Saturday, December 31, 2011

We are doomed (Updated)

to begin and end 2012 with a kitchen counter filled with dirty pots and pans that facilitated a wonderful New Year's Eve supper. (It's early. I can still change this timeline.)

UPDATE:  Daughter C and I colluded to get 'er done. We'll have nothing but clean kitchens in 2012. Whew.

Mr. Big Food, Daughter C, and Rocky have money tucked away in various places on their persons to ensure that at the end of 2012, they will be able to have money tucked away in various places on their persons.

One United States Dollar that Rocky can trade in for ____ .

So do I.


This is not a political blog, per se.

It's a blog that reflects what's going on in my little corner of fly-over land, which we quite purposefully sought out in order to secure our futures and to provide for those we love as best we can should worse come to worst. 

It's a blog about what I try to think about when I've had enough, when I'm sickened that even here, in my little corner, one little store has sold out of 100 watt bulbs.

I hope that those who stumble across this blog find something to enjoy and perhaps occasionally something to think about, be it a new recipe, old book, or story about Rocky.  

With that said, please read this letter to President Obama from George Washington. It begins:

Dear Mr. President:

Although it is two hundred years, and more, since I laid down the cares of an eventful temporal existence and took up residence in my long home, Our Gracious Lord has seen fit to bestow upon my spirit the gift of perpetual cognition, and He has granted the further boon of permitting me, for a few moments, to assume sufficient corporeality to pen this letter, which I place before Your Excellency as the cri de coeur of a patriot whose efforts on behalf of his country have been deemed by its citizens to possess no little significance.

I have watched, frequently with pride and joy, occasionally with grave misgivings and sadness, the arc of our country’s history over two centuries, since those of my generation first established that Orchard of Liberty on the North American continent that would become the envy of the world. Over many seasons that Orchard has borne good fruit, and has flourished in the golden light of our Sacred Constitution. In evil times, this Arboreal Garden has been watered with the blood of heroes, which sustenance has served to make it even hardier and more prolific.

Imagine my consternation then, Sir, when I look upon our Orchard today, and see the fruit withering on the branch, the crowns blighted, and the whole cloaked in the gauzy shrouds of assiduously destructive bagworms. How slothful and inattentive have become the arborists who constitute what my friend Thomas Jefferson referred to as our natural aristoi!  ...
~~
h/t Bookworm Room who linked to Doug Ross who presents the "Fabulous 50 Blog Award Winners," naming the Letter the best post of the year-- for good reason.

Soup Contest Entrant #4: Chili Soup

Not chili, chili soup!*

For me, it's a tie. Mr. Big Food is still thinkin' on it. I've got it tied with Slow Cooker Potato Cheese Soup with Wieners (here, and here).

If you are new to this game, we're having a Fall/Winter Soup Contest. This is the 4th entrant. There have been several disqualified entrants, namely Leftover Turkey Gumbo and Across the Garden Soup. (We make up the rules to this contest as we go along.)

Mr. Big Food thought he was pulling one over on me. He explicitly said he wasn't going to tell me what was in this soup until after I'd tried it. Please. I see the menu. I shop the aisles (he shops the periphery). And I saw that he didn't begin to fix supper until about 15 minutes before supper time. I had a pretty good idea what was in this soup. Clearly, I was not biased by this knowledge. 

"Recipe" below the fold

Jó reggelt!

Good morning!

I love family traditions. My mother, who is not especially superstitious but who has no problem passing along superstitious traditions, taught me that the way in which one ends an old year and rings in a new year will be way in which one will end the new year and ring in a newer year. Thus, one needs to be full at the beginning of the year so one will be full at the end of the year. One needs to have money in one's pocket at the beginning so one will have money... . And of course, one needs to be in the company of loved ones.

Loved ones is easy, undoubtedly because Mom's whole system works so well! The money thing is fun because it doesn't have to be a lot of money. I've used silver dollars, silver certificate dollars, and just plain old money. It doesn't take much time to scrounge up a little bit of money-- again, because the system works. Duh. Being full, though, takes some work. 

To ensure that we don't end 2012 hungry, we will be cooking all day today. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

In a word,

Pathetic.

I'm diddling around on the World Wide Web awaiting the start of a football game. 

What I was doing while diddling: a word cloud of the blog.  I think it sums things up nicely.

Mr. Big Food is already in front of the television. He blurts out loudly enough for me to hear, "Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl."

My equally loud response? "Pathetic."

Beyond the obvious, I have no idea what Franklin American Mortgage is and I don't give a Bull Dawg's butt. The state of NCAA football is pathetic. 

Lord. I've just been advised that we're off to a pathetic start.
~~

Reset. I've begun looking at on-line seed catalogs! And... and... I get to cook tomorrow! 

That's BIG!

Recipes: SVIČKOVA and KNEDLE

Yesterday, when I posted some photos of the knedle in progress, I said
When I post the recipe-- which I will after I have some photos of them doing what God intended them to do-- I'll include the correct name.
Here they are, doing what God intended: 

soaking up some ‘peek-a-pok, good gravy.’
Courtesy of Mr. Big Food and complete with his color commentaries, the recipes for Svičkova (Czech sauerbraten) and Knedle (bread dumplings) are below the fold.

(Sorry, forgot to get the carroten recipe.)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

More Works in Progress: Kids


No. It is not snowing in Mississippi on December 29, 2011. This is a photo from February 10, 2011, when we had a BIG snow, by Mississippi standards.

These are two Mississippi kids, looking for adventure getting their daily exercise. They asked if they could sled down our "hill" and of course we granted permission. But even though the "hill" was covered with a couple of inches of snow, the underlying ground wasn't exactly frozen enough to create an ideal sledding environment, such as one might find in the "hills" surrounding Pittsburgh, Penna. 

And so, they put on their helmets thinking caps and and had some fun sliding down the... what would you say? 30 degree slope?... of their shed roof, on their butts. Make no mistake, they were having as much fun as they used to have in the summer climbing on top of their portable b-ball hoop and springing onto their trampoline with the water sprinkler going full tilt making the hoop and the trampoline very very dangerous fun. 

Recipe: suek's Chocolate Chip Pudding

Commenting on the bread dumplings-- which were delicious-- suek shares the following (which I've edited for ease of reading, and one typo*):
In our house, stale bread = Chocolate chip pudding!

Grease a baking dish. Fill with cubed/broken dried bread (including crusts). Then you need a bit of guess work...quantity of milk is determined by quantity of bread, so it's a bit of by guess and by golly...but using one cup of milk plus one egg (beaten into the milk), plus 2 Tbsp of sugar and I guess about 1/2 tsp vanilla, pour over the bread. The liquid should come up at least half way up on the bread. Repeat the milk combo till it does. After the first couple of times, you know the size of the baking dish, and how many cups of milk you need - then it's an easy one step thing.
When the liquid is in, pour chocolate chips on top and mix in. How many? That's sort of up to you and availability. the pan I used needed a quart of milk, and I used a 12 oz bag of chips. Obviously, this is very adjustable. Mix the chips in, let it set an hour or more for the bread to absorb the liquid. Bake at 350* for about an hour - again, size of pan and depth will determine time, but you do the standard test with a knife to see if the middle is done. It should come out clean. (well, maybe chocolate on the knife, but no custard) It takes a while to cool for some reason. Can be served plain, with cream or with ice cream. Good cold, but better warm.
Serve with cream. That's my kind of pudding! 
~~
I've always heard "by guess and by golly." If there are regional alternatives, pardon that particular edit.

More Czech Food!

Mr. Big Food is cooking up a bouře! [Czech speaking relatives-- this is what an on-line translator told me "storm" was in Czech. Is this correct? I highly doubt it.] 
Fifty bread dumplings in the works

Guest Post: MR. BIG FOOD HIMSELF!


The Big Food Manual and Survivalist Flourishing Guide recently crossed the 14,000 recipe mark. For readers unfamiliar with this collection, I started it back in the early summer of 2006, before Marica and I left “The Compound” in Cincinnati’s Northside community for “The Bunker” in rural Rileyville, Virginia, where we were on a year’s sabbatical just a few short steps from the Shenandoah River. It began as simply a way to get a bunch of old hand-written recipes I had compiled over the years, stuffed into a blue three-ring notebook, onto my laptop computer. Those recipes came from a variety of sources, including recipes from Gran, Tait, Buncle, and other “old timers’ at the Dallas SPJST Hall (Slavic Benevolent Order of the State of Texas), handed down to me mostly by Mom and Aunt Bee. (Though I did find a number of these recipes hand-written in old cookbooks I acquired from Gran.) I then started working through the many old, mostly locally published cookbooks I had collected over the years, adding favorite recipes I had cooked out of those books for as long as I’ve been cooking. And that’s awhile. I started collecting those books in my college undergraduate days when I learned how to cook seriously, first at the old North Campus Dining Facility at UCLA, back in 1980. (However, I’m sure Mom will remind me that I cooked as a kid, too.) Anyway, the project kept expanding, and eventually it hit me that I was compiling a definitive collection of American home cooking recipes. I started adding more recipes from my collection of old cookbooks, even ones I had never tried personally—I just started intuiting which ones should make good food. And I continued searching earnestly for more old cookbooks.

            Now we’re at the point where it would take a person more than thirty years (and closing in on forty years) if one simply did 1 recipe (and whatever variations are included on its page) per day. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Cook's Creed



I did not want the year to end before I'd shared "The Cook's Creed" from Meta Given's The Modern Family Cookbook published in 1958.


1926 Miles Later, the Vánočka Recipe!

On December 16th I promised to post the vánočka recipe. Unfortunately, we left Texas before Mr. Big Food's Mom and Mr. Big Food had the chance to make a vánočka together. Our layover, between Texas and North Carolina, wasn't long enough for baking a vánočka before Christmas. Now that our travels are over for a long while, there's finally time for some baking.  
Ready to rise again for 45 minutes


Vánočka is Czech Christmas bread.  

According to that infallible source, Wikipedia
Vánočka is a bread, baked in Czech Republic and Slovakia (in Slovak called vianočka) traditionally at Christmastime. It is rich in eggs and butter, making it similar to brioche. Lemon rind and nutmeg add color and flavor; the dough can also contain raisins and almonds, and is braided like challah. A vánočka may be built from three progressively smaller braids, stacked on top of each other; this is sometimes interpreted as a rough sculpture of the baby Jesus wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger.
It has a reputation for being difficult to prepare, so in many households, superstitions and special customs are attached to the baking process. When making vánočka, it is said that you must think of everyone dear to you. Another custom is to avoid touching silver or metal to the vánočka. Finally, the person who is making the vánočka should jump up and down while the dough rises.
The bread is named after Vánoce meaning Christmas in Czech (Vianoce in Slovak).
Our (I did the kneading!) vánočka is rising right now and no one is jumping up and down except Rocky. I mentioned what the entry said about vánočka's reputation to Mr. Big Food, and he said, "No it isn't!" with the same inflection he'd have used if I had said that the Earth was flat. 

Recipe & photo of the finished bread below the fold 

Recipe: Back at the Farm Impromptu Chicken Pizza

Mr. Big Food whipped up Back at the Farm Impromptu Chicken Pizza last evening after we arrived back at the Farm. Here's how he did it:

He

cut up one onion and some (homegrown) frozen pepperoncini peppers and sauteed them in 1 Tbsp. olive oil. When the onions were translucent, he transferred the onions and peppers to a paper towel lined plate.

Then he

cut up one 1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast into bit-sized cubes and sauteed the cubes in 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil. He seasoned the cubes as they were sauteing with dried oregano, dried basil, dried parsley, and salt and pepper. When the chicken was done, he transferred it to a paper towel lined plate.

He then

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Before I forget

Not for kids.

I want to report an observation about Daughter C. I was in her car when she reported that she wasn't used to this shit, meaning the traffic.

+1 Mississippi
- 1 newNorthCarolina


Rocky as a Work in Progress

I have written about Rocky's growth and development.

Rocky is becoming a very good dog. He is not an excellent dog, yet. He is training for excellence.

This is a non-trivial claim about this dog.

Mr. Big Food and I were talking about this dog this evening. Rocky is smart. He's still a bit needy-- he's at my feet right now when he could be in bed-- but he's developing nicely. He barks nonthreateningly to strangers.

He's made great advances. He travels.

And most importantly, he doesn't piss Mama off.

Back at the Farm Impromtu Chicken Pizza

There is just something nice about getting back home, isn't there?

Impromptu Chicken Pizza Served on a Christmas plate. Should I have cropped this photo?

We left early this morning, in the dark, in the pouring rain. There were three of us and only two of us were human. Lord. Dogs take a lot of time. Even very good dogs take a lot of time. 

And then we hit Atlanta. 

After that, I probably picked up some time. We were in Columbus by dark and at the Piglet (our small Piggly Wiggly grocery store) before they closed. Mr. Big Food picked up a few things while Rocky stumbled into a puddle. And then, poof! we were back at The Farm. And then, poof! Mr. Big Food pulled this Impromptu Chicken Pizza out of the oven. 

POOF!

Big Life. 
~~
Daughter C wanted me to drive a bunch of us to from some A to some B somewhere in newNC. The words were almost out, and then she said, "Oh, yeah. You drove to Texas."

Recipe tomorrow. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

December 26th

Hope Santa was good to you, too!

Mr. Big Food thought 264 photos of a single day was a bit much, and he expressed this opinion, which was technically wrong. Two days. Daughter C then explained that it sometimes took 264 pictures to ensure you captured a real gem. 

More traveling coming up. Stay tuned, we'll be back on the Farm shortly! Until then (or until something interesting turns up here in New North Carolina)... .

Stats and guns

In my travels around the World Wide Web the other morning, I came across this:
Rob is very explicit that there is no positive correlation between violent crime and liberalized carry laws rather than a proven negative correlation. He feels that it will take more rigorous statistical analysis before this negative correlation could be said to be proven. [my emphases]
[I'm not sure I like the use of the word "proven." But that's a nit to pick another time.]

Everyone knows statistics lie, right? Wrong. Statistics are numbers. Numbers do not have brains and thus cannot tell a lie. Human beings, on the other hand, can. Humans can-- and do-- manipulate numbers, images, words, and so on in order to lie. What I like very much about Rob-- and I'm assuming Rob is a gun-friendly guy-- is that he's careful about what these numbers do and do not show.

US violent crime rate vs. % US population living in shall issue and Constitutional carry states

What these numbers show is exactly what Rob says they show: no positive correlation between violent crime rates and liberalized, i.e., less restrictive, gun laws.

A positive correlation is a relationship between two sets of numbers such that as one set increases, in this case over time, so does the other. A negative correlation is the opposite, as one increases the other decreases. Note that in both sorts of correlations, neither set of numbers is necessarily "more important" than the other. In the abstract (without time), if there is a positive correlation between A and B we can say
As A increases B increases,
and we can also say
As B increases A increases.
It doesn't matter that A come before B in the alphabet!

Likewise, we can just as well say that these data do not show states' gun laws becoming less restrictive as violent crime rates have fallen. Either way, these data do not show a positive correlation between A and B. 

Assuming that more rigorous statistical analyses do reveal a (strong) negative correlation between violent crime rates and increased liberalism (less restriction) over states' gun laws, what does that mean? It means there's a (strong) negative correlation. Period.  No one-- including Rob it I'll bet-- would should then say that less restrictive gun laws cause violent crime rates to go down. Correlation is not causation. Duh. To put it another way, no one should now say violent crime rates went down because more people were able to get concealed carry licenses.

I say "should" because some will say that. And they'd be wrong, given these data. Does it make sense to say that armed potential crime victims are better able to ensure they are not actual victims. Sure! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

From Bible Story Book: A Complete Narration from Genesis to Revelation for Young and Old by Elsie E. Egermeier, New and Revised Edition, published by The Warner Press, Anderson, Indiana. Copyright 1923 ... 1939, and Discarded by DuBois [Pennsylvania] Public Library some time in the mid-'60s.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Aunt Margaret's Bookmarks

Aunt Margaret's bookmarks
I found these all marking the same page in Aunt Margaret's An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Fifth edition, by Rev. Thomas L Kinkead, published by Benziger Brothers (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago) and copyright 1891. The marked page begins an explanation of The Lord's Prayer.

Please do click on the image to enlarge. The bookmarks are quite lovely. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fill 'er up

This is a scheduled post. We've returned from Texas, and will soon be traveling to North Carolina. I'll be back in real time before the New Year.

A car, which has found a permanent parking space, in Fredericksburg, Texas.


The view from a bench outside an over priced hotel.
Chevron. Mobile. Whatever. One and the same.

Bad BIG. 

Remember when you could trust your car to the man who wore the star? I came across something from those crappy olden days I'd like to share. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Recipe: St. Louis Beer Beef Stew

This is the final installment of my "quick" supper posts series. 

I should be clear. "Quick" doesn't mean, "Bazinga, supper's done!" St. Louis Beer Beef Stew cooks for hours. I should have called these suppers, "Suppers that don't require that I help Mr. Big Food with a lot prep cooking because it's almost Christmas and I am still engaged in sewing projects  suppers."

These suppers are "quick" in the sense that they are easy if you've looked ahead and have prepared. 

The full recipe of this supper feeds an army. 

I will soon see Kat and will learn how to better photograph food.

The buttons have been chosen.

The sewing project is almost finished. All that's left to do is sew on the buttons from Aunt Margaret's button box and wrap things up!

If you missed it before, here's the button box.
This is my way of explaining why I haven't been doing much posting lately.


It's Springtime! UPDATED

LOCALLY HEAVY RAIN AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED ACROSS AREAS ALONG AND NORTHWEST OF THE NATCHEZ TRACE CORRIDOR THROUGH MIDDAY AS A FAST-MOVING LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM AFFECTS THE ARKLAMISS. TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS SHOULD RANGE FROM 1 TO 3 INCHES WILL LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. THESE HIGH RAINFALL TOTALS IN A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME SHOULD LEAD TO PONDING OF WATER ISSUES IN LOW LYING AREAS AND ALSO SOME RISK OF FLASH FLOODING. A FLASH FLOOD WATCH IS IN EFFECT THROUGH NOON.

IN ADDITION...  SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WILL HAVE THE  POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE DAMAGING WIND GUSTS TO 60 MPH...HAIL UP TO AN INCH IN DIAMETER...AND TORNADOES ARE NOT OUT OF THE QUESTION.
Crazy. We do need the rain, though. 

UPDATE

1:10pm CST and it's still raining
 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Recipe: Sweet potato pork chop skillet

Continuing this week's quick supper series, I give you the recipe for a quick & delicious one-skillet meal. To be honest, there was a side dish, creamed mixed vegetables, which required a small pot. No photos. Sorry.*

SWEET POTATO PORK CHOP SKILLET

1 Tbsp shortening

4 center loin chops

1 medium onion, sliced

1 bell pepper, sliced [home grown]

4 medium sweet potatoes, about 1 lb. total, peeled and sliced thin [home grown]

1/4 tsp leaf thyme

1/4 tsp marjoram

salt & pepper, or creole seasoning, to taste

14.5 oz. stewed tomatoes, preferably homemade [home grown]

Melt shortening in skillet over medium heat and fry pork chops lightly on both sides. Top pork chops with sweet potato slices, sliced onion & sliced green pepper. Sprinkle with thyme, marjoram and salt & pepper, or creole seasoning. Pour tomatoes and liquid over all. Cover skillet. Reduce heat to low. Cook one hour or until chops and potatoes are done.

Such silliness!

This has absolutely nothing to do with anything. But if the Holiday Spirit has momentarily slipped away... . Well, if this doesn't make you grin, I don't know what will. 

I'm a Maker's Mark "Ambassador." Every Christmas I get a little something from Maker's. Last year they sent some very nice gift wrap. This year...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Recipe: Chicken in a cooking bag with long grain & wild rice stuffing

I'm looking forward to spending some time with Kat & my new camera.

We're having quick dinners this week. Last evening we had Creative Cooking baked sausages (with homemade sausage with sage), Creative Cooking crisp cabbage, and mashed potatoes. It was a perfect meal. Sorry no photos. I should have thought to make Creative Cooking a tag, but I didn't. If you want to look for more recipes from the Creative Cooking Course cookbook (where we learned about Cognac), check out the Recipes page, which I'm behind in updating.

There are two parts to this dinner. Part 1 is the stuffing, Part 2 is the stuffed chicken. Mr. Big Food dictated the instructions to me as we were retiring, so pardon the format. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Diagram this!

I said
Having a husband who has a cousin who owns a Wine|Beer|Cigar Bistro is Big. 
And then I issued a challenge-- 
[Diagram that sentence!] 
I really thought I'd be able to diddle around on the World Wide Web while in our hotel room last evening and find an on-line sentence-diagramming program.  I was expecting something like a language translator or equation solver. I did not find anything of the sort. I was bothered by this all the way from Midlen, Louisiana to The Farm.  

This, dear reader, is why we need crappy old books. Without a crappy old books, we are doomed to lose sentence diagramming in our time. Fortunately, I have more than one crappy old book that teaches sentence diagramming. The clue to diagramming a gerund phrase comes from my favorite. 

From Harbrace Handbook of English, by John C. Hodges of the University of Tennessee; Copyright 1941 by Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc., and printed in The United States of America; p 51

Pages 54-55 of Harbrace explain how to diagram subordinate adjective clauses. If I've understood these pages correctly, my little sentence is diagrammed:

Note that the main sentence is, "Having a husband is Big."
~~
The front matter indicates that this book is from the English Workshop Series, and Harbrace is intended for "Grades Eleven and Twelve."  It is intense. Perhaps this winter I'll share more Harbrace. It is one of my favorites.

The Town Up North That Keeps On Giving

TTUNTKOG (topics I can post about) is where TSUN (Ole Miss) is located.

North Mississippi Commentor passes along news that the Oxford (Mississippi) Film Festival lineup has been announced

It's not really my sort of thing, however, these short documentaries sound interesting:
Back in Oxford (Mississippi), Dir. Jordan Berger; A student documentary exploring the underground rap culture in Oxford, MS. An interesting view of this small town, told through a lens many people are not familiar with. WORLD PREMIERE

The Beacon (Mississippi), Dir. Camilla Ann Aikin; The Beacon is the story of a 52 year old diner, an Oxford, Mississippi institution. It is a place full of colorful characters and stories, fiercely loyal customers and employees, and deep ties to the South’s complicated past. WORLD PREMIERE.

Proud Larry’s In Between the Scenes (Mississippi), Dir. Zachary Scott Thompson. Proud Larry’s is a great window into the Oxford Scene’s past and in its future.  This short film highlights past memories of Oxford music scene veterans as well as those who are shaping the scene today. The music featured is provided by Oxford’s own Balance. WORLD PREMIERE.

Sonny (UK), Dir. Sophie Smith, The historic Mississippi River town of Helena in the Arkansas Delta, has been the home of the longest running blues radio show in the world. The King Biscuit Time blues show, which began in 1941 has featured ‘Sunshine’ Sonny Payne as the DJ since 1951… WORLD PREMIERE.

To Live and Die in Avoyelles Parish (Mississippi), Dir. Joe York. The latest documentary from the Southern Foodways Alliance details a different hog-roasting celebration: the Cochon de Lait Festival. The annual Mother’s Day tradition sees some 30-odd hogs hoisted up on metal racks that resemble giant coat hangers and cooked for several hours near a roaring blaze. The results, named for the suckling pigs that often are used in the recipe, are tender white flesh encased in the crispy skin known as “cracklin.’”
 The Oxford Film Festival is February 9-12, 2012.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

BIG Food. BIG Wine. BIG Life.

Having a husband who has a cousin who owns a Wine|Beer|Cigar Bistro is Big. 

[Diagram that sentence!] 

It means that 

we enjoyed some Big wine
 at

in Steiner Ranch, Texas.

The wine was paired with some Big Food,

created by



Albert






in a restaurant owned by

Jeff & Kathryn.
The photos I took of the main courses do not do them justice, and so I cannot post them. But trust me, the food was awesome. If you are in the neighborhood, go to Fion. Drop some names.


I'm not saying you'll get the back room next to the kitchen. but it's worth a shot.

Fredericksburg, Texas USA

Felix Reinbach

As I begin to compose this post, there are fewer than 14 hours until we will depart The BIG Sovereign State of Texas and make our way back to The Farm in rural Mississippi.

It's been a delightful trip. To channel some old Steve Martin from an old SNL, if I had one wish that I could wish this holiday season, it would be that all people had families and families in-law as engaging, giving, opinionated, and wonderful as mine. Corny but true.

Today Mr. Big Food's Family and we traveled to Fredericksburg, in the Texas Hill Country. We found a place to park-- a non-trival matter-- and had a nice lunch of German fare. We then did some window shopping, and took in a show. 

By the way, I have a new camera! Below the fold (i.e., click on "keep reading) and you will find some photos-- some with commentary-- of Fredericksburg, Texas.

[I'll post the color commentary of last night's dinner at Mr. Big Food's Cousin's Wine|Beer|Cigar Bistro when I'm back on The Farm.]

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nuts and berries and cheese


A fine start to a very fine meal
Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from your bounty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Christmas is coming. It's time to bake some vanočka!

Merry Christmas (in Czech)!

Unbeknownst to me before I met Mr. Big Food many years ago, Texas has a large population of folks of Czech decent. Count Mr. Big Food's Mom among them. Both her grandmother and grandfather were born in Czechoslovakia. The Czech's have a rich food heritage. Needless to say, this heritage has found its way into Mr. Big Food's Big Food Manual and Survivalist Flourishing Guide which contains (among many other things) recipes for  "Tex-Czech and Tex-Central European foods, handed down from Gran, Tait, and other “old timers” from the Dallas SPJST." 

Because it's Christmas time, Mr. Big Food's Mom and her son will soon be making a vanočka! 

Prepared for vanočka
 I'll post the recipe soon so you, too, can enjoy some Czech vanočka!

UPDATED to correct multiple errors brought to my attention by Mr. Big Food's Dad!