Monday, December 31, 2007

Special Hoppin John

Miss Faye,

While you are correct in saying Hoppin' John originated in the low country, you did forget to add another tradition of the low country. Gotta have the She Crab Soup!

Here is my recipe I use for Hoppin' John which is from the cookbook 'Four Great Southern Cooks." These ladies, descended from those who cooked in the grand plantations of the white-columned old South homes, know how to cook. They also know "Southern Cooking" means warmth, simplicity and hospitality.

Hoppin' John

1 medium sized onion, peeled and left whole
1/2 lb. salt pork
2 ham hocks
1/2 lb dried black-eyed peas
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 1/2 c. long grain rice

Lightly fry the salt pork, add the ham hocks, dried peas, the whole onion and red pepper. Pour in just enough water to cover, put a lid on the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the salt pork and ham hocks. Stir in the rice and cover. Remove any meat from the ham hocks and return to the pea/rice mixture. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Serves 6-8.

For She Crab Soup, use crab meat, butter, flour lemon, light cream, sherry, and Tabasco. Better yet. Jump in the car and head to the low country.

See you there! Hey, and bring along some Mint Julep tea, too!

Miss Etta

Hoppin' John

It struck me as I was reading your latest journal entry Miss Etta, that some of our readers might not know what Hoppin' John actually is. Ooops, I ended a sentence in a preposition. My English teacher would not be happy.

You're entry took me back to my younger years. In our family, the coin, usually a dime, went into the black-eyed peas. Did you read some of the traditions from other countries on the Fayette Front Page? I think to be on the safe side I'm going to go buy myself a polka-dot shirt and some red underwear. I already have my true love so I won't be wearing yellow!

And, not to ramble, but did you hear that a bunch of rabble-rousers are going to try and disrupt the Rose Bowl Parade? There is a time and place for everything and that is not the place. I certainly hope that tomorrow they will not show the protesters while I am watching it on television. I do so love a good parade, although it is much more fun to be there. I have never been to the Rose Bowl Parade. Have you?

Well, back to Hoppin' John. Here's a saying about eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day: "Eat poor that day, eat rich the rest of the year. Rice for riches and peas for peace."

Supposedly the Hoppin' John tradition goes back as far as 1841, when, according to tradition, the dish hawked in the streets of Charleston, South Carolina by a crippled black man who was know as Hoppin' John. Another story says that the name came from someone named John who came a hoppin' when his wife called him to dinner. And then there's the one that says it has to do with children hoppin' round the table, which is one it sounds like your family took to heart. Which means in my mind that it's the correct one because I know your family has roots back before 1841.

I have a few recipes so I thought I would share them. Different people make it in different ways. The first one is somewhat more involved than the second. It's just a matter of spices and what you like. After the recipes I've included the lazy way to make it.

Hoppin' John Recipe #1

1 pound dried black-eyed peas
2 small smoked ham hocks or meaty ham bone
2 medium onions, divided
3 large cloves garlic, halved
1 bay leaf
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 can (10 to 14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with chili peppers, juices reserved
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper, minced
2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 green onions, sliced

In a large Dutch oven or kettle, combine the black-eyed peas, ham bone or ham hocks, and 6 cups water. Cut 1 of the onions in half and add it to the pot along with the garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the beans are tender but not mushy, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the ham bone or hocks, cut off the meat; dice and set aside. Drain the peas and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaf, onion pieces, and garlic.

Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice, cover, and simmer until the rice is almost tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Mince the remaining onion then add to the rice along with the peas, tomatoes, and their juices, red and green bell pepper, celery, jalapeno pepper, Creole seasoning, thyme, cumin, and salt. Cook until the rice is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced green onions and the reserved diced ham. Serve with hot sauce and freshly baked cornbread.

Hoppin' John Recipe #2

2 cups dried black-eyed peas
Cold water
1 pound lean bacon or 1 pound meaty ham hocks
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (depending how hot you want to make it)
4 cups water or chicken broth (some people use vegetable broth)
2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
Salt and black pepper like you like it

Before preparing dried beans, sort through them thoroughly to get rid of the grit. Soak, rinse, and drain dried black-eyed peas. Place black-eyed peas in a large soup pot over medium-high heat and cover with cold water; bring to a boil. Remove the pot from heat, cover and let it stand for up to 2 hours. Drain and rinse beans.

Using the same large soup pot, over medium-high heat, add soaked black-eyed peas, bacon or ham hock, onion, and red pepper. Add water or chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for up to 2 hours or until the peas are tender (do not let it boil as the beans will burst, they just won't taste or look right).

Remove bacon or ham hock and cut it into bite-size pieces. Return the pieces of meat to pot. Stir in rice, cover, and cook 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

There are some who do not like to cook the rice in the same pot. If you're one of those, then by all means cook it separately and serve it separately, or add the cooked rice right at the last minute.

If you're like most of us you're going to add your own special touch to the Hoppin' John. Some people cook it without all the hot spices and serve it with a hot sauce on the side so everyone can fix it up the way they like it. A side dish of pickle relish is a must for some. If you're going to add a dime like my family does don't cook it in the Hoppin' John, add it at the end. Stir it up good and make sure everyone doesn't go rootin' to find it like I used to do.

For those who are utterly dismal in the kitchen, cheat. Buy some canned, already cooked black eyed peas. If you want to make it all yours, saute some onions and maybe cook some bacon and dump it all in a pan. Add some hot sauce or any of the other spices in the recipes above and put it in a pot. Cook it on the stove or in the microwave. Ta da, quick and easy, lazy Hoppin' John.

Start the New Year Off by Hopping

Happy New Year!

Well, it's almost time to start the cooking again for the feasting on
New Year's Day. Can you believe it? It's almost 2008. My my, how
the time does fly. You know, I see the years fly by on the calendar,
but I am just too young to be this old. Must be all those wonderful
New Year traditions that have kept me going.

What do you eat? At our house, we have the traditional southern
pork, collards, and hoppin' John. Yum yum. Have you ever thought of
why we eat pork on this day? Grandma always said the pork
represented prosperity as they are plump, therefore, getting enough
to eat. Grandpa said the hogs use their snouts to root towards the
future, leaving the past behind. This was in sharp contradiction to
those yard animals that scratch backwards. Besides, who wants to
scratch for a living in the new year?

The collards, of course, are green and represent having plenty of
money. I especially like them cooked with sugar to cut the bitter
taste. Up in Yankee land, they have more of the tradition of eating
cabbage for their money and luck. I'm told it's because cabbage is
green in its raw state. I've never developed a taste for the
sauerkraut, but many do. I'll let them have my portion.

And, my favorite. Hoppin' John! You do know that tradition dictates
the youngest in the house hops around the table as it is put on the
table? Ah, I love hoppin' John. Cook black eyed peas for luck.
Cook them in a broth and with ham hock or pieces in it. Add the
cooked rice. Make sure the hoppin' John drippings are also added to
the rice. Oh, I can't wait!

Top it all off with New Year's Cake which has a penny in it for
luck. Guess it's supposed to help pay all those taxes! Up north,
they seem to favor having apple pie for New Year's Dessert.

No matter what your tastes are, Miss Faye, I'm sure you'll keep the
tradition of spending the first moments after the New Year chimes in
with your loved ones. I will, and then we'll all hop around the
table. That is, after I dance around cooking it all!

Talk to you in the New Year.

Miss Etta

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Can't go anywhere!

Miss Etta, that reminds me of a vacation story from many years back. My friend and I were in a small town in Florida. We got turned around, made a few wrong turns and got ourselves thoroughly lost.

We decided to turn left on a street that looked like it would take us toward the beach. It didn't.

It curved around, ran parallel to the street we had turned off of and finally gave us no choice but to curve back around to that self-same street.

We stopped at the traffic light and quickly checked out the situation to see which way to turn.

The road was a one-way on the left going to the right. The road across from us which normally would have been an option was also a one-way coming in our direction. The street we were on was a two-way, we doubled checked.

That normally would have left us with one option, which should have been to turn right.

However, smack dab in the middle of the street, hanging down so it was impossible to miss was a sigh that said "NO RIGHT TURN."

It didn't say "No Right Turn on RED," it simply said "NO RIGHT TURN." Just in case the intrepid driver of a vehicle might have missed the sign dangling in clear view, there was a regular rectangular sign stuck in the ground to the right of the car that said "NO RIGHT TURN."

The light turned green. The people behind us honked. Decision time.

I whipped out my camera and took photos.

What else would you expect a tourist to do.

We then turned right.

So did the vehicle behind us.

I had every intention to take the photos and send them to Jay Leno, but you know how that goes. They're in a box somewhere, collecting dust.

I have thought many times about that intersection and tried to fathom what was in the mind of the people who made the decision to put up those signs.

I am thinking they just liked to have fun with hapless travelers. Or maybe they had imbibed just a touch too much hooch.

If I ever find those photos, I'll have to post them on here for everyone to see.

Just in case I don't get to write before the New Year, Miss Etta I hope you and your family have a year filled with places you can get to (and that you want to go)!

Miss Faye

Can't Get There From Here

I grew up in rural Georgia. Now there are some folks who say Fayette County is rural, but where I grew up was RURAL. I did live in town, with all of the other 396 residents. Yes, we had less than 400 people in town. Now the dogs and horses did put us up around 500, but I'm told you can't count them.

One memory I have is a car stopping for directions. That was actually rare. Cars stopping by accident in town were few and far between. We did have the one main road in town and the state highway was up at the corner. (Down the road was the other direction.) You see, we weren't even on the state map.

The town was full of beautiful old antebellum homes. Our home was the exception. It was brick, but on the site of an old antebellum home. The old house had burned down and the doctor who owned the house wanted his next home not to be able to burn to the ground. So it was brick, thick brick. And there were doors to the outside from every room in the house except the dining room and the bathroom. Guests were always confused on which door to knock on. And, then, we had to run around to see which door had someone standing outside it.

Oh, here I go, rambling on again.

Anyway, one day, a car stopped up at the corner and asked how to get to another town in the county. Hmm. Well, you just couldn't get there from where we were. We told the man, "You can't get there from here. You have to go to another town and start there." You would have thought we had grown extra heads or something.

It was really quite logical. You really couldn't get there from here. You really did have to go to another town and pick up another highway and then find a small unmarked road and follow it to an even smaller one road town. We tried to explain it the best we could. I imagine he did go to the other town and start over on his quest.

Going to Newnan on Friday was just like that for me. I was looking for the newer movie house and had gotten my directions from the computer. Roads have sprung up out of nowhere and houses are everywhere over there now. It's like a real city. Anyway, I faithfully followed the directions taking Lower Fayetteville Rd. I never saw the next five turns mentioned. They weren't there. In other words, I couldn't get there from here.

I did wind up seeing the name of the road that the movie house is on, so I took a guess and turned on it. Lucky for me, I turned the correct way. Needless to say, coming home, I used the main roads. There was no way I was gonna get lost and have to ask for directions. I'm sure I would have heard echoes in my head. " You can't get there from here."

Now the question remains. Where can't you get?

Have a good day, Miss Faye.

Miss Etta

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mint Julep Iced Tea

I came across this recipe and I just had to share it. It sounds so much better than Long Island Tea. I seems delightfully wicked to add bourbon to our good old southern ice tea.

Mint Julep Iced Tea

8 mint leaves
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1 cup bourbon
3 cups cold sweetened tea
Cubed or crushed ice

Combine first 3 ingredients in a 2-quart pitcher, pressing with spoon to crush mint. Stir in bourbon and tea. Add ice. Makes 2 quarts.

Oh my, that is MY kind of ice tea! A few glasses of that and who'll need rose colored glasses to view the world?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cotton Up To and Cotton To, Too

Miss Etta, wouldn't you just think that the term "cotton up to" HAD to be a Southern phrase? I seriously doubted that combination of words would ever be heard from the mouth of anyone outside of our general neck of the woods. But I was soooo wrong!

The phrase was not coined by a fellow southerner! It seems the phrase "cotton to" has been in used in Great Britain for many long years.

I discovered a number of different thoughts on the origin of the phrase, neither had anything to do with our early American history.

One source took the word back to Egypt and China! I found the term used in plays back in the 1500's when I went looking.

According to Folk-Etymology, the use of cotton in the phrase is an old BRITISH word and has nothing at all to do with the cotton that still grows in many of our Georgia fields. It means harmonize, get along well, coincide. This fellow said it goes back to the Welsh and even further back to Latin.

I found this quote from a forum where they were discussing the meaning. They didn't cite a source, so I can't tell you where it came from but here it is: "To "cotton" meaning "to get along with" comes from the characteristics of cotton cloth. Cotton fabric is soft and fuzzy with a rich pile, and "to cotton" originally meant to work cotton or some other fabric such as wool so as to raise a nap or pile. This process is an important step in the finishing of fine cloth, and by the 16th century "cotton" was being used figuratively to mean "succeed" or "improve." By the early 17th century, "cotton" was being used in a more general sense of "get along well together" or "work harmoniously," and a bit later to mean "strike up a friendship." The modern sense of "to become attached to" first appeared around 1805."

And here's another source: Eric Partridgein A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (Routledge, 2000) has cotton v.i. Prosper; hence, agree together: colloquial; the former (obsolete). from ca. 1560; the latter, from ca. 1600. In an old play (1605), 'John a Nokes and John a Style and I cannot cotton.' The primary sense ('prosper') may arise ex 'a figurative sense of raising a nap on cloth' (Ernest Weekley, Etymological Dictionary of Modern English). —2. Hence, with to, 'get on' well with (a person), take kindly to (an idea, a thing): from ca. 1800; colloquial Barham. 'It's amazing to think./How one cottons to drink.' —3. See cotton on.

Here's a fun article I found in, of all places, the Hindu Times!
What is the difference between "cotton onto someone" and "cotton up to someone"?

I wonder where the word cotton in relation to the growing kind that we turn into cloth came from?

In case you're wondering, I was eating my dinner in front of the computer and decided to take a short break to do something fun. I have been SO busy all day today. I thought finding the meaning of "cotton to" or "cotton up to" would be fairly simple.

I was wrong.

I hope you have a delightfully fun weekend!

Goodnight for now,
Miss Faye

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gifts That Keep On and On

Miss Faye,

You've been so busy just celebrating the holidays, haven't you? To answer your last question, the White Trash Dessert I saw did have M&Ms in it. I think it's real funny that the famous Southern Living called it White Christmas. What a hoot.

I've been out in the masses again today. This time it was to buy all those cute little accessories for the gifts that Santa and company left. It's really amazing to me. Even though we got great gifts under the tree, and they seemed to be complete, somehow, they just needed more. It's the gifts that keep on and on. Kinda like that bunny. Except these gifts need more cash than that. I could spend a fortune just in completing the gifts.

I do think that I found a treasure today. An unexpected one. A really neat one. One that I couldn't resist. It was such a bargain. At the local office supply store, I stumbled across a combo printer, fax, scanner, copier for $20. Now, I paid more than that up front. That will be the final price after I get all the paperwork sent in to get money back. What a neat rebate. So, soon, I'll be unpacking it and trying to see what all it takes to make it work. If I'm lucky, it won't be the gift that just keeps on and on eating money. I fully expect it to work forever!

I'm just glad I wasn't one of those many people across the country who couldn't use their gift cards yesterday at the local big box. Can you imagine how many people weren't wearing smiles after they had grabbed all the discounted goodies, stood in line for a long time, and then were told their cards weren't being accepted by the store's computers?

And if I'm ever not home when you call, just remember. I'm out scouting around for all those cute completer items. Guess this will be a Christmas I won't soon forget. I know my pocketbook will think of it on a regular basis for a bit.

You have a nice evening, Miss Faye. I'm all tuckered out and need to rest my poor weary bones.

Miss Etta

White Trash

Miss Etta, I plum forgot to tell you when I wrote earlier about my White Trash encounter!

One of my relatives brought some along for us all to try over the Christmas holidays. It was so yummy. She said that she had found it in a Southern Living magazine and that THEY called it White Christmas.

I suppose they felt the need to be politically correct. She did say that everyone else in her neck of the woods called it White Trash. She said she had made enough to give as gifts in little tins to everyone who didn't warrant a 'real' gift.

I don't remember if your recipe had peanut M & M's? I will have to go back and look. I would think that almost any favorite chocolate candy would be good in it.

I still have a little bit left. It won't be around much longer.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Not coming out of the closet.

Miss Etta, I do not do returns. At least not if there are lines. Or if the thing in question makes it out of the vehicle into the house.

I have told the tale before of my closet of unwanted gifts. I also have pending returns in that closet. In truth, I now have more than one closet of unwanted gifts and returns. That was one of my fears when visiting family went in search of toilet paper. What if I had neglected to pull out one of their past gifts from the walk-in bathroom closet?

I swear I have good intentions when it comes to returning items. Somehow the bag slips further and further, deeper and deeper into the closet and in most cases it never sees the light of day until... it's Christmas or time for someone's birthday. Then perhaps I will remember that shirt I neglected to return or those shoes that didn't quite fit right to see if I can pass them on to someone who will enjoy whatever it might be. Or at least fit into whatever it might be.

This Christmas I pulled out a stack of t-shirts I bought four, maybe five years ago. I over-bought for an event and rather than return the t-shirts, which were too small for me to wear, I put them in the closet to be returned at a later date. They made a very nice last-minute gift for a nephew.

I had a delightful Christmas. Unfortunately, I have a new gift or two that will be going into the closet, never to come out. I do believe one of my distant relatives passed on a gift she did not want. I can not see that anyone would want it and I will not describe it in the event that she might someday read this journal. Quite possibly I am wrong and she actually thought I might like the item. Someone made it, thus someone must have thought someone would buy it.

I now wonder what kind of person my relative thinks I am. I shall have to closely examine my wardrobe and accessories to review the image I portray.

Miss Etta, I am glad you survived the return wars. I am so very sorry that you will have to venture out again. I have a few things that have not passed the return expiration dates. Since you are so brave, might I talk you into returning my items for me?

In the event you think I am serious... I could be.

Wishing you a wonderful new year and many HAPPY returns!
Miss Faye

What Fool Am I--- To Brave Today

Oh Miss Faye,

I trust you enjoyed your holiday as much as I did mine. And I'm sure that Santa was as good to you as he was to me. I do think the best gift of all, as I told my brother last night on the phone, was the rain. I know it didn't rain hard, but what fell had to sink in. What a glorious site to hear the pitter patter of rain drops after the pitter patter of reindeer hooves. Hmm, maybe the rain was to clean up the messes left by the team?

Oh, the agony of it all. I had to put on all my armour and head out to the Fayette Pavilion in order to exchange two gifts of the wrong size variety. Memories of Christmas past had me in a sweat as I mentally prepared myself for the LONG lines. I fretted. I panicked. And then, away I went before good sense could kick back in and keep me warm in my pjs playing with my Christmas toys.

What's this? Where are the masses? Why are there parking spots close to the front of the stores? Has everyone come and gone already or are they just waiting for me to show up?

The first store was a breeze. There were five clerks for checkout today, compared to the two last week. I stood in line for about 3 minutes and painlessly made my exchange. Hey, this was ok. Let's head on to the big box at the far end of the Pavilion. Ok. So there weren't so many empty spots. Maybe that should have been my first clue.

So, the line at the main checkout is long. Hmm. The second clue. Nah. They are all buying the after Christmas markdowns. I'm just going to swoop in, find the right size in slippers, exchange them with a smile, and be off to that electronics store to do some serious shopping.

Third clue. They have empty racks where the slippers were just last week. Oh, there they are. Scattered here and there. Ah, there's the style. Grab........ aggghhhh. They don't have the right size. Now my feet are regular sized, no special needs. Why can't I find my size? I'm starting to pant. I search through the small discarded slippers on the bottom rack, and viola! They have one pair in the store in my size. Alright!

Feeling back on track, I head off to the back of the store for an exchange. I search for the end of the line. Oh dear. Now, I'm getting eye glazing from all those who are standing in this line waiting to see one of three clerks who can assist. Five minutes go past. Then ten. Now I'm starting to panic. If I didn't mind cold feet, I would just leave. But I can't as I wore out last year's slippers two weeks ago and my tootsies are turning blue.

Follow the line. I must follow the line. Here I am at the start, and only a mere twenty minutes of waiting-- all to exchange one pair of slippers! I've lost my smile by this point and just want to escape. The lady working behind the exchange desk doesn't seem so merry, either. Maybe she's been waiting the crowds to leave. At least I get to leave when I shove my slippers her way, along with the receipt.

I fight my way back out of the store, too tired to do anything else. So, I skipped the electronics store and came home. Home to my little house and my nice new slippers that fit. I think I'll wear them for a couple of days straight. And with any luck at all, it will rain a few more times before the end of the year.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Toilet Paper Faux Pas

Well, well, well. One day of family complete and another to go. Christmas Eve was filled with children watching Santa as he traveled across the world courtesy of NORAD. They watched avidly as he moved from town to town to country to country. When he hit South America it was time to pack up the gifts and head home to await his arrival at their homes.

My, my how times have changed.

Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity. I cooked and cleaned and cooked and cleaned all in preparation for the hoards of family descending on our quiet home. It is hard to anticipate every place that people will look to see what kind of housekeeper you are. At least the days of regularly wearing white gloves in polite society has passed. White gloves in my house would mean I could not pass muster for some of my pickier relatives.

While I do rush around to make sure the house is as clean as it can possibly be given the general lack of attention it receives most days, I am not overly concerned any longer about being judged solely on my house-cleaning skills. If I die tomorrow someone will find dust balls under the bed. It will not kill me as I will already be dead.

Just a little short story from the days when it did matter overly much to me how my house looked. My grandmother-in-law had visited once and I caught her cleaning my stove while I ran to the store. The next time she visited I determined there would not be one dust ball, one grease spot, one place where she could run her white gloves or stick her nose to find a problem.

All seemed to be going well, she seemed rather miffed that she could not surreptitiously find some ditty of dirt. I again had to leave the house for a short period, but felt I could do so safely. I returned to find the over and the refrigerator pulled away from the wall with my grandmama busily cleaning.

On her next trip, I left some easy places for her to discover and clean.

Now, back to present day, Christmas and today's family.

All went well. We ate, opened presents and shared good times. Everyone finally headed home to their respective homes for sweet dreams of the presents-to-be. I did some last minute cleaning up and then made a stop in one of our bathrooms.... Only to discover the toilet roll was empty. I was mortified. Not only had I forgotten to put a back-up roll out within easy reach, I had forgotten to re-stock under the cabinet.

Now, before you think that I am over-reacting to missing toilet paper know that if you open certain closet doors in my house, things do not look as neat as the rest of the house. Oh no, I used my closets during visits as storage for all those things you don't want children to touch or see, for the stack of books that's normally by the bed, the clothes I didn't have time to fold from the washer. In other words, there is no telling what you might find if you went looking.

I can just hear the conversations that some must have had as they traveled home. "Do you know what she had in the walk-in closet in the bathroom?"

Unfortunately, I also forgot to re-stock the toilet paper in the other guest bathroom also. Luckily, the roll was not completely decimated although one more trip would have had someone searching through those closets.

Ah well, you can't think of everything. And if I was able to bring a little joy into someone's life by giving them something juicy to talk about for a short while, they have received an extra Christmas present.

Well, I'm off to clean out my closet and restock the toilet paper before the next batch of family arrives. Merry Christmas to you and all of your families! A special Merry Christmas to you Miss Etta. I hope Santa was extra special good to you this year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

And The Deed is Done

Miss Faye,

You are so lucky to have your family nearby. All 12 of us have either scattered or returned to the ground. Remind me sometimes, I've got some side splitters about the family.

Anyway, I did indeed go to South Georgia yesterday to see my niece get married. On the drive down, I did see a wondrous site which brought back many memories to me. Cotton. Cotton on the vine. Cotton in big bales. Cotton on the road. That beautiful white cotton. A big laugh just bubbled right up in my throat. Did you ever play "king of the mountain" in cotton seeds? We sure did. It was so fun to be at the cotton gin. When the cotton was deseeded, the seeds would go along a big metal pipe thing that ran across the ceiling and empty out into one huge pile. We used to play "king of the mountain" for hours on those piles. It was more thrilling if you happened to be standing on top of the hill when a fresh batch of cotton seeds would be dumped on top of your head. Everyone in the car looked at me like I had grown three heads as I recalled those days. Why, the youth of today just don't have a proper education on the days of old.

Before I get started, let me get back to my story.

The church was decorated with a Christmas theme, the bride wore white, the bridesmaids wore cranberry, and everyone wore smiles. It was a nice ceremony. Afterwards, I had to tell the young groom our family policy. I politely thanked him for inviting us to the big day, grabbed his hand, and said, "We're so glad you took her off our hands. Now, I have to tell you. She is quite enamored with you and has been for some time. She doesn't come with a receipt, so there are NO returns and NO exchanges." He smiled and reassured me that she will have his heart forever. Kind of endearing, I think.

Now the reception was held in the social hall. I don't know why they call it a social hall, when that rural type of denomination doesn't allow for much. No dancing was allowed. We sat there like bumps on a log with my brother, since we don't know anyone else in the town she lives in. It was good to see them. It's hard to believe that this young girl is old enough to be a radiant bride.

I did have to laugh. She had told me at Thanksgiving that she had "things to do" right after the ceremony and she wouldn't be at the reception long. Two hours into the reception, and there she still was! I asked her how small her suitcase was for the honeymoon as she had told me that she only needed a couple of items and a smile on her face. Ah, youth and newly married. I just bet, Miss Faye, you can tell me some of the older customs surrounding marriages. Didn't everyone used to hang around for the event of the evening? It seems like I heard that behavior was standard up in the mountains. It seems I also recall the landed gentry of old used to have to have "proof" of the evening. Now, I know that the "proof" could be conjured up with some well placed drops here and there.

I was glad to finally leave the reception. kick up my heels, and have myself a long tall julep. That seemed to go well with the memories of my own wedding so long ago. But I don't recall ever playing "king of the mountain" that particular night-- or maybe it was just a different version sans cotton seeds........

Miss Etta

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Nothing to sneeze at...

Well Miss Etta, I know you are off visiting family. I hope you are enjoying yourself immensely. A lot of people are on the roads and in the air traveling to see their dear ones (or not so dear ones in some cases).

I have been blessed to have most of our family come home to roost in Georgia. They are all near enough that we can see each other when we choose without too much difficulty, yet we are far enough apart to ensure we don't can't look over the fence or drop in unannounced for breakfast.

I plan to retire early tonight but thought I would at least share a word or two with our readers. I have noted that our readership is already growing considerably so we must be saying something someone want to read. Either that or a lot of people are interested in mint juleps.

Earlier I talked a bit about white elephants. Today I used the term "nothing to sneeze at" while talking with a friend and decided I needed to find out were that term came from.

Sneezing is something you try not to do in polite company. Ladies used to carry delicate hankies in the event they were overtaken by a sneeze (although they certainly had other reasons for carrying the lacy pieces of cloth). You should never sneeze loudly and should always cover your mouth. If a hankie or tissue is available it should be employed.

Why would someone say something was nothing to sneeze at? Who sneezes AT something?

It seems that manners have changed over the years. In times gone by high society went through some misguided craze where they induced sneezes. Yes, it is true. Everyone who was anyone would carry a box of ground herb mixed with tobacco. A pinch stuffed into the nostril produced a very loud sneeze.

Because most of the people partaking of the sneezing craze were in the so-called leisure class, it became a mark of indolence. If they heard some piece gossip or news they would stuff the nasty mix into their nose, then sneeze to show they were bored with what they'd heard. When something isn't too be sneezed at, it is important. It is something that wouldn't evoke a sneeze.

I am SO glad that practice has gone by the wayside. I do not think I will be using that phrase nearly as much in the future knowing its history!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cranberry Christmas

Miss Etta,
Your recipe sounds sooooo good. I love any recipe that doesn't involve much work and tastes good, too. I do so like cranberries but I have never been able to stomach that wobbly tube of red that plops out of a can, complete with those little can rims around it.

I know there are many who adore the canned sauce or they wouldn't be selling it. But to me it is like the fruit cake that everyone laughs about getting. Every year my Mama puts out a can of cranberry sauce and every year she is the only one at our huge family gathering who touches it.

It makes me shiver just thinking about it.

It is fun to poke though. If you take it and put it upright instead of laying it sideways on the plate it is good for a few fun minutes. It doesn't like to stay upright, it is like a mushy slinky. If you get two or three people who don't mind touching it (ugh) you can have lots of fun trying to make it stay up. After that? Lay it on the plate and serve it. No one will touch it anyway and it'll be good for giggles during dinner.

I am going to go to the store and try to find some fresh cranberries so I can try your recipe.

Have you every made a cranberry garland for the Christmas tree? One year I decided to go all natural on the tree. Popcorn, cookies, and a cranberry garland. We poked needles through more cranberries and popcorn that I care to remember. Push, ouch, push, ouch.

My poor fingers still hurt when I think about it and my children to this day can not stand the site of a tree with real popcorn or cranberries on it. Even plastic popcorn and cranberry garlands makes them cringe and hold their fingers.

I'm sure that our foremothers (you know our forefathers wouldn't have stooped to pushing a needle though a cranberry) had some easy way to make those garlands. I didn't know at the time and haven't cared to know since.

My family has invited themselves to our house this year for Christmas. I prefer to go mess up someone else's house but I will endure. It is only fair that I take an occasional turn at entertaining the masses.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Go Natural, You'll Never Go Back

Afternoon Miss Faye,

I spent the morning trying to get the last of the fixins that I need to cook a Christmas dinner. After searching high and low for fresh cranberries, I finally located them at the baby Kroger in Peachtree City. The sweet lady who always checks me out was looking all festive in her Santa hat, complete with her usual big smile. As she was ringing up the groceries, she remarked she had never even had fresh cranberries. She was a canned jellied cranberry sauce kinda girl.

I almost fainted right then and there. The canned stuff?? Bah, humbug!

A strange feeling came over me. Now, Miss Faye, don't you go to thinking I was getting a red face again. No. I felt charitable. I knew I had to save her from the sauce.

Quickly, before the feeling passed, I blurted out my recipe for fresh cranberry relish. It's so wonderful that I think I'll even give you a gift by sharing my secret with you.

Take one bag of cranberries. Add one big naval orange. Do not, and I repeat, do not peel it. Just cut the orange up into several sections. Be sure you have washed the orange well. Place cranberries and orange into a food processor. Turn on processor and make sure the cranberries and orange are all chopped up together. Add sugar. Some like it sweeter than others. I add about a cup of sugar to the cranberry-orange mixture. Refrigerate and let it sit overnight. Done!!

Once you go natural, you'll never go back to canned!!!


Miss Etta

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

White Elephants

Miss Etta, a few days ago we were discussing gifts we did not want but had to keep. I knew there was a term for those unwanted gifts, but could not reach deep enough into my mind to pluck it out.

Today I came across it while reading. It is, as you see above, white elephant.

I have used and heard that term all of my life but I have never thought much about what it means or how it came to be. So today, in my not-so-spare time, I did a little research.

The term comes from Thailand by way of Britain. In Thailand the white, or albino, elephant is very rare. For many long centuries it was considered sacred and the elephants were claimed by members of the royal family. They were the only ones who could afford to keep an elephant like that on exhibition for everyone to admire.

When some poor soul incurred the wrath of a royal, they were sometimes punished by receiving the gift of the white elephant of the royal. They were required to keep it and feed it. They weren't allowed to use the elephant for work.

Over time, the British, seeing the practice, started using the phrase to mean an unwanted gift that you had to keep and couldn't give away.

Isn't that fascinating? I find words so very interesting. Almost any word you can say or write has a history worth looking into. Every day new words are being created and added to our vocabulary and older words are taking on new meaning. We use words in everyday language today that would have had our Mamas washing our mouths out with soap when we were younger. Some words we use would have had us in leg irons a few generations back.

Times roll on and change happens.

Have a restful night,
Miss Faye

Today I Wrap It All Up

Miss Faye,

I am so very tried as I have been trying to wrap it all for Christmas. Did you know it takes time to wrap all those gifts? Not to mention all the time I spent shopping! All the agonizing. All the decisions.

I, too, did a bunch of online shopping this season and am waiting for the last two boxes to arrive. The contents of those boxes will be big surprises for the recipients! Ho, Ho, Ho.

I did indeed notice the coupon from the Village Cafe, which is also a place I dearly love to eat. I've never had a bad meal there. I just love their salads, chicken dishes, and, of course, their Reuben sandwich. Thick and juicy-- just the way I like it. I, too, plan to head over there this week with my printed coupon and purchase some of the gift certificates. And I think I'll even keep a few for myself! If you get there today, let me know if there are any restrictions of which I may need to be aware.

As I've been wrapping, I've been wondering about Christmas and all those poor souls who are so caught up in the shopping and have just lost the meaning of it all. I almost long for those Christmases of old when it was a much simpler affair. It used to be we got a few gifts under the tree like street skates, new pjs, slippers, and a little fruit, candy and perfume in the stocking. Now adays, the children all expect so much. Are we a product of the children of the depression? Those who were children during that time in our country's history truly had little. They worked so hard to be able to live better and give more. And now, we do the same. Give, give, give. I think we should stop, have lunch and just reflect on our lives and our blessings.

You'll be proud to know I did vote yesterday. With all I had heard around town, I was not surprised at the winner. Matt is a home town boy. Remember the simple life here in Fayette County. Please don't make us like the big city.

I also heard from a friend of mine yesterday who spent the day at a mall up north. Her comments echoed my thoughts of a day or so ago when I said the stores weren't crowded. So, the less than full stores epidemic is continuing to spread. Guess we're all concerned with the immediate future.

As for me, I'll have a nice warm drink, and get Christmas all wrapped up. Maybe I'll even get the Mr. to take me to lunch at the Village Cafe. He's already asked me if I wanted to eat there on New Year's Eve.

Enjoy your day.

Miss Etta

Where are you today Miss Etta?

First, what a lovely idea to purchase Scrip from our local schools. That is SO unusual and it is doing something good for our children at the same time. You are always so innovative and have the cutest ideas.

I know you saw on the Fayette Front Page that there is a coupon for 25 percent off gift certificates at the Village Cafe. That is a bargain that makes me tingle all over. Everyone will think I spent so much more on them than I did!

The Village Cafe is one of my favorite places to eat. In my humble estimation they have some of the best food in Fayette County and the entire south side. I love their Salmon Maison. It's sweet and has just a small burst of tart that I just love. And the spinach they serve on the side. Yum. I don't care to eat potatoes as it's not flattering on my hips, so I always ask for them to substitute extra spinach instead of the potatoes.

The people over there are so gracious, too. I am going to print two or three of those coupons from the Fayette Front Page and head over there today.

Now I did not want to simply just talk about Christmas today. I wanted to congratulate our new Representative, Matt Ramsey. There were four people in that race and Matt won without a run off. It is rare to do that in an election like that one, although the number of people who decided to vote was rather minuscule. I suppose only those who were very dedicated and cared deeply about their government took time from their shopping to go vote.

We are getting ever so much closer to Christmas and that is what is occupying most people's minds these days! I did something this year that saved me a lot of time. I shopped on-line. I am waiting now for gifts to show up on my door step. I have to say that there is nothing like touching a gift and being able to examine it, but I saved a lot of money by buying on-line this year!

I hope you have the most wonderful day today,
Miss Faye

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

La de dah, I have done my duty

Miss Etta,

I just wanted to share with you, and with all of our many readers that I have done my civic duty this day.

I voted.

Yes, I know it will come as a surprise to some, but there is an election in Fayette County today.

Sadly State Representative Dan Lakly died suddenly last month. A special election is being held today to elect someone to step into his seat for the remainder of his term. Whoever wins the election today will then have to turn around in April and start running for election again!

My Daddy taught me that sharing who you vote for is not the proper thing to do. In this particular area I believe my Daddy was correct, thus I will not let our readers know my choice. Fights have broken out that lasted generations over lesser things than a choice in an election.

I hope that the turn out surprises everyone although I doubt it will. Voting is a right we should treasure. In today's world there is absolutely no excuse for not voting.

Yes, I know it sounds like I am scolding, and maybe I am just a bit touchy on this subject. Here in our county there are a higher percentage of people voting than in many other places, which shows that we are the cream of the crop in this area as we are in many others.

I hope that everyone reading this afternoon's journal entry has voted. If not, I hope you will fly to the polls and cast your vote before 7 p.m.

Another great Christmas Gift Idea

Oh Miss Faye,

I so agree with you about the gift closet. I just really hate getting all those useless items I don't want or need. Oh, and then trying to remember who gave me what tacky gift so I can get it out when they come to visit! Oh the horror if their gift isn't on display!! I've gotten so fed up with the idea when every year I try so hard to think about people's personalities and try so hard to find just the perfect item in my price range. This year is different.

What, with all the high gas prices and food costs so high. And, not to mention, the ever increasing tax burden that my modest home is giving me. To sum it up, I'm cutting back on all the extraneous gift giving.

I did come up with a great idea that some people on my list are getting. I've been purchasing Scrip from the local schools. Are you familiar with Scrip? It's a great program that painlessly earns money for our local schools. At the schools nearest me, I can just walk into the office and ask for purchase it. Scrip are gift cards to a goodly number of shops, restaurants, clothing stores, fast food and even some gas stations. A portion of each Scrip card sold goes directly back to the school.

So, my little pea brain decided to purchase several of these as Christmas gifts. I then purchased a calendar and strategically placed gift cards on several months of the calendar. For example, one lucky person will get a dinner in January followed by a movie in February. I'm even giving a magazine subscription on a calendar for a young girl's birthday. And then there's the person who gets bookstore cards on the summer months so they have something new to read on vacation.

There are ways to regain the spirit of giving. I still think the best Christmas gift is the one given to us in a manger so long ago.

Miss Etta

Shopping and Crowds

Hi Miss Faye,

I'm glad to hear you found a Hot Shot. I remember those and I remember having one when I was in college. Yep, they do work well.

Speaking of old stuff, and I don't mean me, I am in the market for a new egg cooker. I've been using mama's which was a Sunbeam brand and it's only about 50 years old. Well, the old dear just up and died on me the other day. It was like the passing of an era. How does one cook eggs? And don't you go and tell me to heat up a pan on the stove! That's just not what I do.

I have spent over two days of Christmas shopping searching high and low for a new egg cooker. Most stores just have a blank stare on the faces of their employees. I've been all over Fayette County and can't find one. I sure do hope Santa can come through for me. I'm just lost without it.

While I was out shopping, I noticed a most curious site. The crowds shopping, or rather the lack of them. None of the stores I have been in this week have been crowded. No more elbow hitting and shoving just to pick up the perfect slippers in the right size. No ma'mm. I can easily waltz through the stores at my leisurely pace and look at all of the sales. So many of the clothes are 50% off. I even found some nice jewelry for 75% off and pocket books for 70% off. And, this is the week before Christmas! What will happen if I wait just a few more days before I open my pocketbook to hand over the cash?

If you get the chance, head on over to the Fayette Pavilion. Looks like the merchants are eager to get your attention and money by having some decent sales. There's only one drawback to this. None of the stores I was in this week had enough employees at the checkout. Come on, can't the big box stores at the Fayette Pavilion have more than two checkout clerks? I spent more time in line looking at the empty cash registers than I did finding the perfect sale item.

I just bet if any store would staff properly, then they would reap the benefits of happy shoppers. I'm off today to brave the post office. We'll see how many clerks they have--- will they put the retail stores to shame?

Miss Etta

Keeping a goose-less house

Good morning Miss Etta and good morning world!

As I was walking on my treadmill this morning, watching Fox News, my mind started traveling to all the things I had to do. High on my list was to finish up my Christmas shopping.

I know it is anti-American and absolutely not something most belle's would admit to, but I surely do hate to shop. I swear I can do a mall in under 15 minutes and be ready to go home before ten are up.

I also do not like the idea that everyone expects to get some heavenly gift from yours truly every year at Christmas. I have decided that I will do my normal gift giving this year because I would hate to disappoint the youngsters, and I do love to give, but I am thinking of making a change this next year.

Instead of giving gifts on the expected holidays, I am going to surprise my friends and relatives all year long with little thoughtful gifts. I am going to put a little card on each telling them it's an early Christmas or birthday present. An installment if you would.

Christmas has become a time of expectation. We expect to get a gift and we're disappointed when we don't, or if it's not something we want. How many things do we have stuffed in our closets that we have to pull out when Aunt Sadie comes to visit?

I remember a friend years back who decided that I needed to collect geese. I have NO earthly idea why she got it into her pretty little southern head that my house needed to have ceramic geese and hot pads and even geese wall hangings. However, every time there was a gift giving occasion she gave the gift of geese.

Well, I am not a goose person at all. I think all animals belong outside, even the one that don't breath.

Needless to say, I had a special closet just for her gifts. When she came to visit, I would take these horrible things out so her feelings wouldn't be hurt. It's a southern thing. There just are certain things you do not do and not showing appropriate appreciation for someones dedicated shopping is one of them.

I was SO relieved when she moved to North Carolina. It didn't matter how many geese she shipped to me after that, I did not have to put them out.

We have since lost touch and I now keep a geese-less house. The geese went the way of a yard sale and I'm sure they are now gracing the home of someone who loves and appreciates them.

At Christmas, people give a lot of geese just so they'll have something to give. Proper shoppers and those who truly care work their credit cards to a frazzle trying to find just the perfect gifts, ones that won't end up in a closet.

We all punish ourselves by spending time shopping, and we seem to forget why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. I've heard the reasoning as to why to celebrate the birth of Jesus we give gifts to others. It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Somehow I just can't picture Him watching our frenzied shopping and connecting with how it has anything to do with His birth. Doesn't it seem to you Miss Etta that what He'd probably like to see is us giving all year long? I'm not talking about giving toys to our children, although that is truly a fun thing to do. I am talking about giving a gift of food to someone who doesn't have any, or anonymously sending a neighbor in need a money order, or "adopting" someone in a nursing home who isn't blessed with a family.

There are so many people doing so many good things, especially here in Fayette County. Why every day I read or hear about some good work someone has done. I wonder if somehow we could find a way to do good works throughout the year and tie it to Christmas giving? I will have to think on that for a while.

Miss Etta, I know that you are one who knows the real meaning of Christmas and it will be something you truly celebrate. I know, too, that these are some profound wanderings for early on a cold Tuesday morning.

I am going to ponder more on the things I've touched on in this journal. After I get back from shopping this afternoon.

Miss Faye

Monday, December 17, 2007

More Christmas Lights

Miss Etta, I know you don't regularly travel down Redwine Road, but I found another house you might want to see. It is not in the same league by any means as the Gaddy and Abernathy residences. But they have gone out of their way to cover their yard with Christmas doodads!

I haven't driven by the Melear home this year. In years past he decorated his house with all kinds of fun things. I believe if I remember correctly that all of his lights were red. He owns the barbecue place of the same name but doesn't seem to do much to decorate the outside of it. I suppose he saves all his creativity for his home.

Anyway, his house is off Hwy. 54 on the road directly across from Gingercake. I could be wrong, but I do not think it has the same name even though it is directly on the opposite side of the intersection. If you were coming from Peachtree City, you would turn right onto the road. If the lights are on, you wouldn't be able to miss it on the left.

It seems that this year more people are putting up Christmas lights and decorations. Do you agree? Maybe we just have a lot of new folks moving into the county who are trying to shine this year.

Miss Faye is heading to bed. I need my beauty rest.

Another Christmas gift for that hard-to-please person

We ALL have some difficult soul in our family who has everything there is to have. If they need something they buy it. Well, I found a little something that I think almost anyone anywhere would want to have.

It's under fifteen dollars, too. Can't beat that price!

It's one of those cute little gadgets that heats up water for coffee or tea. You just pour some water in the top, push the button and in a few short seconds you have boiling hot water.

My Mama had one and after trying it I just had to have one for myself.

I looked for it at Macys and at some of the mall stores but couldn't find one. Of course I found it at the local Walmart!

It's called a Hot Shot and it's made by Sunbeam. Now I know it's nothing to write home about, but it sure is cute and I have about slap worn mine out already. It is so much better than boiling water on the stove top or using a microwave!

You know me, Miss Etta, I love to share when things pop into my mind. I bet you'll find someone in your family who would like one!

I wonder if any of our readers have some good ideas for last minute Christmas gifts for those picky pesky relatives and friends who have it all?

Miss Faye

Dazzle, Sparkle, It's Christmas Lights

Oh Miss Faye,

One of my dear cousins who lives up where it's been snowing called last night. I asked him about barbeque and all the fixings. He told me they can get barbeque although it doesn't taste as good as the kind he can get when he comes home.

Apparently the national chains all claim to have pit cooked. Although, I just can't understand how they can just sit around a big hole in the ground with a freshly butchered hog on the fire at all those national places. I much prefer the local kind, where I can see and smell it cooking.

Anyway, the bad news is you can't find Brunswick Stew up north. He says they typically just find french fries and a salad. Now, just what is barbeque without a super Brunswick Stew and cole slaw? Well, before I get too carried away, let me tell you what I wanted to say today.

Have you been down Sandy Creek Road? It's the road between Fayetteville and Peachtree City just off of Hwy 54. If you haven't, you must make the effort.

Lordy, there are two families who truly have the spirit of Christmas. Why, their houses and yards are all lit up for the season. There's snowflakes, Santas, reindeer,elves and all. Of course, my favorite scenes are those where they remember the reason for the season and honor the birth of Christ. I think my absolute favorite display is the one where Santa is kneeling before the manger. It's just spectacular.

There is no charge to ride through, and we were even lucky enough to see Santa in person the other night.

So, Miss Faye, please take the time to ride through the light displays. Why, before we know it, we'll be hearing you belting out the verses to all those favorite Christmas songs.

Many thanks to both the Gaddy and Abernathy families for their gifts of lights to the county.

Miss Etta

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rice Krispies are THE Best!

I did not know that easy to make dessert was called White Trash! What a hoot. You know I bet that it surely isn't called that in the North.

I know, I know, I seem to be fixating on what some of our favorites are called in other parts of the world. But it just can't be helped, when my mind travels down a path it finds a rut and there I am over and over again.

My favorite of all favorite desserts along those lines is rice crispy treats. Marshmallows and rice crispies with a bit of butter all mixed together. We used to make that all the time when I was a child. Now of course you can buy them packaged at the store but it just isn't the same as our homemade variety.

It was rare that we had any to share after we all got together to mix up a batch. Stir and test, stir and sample.

I was looking around and found a recipe that is just perfect for Christmas. Here it is:

Rice Krispie Christmas Trees
Servings: 12

3 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 package (10 oz. about 40) regular marshmallows
- or -
4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups Ready-To-Eat Cereal Kellogg's® Rice Krispies®
- or -
6 cups Ready-To-Eat Cereal Kellogg's® Cocoa Krispies™
Prepared green frosting
Red cinnamon candies

1. Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add KELLOGG'S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Using buttered spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly in 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool slightly. Using 4-inch tree cookie cutter, cut into tree shapes. Decorate as desired with frosting and red cinnamon candies. Best if served the same day.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat margarine and marshmallows at HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 and 3 above.

Microwave cooking times may vary.

We used the kind of marshmallows that came in a jar sometime, too. Up north they call it "Fluff". I know because a dear friend of mine moved down here from the north and went looking for it but couldn't find it anywhere. I tried to tell her that we had something just as good if not better, but she was rather pig headed and would not listen. Now I see they are finally carrying her Fluff on the grocery store shelves. I haven't tried it. I will stick to my Duke's mayonaise and the jarred marshmallow I grew up with thank you.

Have a wonderfully crispy day,
Miss Faye

Christmas Parties and White Trash

Mornin' Miss Faye,

I'm glad you found some nice gifts for Christmas. Guess I'll have to stop in to that Art Place. Speaking of art, I got myself invited to one of those high faluting parties. The kind that has caterers, beautiful clothing and wonderful food and conversations. Well, I just couldn't believe my eyes. Somebody went and brought some White Trash with them! Can you believe it?

Now, now, stop fanning yourself so hard. Do you even know what White Trash is? It's delicious. It's a treat. It's a dessert.

Basically, it's white almond bark that has something like 3 cups of cheerios, 3 cups of your favorite chex cereal, m&m's, peanuts and pretzels. Why I think you could put most any cereal in it. I wonder how it would taste with a chocolate based cereal? My bet is pretty good. I reckon it got its name from some really poor rural area when some really creative woman had to make a party dish. No matter its origin. It's really good.

I think I'll go make some White Trash for my family. They'll just love it! You have a good day now, Miss Faye. I've got to get out and about. You know me, I only sit down when it's time for us to share our secret recipe.

Miss Etta

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Santa's coming!

It is just so difficult to find things for all of my many, many relatives. I do so hate to be less than unique with what I choose to give. I know there are others out there who are struggling trying to find the perfect gift so I'm gonna share a bit as I find my little treasures.

Today I visited the Fayette Art Center and Gallery. For you who are new to our lovely county, they used to be in Fayetteville but have recently moved down near the Publix in Peachtree City. They are in that cute little yellow house that used to have all kinds of unusual knick-knacks.

I was astonished at the bevy of choices! My very favorite is the certificates they have for classes. It is a wonderful gift for that young child who doesn't know what to do with their energies. Any budding Rembrandt would love to take a watercolor class or learn how to make a delightful piece of pottery. They had so many classes to choose from I couldn't decide so I just bought some blank certificates and I'll let my nieces and nephews decide for themselves.

I picked up just the cutest flag for my Mama. She is a regular church goer (Prebyterian if you must know) and she is just going to adore the beautiful angel flag I bought for her to hang outdoors.

Don't tell anyone, but I found something for ME, too! I'm going to wrap it and stick it under the Christmas tree so I'll be surprised Christmas morning.

You all will have to stop by and see all the art that is packed into that little house! Paintings, pottery, and even one of a kind jewelry. They have those funny face jugs, too.

Well, it's getting close to dinner time so I need to run along. If you have any fun places you've been, please do let me know. Miss Etta is always galavanting off to some really interesting place. I bet she'll be sharing more than just grits and barbecue with us all soon.

Barbeque- Places in Fayette Couny

Oh Miss Faye,

You just tickle me so. You've got me to thinking. How do we find out if those yankee people eat our kind of barbeque? Well, you may remember that one of kithin' cousins lives up there where it snows, so I'll post a letter and see what he says. You know, my daddy was a Yankee. He just couldn't resist the charms of my mama. I remember people describing her as a true Southern Belle. Now don't that beat all.

Oh, wait. Here I am just rambling on when you asked me a question. Just this week alone, I had lunch at Cafe Pig on Huddleston. Did you hear that Southern Living has written about them? Why, I guess that makes them famous in these parts. Last night, I ate at Shane's. And just last month, I braved the night air and ate at Smokey Bones. I like them all. But then my taste buds usually can't find bad pork. I sure wish you'd eat some pit cooked barbeque. Why, it's just as good as anything you could eat. Now, I like the mustard based sauces, which is the type of sauce my mama grew up with in the lowcountry. Does your delicate constitution let you have the sauce?

Wish I could stay longer, but I got to go fix some Georgia "ice cream" for my youngins. I just got some that were stone ground. You do eat that, don't you? I cook them with cream and butter for about half a hour. I also like to add cheese. Well, my mouth is watering so I'm off.

Miss Etta

Friday, December 14, 2007

Pig Pickin'

Well darlin' Miss Etta, you may have dined on barbecue, but yours truly kept her sweet bottom at home for the night.

Now, you have to tell all. Which barbecue place did you choose to dine at tonight?

I can rattle off any number of places to eat barbecue in Fayette County. Let's see, Speedy Pig, Melears, Cafe Pig and Smokey Bones come to mind quite quickly. Which one did you visit or did I overlook your choice?

I've discovered some people have some mighty strong opinions about their barbecue. Some like pork, some like beef. Some like the tart vinegar flavor and others like it sweet. Some like it shredded and some like it in chunks. I wonder if anyone has ever done a study about barbecue personalities?

Do northerners eat barbecue? Do you think they eat it in France? Does barbecue mean the same thing in California as it does in Georgia? These are deep questions that I am sure someone knows how to answer.

As you probably know, I'm not particularly partial to any kind of barbecue. However, do you remember that they used to call those big gatherings where they roasted the pig a "pig pickin'?"

Here's a topic for you: Brunswick stew.

Signing off for the night,
Miss Faye

Bar B Que-- The Slow Way, The Only Way

Miss Faye! Miss Faye! Are you there?

I've just got to tell you that I just got home from eating some bar-b-que at that local place in Peachtree City. It was good as always, and the smells of it brought back memories to me.

Do you remember when we were kids and Mr. Pete and our dads would sit up all night just to cook a hog in a pit? Why, those were the days. Mama would take out fresh tea and sandwiches. All the men would sit around, smoke and, I do think they would even have one of grandpa's special brews.

Anyways, I just love freshly cooked bar-b-que pork, especially if it's just been pulled. And Fayette County does have some really good places to eat it. Although I would prefer to sit around the pit and swap stories. But I've got you for that now, don't I?

Well, I gotta run on home. It's past dark and you know what that means.

See you later, Miss Faye.

Mint Julep Journal