Monday, August 15, 2011

Food in Kentucky!

Of's one of my favorite subjects!
There is lots of "South" in the food here and heavy into barbeque.  I understand Memphis BBQ is good and so is Nashville.  There are very different styles to BBQ.  The prevalent style here locally is to baste a piece of meat with a marinade and cook it and continue to baste it.  Not what you think BBQ sauce is at all.  Very tasty.  I was walking around an event, clutching a sandwich of some cut of pork in between two pieces of what I am supposing was Wonder Bread. Because the bread was dissolving into the surface of the pork (it's mostly air, anyhow).  The bread was apparently not to make a sandwich but rather a grasping surface so you could eat the meat.  At least I think that is how it was supposed to work.  :)  Everyone who passed by said "where did you get that sandwich?" and "is it good?".  I waved in the general direction of the vendor, as they usually got me with my mouth full.
Greens.  Well, I don't like 'em.  I suppose this comes from a fear and hatred in early childhood of spinach.  I can do a spinach salad if it has other stuff in it, a lot of other stuff, and a great dressing.  But then I could just have a salad without spinach and still have a great salad and be even happier with it.  I'm not a leafy green vegetable girl. Down here they have poke, which is cooked with other greens and will assume the taste of that green.  Mustard greens, turnip greens (which do not grow on top of a turnip, much to my surprise, they are an actual kind of leafy thing) and of course, collards.  I know I am probably missing some.  But....this bores me.  Let's dance!  :)
I have never tried fried green tomatoes but they do have them down here.  Maybe I will ask for "one" with dinner some day.  I don't like how green tomatoes smell so can't imagine that I will like this at all.  On the other hand, breading and deep frying can cover a multitude of sins that a food substance can have, so maybe it's wonderful. We'll see.
Corn bread and biscuits, just love them!  You can get biscuits with nearly every meal you have down here if you want them.  One of the local Mexican restaurants serves cornbread with corn in it which is neat.  And all of the biscuits I've had down here have been at least pretty good and most have been excellent.
Biscuits can be served with sausage gravy, which I have seen all over the USA now.  Very good.  And there is country ham, too, which is a super salty type of ham.  It takes a while to get the hang of eating it.  Like about 4 cokes along with it.  And you will pee all day from it.  I never had this as a kid, Momma always made fresh hams and I never tasted smoked ham until I was in my teens.  I remember how wonderful it was, Momma's were good but what an amazing ham it was when it was smoked!
I have seen chitlin's for sale in the grocery store, along with pig's feet and pork neck bones (which I give to the dogs to chew on).  I've never tried one because Momma told me what they were.  Nuh uh.  Not even if I were starving.  I put them in the class with Rocky Mountain Oysters.  Nuh uh, thank you for asking, though.
Okra is also in the Nuh Uh class.  It's....slimy.  There is just no other word for it.  And green.  And no wonder people try to hide it in gumbo.  I'll bet someone's mom came up with that one. But don't be fooled, it's in there.  They also fry okra, under the mistaken idea that it can be made virtuous by rolling it in breadcrumbs and frying the heck out of it and fooling small children. Small children (and me) are smarter than that.
Would you just look at those slimy little things?
Grits can be heavenly or can be poorly made.  Poorly made is usually done by a clueless Yankee.  They put milk and sugar on it.  Or some other godawful combination.  Grits were made to go with eggs, bacon, cheese, butter and sometimes jalepenos.  I love grits!
So a couple of weeks ago, I was driving down the road and there was a sign that had these for sale:
These are boiled peanuts. They are salty and come out soft.  They are wet and stay wet as you keep them in the fridge so they don't dry out or spoil.  Yuuuummmmm!  However, those who have never had them, you will either love them or hate them. There is no middle ground at all.  The sign was outside a gas station and they were made by a Pakistani man.  He also had Cajun ones.  I will try "one" next time, just to see.  I have to get back down and get another batch of these.  Several people at work tried them, having never tried them before and liked them but all commented "they taste like a pinto bean".  Now pinto beans are a big thing down here, too, you make them with bacon/bacon fat and maybe a little tomato and they are great with cornbread.
Moon PIes, well what can I say?  Long a staple of the rural south and even deep fried at some fairs.  You pronounce the pie part "paihhhhh" long and soft.
Black eyed peas,just define the South.  About my favorite vegetable of all time if made correctly. I like them with onion, bacon and with or without jalapenos.  I used to drain them and put them on bread and make a sandwich when I was a kid.  Perfect. Wonder Bread and black eyed peas.
Now for the drinks. First, all carbonated drinks are called CoCola.  If you go to the store and ask what your spouse wants to drink and he says CoCola, then you respond "what kind" and he can say "Dr. Pepper" or "Pepsi"  You can also get real CoCola in the little tiny bottles I remember getting out of the CoCola machine when I was a kid. For a nickel.
We have some other drinks down here, too.  One is Yahoo chocolate drink.  Kind of a chocolate milk that comes in a bottle but it's not carbonated.  I still like it, very sweet but very chocolately, too.  Yummy.  Cheerwine is something I have not had the opportunity to explore.  But I will.
Locally, there are about three counties that CoCola produces a drink called Ski.  Now this is GOOD!  Kind of lemon and orange, carbonated,  and very refreshing.  I found out why when I read how much caffeine was in it!  But it only seems to sell here and I haven't seen it anywhere else.
Then, of course, there is moonshine.  I actually had about a pint of this clear, barbaric drink in the refrigerator for the last year.  I got it from a neighbor because I really wanted to taste it. Really, really wanted to. But I couldn't bring myself to do that.  One of my friends upended it and drank it right out of the Mason jar it was in. Seriously, you have to drink it in a Mason jar. Her comment was that you could thin paint with it.  However, later she tried something called apple pie moonshine and pronounced it excellent.
So dinner at my house tonight!  BBQ with a strange, thin but very good marinade, cornbread or biscuits, your choice of CoColas, pinto beans and maybe some Moon Paihhhhhs for dessert!

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