Thursday, October 29, 2009


Biscuits down here are like dinner rolls, they are versitle and can but stuffed with or covered with almost anything. Bacon, egg and cheese biscuits, biscuits and gravy, fried chicken and biscuits; biscuits with sorghum syrup, jelly, preserves or even red eye gravy.

I spent while looking for a good recipe, believing Alton Brown's was a bit too specific I used the one on the White Lily package, which was good, until I made my mother-in-law's recipe. 
1 pkg. dry yeast
¼ c. warm water
2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. baking soda
5 c. self-rising flour
1 c. shortening
2 tsp. sugar

Put yeast in warm water to dissolve.  Add buttermilk and soda to yeast mixture.  Mix flour and shortening and sugar together until coarse.  Add milk mixture.  Roll and cut into biscuits.

Bake in hot oven 450 – 475 degrees, approximately 10-12 minutes.
May be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
The secret as I was taught by a co-worker is to cut in the shortening by hand, until it looks like meal, then press it together in your palm. If it holds its shape, then crumbles when tapped it's good to go. Enjoy!

I have no idea what the yeast is supposed to do. It doesn't spend any time rising, but I guess with the heat the yeast does get to work a bit before being killed by the very hot oven. Also I use instant yeast (bread machine yeast) and it doesn't have to be activated with the warm water, so I go without the water and add the yeast directly to the dough. I also add a largish pinch of kosher salt. I've wanted to omit the yeast and check the results, but I'm sacred it'll be a waste of a large amount of flour.

Got a better recipe? Have another recipe that involves biscuits? Got a biscuit fact? Put them in the comments.

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Friday, October 23, 2009


This past weekend we had my daughter baptized and had friends and family gathered for the event. A few Yankee transplants, one being the Godmother, were discussing squirrel and the eating thereof. They were speaking in disbelief that one would eat them. Knowing my grandmother-in-law and her culinary background I grabbed her to explain how to cook squirrel.

She explained that you boil it until it falls off the bone, then pick it apart and serve it with dumplings like you would chicken and dumplings. At that point they knew that eating squirrel was for real.  Nannie also mentioned you could serve it with gravy possibly over rice or biscuits.

Got a squirrel recipe or story?  Share them in the comments.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Everybody in the south either has a truck, or has access to a truck.  Oftentimes its a pickup truck, but not always.

My first car was my dad's 1977 Cheverolet Suburban.  The color scheme was red, white and rust, and my friends called it . . . The Tank.  It got me to school and I could haul anything in it.  My dad still uses it to carry garbage to the dump and pull his car trailer.  He always said he drove a pickup truck before it was fashionable and my mom used to make him pull behind where she worked when he picked her up so her friends wouldn't see her getting into it. 

Down here even the girls want a pickup truck for their first car.  They have cute vinyl graphics that say, "Cowgirl Up" in pink or "Silly Boys, Trucks are for Girls."  So whether it's an S10, an Explorer, an H2, a Suburban or just a old full size truck enjoy it, you never know when you will need one.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fried Chicken

I love fried chicken, but I didn't know that anyone actually made it from scratch until I was a senior in high school (yes over 10 years ago) when I met my future Mother-in-Law and her fried chicken.  I did lose a piece of dental bonding because of it, but that wasn't her fault.  So people do still fry chicken and it doesn't just don't come from a bucket contrary to popular belief.

Fried Chicken is kinda like barbecue (more on that another day) because it seems like somebody's Mee-Maw's chicken is the best and you haven't had fried chicken until you have tried hers.  It's also versatile, it can be dinner one night but a leg straight out of the fridge the next morning is equally satisfying.  Lot's of people even pack cold fried chicken for picnics along with 'tater salad and chips. 

I've never done my own but I have found fellow southerner Alton Brown of Food TV's Good Eats and his recipe looks pretty darn good.  It involves a cast iron skillet, buttermilk and shortening.  You could put a soul food spin on it by maybe dipping a piece in hot sauce after frying and serving it over a waffle, and yes, he even adds syrup! 

Next you need to make biscuits and I think I've been cleared by the family to publish the super secret biscuit recipe.  Look for that in the coming weeks.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Everything I know about football, I learned from my Momma

It's true, and it may have some people wanting to pull my southern membership card.  My mom was cheerleader so she grew up watching football on the sidelines plus she had two older brothers who watched or listened to Auburn football.

My dad was a racecar driver.  Any given weekend you could find him on the streets of downtown Birmingham and later legally at Lassiter Mountain Dragway, an 1/8th mile track near Gardendale, Alabama.  He enjoyed racing and even though his dad played football as a child my dad took more after his mother and shunned the sport. 

You see she was from outside London, England and was born in India so her idea of sport was proper football (soccer) and cricket.  So when I was about 8 or 10 or whatever age I was, I was taught the rules of football by my mom.  I still don't understand all the stratergery in the game, but I appreciate the knowledge she passed on to me.  That knowledge probably helped me not get beat up for not knowing how football worked.  I did eventually gain a respect for soccer, but I only enjoyed playing it, not watching it. 

Later I went to a prominant southern college with a large history of football playing and learned to love it even more in college than in high school, and I did enjoy going on in the high school games and knowing what was going on.  Sometimes it gets monotonous, but when you get in a crowded stadium and your team is on top, there is nothing quite like it.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Southern Word of the Week - Mash

Mash - To push something.  Typically a button or potatoes. 

(v.)You can turn the buzzer off if you mash that button right there.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sweet Tea

I love sweet tea, its something you can usually count on somebody to have on hand.  If you didn't grow up down here you probably think its too sweet and/or too weak, but I do know one Guatemalan girl who said she wished she could take a couple of gallons of Milo's tea back with her. 

It was suggested by a Yankee friend of mine that it should be called "sweetened tea."  I said that if she had tea with lemon would it be lemoned tea, or just lemon tea?  Iced tea is iced tea, but if you order it down here you will be asked, "sweet or unsweet?"

The first thing I typically taste at a restaurant is the sweet tea and I can usually get a pretty good read of the joint by this alone.  I can tell if it is from a concentrated tea mix and if it is I know that the meal probably isn't going to blow me away. Many "fancy" restaurants don't serve sweet tea, but will serve iced tea with a small jigger of simple syrup, sometimes with mint, to add to your tea without having to do the sip and stir.

Here's how I make sweet tea.  First you'll need.
  • Hot Water
  • 3 - 1 quart tea bags (I use Red Diamond - 2 Decaf and 1 Full Caf)
  • 1 - 1.5 cups of sugar
Mix the sugar, water and tea bags when the kettle whistles then let it cool 30 minutes or until just warm before adding cool water.  I usually leave the tea bags in the pitcher but you can remove them if you'd like.

Wikipedia says the first recipe for sweet tea called for green tea, but I suspect it was made with whatever tea was available and I've only had it made with black tea.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Southern Word of the Week - Stove Up

Stove up

(v.)Daddy can't go play ball with us, he's all stove up (not able to move well due to aches and pains) from pullin' weeds in mamma's flower garden yesterday.

Stove up usually means you can't do something because you spent a lot of other time doing another strenuous exercise.  One becomes stove up more often as one gets older.

Have you been stove up?  Let us know in the comments.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

All about Y'all

From Wikipedia: "Y'all, archaically spelled "You-all'", is a contraction of the phrase "you all", and is pronounced as one syllable. It is used as a plural second-person pronoun."

Some folks in different parts of the country say you guys, some say you all, we say y'all.  Many people spell it ya'll.  In fact that's the way I spelled it until about 2000 until being told I had been spelling incorrectly for 20 years by my creative writing teacher.  Since I tend to think language is always evolving then I can give a slight pass to this spelling since ya can be a colloquially shortened form of you.

However there is a billboard company in town that has a billboard up that says, "Hey Ya'll" on it, which I think is tacky since they are a pretty large business and much of that business is to spell things correctly. 

If you are watching a movie or reading a book and they use y'all when only referring to one person that is an incorrect usage.  If I ask y'all to come over to one or more people I'm probably asking you and your wife to come have dinner.  If I say "all y'all need to come over" then I'm probably talking about all of us and friends we have in common to come over for an event. 

Y'all got any more to add?  Post them in the comments.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Okra Cola

A few people (mostly friends because hardly anyone knows about this blog) have asked why the name Okra Cola.  I thought it was a unique name but where I got it was listening to a morning show in the '80's (I was a young 'un) The Magic Morning Zoo on Magic 96.5 FM in Birmingham.  They often did fake commercials in skits and one of them was for Okra Cola. The name was about all I can remember.

Looks like the name came from an SNL skit with Steve Martin.  Either way I like the name, and I was young when I heard it so cut me some slack. [END EDIT/ADDITION]

It just kind of popped in my mind when I signed up on Blogger. If you think about it okra is a very southern food; fried, pickled, boiled (yuck) and there is a very famous cola based in Atlanta. 

So there ya go, Okra Cola: Southern living, language, libations, food, music and anything else I see fit to post was born. I hope y'all enjoy.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Very Southern Sentence

My office mate at work who is originally from Philly offered a very southern sentence he thought of while he was in Home Depot one day.
"Where's all y'all's sawzalls at?"
I thought it was brilliant, and its even better that he was a yankee!  He is actually part of the inspiration of the blog since he wants to know about how things work down here.  I'm kind of his southern culture coach.

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Corn Cob Pipes

There are few things more southern (some would say country or hillbilly) than a corn cob pipe, or at least a stereotypical person smoking one (usually a farmer in overalls). I found that the Missouri Merrschaum factory is the world's oldest and largest corn cob pipe manufacturer. They have many styles and amazingly they are suggested as a starter pipe by people who smoke  briar pipes which can become very expensive. Corn cobs can be had for less than $5!

Here's a guy with a lot of info on these pipes and shows us a bunch of different pipes made by Missouri Meerschaum.

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