Assorted non-cooking observations

March 24, 2011

Dinner tonight from Bubba’s Catfish-to-Go, a trailer just across the lake from me, alleged to be the best catfish in Hot Springs. My thoughts:

  • Good catfish. Two-piece dinner was a little pricy at $7.49, particularly when you’re picking it up from a trailer and taking it home, or eating it out in the parking lot at one of the two picnic tables. But the fillets were sizeable, clean and tender, breaded with a cornmeal breading that had a healthy helping of salt and black pepper and not too much of anything else, which is as it should be.
  • I asked for no fries and extra hushpuppies; they said that was fine. And gave me two hushpuppies and a regular portion of fries. Customer service is not their strong point, obviously. Wish I’d’a looked before I got home. Hushpuppies were good, small, a tad sweet, oniony, yellow cornmeal. Fries were those crunch-coated ones, and not bad; I’d have rather had more hushpuppies.
  • Slaw was odd. Vinegar based, with a healthy dose of mustard. I didn’t really care for it, though they did get points for hand-chopped cabbage.

NS, who suggested catfish and got me thinking about it, had a chicken tender basket. Go figure.

Elsewhere in the wider world, I stumbled onto a hellacious shoe sale today. Given that shoes are something I’m almost as passionate about as I am cooking, this was perhaps a stop I would have been better off to miss. But they had clearance shoes on a “buy one, get two free” deal. So I bought two pairs of Danskos and a pair of Alegrias for $129. That’s pretty damned hard to beat. The Alegrias, particularly, are entrancing me. They have butterflies on them. And they make my feet happy.

Tops Shoes in Benton, for any of you who are close. Worth a stop. Don’t know how long the deal is running.

Reading over on eGullet today; the thread was fish sticks. Now, I don’t buy two boxes of fish sticks in a year. But I may start, after reading what I consider one of the more brilliant ideas of 2011. Use fish sticks to make fish tacos! I mean, seriously — why have I not ever thought of that? Because I love me a good fish taco, with some cilantro lime slaw and some queso fresco. I’m seeing that in my future pretty soon!

I’m about to join a CSA. Consider it my small act of defiance against the idiots at the USDA who have, at present, shut down the meat-selling operation of my favorite beef/milk/cheese/honey/eggs supplier, Petit Jean Farm. The farming cooperative, victim of a vengeful ex-farmer whom they booted out, got a complaint filed about their using a non-USDA certified butcher/processor who happened to be located 18 miles from their farm. And where, might you ask, would be the nearest USDA certified processor? 250 miles away. You can see the significant issue, here.

So, their plan is to set up a CSA, where all the faithful will sign up for shares of a cow. Or a pig, or a lamb. Or the production of a dairy cow, or a flock of laying hens, or a flock of pullets. Apparently the bees are exempt from USDA regulation. I suppose it would be just TOO much if they clamped down on both the birds AND the bees.

In any event, if they sell to no one but members, who have actually already purchased the meat or milk or cheese, or pork or lamb or chicken or eggs, then they can use any damn processor they want, and not necessarily one who has jumped through the requisite USDA hoops. Because you don’t have to have USDA certification if you are processing meat for the people to whom it belongs. So, when they get all this set up, somewhere out there on Petit Jean Mountain, there will be wandering about a steer with my name stamped on him. Or at least some piece of him. Likewise a pretty doe-eyed Guernsey cow, and a flock of whatever kind of chickens they keep. I’ll be a farmer! (Again. I grew up on a small farm, though we only had beef cattle and the occasional pig. It was where I learned never to name something I planned to eat.)

Excuse me. USDA? GET A FREAKIN’ CLUE! If I buy beef or pork or milk or eggs or lamb or whatever-the-hell out of the back of a truck at the farmer’s market, trust me that I have sense enough to KNOW that said provender has not been taken through all the requisite USDA safety hoops, and I am willing to pay extra for it because it has also not been laced with hormones and antibiotics, force-fed in a feed lot, and mass-produced in a slaughterhouse. And? I’m damn well willing to pay a 20 to 50 percent premium for it BECAUSE IT TASTES BETTER. So leave me the hell alone, and leave my PJF people the hell alone, now that we have jumped through your paperwork hoops and these families have lost some three months of income! Go inspect a slaughterhouse that’s putting out tons of contaminated ground beef that’s giving people salmonella, or something.

End of rant. If you’re in this area, and you’re interested in being part of the CSA, not only as a source of good meat, eggs and milk but also to thumb your nose at the Feds, let me know and I’ll get the info to you ‘n y’mama ‘n em.


2 Responses to “Assorted non-cooking observations”

  1. Len Cleavelin Says:

    So I bought two pairs of Danskos and a pair of Alegrias for $129.

    I read this as “a pair of Algerias for $129”, and then did a double-take. And that double-take turned into a triple-take, because the caffeine is so slow-acting at my advanced age that it still said “Algerias” after the double-take.

    I wonder of that’s a sign of early onset dementia? 😀

  2. Len Cleavelin Says:

    Oh, and concerning your CSA membership:

    I’ll be a farmer!

    I think you need to get yerself a copy of The Who’s “Now I’m a Farmer” (from the Odds &Sods album), and play that on the iPod every morning as you’re picking up your milk, eggs, pieces of cow/steer who died happy, etc.


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