All posts filed under: Southern Culture

Under Pressure – Crowder Pea Shellies & Dried Beans

 Another Test on the Cook’sEssentials 4.5 Qt Microwave Pressure Cooker I remember long, hot, late Autumn afternoons, when the lawns have had their last cut, the drying grass  filling the air with such a deep herbal sweetness. I remember visits to my grandparents, sitting on Evelyn’s screened porch, shelling beans and peas… which is an art. There’s a considerable difference between fresh beans and shellies. While a fresh bean can be wickered apart by snapping or with some quick thumb work with a pairing knife, shellies have to be… well, shelled. The long tough side strings have to be removed, a deft thumb employed to separate the casing, then re-positioning said thumb to push through the drying gauntlet; freeing the more than slightly matured beans as you go. For Evelyn and my great grandmother, it was second nature. They’d talk and gossip, all the while casings flying apart and shelled beans dropped efficiently into a pot in their lap. Me?… not so much. Either the strings wouldn’t release, or the casings cracked and broke, or I’d …

A “Dusting” of Snow… and some soup

We had been jonzing for some snow up here at Turtle Creek all winter. There’d be predictions and rumors; hints and allegations; threats and speculations; and then nothing. You would think that living in the great northern Georgia woods we’d see flakes on a fairly regular basis. But, where we’re located, the terrain and currents push the bulk of the wintry mix far to the west and north of us… when it happens at all. So, I didn’t put a whole lot of stock in this week’s prediction that we would enjoy a 1/4″ of blissful late afternoon precipitation, since the bulk of the storm was going to be far south of us. Even as the snow did begin to fall at 9 am, it was anemic. Small pinhead sized flakes that looked more like kosher salt than snow. Jane and I glanced out the windows occasionally enjoying the mist-like snowfall, and in our minds thinking that’s nice… but it wont last long. By two o’clock, we had just over 2″ of the tiny flakes on …

The Sandwich Diaries – The Southern Vegetable Sandwich

It’s true, if you can slap it between two slices of white bread… Southerners will call it a sandwich. I’ve eaten my fill of table scrap sammies, chicken leg (with the conspicuous protruding bone) sandwiches. Meatloaf, banana, potato chip, all play in the mayo-white bread pool. My dad used to tell of splitting a biscuit and wedging in a big slice of onion before wrapping the parcel up for a long day of working in the field as a kid. He looked absolutely euphoric when he told that story. He may have been only remembering a childhood long past – but I think he was remembering the sandwich. But, to make a really good Southern sandwich, you just have to ask yourself one question… What kind of vegetables do I have lying around? To begin with, you need some really – and I mean really good, soft and squitchy white bread. Colonial was the best – but that doesn’t exist anymore. That means I needed to make my own. Everyone already knows I’m a royal horror making bread, so …

The Sandwich Diaries – Pi(π)mento Cheese

For most of my adult life, I’ve called a major city home. I thrived on the crammed, multi-laned arteries winding into the city center, thrilled at the packed sidewalks and stores, immersed myself in the fighting throngs at the malls during the holidays… Thankfully, this is where I now call home. 2 and a half years ago I moved into the North Georgia mountains to Dahlonega, Georgia – and never looked back. At first, I was seriously afraid that I wouldn’t be able to adjust to the relaxed pace and the complete lack of traffic. In the beginning, that was entirely true. There just isn’t a lot happening  in a day-to-day kind of way. North Town Square But Dahlonega – and the North Georgia Mountains – are anything but backwoods. Dahlonega is a tourist town. There are local artists, antique stores, 15 restaurants within walking distance of the old court house (which houses the Gold Museum…) Yes, you read right… Gold. Dahlonega and the neighboring Auraria were the sites of the first major gold rush …

Fine as Frog Hair

There are a couple of inherent truths when it comes to the South. 1.   If I can make my livestock do something funny, I’ll show it to you. If I can make you pay to see it, even better Actually, at Goats on the Roof in Tiger, Georgia – it’s free to look at the goats living and traversing the network of ladders and bridges  overhead between the buildings. There are, however, several nifty country store shops and a deli in which to free you of your cash. And, I can’t tell you the number of instrument playing chickens and ducks I’ve seen at the various county fairs and festivals across the mountains. 2.  If it fits between 2 slices of bread, it’s a sandwich.   We all know of  ‘mater sammiches and that girth inducing delicacy of bananas and peanut butter championed by “The King”, but I have been privvy of a whole host of side dishes and condiments slapped between 2 slices of white bread and slathered with mayo. I eaten many a pineapple sandwich, green …