Post #480 Barbeque for Cats

June 10, 2016 at 8:41 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #480 Barbeque for Cats

At work today, a couple of my colleagues were chuckling over an incident.  In a sharing mood, the one guy said, “Joe, you have to get her to tell you what happened!”  He was nearly doubled over with laughter.

I turned to her with my eyebrows raised.

“I was coming back from break,” she started and the other guy had to leave he was laughing so hard.

We both watched him go, then she continued, “There was a customer and he asked me where was our barbeque for cats.”

I shook my head, startled.  “What?  We don’t have anything like that.”  I quickly reviewed in my head all the various forms of cat food we had.

“I asked him what he said.  He kept saying barbeque for cats.”

I stared at her, watching the facial tics she was having trying to keep her mirth under control.

And suddenly, I was transported back a hundred years or so to the mid-80s.  My younger brother and I were working for the same company, although in different areas.  I was the computer geek, hired to get the company automated, while he was one of their yard managers, hired to keep the welding projects and supplies in order.  We had the same supervisor, a gentleman we both had known almost from the first year we’d moved to that town.

One day, around noon, I got a call from my brother.

“Hey, I’ve got to hurry home.  Someone told me my house is on fire!”

I was startled, but said, “Go for it.  I’ll find another ride home.”

I continued to work for a few moments, then realized.  HIS HOUSE WAS ON FIRE!!

I called our supervisor.  “Hey, my brother’s house is on fire and he’s racing home.  Can you take me out there?”

There was a moment of silence, then “Meet me at the truck.”

Our supervisor was a very earthy man.  He’d been married and divorced several times and liked to joke that he must be doing something right because all his ex-wives kept his last name.  His current wife was a cat lady.  She not only had several cats of her own, but fed every stray in the area.  Since they lived in the orange groves, stray cats were abundant.  He was constantly complaining about the number of cats and kittens that were underfoot.

We’d joked about creative solutions in reducing the population from bait to house warming gifts.  So on the drive out to my brother’s house, we joked about it.

“Hey, should we stop at my house,” he asked.  “We could get a couple of dozen cats and throw them in.”

“What would you call that?” I replied.

“I don’t know.  Just don’t tell my wife.”

“Kitten on a biscuit?”

He nearly drove off the road laughing so hard.  “Smoked kitty?” he responded.

“Charbroiled cat?” was my response.

It got worse, but it was a way to deal with what we were driving to.  My brother’s house was completely destroyed.  But there was silver lining and he was able to rebuild and all was well in the long run.

And I stood in the store hearing “barbeque for cats” and thinking “kitten on a biscuit.”

We live in a very rural area, which was only connected to the mainland at recently as the 1970s.  Barbeque for cats could be something as real as possum stew or catfish gravy.  Remind me to tell you about scrapple some day.

I couldn’t tell if I should be amused or bewildered.  I was put out of my misery.

“He meant barbeque brisket.”

“What?!”  I couldn’t help it; I broke out laughing.

“How in heck did you get brisket out of that?”

She laughed with me.  “I don’t know!  I kept wondering if he wanted a cat that was barbequed, or barbequed something for his cat.  But he kept pointing at the meat case.  Somehow, I figured it out.”

We both laughed good and hard over that.  Somehow barbequed brisket morphed into barbeque for cats, and I remembered the big fire, and the day went all out of whack from there.

I love living in a small town.  I really do.

Enjoy

Post #479 Happy Number Four and Cilantro Cocina de Mexico

June 6, 2016 at 7:16 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #479 Happy Number Four and Cilantro Cocina de Mexico

Well, my little blog just finished its fourth year.  It was a year of bumps, and hurdles, and ups and downs.  I spent more time apologizing for not posting than actually posting.  Or that’s what it felt like.  But there were some milestones along the way.

I got a job and started working at a large grocery store this past year.  I discovered that I love this work.  I interact with the customers extensively and get opportunities to share recipes, and thoughts on food and ingredients.  Just this past weekend, I helped a lady find some gruyere cheese and recommended another type, manchedo, which she bought based on that recommendation.  I’ve had some good times and bad times as anyone would in the work environment, but overall it’s been a pleasure and loads of fun.  A coworker was saying just a day or two ago that it’s hard to believe I’ve been there only seven months.

I finally put together the book based on the blog and self-published it on Kindle Direct Publishing.  It’s now available as an e-book on Amazon for the low price of $1.99!  The book is titled after the blog so if you’re interested in seeing it, just look for Heritage of Humor on Amazon.  It’s a collection of blog posts/stories with the recipes belonging to each at the end of the chapter.  Each chapter and each recipe is hyperlinked within the book so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.  I’m working on a print version even as I type this and hope to have it ready and available within a month or so.  Fingers crossed.

We lost one of our much-loved rescue dogs this year.  Dusty went fast at the end, but was pampered and spoiled while he was with us.  We stayed with him right to the end.  He’d had a rough few years at the beginning of his life, but lived doggy heaven during the last half.

We adjusted even more to life on the peninsula and weathered not only hurricanes, but blizzards and nor’easters.  We came out unscathed and loving our quirky little town even more.

Those are just a few of the events in the past year.  But what plans for the upcoming?  I hope to publish at least twice more this year.  I have plots and outlines for over a dozen novels and by the time those are done, I’ll have more ready to go.  I will have the print version of my current book ready soon for purchase.  I’ll keep plugging away at the blog, writing about the things that interest me.  We have an election coming up so I’ll probably delve into politics a tiny bit.  I’ll talk about food trends, and fads, and the successes we’ve had at the table.  I’ll revisit old posts and bring them up to date, and I hope to hear from my readers more in the upcoming year.

Thank You for a great four years!

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So, Partner/Spouse and I had some time off together recently.  It caught us both by surprise.  I seldom get two days in a row off, and he almost never has time off during the week.  So we decided to do something special and take a drive to the beach and have lunch.  Our favorite beach is about an hour and twenty minutes away, but it’s after Memorial Day now, so the beach season has started.  Tourists have kept up the daily trek along the main roads on the peninsula from the mainland to the beaches.  So we figured that even midweek, the drive would be crowded.

It wasn’t.  At least, not till we got to the beach.  But even though we arrived about 11:30, there was still plenty of parking along the main strip and we got our choice parking spot right in front of the stores we like to visit when we go there.  So we went to a couple of bookstores, and window shopped along the main road.  We talked about lunch and where to go.

Now that was a serious discussion.  Neither of us was in the mood for fast food or finger food; you know, the kind you eat as you walk along the board walk.  We wanted a sit down place, but something a little more upscale than the fish-n-chips we’d had last time (bangers and chips for him.)  We were looking at various options as we strolled and a new restaurant caught our eye from across the street.  It was called Cilantro Cocina de Mexico.  We were intrigued by the name since it’s one of our favorite ingredients.  We kept walking for a few minutes, then simultaneously turned to each other.

“Let’s go to Cilantro.”

It’s a good sized building with plenty of seating.  Even though it was lunch time, there were plenty of tables available, so I guess mid-week makes a difference at the beach.  The menu bills itself as “Grandma Matilda’s Homemade Recipes.”

Everything was standard Mexican fare, but with a twist.  My standard order at a new Mexican restaurant is either quesadilla or tacos.  It’s hard to mess them up.  I was daring here.  They had a dish called Pollo en Salsa Cilantro, chicken in cilantro sauce.  Had to have it because, well, you know, cilantro!

I got diced chicken cooked in a tomatillo salsa with fresh cilantro tossed in at the last moment.  And I got a great big bowl of it.  I’d asked for a couple of flour tortillas, and they gave me a whole plate full of toasty tortillas.  So good.

The chicken was tender and tasty.  The salsa was tangy with citrus; earthy with cilantro; and spicy from poblanos.  It wasn’t too hot from the chilis, and it wasn’t too tangy from the tomatillos.  It was utterly delicious.  Many times, when I have a large bowl of something to eat, my taste buds grow tired of the flavor pretty quickly, and I grow bored with the meal.  I may finish or not, depending on how hungry I am or my mood.  This bowl of chicken stayed hot, tasty, and satisfying to the very end.  Only once in a while did I have to take a drink of my water to clear my tongue when a particularly tangy bit of salsa hit my mouth.

Partner/Spouse ordered tacos and raved about them, but we both preferred my chicken.  We’re going to try to duplicate the dish sometime soon.  If we’re successful, I’ll let you all know.

UPDATE:  We did duplicate it and it was good.  I’ll post the recipe soon.

Enjoy

Post #478 Filling a Pie

June 1, 2016 at 8:45 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #478 Filling a Pie

Eight hundred years ago, when I was a teen ager, my mom used to get mightily frustrated with me because my eating habits were changing so rapidly and dramatically.  She gritted her teeth and bore it stoically, since my brother was going through the same process.  She lamented later that it became impossible to keep dill pickles, beef jerky, peanut butter, and cookies of any kind in the house for any length of time.  And pie filling.  Mom loved pie and she would buy cans of pie filling to stock up.  Mostly, she’d get frozen pie crusts because they were easier, but once in a while she’d “roll her own.”

I must have been around sixteen and one afternoon I was looking for a snack.  As I rooted around the pantry looking for something interesting, I spied a can of cherry pie filling.  Hmmm, I like cherries, and this did look interesting.  I opened that can up, spooned some into my mouth, and entered a summer of eating pie filling right out of the can.

I went through cherry, blueberry, apple, lemon, whatever was handy.  It was sweet, filling, and kinda sorta good for you.  I mean, it was fruit, right?

Mom went to make a pie one day and said, “I thought I had some cherry pie filling in here.”

“Oh, I ate that one day.” I said.

“What, the whole can, just like that?”  Her eyebrows reached for the ceiling.

I nodded. “I was hungry.”

She turned back to the pantry and looked around, taking stock.  “Why didn’t you eat the mincemeat?”

I shrugged.  “I don’t really like mincemeat.”

“Well, that’s too bad because that’s the pie I’m making.  It’s all you left me with.”

I didn’t eat any pie that night.  I really don’t care for mincemeat pie.

Back in that time, opening a can of any kind presented a challenge all its own, struggling with the hand operated can opening.  Electric ones either hadn’t been invented yet, or we just didn’t have one.  I always had to be very careful not to slice a finger off on the razor sharp edges.  And getting a spoon all the way to the bottom to scrape up every bit of the filling could be a treacherous endeavor.  I never thought to put it into a bowl or anything.  Just right out of the can.

I still do this once in a while.  Not long ago, when I “discovered” the tool to cut out pie dough to make hand pies, I bought a can of cherry pie filling to experiment with.  Once the can was open, memories tugged at me and a grabbed a spoon and ate a mouthful of pie filling right from the can.  Eventually, I finished the can and had to go buy another.

A few months ago, I was wandering through the store and noticed a can of cherry cheesecake filling.  I’ve loved cheesecake ever since a friend gave me some back in high school.  Tangy and sweet, I’ll eat in nearly every way it comes except coffee/mocha flavor.  I don’t like the whipped version as much, but I’ll eat it.  I prefer the dense, New York style.  Topped or not, I’ll throw my face right into a whole pie.

So I saw a can and thought “What a great idea!”  It’s like eating a pie without the fuss of a crust.  I’m not normally an indulgent person.  I held off buying a can for about a couple of weeks.

Imagine my “disappointment” when I opened that sucker and found nothing but cherry pie filling in it.  Well, disappointment because there was no cheesecake filling, but totally okay with eating just the cherry pie filling.  It counts as my portion of fruit for the day, right?  I looked at the can when I was done, and finally noticed that it said “Great for topping cheesecake!”  I’d looked at the picture, not the words, and assumed the best.

I set the fiasco to the back of my mind over the course of the next few weeks.  I wasn’t terribly bothered by it, after all.  In the course of my normal work shift, I’m all over the store, putting things away, helping customers find things, pulling recalled items, checking prices, etc.  I’ve always known that stores had pre-made pie crusts made from either dough or crumb, chocolate or graham cracker.  We also have mini-pie crusts of graham cracker.  I stopped and looked at that for a moment, a germ of an idea growing him my brain.

A few days later, I found the other piece of the puzzle.  We sell a name brand product from a famous cream cheese maker – prepared cheesecake filling!  My first thought was to just eat it by the spoonfuls until I was done.  But then that idea germ exploded.

I could put the cheesecake filling in the graham cracker crust and top it with the cherry pie filling and I’d never have to bake a cheesecake again!  Not that I’d ever made that many to start with.  Usually, I just buy them by the piece because I can’t eat a whole pie by myself and cheesecake is not universally desired in my household.  But filling a whole pie crust still presented the same problem until I remembered the individual graham cracker crusts and the freezer.

So here’s the result:

UPDATE:  I forgot to get the stuff last night when leaving the store, so I have no mini cherry cheesecakes and no pics.  But I trust they’re going to be delicious!  And freezable.

Enjoy

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