HEALTH & WELLNESS · Southernisms

Why Buy Ugly?

Reblogged from The Thrifty Gourmand.  Anthony Wyatt post combating society’s fear of ugly food.

Loved the post.  But WHOA Mr. Wyatt. Slow your roll!  I see certain benefits to my grocery shopping experience because of this foodie fear.

  • No more jostling elderly retirees at the bargain bin of  misshaped, undersized, overripe produce.
  • No longer waiting until closing time at the farmer’s market to purchase discounted baskets of bruised peaches that the farmer dude couldn’t “give away because they looked so bad.”
  • More smooshed bread, dented cans, crushed boxes and fresh meats missing their unnatural “pink” glow.

All priced to move because society’s phobia of ugly food.   Works for me and my budget.

Enjoy the read!

The Thrifty Gourmand

According to National Geographic, about one-third of all global food production goes to waste. Even more staggering, nearly two-thirds of that waste is caused neither by drought, poor refrigeration nor insects, but rather results from the way the food looks. That means that “an estimated six billion pounds of fruits and vegetables are wasted every year in the U.S. because they are ugly” (Huffington Post).

While many restaurants repurpose so-called ugly food in order to cut cost and minimize waste in the kitchen and while certain grocery stores and organizations have programs to sell and promote ugly food, the solution to the problem lies primarily with the consumer (Think Progress).

According to the produce manager at my local Whole Foods Market, team members can’t display ugly items, a common practice among nearly all grocery stores. Any fruit or vegetable with a bruise, a scratch or…

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HEALTH & WELLNESS · Southernisms

American Grocery List

Reblogged from Thanks Elan Mudrow for a fun, satirical list that many of us have had a part in!

For a “Senior Moment” Stop at #6. Pay for groceries. Drive gas-guzzling SUV back home, ignoring that nagging feeling that you forgot something. Once home, remember #7. Drive back to store. Complete rest of steps. Return home too exhausted to publish original content on personal blog. Reblog someone else’s creative post. Whew! Thanks again Elan!


Elan Mudrow


  1. Broccoli
  2. Carrots
  3. Romaine Lettuce
  4. Avocado
  5. Spinach
  6. Mary’s Virgin Olive Oil
  7. Dave’s Corporate Fiber Bread
  8. Weightwatchers scammy little peanut chipotle BBQ tempeh tenders
  9. Red Wine, preferably under ten dollars
  10. Soy curly fries
  11. Buy a salad, premade, in a plastic bag
  12. Put back the broccoli, carrots, lettuce, and spinach
  13. Buy Wishbone Blue Cheese Ranchy-like chunky salad dressing
  14. Buy Tony’s Frozen Pizza with cheese inside the crust, topped with exotic free-range animal meat
  15. Put back the Weightwatchers in the “Unhealthy” frozen section that for some strange reason needs to be separate from the “healthy” frozen section. The only determining factor is price.
  16. Buy Jo Jos- topped with chemically treated fake jalapeño gooey sauce
  17. Put back Mary’s virgin olive oil and the soy curly fries
  18. Buy a case of Budweiser or equivalent that’s on sale
  19. Put back red wine or not, THEN pause, making it look like you are deliberating on the issue of…

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Daily Prompt: Paint

via Daily Prompt: Paint

Despite years of providing art education and related services today’s prompt does not call to my mind the studio classroom.  Its air filled with pungent smell of turpentine and workspaces littered with battered tubes of pigment.

No, the Daily Prompt: Paint puts me squarely in my kitchen canning pears.  The connection?  My southern drawl.  Despite my academic background my accent remains thick as molasses in the winter.  And just as sweet, Honey!  So proper enunciation sometimes eludes me.

As noted in a previous post, I’d been fretting about our fire-blighted pear tree.  I was certain that the weaken tree would no longer produce any edible fruit.  But to my surprise it yielded fruit – an abundance of small, but tasty pears.   A few weeks ago I processed our first harvest.  Proudly ladling the pears into pint jars, I announced to my husband the completion of the batch.

“Really?  How much have you canned?”  He was pleased too.

FI Nils Thingvall Thingvall

“Today I put up 4 paints.”  I was triumphant!


“I put up 4 paints.”  I repeated.

“Mmm.”  Billy paused then asked: “Are you referring to canning pears or what you do to make art?  Its pronounced pint not paint.  You put up 4 pints of pears.”

“I know!  I know!  4 paints of pears.   That’s what I said –  I put up 4 paaaints of pears.”  I retorted making sure I placed special emphasis on the word in question.  And sulked back to the kitchen.

Billy smiled.  Later he told me he thinks its cute the way I mispronounce the word pint.  “Don’t change a thing.  I love you just the way you are.” 

Aww!  Wonderful man.  I think I’ll make his favorite breakfast tomorrow – biscuits smothered in gravy and a juicy link of saawshag.




HEALTH & WELLNESS · Southernisms

Chicken Know How

In the South, there are 2 foregone conclusions when dining with friends (1) fried chicken will be on the menu and (2) if there is no menu, fried chicken will be on the menu.

Folks in my hometown eat fried chicken as if its consumption is a birthright.  So when a man can not get his chicken dinner at the local Food Lion, something is terribly wrong.  It was the height of the Great Recession.  I’d stopped in the store to pick up a few items for dinner.  It was to be a quick stop but the man ahead of me at the counter was having a problem.

“Excuse me ma’am. You just rung up the wrong price.”  He protested loudly to the cashier.  The customer had the look of an exhausted laborer.  The days toil had taken a toll on him and he leaned wearily on the buggy.

“No sir.  That’s the correct price.” She replied not so patiently.  It evidently had been a long day for her too.

“Well that’s not what your sign says back there.”  He pointed toward the poultry section, justifiably annoyed at the discrepancy.

A manager was called over to intervene.  It was explained that the cost for the fried chicken was higher than the raw whole fryer.  In addition Georgia sales tax is higher on prepared foods.  Looking to save money?  Buy unprocessed items.

“I can’t pay that price for this chicken and have enough gas money for my truck.  How I’m gonna get home?  If I have to, I’ll just leave your chicken here.  Right here on your counter!”

Then out of desperation the customer tried to strike a deal with the manager.  Afterall it was the grocer’s fault not having clear signage.  The manager respectfully disagreed.

The chicken was left on the counter.

I often wondered why didn’t my fellow customer simply buy the uncooked chicken for the lesser price.  Perhaps he didn’t know how to cut up a whole Fryer. Tackling a chicken can be intimidating.  My husband taught me how and I still rather roast the bird whole!   Nevertheless its good to know how to prepare a bird.

So don’t be that guy!  Here’s how its done:

Thanks to Bradley Thibodeau for posting on YouTube

Chicken Image Credit: Takemoto
FAMILY LORE · Southernisms

Counting Bananas

Four stray bananas tumbled out of the grocery bag onto the kitchen counter, “You know Shuggy, you can buy bananas in bunches.  You can even buy more than 4 at a time.”  My banana buying habit was an enigma to my husband.

“Oh I know.  That’s just the way I buy them.  Besides I used to buy 2 per week when I was single.  So I logically I buy 4 now.”  I smiled triumphantly at my rational explanation. But deep inside I knew my counting bananas was far from logic.  I’d learned about the importance of counting bananas from Brother decades earlier.

As the youngest child of a single, working mother,  I was given over to the care of my siblings.   Two active sisters – a protective 11 year, a curious 8 year old and her twin  brother.

Brother intrigued me as a child.  He was so unlike my sisters who were popular, outgoing.  Brother was quiet and shrouded in mystery.   Why was his room off limits?  Who were his friends?  Where did he go after school?  Sometimes I would ask about his mysterious travels.

“Just taking care of business.” He would say in a quiet, low voice as if almost revealing a great secret.  Today I question how much “business” could a 13 year old boy have.   But to a 5 year-old this was brilliant!   Brother didn’t talk much, but when he did I believed every outlandish word.

One day Brother watched me devouring bananas.  I had gleefully snagged another one from the bunch.  Momma didn’t put limits on healthy snacks.   And bananas, unlike the more troublesome oranges or grapefruits,  was a food my little fingers could undress with ease.  As I cheerfully ate my second banana, Brother bent down and whispered another secret in my ear.

 “You know, if you eat more than 3 bananas in one day you’ll turn into a monkey.”

213H McGuire

I was horrified!   Yet grateful.  My Brother had saved me from the trauma of a drastic species change.  My eyes widened as I imagined myself munching that fatal 4th banana and POOF!  “Momma would be so mad to have a monkey  baby.” My young mind carefully considered the consequences.

Unconsciously Brother’s simian warning stuck with me well into adulthood.  I avoided buying bunches of bananas least a miscalculated bite ended in disaster.

I’ve since shared this childhood memory with my husband.  Billy’s repeated reminders of banana availability has helped me make some progress.

Now I buy bunches of bananas.  Sometimes up to 6 at a time.  I’m so proud of myself!  Then Billy snickers: “Mmmm … 3 for me and 3 for you.  That should keep us both safe.”  

Bananas image credit: McGuire









HEALTH & WELLNESS · Southernisms

Before Grocery Stores…

This post was originally posted by Rachel Falco on her blog How to Provide for Your Family.  I do not like referring to myself as a “homesteader.” Admittedly I have a garden.  I preserve the harvest.  I bake my own bread and make many other things from scratch.  I use medicinal herbs to make muscle rubs and tinctures.  I am a homemaker who employees traditional skills to supplement the family’s income.  Yet I started on this road to have some “freedom from price increases, poor quality and excessive antibiotics.”  Its challenging but I am enjoying the journey!

How to Provide

Victory Garden Victory Garden

“The first supermarket appeared on the American landscape in 1946.  Until then, where was all the food?… It was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests.  It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” – Joel Salatin

Like many Americans, you have come to homesteading to be able to provide for your family, friends and community in the way that you see fit.  The last time so many Americans felt the way you feel now was during World War II.  During the Second World War, many of us had a victory garden and raised poultry because foods were either being rationed or were not available.  The systems which are now the backbone of the United States’ economy seem to be growing quite weary and failing in some respects.  So much instability creates a great unease.  Homesteading, on the other hand, creates security for you, your family, friends…

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Dough Nuts

There I sat at the kitchen table sobbing into my flour covered apron.   Its not a pretty picture when a middle-aged woman pitches a fit in her own kitchen.  Why the meltdown?  I wanted to make my own loaf bread.

I had became incensed at the high price of bread.

The hearty artisan breads were nearly $3.00.  I craved their satisfying wholesomeness. But they were beyond my budget.  Instead what I purchased was the bottom tier of the store brand – wheat bread at $0.99.  No taste, no texture, diminished nutritional value.  I’m not even sure why the bread was brown.  It certainly was not whole wheat.  Difficult digestive issues supported my suspicions.  Use your imagination here.

I was miffed.  Why did the most basic of human foods cost so much?  Why so exclusive?  For centuries grains have been grinded, mixed and kneaded into nourishing bread.  How hard can it be?   I decided to give it a try.  I called on my friend Dee, a traditional homemaker, to became my bread making mentor.

“Denise its really nothing to it.  You just have to feel your way through the process.  The more you do it the more easier it will get.”

Dee described to me a rather straightforward process.  Good.  I like simple.   I found a great recipe for whole wheat bread, got all my ingredients together and I was good to go.

AWE SHUCKS! The recipe called for 6 cups of whole wheat flour.  That’s a normal amount.  But what’s not normal is to keep adding a heavy, coarse flour even when the soft dough turns into the texture of sandpaper.  The recipe said to knead the dough for about 11 minutes.  So I did, often adding water to the keep the sandpaper stuck together.  The results: 2 yummy smelling loaves of BRICKS.  I pouted a little bit.  No biggy. This was my first try.  I called Dee for more advice.

“Sounds like you kneaded it too long.  And your flour may have been too heavy.  Different brands of flour will give you different results.”    What?!  Flour brands differ? But the recipe….

“Denise you’ve got to feel your way through the bread making process. Just pay attention to what the dough is doing.”   I can’t wing this!  I’m recipe dependent.   I should be in a 12 step program sponsored by the Food Network.

Forget it.  I bought a loaf of bread from the grocery store.

Two weeks later, Dee’s words were still echoing in my head: Feel the dough.  Let the dough guide what you do….” I tried a second batch.

WHAAAT?!!   My nicely risen bread turned into a heavy lump in the oven.  My eyes filled with tears.

I calmed myself – “Keep it together Denise.  Its only bread.  You can do this.  Women do this everyday around the world.  C’mon now.  Put on your big girl panties and call Dee!”  I’m my best cheerleader.

“But Dee I never knew that preheating the oven was all that important!!” Not during the dog days of a Georgia summer.

Forget it.  I bought a loaf of bread.

Denial began to set in – maybe its not me, it’s the recipe.  I found another recipe that called for a 50/50 mix of the softer white wheat flour and bread flour.  O yeah.  I got this!

WAHHH!!  O DEAR LORD PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY NOW! I forgot to add SALT and had the complete meltdown described in the beginning.

My husband Billy – my second best cheerleader – encouraged me not to give up.  As long as I kept trying I always stood a chance of succeeding.

Billy and Dee were right.  It just takes practice.  Now I make 2 loaves of bread each week.

My homemade bread.


That is if the artisan loaves aren’t on sale!

BTW: I finally found a bread recipe I loved posted by blogger Carol Winn on Mother Earth News.