Thursday, May 28, 2015

Southern Chow Chow

Just the other day I was walking through a local thrift store and came across this coffee mug.  No, it's not a Magic Mug and so I didn't pick it up for my collection, but the product being advertised reminded me of a great southern tradition named 'Chow-chow.' (Yes, Yes, you heard right right!)

Chow-Chow is a spicy peppery pickled relish made from a combination of vegetables. Mainly any combination of green tomato, cabbage, chayote, red tomatoes, onions, carrots, beans, asparagus, cauliflower and peas are used, but here in the South, there's a little something added that you don't find anywhere else.  Chili peppers.  From Mild to Extra Hot, Spicy Chow Chow can be found all over the south.  

They say it came from the Arcadians who moved from Nova Scotia to the areas of Louisiana around New Orleans. The Cajun influence added the spice. That's the neat thing about Southern Food. What you bring in, gets the Southern Treatment. The only thing no one knows is where it gets its name. the closest guess is from the inclusion of chayote, but it's not definitive.

Ok, now the confession. I've never had Chow-chow. Not from lack of wanting, you understand.  It's just that every chow chow I've ever come across had onions. I didn't find a single one that didn't have onions. And, unfortunately, as with most Southern Foods, onions and I do not get along. (Read: Allergies.)

So, if you get a chance to taste Southern Chow-Chow, do so.  And you can tell me all about it in the comments!  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Neighbor Bubba and Facebook

Throughout the many years I've lived at my current house here in The South, I've known my neighbor, Bubba.  He has lived in the South his whole life and much of what I ascribe to 'being southern' I get from knowing him and being in such a long friendship.  Bubba is not one to follow fashion (he wears overalls most days,) is not into gourmet food (his idea of gourmet food is delivered pizza,) and, which has amazed me more times than not, he does not use a lot of modern day technology.  

Oh don't get me wrong.  He's got a cell phone and a computer in his house, but where other people find solace in them, he considers them a 'necessary nuisance.' Where other people use their cell phone for the Internet, special apps, games and social media, I am pretty sure Bubba uses his just for checking the time and making phone calls. 

It was  his birthday the other day and I asked him if he got a lot of birthday greetings on Facebook. He looked at me like I had cast aspersions on his mother and said, "Facebook?"  He took a minute to spit on the ground and rubbed it in with the heel of his boot and continued.  "No, that face place is not for birthday greetings.  My boys know that and they know I didn't raise them that way." 

Bubba went on to express his feelings about all of social media as nothing more than a repository for dancing cats and baby pictures and though it's always nice to see pictures of his cousins and his grand-babies it's not for special day greetings.  In anticipation of my next comment, it stated flatly, "No, not even through the private messaging." He did not comment further on the dancing cats. 

"Y'see, " says Bubba, "When it's some one's  birthday, or Father's day, or Mother's day or any other day you want to HONOR someone, sitting down 'atcher keyboard and typing a line or two is nothing. That's not honoring them. That's getting an obligation out of the way. That's for you, not them. You want to honor someone, you get your keister (yes, he said keister) up offa that couch, you go to the Card Store or Dollar Store or wherever you can find the right card and  you buy that card - or mebbe (yes, he pronounced it meh-bee) you MAKE a card. And then you hand write a note inside the card and mail the card. Or, better yet, you take that card over and hand present it to them mebbe along with a proper gift to show that person how much they truly mean to you. That's how you honor someone on a special day. Even a gift card that you chose and purchased online and had delivered in their electronical (Bubba pronunciation guide: E-lec-TRON-ical) email is better'n just a Facebook greeting."

(Yes, he said both 'electronical' and 'email.'  Bubba is not fluent in techno-speak.)

"Facebook?" he ranted, "That's for those borderline people where you want to say 'Hey!*' but you don't want to say 'I just saved $5 by sending you a birthday greeting on Facebook.' For your cousin, your college room-mate or those guys you play Call of Duty with, yeah, I can see that; but for important people, people that mean something in your life? No, not Facebook.  And not Tweeter or Grouple any of them other thangs. (Yes, he said 'thangs.') I am sure my Momma raised me better and I hope I passed that on to my boys, too!"  

True to his word (or his rant,) later that day, Bubba's two boys showed up with their entire families in tow along with gifts, take out pizzas and a case (or two) of non-light beer (just sodas for the kids.) They spent the early evening in celebration and then they packed said family, sleeping children and all back to their homes.  Bubba had been properly honored on his day.

Now I have a whole new Southern Perspective on Social Media and Honoring Someone Special on a special day. You want to send greetings, that's fine. But to really honor someone takes more than social media. It takes more than a keyboard. It takes something special to honor someone special.

*'Hey' is a Southern Greeting, much like 'Hi.'  It is considered to be a shortening of the phrase "Hey, there!"

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What's That Smell?

My wife and I were out perusing the local shops this last weekend when I came upon the display above and I nearly choked on my own tongue. Ok, I'm not a stranger to Duck Tape (Yes, Duck, not Duct!) and in fact, I keep a roll of the Silver Savior in my tool shed, another on the back porch and yet a third in the car. (There might be one in my night stand, but I'm not admitting to anything.) Duck Tape is almost a requirement for a suthun man to keep handy - but this was something totally unexpected. 

It wasn't that long ago when found that Duck Tape had come out with such wonderful things as colored Duck Tape, both solid colors and playful patterns. Though a Justin Bieber Duck Tape leaves me rather cool I can totally understand zebra stripes, polka dots and camouflage.

This, though... it's like something in Denmark: it smells. (I'll give you a moment to catch that Shakespearean reference. Got it? Good, let's move on.)

Seriously, it does indeed smell. Look closely (if you haven't already) and you'll see that this Duck Tape display is full of SCENTED Duck Tape. Scented. Sort of like Scratch 'N Sniff for Adults.

There are currently 6 'flavors' in 6 colors. Pink smells like Bubble Gum. Fuscia smells like cup cakes. Purple smells like grapes. Yellow smells like sugared lemons. Green smells like mint. And, lastly, Orange smells like Orange Creme. I would imagine these are best used in crafts, as using a Pink, Bubble Gum scented duck tape to repair your seat covers may not quite be what you're looking for. 

Good quality Duck Tape, now in Scents. 
It makes Cents.
And that joke doesn't make Sense.   
Ok, I'll stop with the puns now. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Plastic Project - Plastic Paradise

In preparation for the Plastic Project, I've needed to collect a lot of plastic containers.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I could easily go to the store and purchase a large number of identical plastic containers and spend a lot  of money, but I realized that I didn't want to have to put out a lot of money on things which would spend a lot of time out in the shed. (Spending time with the spiders.)  In addition, if one broke, I didn't want to have to purchase more in order to replace it so, although I posted the thrift store as a good source of plastic containers, I chose a different route for this project.

The Plastic Project is all about recycling, reusing and renewing. So I began in earnest saving suitable plastic containers for use in my shed.  Wide mouth plastic jars like Mayonnaise jars were perfect, soda bottles, not so much. I became especially interested in such things as Rx Bottles and special small containers that came with such things as spices, vitamins and chewing gum.  (Yes, a small 60 piece container of chewing gum!)

These would be the 'small end' of the spectrum, holding such things as nails, washers and screws.  At the other end, and much more difficult to save out of the household trash, are the containers big enough  to hold tools or even other containers which may be rust-able.  (Is that a word, Bubba?  Able to become rusty?)  But as much as this began as a good idea, it is a slow and somewhat unsteady process. I had a nifty tub full of small plastic containers gleaned from the trash but very few big enough for tools.

It was then that I discovered Plastic Paradise.

  Near my home, is a large set of metal recycling containers where people can bring their recyclables.  Each large container (see above) is set aside for plastic in one, metal in another and cardboard in another.  There are about a dozen of these behemoths sitting beside the local thrift shop (the irony is not lost on me.)

One day I happened across the Plastic Recycle Bin and noticed that someone had tossed a large yellow bucket on top.  Not a bucket per se, but a big empty Kitty Litter container.  It even had the lid!  I grabbed it before it would be covered in sticky soda or orange  juice and took it home to wash out.  In recent weeks, I've 'saved' several more. 

After carefully cleaning them out, I know they can be used for large tools, collections of sandpaper, even a small corner wastebasket (with lid!)  With the addition of these big containers (as well as an easy resource for more) I'm about ready to complete the Plastic Project.  (With pictures!)

Stay tuned for more Southern...stuff...... In plastic!