Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Southern Word of the Week - Tump


(v.)Billy, did you tump over (spill or tilt at a severe angle) your glass of milk?
(v.)When the game was over they tumped the Gatorade bucket on the coaches head.

Many things can be tumped over but has to be at least the size of a drinking glass.  You can't really tump over a shot glass or a thimble full of liquid.  Dump trucks can be tumped though, especially on the highway.

I just had a friend say that tump is a combination of the turn over and dump; that should make it easier to remember.  Tump, tell me an interesting way you've heard this word used in the comments.  Thanks Dennis L!

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Harmonica & Orange Blossom Special

I play a folk instrument and talk about it any chance I get.  It's the harmonica and I found a girl on YouTube that does a killer version of Orange Blossom Special, usually a fiddle tune, but can be done well on harmonica.  The first person I heard do it was Charlie McCoy (Hee Haw music director and musician on Dylan's Blonde on Blonde).

Wow! Then I stumbled upon this girl the other day named Kaleena who was 16 at the time this video was made.

Wow again!  I just love seeing young folks pick up the instrument, plus you don't see many girls playing either.  I was 16 when I started playing (I'm 29 now) and discovered this song when I was about 20 and never have tackled it because it was a daunting task, but thanks to Kaleena I may try it!

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Cast Iron Skillets

People the world over use cast iron skillets. Bacon tastes better cooked in them, pineapple upside down cakes call for 'em and they're good to have around when bad guys break into your house. Well a few years ago they did not come pre-seasoned and I really had no idea how to season one I got as a wedding present. So I used the directions which had something about coating it with vegetable oil and put it in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or an hour or whatever. That method my friends does not work. So I scoured the inter-webs for a solution and here's what I came up with.

You have to have a fair amount of fat which will stick to every part of the pan and you need a lot of heat. So I lubed up the pan with shortening (you gotta have it for biscuits anyway) and set my gas grill to high and left it alone for about 10 minutes or so. INSTANT CAST IRON BLACKNESS! It looked like it had been owned by my Maw Maw! I was stoked and now I hardly use anything else on the stove. I have a skillet, a grill pan, a griddle and a cast iron, enameled dutch oven, all made by Lodge Cookware. It now all comes pre-seasoned, but sometimes you have to re-season it.  

Never wash it with soap and water! You may wash it out with water alone, but make sure you let it dry thoroughly, or put it on low for a little while to evaporate all the water. If I have some schmutz on it I usually get it warm or mostly hot then put a small amount of cold water in it to loosen up the gunk, then it wipes pretty clean with a paper towel. I've also used kosher salt to soak up some the grease then use a paper towel to do a mild scouring with the salt.

Put your cast iron tips in the comments!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Southern Word of the Week- Fixin'


(v.)Momma's fixin' (making) fried chicken for dinner.

(adv.)I'm fixin' (about to) to go out to have some beers.

(n.)We're gonna have barbecue with all the fixin's. (side dishes or all the things involved in a traditional southern barbecue meal)

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Welcome to Okra Cola! A blog about Southern living, language, libations, food, music and anything else I see fit to post. I grew up in the deep south and I love just about everything southern. I welcome you and invite you to offer comments and suggestions.

A bit about me:
My paternal grandfather's family came over from England before this country was founded. He married a lady who was born in India to a very posh British family. So I'm only half Southern by blood. My maternal great-grandparents (all 4) came over from Slovakia in the past 100 or so years so I grew up on fried okra from her backyard as well as pirogies.  So I'm only 1/4 southern by having family down here for a long time depending on how you count it, but my Slovak grandparents adapted quickly to southern living and ideals so I consider myself 100% southern!

That's my south, my version of the way my family lives and has lived in rural Alabama. I think everybody has a version of it down here. Nobody was raised the same, but many aspects are similar. A lot of people have their ideas of the south and some of them disdain it, even folks who grew up here. I always say I'm glad people propagate the myth to keep those who don't want to be here out!

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