One Step Forward…

Cast iron cookware, once considered too heavy and awkward. Perfectly good skillets and Dutch oven discarded in favor of lighter aluminum cookware, with non-stick coatings.

When properly seasoned, cast iron was also non-stick–without the chemical coating compounds. In our household, cast iron is back in favor. Last night’s cast iron skillet-baked pork chops with roasted vegetables were to die for.

On another front, I’m taking back what was taken away last summer, by warring media giants, Direct TV and Nexstar Media. Local CBS and NBC channels were removed from the lineup. NBC is still not back.

I’m installing an outside antenna for local channels. A small gimmicky inside antenna, failed to perform to my expectations last week, and was returned.  I missed NBC’s first shows of the new season.

The new antenna, looks like those on houses before the advent of satellite and pay TV.  Hopefully, local channels will be in reach, once again.  I’ll have the option to pull the plug from TV subscription services.

I’m waiting for the weather to cool next week before installation.  Everything comes back in fashion in due time.

THANKSGIVING BLUES (Tis the Season)

Days are shorter.  It has finally cooled off.  The Holiday Season may happen yet.  Success or failure depends on competency of the participants.

Thanksgiving morning.  An inept married couple out to impress their relatives agreed to prepare dinner.  Mayhem ensues when things go horribly wrong–including the still-frozen turkey served at mealtime.

The episode ended with store-bought desserts after mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and Chinese takeout.

The family tossed the hapless turkey carcass out into the backyard.  The family pooch–who normally would eat anything, refused their burnt offering.

Some sitcom will bring out this tired story line again this season.  Which network will it be–if it matters?

Not to say this scenario won’t play out in real life this season.  Somewhere in suburbia, a deep-fried frozen turkey will set someone’s house afire.  Gluttony will give way to ineptitude.

Here’s an idea.  Rather than make an ash out of yourself or your home this Thanksgiving, buy a cooked turkey.  Go out to eat.  Be safe.

Relatives won’t take kindly to being test subject in you untried culinary forays into the unknown.

My family is traditional on Thanksgiving.  There will be no turducken or tofurkey on our Holiday table.  Even though, there is a newly declared vegetarian in the family.  I would be willing to try some tofurkey, however, just to empathize.

IT’S ONLY MONEY (And Omelets)

holding-a-stack-of-money

My breakfast omelet this morning had a definite underbite; after at least ten perfect ones–that’s not a bad average.  Of late–I’ve been on a quest to make perfect omelets.  Did anyone have perfect parents?  I don’t know at what point, the thought occurred to me.

There’s some guilt associated with publishing this post.  It’s like betraying my parents and all they’ve given me.  Many of      their arguments were about money.  Not that there wasn’t any–but rather about who was going to pay for what.

I don’t think they ever had a family budget.  Mom was a teacher. Dad farmed and had several second jobs.  “A man’s work was from sun to sun, but a woman’s work was never done.”  In fairness–they both worked hard, and weren’t typical nine-to-fivers.

Father helped kill and pluck chickens to butcher.  He assisted with vegetable preparation for canning.  So, he wasn’t completely removed from what some would call domestic tasks.  He milked our cows and worked in the garden.

They were from different family situations–dad, an only child; mom was the youngest of five in a single parent household.  Both grew up during Prohibition, the Great Depression, and WWII.  Nobody had things easy during that period of history.

Whatever they did was because they were human.  Nobody’s programmed to know exactly how to raise a family.  My parents had some enthusiastic discussions over money matters.

“Little pitchers had big ears.”  I’d listen from my bedroom.  Were they talking about me?  Was there anything juicy I could pass on to my siblings?  No, it was about  who was going to pay utility bills that month.

Was theirs the best way to do things?  They had separate incomes.  I can only speculate–and refuse to judge.  They did the best they knew how to do under the circumstances.

They cared enough about me and my siblings to sacrifice their money and time.  In retrospect–they worked too hard to enjoy life.  Mom once said, “If it wasn’t for me working, you kids wouldn’t have had anything.”

I don’t think dad liked that sentiment hanging over his head.  Farming was labor intensive, speculative from season to season.  Because of them, I grew up knowing I was loved.  Darn it–my omelet broke apart!

–Image, http://www.picturesofmoney.org

NO ROOM MUSHROOMS (Fried Telephone Books)

morel mushrooms 2

At every gathering place–rumors flew.  No blindly following the blind.  It was the beginning of a mad rush; everyone for themselves.  Hipsters called them ‘shrooms–to everyone else, they were morels.

“Been finding any?”  Ken the barber asked customers.  Some answered yes.  “Jess Markle was in yesterday–he heard Igor Whatley got himself a couple of gunny sacks full.”  Locations were secret–like fishing holes where big lunkers waited to strike. They were only there for the most skilled.

Ideal mushroom growing conditions were no secret to the experienced hunter/gatherer.  They were prone to sprout up near decaying wood stumps–in forest shade.  Poison Ivy, snakes, and bugs, kept amateurs away.  Pros knew not to touch poisonous varieties.

Delectable sponge-capped mushrooms appeared as soon as weather warmed–when heat and humidity returned.  It was cloak-and-dagger stuff.  There may have been trespassing on private property involved.  Of course, that’s just a rumor.  I’m sworn to secrecy.

Morels, gathered by the bag full, cleaned, soaked in salt water overnight.  Then battered and fried up for supper the next day for supper.  Almost as delicious as fried pumpkin blossoms; come to think of it, just about everything fried in homemade egg batter was delicious.

Maybe even fried telephone books?  On second thought, I don’t think so–not even as misinterpreted entrees in fancy French restaurant menus smothered in fromage.  Many years have passed since mushroom hunting in the Midwest.  I moved away, haven’t participated since.  

–image/www.indianamushrooms.com