Category: food

The World Is A Poached Egg

Ludicrous, huh? It certainly is. The world is not a poached egg, it is a scrambled egg, all messed up and in need of some good breakfast meat to make it palatable. Hash brown potatoes would be good, too.

No, this article is really about poached eggs, which in the cooked egg family I rank highly.

Poached eggs are great unless you try to poach an egg. In my house I am the great breakfast cooker, which means that two or three times per week, I will masterfully cook eggs, bacon, and toast or English muffins. I will scramble the eggs, or fry them in bacon drippin’s. Yummm!

When it comes to poaching eggs, I have tried the boiling water, raw egg approach. This works OK, but you lose about half the egg white. Recently, I bought some egg rings through Amazon for less that ten dollars, and it turns out they are a pain to use, and almost impossible to clean.

Finally, I ordered one of those multiple cup fixtures that you use in a pan over boiling water, and it does a good job of poaching three eggs at once. I thought, “The best egg poacher, ever!”, until I tried to clean it.

Egg white makes a very good glue, especially when heated to poaching temperatures. No matter how well I lubricate the cups with olive oil, coconut oil, or vegetable oil the cups stubbornly cling to the egg white, and it is very difficult to clean that stuff from the poaching cups.

How many people like poached eggs enough to have them regularly? How does McDonalds make their perfectly round eggs for the Egg McMuffin? What is the best way to poach eggs?

Inquiring minds and hungry souls want to know.


Bacon, Bacon, Where Is The Bacon?

picture of a slice of bacon
The Epicurean Delight

Ah, yes. Bacon. My five year old grandson’s favorite vegetable, the favorite garnish of salad lovers, the historic common man’s breakfast, and the most savory meat in history. That’s bacon.

Bacon is made from many meats, but I am talking about pork. Pig. Hog. Porcine. Forget that turkey bacon stuff. It’s for wusses. Sometimes you will see vegetarian  bacon on the shelf at the store. Forget it. Veggie-bacon is a sin against nature and our self-awareness. Once you go over to the dark side of vegetarianism, you have lost your humanity and zest for life.

Bacon defines our internal drive for life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Bacon may be forbidden in Jewish and Biblical laws, but there is no hiding the fact that everybody loves bacon as part of their morning meal, breaking their night-long fast with a food that is  zesty, tasty, and full-of-energy.

So, what in the world brings me to write about bacon? I was born into a poor family with a seemingly unlimited number of siblings with whom to share meals. The bacon at home was of the paper-thin sliced variety. This was an economic necessity, and we all viewed bacon as a tasty treat.  Mom’s biscuits, eggs, and homemade preserves made up the bulk of our morning meal. That was the traditional Southern Breakfast. But, we were left wanting with the life-long rationing of bacon at the breakfast table by an economizing mother.

If you were lucky enough to live in the country, you could get homemade, farm cured, smokehouse country bacon. Oh, my! What a treat! You almost had to know somebody to get that kind of bacon.

Cheer up, friends. The Internet has come to our rescue. One of my favorite blogs to read everyday is Instapundit. A University of Tennessee law professor, Glenn Reynolds writes this blog, which is a daily collection of links to interesting articles and blogs on the internet. I will be forever appreciative of Professor Reynolds for the mention and link to one of the best sources of country bacon and ham in the Volunteer State, Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams in Madisonville, Tennessee.

butcher's diagram of a pig
Pig Bacon Is The Best

Being a native Tennessean, and lover of bacon, I could not help but place an online order for a sample of country ham, and four pounds of possibly the best country bacon in the world. WOW!

The country ham, served with biscuits and red-eye gravy, makes some of the best eating in the world.

The country bacon is so good it will make you slap-your-pappy, plow the back-forty, and kiss your neighbor’s hound dog. It’s that good.

I am not employed by the Benton folks, nor do I expect any remuneration for my reference. It is from the goodness of my heart, and the certain knowledge that additional business to the store will increase the product availability that I do this good deed.

Maybe I’ll get some of that karma stuff, or maybe some free bacon for my unabashed praise.


Genetically Modified Food – Good Or Bad?

With all the hue and cry you hear from environmentalists, neo-preppies, and climate change antagonists that genetically modified organisms (GMO) are the work of Satan, it sounds like the world is coming to an end. Europeans will not allow the import of American corn, soybeans, or other US grown foods that have been genetically modified to combat pests, or to make food crops more drought resistant. Environmental groups are violently against GMO crops. Organic enthusiasts are particularly against these crops.

Before my research for writing this article, I knew very little about the field. Indeed, I have always been skeptical about claims that GMO foods are bad for us. Corn fed to beef and pigs have been modified. Soy beans whose oil goes into virtually every vegetable oil on the market have been modified. We have been modifying foods and other natural products for a long time.

Historically, pretty much every plant or animal food we consume has been modified in one way or another. For example, today’s corn plant had to be domesticated and was interbred over thousands of years to become today’s dietary staple. Ditto pretty much everything else. In 2009 about eighty-five percent of the US corn crop was genetically modified.

So why are people upset over the process? I think people are naturally skeptical of anything new, and some testy people are especially suspicious or critical of anything mankind does. Climate change is a prime example. It has become a political football in spite of the benign nature of climate change. Sure, climate changes all the time, and all those changes are not bad. Some are good.

Likewise, some genetically changed foods are better than their predecessors. They cost less to grow and harvest, perform better against pests, or are more resistant to drought.

Picture of honey bee pollinating a flower.
Honey Bee Pollinating Flowers (Wikipedia)

There are no scientific studies that show that GMO foods are harmful to humans or the environment. What are some of the claims of the crazies?

1. GMO crops are causing the honey bees to die in mass quantities.
2. GMO crops are destroying the environment.
3. GMO crops that are herbicide resistant (Roundup resistant) are causing more herbicide resistant  weeds to develop.
4. GMO food crops are causing more allergy reactions in humans.

The list can go on, and on. In every case that I have investigated, there are no credible scientific studies that show harm to anybody or anything caused by genetically engineered food crops.

Organizations that advocate loudly against GMO crops are political, anti-capitalism, and anti-human. More than anything, these anti-GMO advocates are collecting money from unsuspecting and ignorant environmentalists and kooks all over the world, similar to Greenpeace and other extreme advocacy groups.

Don’t forget to follow the money.

Fried Chicken Makes Me Happy

  • The  Russians have taken the Crimea
  • The Russians are ready to invade Ukraine.
  • The Taliban are taking Afghanistan.
  • The IRS targets conservative groups.
  • The NSA is spying on citizens.
  • The University of Connecticut won the NCAA Basketball Championship.
  • Jay Leno retired.

There are lots of things to make Americans unhappy nowadays. Anything that has to do with the shenanigans of the Federal Government will make you want to vomit.

Whenever some NASCAR driver gets unhappy, there’s a BC Headache Powder at his command. If there’s a delivery truck driver in pain and unhappy, there’s always Aleve. Poor Tylenol gets left out in the cold.

Me? When the world around me starts going to crap; when those with whom I deal start doing crazy things; when the bills stack up, and when my wife gives me ugly looks, that’s when I think of fried chicken.

Fried chicken. It’s country food. It’s comfort food. If you want to have a good old southern dinner, it’s going to be fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and turnip greens or green beans. Yes, I said mashed potatoes. None of those prepackaged, sissy, creamed potatoes, here.

My mother prepared my first piece of fried chicken. I cannot tell you how wonderful skillet and Crisco fried chicken can be. There are no earthly words to describe the crunchy, juicy, heavenly flavor of what must be  God’s favorite food. Yessir, it’s gotta be fried chicken.

The first fried chicken I tasted cooked by my projective mother-in-law told me I was on the right path for a life partner. Oh, yes. My dear mother-in-law had gone to the same school of cooking as my mother. God’s blessing on my proposed marriage was evident, assuming that mother had taught daughter how to cook. She did.  Umm….

My wife’s cooking is special. Even my children learned that there was no restaurant food better than their mom’s food. When my son was less than two years old, my wife gave him his first fried chicken leg. Oh, did he ever celebrate that discovery that night. He would chomp that leg, and wave it around like a Samurai sword, or a magic wand. After all, my wife’s fried chicken is magic stuff.

My wife doesn’t cook skillet fried chicken anymore. Skillet fried chicken is hard work. Instead, I make do with chicken barbecued on the grill. But, every now and then, I must have fried chicken. Colonel Sanders, Publix Deli, Kroger Deli, Walmart Deli, or local diners are patronized. You would be surprised how good fried chicken can be when you are hungry enough.

When life gets you down, and the government death panels are imminent, just get a bucket of fried chicken and everything will be alright. For a while…

Our Goldilocks World

You know how it is sometimes fun to sit around and Google things that just pop into your mind? Well, I was doing that tonight while pondering the world around us. I was thinking about trees and plants, and how they figure into our environment. The process I looked up was photosynthesis.

We would not have oxygen to breathe if it were not for carbon dioxide (CO2) and plant life.

6H2O + 6CO2 ———-> C6H12O6+ 6O
Six molecules of water plus six molecules of CO2 makes one sugar molecule and six oxygen molecules.

This is what happens. Plants get their water from the ground through the root system, and they suck in carbon dioxide gas (CO2) from the atmosphere. That’s when the fun starts.

Sunlight is the energy that drives the whole process. When sunlight strikes a leaf of a plant, energy is absorbed. Some sunlight causes heat, and the rest causes chemical reactions between the CO2 and other stuff in the plants. Oxygen is split from the carbon dioxide and water (H2O), and sugar and enzymes result growing the plant.

If it were not for CO2 we would not have trees, plant life, food, or oxygen. It gets that simple.

Global warming is blamed on CO2. There is only a small bit of truth to this in that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and greenhouse gases cause the earth to keep warm enough to support life, but not too warm. CO2 is not the driving gas in the process. The real driver is water vapor, by far the strongest greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

Photosynthesis is yet another process that can be called a Goldilocks process. It takes in carbon dioxide (CO2), and produces food and oxygen, all necessary for life.

Our earth is just far enough from the sun to keep it warm within a livable range. We live on a water planet where the climate is pretty much automatically maintained by clouds, water vapor, water vaporization and condensation, and the associated heat engines.

When things heat up, clouds form, rain happens, and things cool down. That’s one of the mechanism that keeps the world from getting too hot. Greenhouse gases keep the world from getting too cold for life.

Food and water are plentiful almost everywhere because of the natural processes.

What more can one ask? We do live in a Goldilocks world. It is almost like things were planned that way. Our Goldilocks world is just right.

Note: Yes, I noticed in the chemical equation that the Oxygen molecules did not balance. I did a cut and paste from some web page, and am now paying for my own inattention. I think that the six oxygen molecules should be molecules made up of 2 oxygen molecules. Oxygen does that, you know. I just don’t know how to do a subscript in WordPress.

Rainy Saturdays Mean An Idle Mind

It’s a rainy Saturday in Atlanta. Now, nothing is wrong with this as I can’t go outside to do yard work. Nor is it an attractive option to get in the car to do some shopping.

So, I did the best thing one can do on a Saturday morning. I cooked breakfast. Now, this was not oatmeal, nor was it some sort of toast and jelly breakfast. I fried up some bacon and eggs, and toasted a bunch of English muffins to go with it.

Bacon is important. When I buy bacon, I always try to get the thick-sliced variety. Plus, I don’t want any sugar cured bacon. Bacon should be smoked, as in hickory cured, or apple wood cured. When in the frying pan it needs to look like ham slices.

Eggs are the one thing where you can ruin a good breakfast. If you buy the regular store brands you will be disappointed. Stores like Publix and Kroger have some great prices on their eggs, but believe me, they are substandard. I have learned to look for cage-free eggs by pretty much any brand. I don’t know what the magic is, but cage free eggs have yellower yellows, and taste one heck of a lot better. It is almost as if you got them from your grandmother’s farm. Cage-free is that good in comparison to the generic store brands.

Cage-free eggs cost at least 30% more, but they are worth it.

Shame on me for not preparing biscuits. It ain’t  grandmaw’s  breakfast without grandmaw’s biscuits. But, I am not grandma, and I can’t do biscuits from scratch. We did miss the biscuits, especially with gravy, but we will soldier on.

I am full, and happy. How’s your Saturday going?

Cornbread Makes Me Happy!

We all have our safe places where we go when the world gets too dangerous. Some people go back to their mother’s house. Some people take refuge in their religion. Some people just check out altogether. After all these years, seeing dead spirits and eruptions, and Democrat presidents, I have finally figured out my area of safety. I love cornbread, and if I am sad or upset just give me some cornbread.

Being a southern boy, I don’t want any sugar or flour in my cornbread. However, I was exiled in Texas for over eight years, and developed a taste for Jalapeno cornbread. Those Texicans have something going, there.

The election season is in progress if you want to call it that. We are in the same financial bind that the country was in back in the Great Depression when the unemployment number was over twenty percent. Today, that number is almost twenty percent. Hello? Do you wonder why I am doing my great escape to cornbread?

The future is in grave danger of going down the drain. Those who run the federal government have no clue what’s happening. Those running the federal government are only concerned with getting to run the nation another four years. The nation is in sad shape.

Buck up! There is good news at your grocery store. On the shelves of every grocery is a small section where cornbread mix is available in two-pound sacks. Just dump a cupful of the stuff into a mixing bow, add an egg, a cup or so of buttermilk, but leave the oil out of it. Follow instruction on preheating the skillet you use, and you will wind up with good cornbread.

Just grab a piece of this cornbread, and you too, can forget the incompetence of our politicians. Eat some hot buttered cornbread, and you will think you are in heaven.  Looking for a late night snack? Cornbread and butter milk is just the thing. You won’t need Prosac anymore.

The next several months will be difficult for intelligent people. Democrats never understand anything, anyway, but my Republican friends are subject to feeling bad when trying to sort through the lies of the current President. There are so many.

If our ancestors can prosper on a diet of cornbread and country cooking, so can I. Take a cue from the real American pioneers. Cornbread is for what ails you.

What’s For Breakfast?

Sans the political and economic stuff, I am focused on one thing, lately. Breakfast.

Left to my own devices, I am a bacon, egg, grits/hash browns guy. The medical community doesn’t like me to eat pork sausage, so I rely on bacon for generous doses of fat. Gotta love that fat.

Now, if you are of the Yankee or uncultured persuasion, you may not have had proper exposure to hominy grits. I don’t know how the hominy stuff comes into play, but if all you do is boil some water and dump in the grits, it will taste pretty much like cardboard. It is kind of like the plantains found on Caribbean islands, which also tastes like cardboard. You really have to add the spices for that stuff.

This is why grits are always served with generous gobs of butter, or even with cheese is cooked into the dish. Also, bacon bits can help immensely. Shrimp and grits is a popular entre at many fine restaurants. It is amazing how good simple hominy grits can be.

The docs don’t like me eating grits, either.

I have been experimenting with turkey sausage. The Jimmy Dean brand is good stuff, but has about 900  milligrams of sodium per serving. The Kroger brand tastes just as good, with a good bit less salt. Either way, there is too much sodium in the bacon/sausage replacements to consider for a healthy breakfast.

Morningstar soy sausage is actually good stuff, and a pattie with an English muffin is one of my preferred substitutions for eggs and bacon. They are pretty expensive per pattie, but are acceptable ingredient wise.

My breakfast preferences break down, here. I used to like fruit and cereal, but my nutritionist doesn’t. The fruit is OK, but cereal is all carbohydrates.

I am on the make for breakfasts. I need a better list. What is you favorite healthy breakfast? The medical profession is out to ruin my life, and I need some help.

Refried Grits

Picture of grits in a bowl.
Grits, The Main Thang

A man full of [grits] is a man of peace.

Unless you have eaten grits on a regular basis, you will not understand. Here in the Old South, we have been brought up on grits. Some people see grits as part of our birthright. Actually, this foundational food was originated by the native American Indians. It is kin to polenta, also made from corn.

Similar to humus, you have to mix stuff in grits to give it flavor. Grits naturally absorb the various flavors of other foods added to the mix. Cheese grits are very popular, but I like mine with nothing but butter.

One of the problems with grits is that you will probably make more than you are willing to eat at one sitting. After the left-over grits cool, you will have something that looks like concrete. You can probably use the cold grits to throw at the neighborhood kids to keep them out of your yard. Be careful, you don’t want to hurt the kids, or wind-up in a grits generated law suit.

There is a temptation to throw that chunk of solidifying cornmeal out the door to feed the chickens. Don’ t do that, either!

There are lots of recipes for fried grits, most of which depend on cooling the grits down to an almost solid mass, and then frying them as small cakes. My idea is even easier than that.

Dump the chunk of left-over, cooled grits into a mixing bowl. Mash-in a beat-up egg, and enough chopped, sweet onion as you feel you can handle. If there is left-over bacon or sausage from breakfast, you can crumble that into the mix. Add enough water to make a thick slurry, and get your frying pan ready.

Cover the bottom of the frying pan with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and heat the heck out of it. The olive oil adds a delicate flavor that complements the onion.

Pour the slurry into the hot oil, and let it cook until you are satisfied that the water has been cooked out of it, and the onions are done. The goal is to get the grits to a consistency similar to the breakfast grits. If they are browned a bit, that’s OK.

Serve the refried grits as a side to pork chops, roast beef, baked or fried chicken, or just have them for a snack.

Life is good!