would really want to spend much time in an outhouse reading. In the winter outhouses tend to be icy cold and in the summer the stench is fairly oppressive, making lengthy stays more tribulation than relief. And God forbid if you are the unlucky selected volunteer that has to relocate the outhouse as the chamber underneath is reaching full capacity. It requires a lot of shoveling and the flies that swarm around you are often not to friendly. Many of them usually let you know their displeasure of filling in the outhouse hole by biting you. Amother thing I have noticed about life is that biting flies and the smell of excrement do not really concern themselves with the subject of Democrats or Republicans. It really is true that everyones’ fecal matter stinks! Some more than others.

I sure hope I was able to enlighten you and assuage any self-righteous self-aggrandizing ego-feeding questions that you had been pondering regarding the feasting habits of the socioeconomically oppressed. Gosh I sure hope I managed to give you the Full Monty and answer all your lifestyle contemplations.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the link and compliment!

    Did you plant any okra this year? Ours didn’t produce much—only about a quart-baggie worth—last year we couldn’t keep up with it.

    I guess I’ll just freeze what I can get and save it for gumbo later—no pickled okra this year!

  2. After I quit laughing, I started drooling. Now I gotta go get some okra.

  3. Your welcome QCEx. I figured I had taken up enough space on your blog and finished my string of thoughts over here. No I have not grown any okra in a couple of years. It is just one of those crops you have to stay on top of and I have not had the time to keep up with the care. This year it was taters, tomatoes, green onions and cucumbers. But the beetles got to the cucumbers not long after they started producing and the cold weather shortened the tomato season. It was not a great garden year. But I have managed to dry three batches of cherry tomatoes that has produced about two quarts of dried tomatoes. That is a lot of dried tomatoes. Fortunately I have not blistered my tongue eating them. Last season I was adding them to every dish I could think of experimenting with. LOL – by this time last year I had treated myself to so many dried tomatoes I had blistered my tongue.

    Thanks cruiser. I hope you have better luck at finding okra at the grocery than I do. Supermarkets are clueless on what makes good Okra. Probably because they only use it in gumbo where the large size doesn’t matter. 😉 (Okra is best consumed when very young, short and tender.)

  4. I was thinking more along the lines of taking a little cruise to a backroads cafe in bluegrass country. Cigarettes are a lot cheaper there and we like to look at the horses. As for store bought okra, no thanks.

  5. I can remember years back when I was a kid, my mother would often have dad swing through Kentucky to buy her several cartons of cigarettes when we were traveling to visit kin.

  6. I must be moving up in the world to deserve a 5,000 word response to a comment on someone else’s blog. I don’t have time to read such a thing, much less to WRITE one.

    I see you chose to focus on the soul food aspect, and didn’t go near the crack cocaine one.

  7. I had the hour to spare as I am currently in one of my insomnia periods getting about 3-4 hours of sleep during my sleep periods. But you are the one who asked about food. I just explained the process for you. I always like to help those people busy patting themselves on the back in an effort to feed their ego.

  8. I didn’t ask about food. There was no question mark in that post. You might want to re-read it. Hopefully a mis-reading didn’t cause you to waste an hour of your time.

    But here is a question: so, I have a huge ego for suggesting that, perhaps, racist things have been said about Barack Obama? Stop the presses everyone!

    I think it takes more of an ego to suggest that Obama is being racist against McCain, as QC Examiner suggested. It certainly takes more cahones, I’ll give him that.

  9. I see, you did not really want to talk about food. What you are really saying is that you were just displaying your personal bigotry about food, its consumption and its relationship with people you deem your inferiors.

    As to the question about Obama and racism, to my knowledge Obama is not using racist comments about McCain. I am not saying there are not racists out there pushing their dope. But what Obama and his supporters are doing is that they are using false claims of racism and bigotry to attack those that do not bow down and kiss the ass of his holiness, Pope Obama. They did it to Clinton supporters and now they are doing it to McCain supporters. Whenever someone discusses issues about Obama, that put him in a bad light, the Obama mesmerized start screaming racism. Of course if you really think about it, crying racist wolf, is an atypical form of racism.


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