Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This is what becomes of you when you drop out of Home School

Another Picasaweb find.
With apologies to Miss M., who is very smart. (She carries a dictionary in the trunk of her car! And knows proper fork placement. Don't mess with her. G.M.O.Y.A.)

There's an interesting discussion about education and educating going on over at Bookworm Room.

Is it just me?

Nothing is capturing my attention today except for the fact that I discovered some previously-thought-lost photos on my Picasaweb site.

A fortress
Some bridges
Another bridge
A river
A prosperous corner
A not-so-prosperous corner
What do these photos have in common? Easy. They were all taken by me in the northern hemisphere. 


New Orleans

Dé jàvu 400 Dauphine Street
I'll be having breakfast there soon. And I say "I" because Mr. Big Food will be in a meeting and will have a catered breakfast. Is that one of the silliest things you've ever heard?

You may enjoy looking at the breakfast menu. It's remarkably inexpensive. 

Biscuits & Gravy with Sausage - One of our most popular with diced sausage and country gravy . 4.99

More below. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Breaker, Breaker, Good Buddy

Okay. 10-40. Or something. We have no idea what we are doing. But we now have a Citizens' Band Radio in the truck.

And don't you just love that? Citizens' Band.

As if the airwaves don't belong to citizens to begin with.

Heard some things from Waco, Houston, and beyond, and from more local tree harvesting folk.

Recipe: Devil's Food Pudding



2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 C + 1 C sugar
1/2 C + 1 C milk
1/2 C shortening
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Melt chocolate in saucepan over low heat, adding 1/2 C sugar and 1/2 C milk and working until thickened, stirring constantly. Cool. Cream together shortening and 1 C sugar until fluffy, add eggs and beat. Stir in cooled chocolate mixture. Add dry ingredients alternately with 1 C milk and vanilla. Pour mixture into a "greased paper-lined" tube pan. Bake 1 hour 10 minutes.

Since we won't be flipping it out of the pan, we omitted the paper lining. 

Stay Tuned / UPDATED

Antenna not included
Stopped in at Jim's Auto Parts this morning to pick up an antenna. I had two choices. I chose the magnetic mount because I have a truck, but not a truck. Then on to Stewart's Body Shop to chat about installation. (I know. I know. You can do it yourself. But what the heck is an ignition switch thingamajig?) It was before 8 and Caleb-- the radio guy-- wasn't in yet so I'll go back down later this morning after I pick some peppers.


UPDATE: Caleb met me in the parking lot, took a look, said it wouldn't be hard but might take some time to get the various wires placed inconspicuously and so on. We drove back to the Farm together. He'll bring the truck back out as soon as he's finished. How's that for service? 

UPDATE 2: Caleb and James have returned the truck. Stop in any time to pay the bill. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Recipe: Oven Fried Chicken I

Really really good
Mr. Big Food reports that, in addition to this recipe (below), he now has recipes for Oven Fried Chicken II, III, IV, and V. As he culls crappy old cookbooks for recipes worthy of inclusion in his Big Food Manual and Survivalist Flourishing Guide, he often finds recipes with the same name, but which are not the same. To get a Super Bowl Roman Numeral designation, a recipe must 1) be titled exactly the same as at least one other in Big Food; 2) have at least two ingredients different from the first or others of the same name; or 3) have at least two different preparation (including cooking) methods. "Or" in this context is not a simple word.

Necessary, sufficient or both? Mr. Big Food says both. A recipe-- worthy of inclusion-- gets a new Roman numeral iff (if and only if) ... at least ...  .  The recipe has to be different in at least two fundamentally different ways. It's fun to flesh out exactly what necessary and sufficient means, especially in the context of delicious Oven Fried Chicken. Very logical.

Recipe below

Speaking of which,

I did win something a few weeks ago!

The Piglet-- what we call the little Piggly Wiggly Super Market in our little town-- has a weekly raffle premium distribution.

Non-winning tickets
Every time you make a purchase at The Piglet, you get a ticket(s). The number of tickets you get per purchase correlates roughly with 1) purchase amount (positive correlation); 2) cashier (D.C. is very generous); 3) amount of chit-chat between you and cashier (positive correlation; we enjoy chatting with D.C.). The drawing is held every Monday morning. Once, I was asked to pull out the winning ticket!

The prize is a gift certificate. Prize amount begins at $50 and, if no one claims to win, increases by $50 each week.

I won $50! There have been a couple of $300 winners!

Odds are I'll win again assuming I don't get hit by a bus any time soon (there are none in my little county) or fall into the Mississippi River when we head to NOLA in a few days.

I've been pondering for weeks what to splurge on. I've come to think corn products with long shelf-lives might be the way to go. Corn meal (freeze it). Frozen corn (I've a good crop but not enough to last all winter). Corn starch (freeze it). Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (TM). Canned corn. Hominy... .

Any other suggestions?

"Would you like to buy a chance to win $1000?"

asked my little neighbor girls.

"How much does a chance to win $1000 cost?"


"Of course I would!"

It's for the girls' softball team. 

Hey-- someone's gonna win. I'll buy a chance.

[The dogs were so excited to see the girls they'd have paid $10 just for the chance to see the  girls!]

Anthropogenic global warming! BE AFRAID. Updated

Page 199 of Courier and Ives' Chronicles of America edited by John Lowell Pratt (1968)
[I'm sorry about the quality. My new Mac won't speak to my old printer/scanner. Photographs are my only option.]

Courier opened his print shop on Wall St. in 1834. He was joined by Ives in 1852. After their deaths, their sons continued the business until 1907. Funny... to think of taking a digital photograph of a printed copy of a crappy an old lithograph created in 1868.

From River Gages dot com which is really a dot army dot mil site
These  data are Mississippi River water levels at Greenville, Mississippi for the past week. The record low (red) occurred in 1927. The current level is in blue (don't mind the blip). Historic average is in green (don't know how many year's worth); last year in black dots. 

There is a glossary at the site. Have fun!

Update: Dates corrected. Thanks suek.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The *Best* Outdoor Burgers

begin with freshly ground beef.

I know I'm beating this cow to death here, but folks, it really isn't all that hard. This is a Waring Pro meat grinder I got at Dillards a few years ago. Mr. Big Food defrosted a beef chuck roast he'd gotten on sale and put in the deep freezer, cut it into cubes, and fed the cubes through the course thingy to make ground beef.

Check it out. We know what's in our Outdoor Burgers.
Mix it all up.
Fire up the grill.

Dig around.
And get 'er done.

Cheese burgers
Recipe here.

Recipe: Outdoor Burgers


Makes 4 patties

1 lb ground beef
¼ C onion, chopped
2 Tbsp green pepper, chopped fine
3 Tbsp catsup or chili sauce (preferably homemade—see recipes in Basics section)
1 Tbsp prepared horseradish (preferably homemade—see recipes in Basics section)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp prepared mustard (preferably homemade—see recipes in Basics section)
Dash pepper

Combine all ingredients, mixing lightly. Shape into four patties, about ½ inches thick. Broil over hot coals to desired degree of doneness.
Photos to follow!  Freshly ground beef chuck roast. Freshly picked pepperoncini peppers. I need to grow my own horseradish.

"Who Will Start At The Bottom?"

Another short essay written by a man my father admired greatly. Citation to follow.
A YOUNG MAN came to me looking for a possible position with our company.

Not wishing to say an absolute "no," I said there might be a job for him in one of our stores, and suggested he talk with someone in the Personnel Department.

"What would I do in a store?" he asked, looking doubtful.

So I told him-- and the story was exactly the same as it has been throughout the history of retailing, and, indeed, of any business where a beginner makes his beginning.

"Since you are a green hand," I said, "the store manager would start you in hustling stock, sweeping ans scrubbing floors, washing windows, and, in your spare time, he would train you to be a merchant. This is, of course, if you get a job."

He shook his head. "I want to be in the advertising department,

$750,000: Say What?

Universities land federal grant to pursue energy efficiency
Thanks to a grant from the United States Department of Energy, three public universities in Mississippi will be sharing funding to support energy efficient facility improvements in order to cut energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020.

An announcement came Wednesday at three succeeding press conferences in Oxford, Starkville and Columbus.

In addition to grant funding, the Tennessee Valley Authority will commit $150,000 to each of the three universities - Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women and the University of Mississippi - over three years.

Part of the Department of Energy's $7.9 million investment to reduce energy costs across 13 states, Mississippi's $725,000 State Energy Program grant was the largest amount awarded to any state in the Advancing Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings category according to Karen Bishop, director of the Mississippi Development Authority's Energy and Natural Resources Division.

Commercial Dispatch
From the full Commercial Dispatch article:
"This award will create a path ... to implement energy management strategies in the state in a creation of a retrofit strategy for all state universities," [Karen Bishop, director of the Mississippi Development Authority's Energy and Natural Resources Division] said.
Say what?

"The Olympics

in Georgia!!"

Mr. Big Food just shouted that. Readers more urbane than Mr. Big Food and I may not appreciate why I laughed out loud. 

Greetings y’all
And welcome all you danged foreigners from other nations
Dear Lord be with our guests and prepare them
For the butt whopping they are about to receive

The Olympics in Georgia
God you know we’re gonna screw that up
I guarantee you
When they let those doves go at the opening ceremony
There are gonna be guys in the parking lot with shotguns

And we will not have a flame
That big without a pig on it, I guarantee
Some fat guy going
“Danged good barbecue top of them stairs up there
They ain't got no hand rail be careful"

Of all the games that the rednecks play
There’s some crazy events
If you know about the redneck ways
Then it makes perfect sense

Never heard of him

Spied as I was wandering randomly around Barnes & Noble

"In 1981 I received my Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of California at Berkeley." 
The Grand Design (2010), co-authored with Stephen Hawking.
The Drunkard's Walk: the story of randomness and its role in our lives (2008)
Plus two co-authored children's books. He's at Cal Tech.

There's an app for that!

Not kidding!
I have it on my phone. Although now that I think about it, I should have the book. What was I thinking? Oh. I know. How much I hate malls.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Long story short

I do not like not snot nosed little girls who think they are smarter that I, and I will not support the over-priced eye-glass monopoly in Starkvegas. It was a simple question about my insurance plan. I can do math in my head, hon. :-) And so, we went to Lens Crafters in Tupelo-- at THE MALL-- today. We did not realize today was the start of TAX FREE weekend.

You get a 7% discount. Whoo freaking hoo.

I hate shopping. And I really hate MALLS.

We thought we had an hour to kill while the 1 hour lab was doin' its one hour thing. (Turned out to be more like 3.) So I got a Chick-Fil-A sandwich and we wandered around. It was not fun. We decided that the least painful thing to do was go to the the Barnes & Noble.

There was a display of the local schools' summer reading lists.

Oh for crying out loud!

Although I've just returned from a wonderful time in the pasture with Missy & Rocky, I'm not in the best of moods this morning. The Mississippi river is way down-- they are having to dredge to free barges stuck in the sand. Not good news. More on this later. Just after I'd cleaned the floors yesterday, Missy found a basket of pine cones while we were fixing supper and not paying attention. Pine cone parts are everywhere. I have to go to Starkvegas earlier than usual today and be asked to answer a lot of stupid questions that have nothing to do with getting a new pair of eye glasses. And now this.

Do you have any idea what this will do to the price of catfish, which Mr. Big Food loves? Neither do I except to know that it won't go down.  From MSUCares:
The rapid growth of the catfish industry in the 1980s and 1990s led it to become one of the most important agricultural activities in states such as Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana. The combined production acreage of these four states makes up 94 percent of all catfish production acreage. Mississippi has had more acreage in catfish production than the other three states combined and has held this position since the late 1980s. The catfish industry generates an economic impact of billions of dollars and is the primary source of economic activity and employment in a number of Mississippi counties.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

For Those Not on Bass Pro Shop's Mailing List

Bass Pro is having a SALE! Page after page after page of sales on long guns and hand guns.

It's that time of year. Although it's still a ways off, folks here in Mississippi are starting to talk about Fall stuff-- football and hunting.

On Friday, August 10 and Saturday, August 11, Gear Choices in Holsters, Tactical Clothing & Personal Self-Defense Accessories

Three things are interesting about this advertising circular.

1) The focus on the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

2) Bass Pro's exercise of 1A. 

3) Locations of Bass Pro Shops.

Recipe: Butterscoth Cream Pie

Recipes-->Big Food-->Desserts-->Pies and Pie Fillings-->Cream (non-fruit) Pies-->and even when I got here I had to think about it.
"I’ve tried a bunch of cream pie recipes and this one is my favorite, in all these variations." Mr. Big Food.

Recipe for CREAM PIE VARIATIONS below the fold.

A Nice Little Chat

Not my Post Office. Mine's way bigger! (haha)
I happened to be out front today as my mail-lady drove up. Say what you will about the United States Postal Service (why in the world would you need to follow USPS on twitter?) but the ladies at my little post* office are very friendly and helpful. Anyway, my mail-lady and I had a nice little chat about:

Our gardens. Her beans did better than mine, but I had more blackeyes. We both love baked sweet potatoes.

Food prices. And it's not going to get any better. Good thing we have gardens and know how to put stuff up. But those city folk are gonna have a hard time.

Preppers. I don't watch that show; her son and husband love it, although she's less enthusiastic.  But tornadoes and hurricanes do happen. Poor city folk.

Ammo. Her son and husband were buying more the other day. See above.

Guns. Her son just bought an AK47.** He loves guns. Me, too! Guns made America great!

Super Talk Mississippi, where we both learned this morning that the AK47 is the weapon of choice for the United States military. I found out from Paul Gallo's morning show. She found out from JT. She's afraid he might have a heart attack on the air one day if this sort of thing keeps up.

Mississippi. We are both glad we live in rural Mississippi because no one really cares about Mississippi.

We left it at that since neither of us knows what's going to happen. 

* Tip: If you are in a rush, do not go into my little post office to conduct business. Go to town. Nancy is the only one in there and she loves to catch up/catch you up on local happenings.

** No. We don't sell guns to minors in Mississippi. 

How can this be?

It's a dry county!
Contrary to what most folks probably think, most parts of Mississippi are pretty clean. Sure, a lot of us have some broken farm equipment piled up corners of our fields, but there's really very little trash along the road sides-- and much of what there is is a result of trash flying out of the back of our trucks, we don't throw it out the window purposefully. Which is why this, in the parking lot of a gas station, was so surprising. 

I'm sure it was some traveler from Starkvegas. This is a dry county, after all. No drinkin' here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Freezing Peppers

All laid out
Remember several years ago when peppers were recalled from grocery stores and restaurant food suppliers? That was the year Mr. Big Food and I discovered it is possible to freeze fresh peppers. Naturally, they lose their crispness, but if you cook with a lot of peppers, as we do, they'll do just fine. So much better than store bought!

Most years I harvest enough to keep us in peppers until the fresh ones come in from the garden. I recommend growing your own because of the sheer variety you can have. But buying fresh from your local Farmers' Market would do.

Instructions below.

Other Thoughts

Other Thoughts from a Big Life in Rural Mississippi is
... a spin-off blog. (I'll get around to making it look nicer.) My blog, Big Food, Big Garden, Big Life: in Rural Mississippi is about just those things: food, garden, life (including the dogs). There, I joke frequently that the blog is not a political blog. It is-- but not explicitly. I want it to be a day-by-day testament to the sort of life you can have only when you cook at home and grow your own veggies and make your own decisions about what sort of life you want to make for yourself.

Some things I've written/will write aren't good fits for Big Food etc. It's as simple as that. Hence, Other Thoughts.

What follows is a short essay I wrote (when we lived in Cincinnati) for the premier gun rights organization in Ohio. In late 2008, the editors of the Ohioans for Concealed Carry (OFCC) hard-copy newsletter wanted someone to write a piece advocating open carry, which is legal in Ohio. The issue also included a piece-- ironically written by someone using a pseudonym-- which was anti-open carry. The issue generated a lot of discussion.  I won, by the way. From a commenter:

In my opinion the winner of the debate is- 
[Marica], by an intellectual knock out. She logically explained her position, and won me over.
The rest is here.

Let's go play!

Let's go for a run!
How about a swim?
HOLY COW! There are TREATS, too! BIG LIFE!
The "real feel" today is forecast to be 108°F. I don't know what that means. That's a lie. I know how it is calculated but what I don't know is how a normal Mississippian can really discriminate the difference between 96°F and 108°F. At some stage of the game you just have to admit that it's really stinking hot outside.

And another thing... . I am no fan of Big Pharma, but if They can come up with something to keep ticks off dogs and cats, why can't They come up with something to keep ticks off humans?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reporting a BIG Breakthrough!

Missy & Rocky & I go to the pond puddle pasture nearly every morning. Missy can't be off her leash yet, except in the fenced in pasture (too easily distracted), and although Rocky can be, he walks on a leash to the pasture so that we can practice "Heel." This means that, except when Mr. Big Food joins us, nearly every morning I go to the pond puddle pasture twice. I don't mind-- it's a nice pasture and I enjoy looking out for the fire ant hills and checking myself for ticks every couple of minutes and mopping sweat from my brow before 8am. And I really do love watching them play by themselves. But it is the end of July and it is Mississippi and I do have things to do and Lord knows I don't need any more exercise. So...

This morning I took them both to the pasture, together, myself! All that "Heel!" stuff we've been working on actually worked (sort of). BIG breakthrough.

"The Privilege of Being American"

Over the next days (weeks?) I'm going to post some quotes from a crappy old book of very short essays written by a man my father admired greatly.  These quotes have nothing to do explicitly with BIG Food or BIG Gardens. But they do-- explicitly and implicitly-- have something to do with living a BIG Life.

Although I take care to properly cite what I quote-- I hate a thief and plagiarism is a form of theft-- I am not going to attribute these quotes just yet because I want this man's words to be what you read, should you care to read them. (Ha. I just searched the title of the essay. This wasn't written by Geithner.)
The Privilege of Being American

I AM CONCERNED, as I know you are, too, with the fact that many of us are losing sight of what I call the main road of American progress-- the exercising of individual initiative, the assuming of individual responsibility. We have let ourselves stray a long way on a side road, by gradually, almost imperceptibly, relinquishing our privilege to do a job for ourselves.

Maybe it seems strange to you, my using the word "privilege" in such a sense. Privilege, to most people means something-for-nothing, an unearned opportunity. ...


Mississippi native Brett Favre will become an assistant football coach at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg. He will not be paid.

The Kitchen Table / That's Right

The peppers are beginning to come in!
While diddling around I stumbled across a cute joke at Daniel J. Mitchell.
You may have heard on the news about a southern California man put under 72-hour psychiatric observation when it was found he owned 100 guns and allegedly had (by rough estimate) 100,000 rounds of ammunition stored in his home. The house also featured a secret escape tunnel.

My favorite quote from the dimwit television reporter: “Wow! He has about a quarter million machine gun bullets.” The headline referred to it as a “massive weapons cache”.
Keep reading-- it's pretty funny.

July 24th

Mr. Big Food and I are going out for dinner tonight!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Foods and Beverages for Invalids

According to 

an invalid is 
1. a person who is weak and infirm; a person sickly or indisposed.
2. a person who is infirm, wounded, maimed or otherwise disabled for active service. The hospitals for invalids at Chelsea and Greenwich, in England, are institutions honorable to the English nation.
I understand a great many folks have become "disabled for active service" in recent days, and so I thought I'd pass along some useful information-- as well as a few recipes-- for those of you who are  responsible for "ministering to the needs" of an invalid.

The American Woman's Cookbook edited and revised by Ruth Berolzheimer, Director, Culinary Arts Institute (1946)
 To begin...
A DOCTOR'S advise is necessary in planning the diet for an invalid, as each case must be considered individually. The following general suggestions are intended to help the housewife who, in addition to her other work, has the duty of ministering to the needs of the sick and convalescent.
 Here are the bullet points:
  • ... [before serving the meal] remove all bottles and suggestions of medicine from the room...
  • ... serve everything as nicely as possible...
  • ... the patient should not be consulted about the food to be brought to him [but] his likes and dislikes should be considered as far as possible.
  • ... be sure the patient is ready for [the meal], with hands and face washed...
  • The tray should be covered with a clean napkin or tray cover, and the dishes and serving should be very dainty.
  • Invalids will often take liquid diet through a straw... 
  • In contagious diseases, sterilize everything ... by boiling in water for ten minutes.
 A few of my favorite recipes for invalids below the fold. (Do look, you'll be glad you did.)

Recipe: Cocktail Wieners and Variations

Photo here-- but you've probably seen these before! The recipe is easily halved or doubled.

“College Party Special”


Serves 30

3 lbs wieners (any variety)
1 ½ C chili sauce
1 ½ C beer

Cut wieners into bite-sized pieces. Mix chili sauce and beer in large cooking pot. Simmer wieners in mixture about 15 minutes or until heated through. Serve from chafing dish with toothpicks.

“1 pound wieners cut into bite-sized pieces. Cook slowly for 20 minutes in mixture of ¾ C catsup [or chili sauce, and either preferably homemade—see recipes in Basics section], ¼ C brown sugar, 3 ounces bourbon and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Serve hot with picks.”

Recipe: Batter Fried Zucchini Sticks

These were my favorite from last evening's supper of appetizers. Mr. Big Food used baby round zucchini. (Photo at the link.)


Makes 2 dozen

1 C sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 egg, beaten lightly
1 C milk
2 Tbsp oil, plus more for deep frying
1 lb zucchini, cut into 3-4 inch strips
Flour (for dredging zucchini strips, if desired)

Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Combine egg, milk, and 2 Tbsp oil, and slowly add to dry ingredients, beating until smooth. Pat zucchini strips very dry and, if desired, dredge lightly in flour. Heat oil in deep fryer to 375o. Dip zucchini pieces one at a time in batter and fry 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Recipe: Stuffed jalapeños

These are cute as the dickens! Since I am not keen on hot peppers (except true Hungarian peppers) Mr. Big Food adapted the recipe and used fresh sweet marconi and immature pablanos I'd picked earlier in the day. They reheat nicely in a skillet. 

Photo here. Recipe below.

Flower Power



Banana squash (male)

It's rather warm this morning.