A shout-out to falls past

October 21, 2016

A dinner straight out of fall, 1960-75, Benton County, Tennessee

A dinner straight out of fall, 1960-75, Benton County, Tennessee

The weather widget on my phone says it’s 58 degrees.

I say it’s about damn time.

It is, in case you have not noticed, the 21st of October. Day before yesterday, it was 90 degrees. (But there’s no global warming, oh, no, of course there’s not…) That just Ain’t Right.

But yesterday, the rain came through, followed by a cold front that dropped our temps by 30 degrees or so, and chased me right into the kitchen, where, among other things, I put together a dinner redolent of early fall dinners of days past.

I scrambled eggs. I warmed up previously-cooked bacon. I made biscuits (!), a skill I though I had lost, but these were decent. And I had new sorghum molasses.

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Blogger’s note: this is the last of the “lost days” posts. It dates from sometime in early October, after I had bought sorghum at the Farmers Market. Hopefully, camera, laptop and WordPress will all align and I can detail my upcoming visit to the Big Easy for some spectacular food.

There are these things that take you back to childhood.

I grew up in Benton County, Tennessee. Which is not close to much of nothing, but is mostly north of I-40 right before you cross the Tennessee River headed east. Which is to say it’s one of those undecided countines, torn betwixt the hills and the delta,, and not real sure what it wants to be when it grows up.

When I was a kid, it grew cotton. I used to get out of school every year in late September, early October for cotton-picking. And one year I actually picked cotton. Picked all day, bored to tears, fingers burning, picked 35 pounds, made $1.65, determined that manual labor was not my forte, and gave that stuff up. Determined right then I’d make my living with my brain, not my brawn.

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Not worth my salt today

February 14, 2011

UPDATE: I wrote this post yesterday. For whatever reason, I forgot to download and edit the photos and add them. So I’ll do it tonight, with an addendum at the end.

I dunno. Maybe I’m just haven’t had my mind on cooking today, though I’ve done a fair amount of it. But I have had a mental block, I guess, against salt.

The proper way to eat sorghum molasses -- blended with butter, on the plate, with a knife blade.

This morning, per the plan on the PJF breakfast; I made my cheese biscuits, making extra so I could fry up the whole pound of sausage and make up some sausage-and-biscuits for breakfasts next week. Started to turn the dough out to knead, and thought, “Damn! I didn’t put in baking powder!” So I mixed some baking powder up with some water, stirred it into the dough, kneaded it a bit by hand, and then turned the dough out to knead a couple of times, flatten and cut out.

And put no salt in it.

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Fall food

September 12, 2010

I’m not cooking today — it’s Child C’s birthday, and we are going out to eat. But these first few hints of fall in the air (albeit not last night, when I was sitting with 45,000 other sweaty folks in War Memorial Stadium, watching  the Razorbacks) and some fall-themed posts in blogs that I follow got me to thinking about fall cooking.

There are, of course, dishes that you think of as fall dishes. Braises, hearty stews, chili, slow-roasted things in the oven. But are there ingredients you just use more of in the fall? Or are there ingredients that just shout out to you, “It’s Fall, dammit! Pay attention here!”

Cooking sorghum molasses. Now THAT tastes like fall!

This makes me think of fall.

This is how folks cooked the syrup from sorghum cane, and probably still do, in that strip of territory on either side of the Tennessee River from Kentucky down to northern Mississippi and Alabama, right squarely in the middle of which is Camden, Tennessee, where I was born and grew up.

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