Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Fun - The Cleverly's

I guess I stumbled upon these guys on a Neatorama post a while ago.   I thought they would be one trick ponys and not have anything more to offer . . . boy was I wrong!  They are really talented bluegrass players that do modern covers.  And not just like Hayseed Dixie that I've talked about before, they'll  do hip hop, 80's, Motown, dang near anything.  I won't go into their backstory but you can go to their website at and click about to watch the video of their backstory.  I suspect they are studio musicians that wanted to do something between sessions or when times got lean and came up with their schtick.  My Facebook friends will vouch that I have spammed their News Feed with videos from these folks.

I couldn't decide which to post so here's Billionaire followed by I Gotta Feeling.  For more check out their YouTube channel.

Word on the street is they're supposed to be available for show dates soon so check out your local music establishment to see if they're performing near you!

Lemme know how you like 'em, or if there's new music I need to discover out there in the comments!

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Charities

We see the Salvation Army volunteers ringing the bells every year and sometimes we put a few coins in or maybe some cash and that may be most of the charitable giving we do for the season.  I'd like to know what you are volunteering for or what you are donating and to whom this holiday season.

Personally my band is doing a toy drive for Jesse's Place. You can read about the show here.

So let me know in the comments or email me at drew [at] Okra Cola (dot) com to let me know about how you are giving back.  Even if it was last month at Thanksgiving it would still be good information for people.  Thanks and Happy Advent, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Southern Word of the Week - Ignernt

Lacking knowledge. Pronounced IG-nernt
(adj.) Some folks is just plain ignernt.

My daddy always used to say, "Everybody's ignernt about something."  Of course he didn't pronounce it that way, but I think I'm embracing more of my Southern roots than he did.  I sound extremely Southern when around my high school/grammer school friends.  What was I talking about?  Oh yeah, ignernce.

There are many people in the South that are ignorant about many things.  But do you wanna know how to clean and butcher a deer?  That same person you thought was ignernt, will be able to not only how to properly clean that deer, but probably be able to tell you the why's and what for's too.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Southern Quotables - Dolly Parton

"It takes a lot of money to look this cheap."
-Dolly Parton

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Monday, November 29, 2010

The Grand Ole Opry

85 years ago yesterday the WSM Barn Dance aired on AM 650 in Nashville, Tennessee.  That may not sound very exciting, but on December 10, 1927, it was renamed The Grand Ole Opry.  Before doing a little research I had no idea that after an artist passes he or she is no longer a standing member of the Grand Ole Opry.  I assumed it was like a Who's Who or a Hall of Fame, but Nashville already has the Country Music Hall of Fame.  At one time they had to make 26 appearances a year and only got paid $44 which made being a member a hardship on some performers.  Things have changed since then.

Anybody that has been to Nashville knows that the Ryman Auditorium is the most famous former home of the Grand Ole Opry.  If you know that you probably also know that there is a circle of the stage, about 5 feet in diamater, that was taken from the Ryman and was installed on the current Grand Ole Opry House stage.  That circle, as well as the rest of the stage, was submerged under 46 inches of water during the May 2010 flood.  The circle had to be refurbished but was reinstalled on August 25, 2010 with help from Little Jimmy Dickens and Brad Paisley.

Speaking of Little Jimmy Dickens he is the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry.  The Opry website says his mailbox is the only one out of alphabetical order at the Opry House to cater to his 4'11" stature. You probably saw him at the 2010 CMA's and if not check out the YouTube video.

Other members include, but are not limited to (in no particular order): Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Trace Adkins, Loretta Lynn, Blake Shelton, Vince Gill, Roy Clark, Emmylou Harris, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton and many more.

Shows are still played at the Ryman and of course you can see a show at the Grand Ole Opry House too.  Click the links, take a visit to Music City and take in a show or two while you are there.

Got a Nashville or Opry story, or see something I overlooked/left out/got wrong?  Lemme know about any and all in the comments.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

The Great (cheap) Bourbon Discovery

I'm cheap and I like bourbon, and I was out to find the bourbon that gave me the best bang for the buck.

Jim Beam 750mL - $14.99
Jim Beam is the old standby; currently the most popular bourbon in the U.S.  For smoothness and all around flexibility Jim beam is pretty awesome, but I was interested in how some cheaper alternatives tasted.

Evan Williams (Black Label) 750mL - $11.99
Evan Williams was just a little to harsh for me.  Something didn't hit me right, it would probably work well as a mixer.

Old Grand Dad 750mL - $11.49
Old Grand Dad had some kind of interesting character that I couldn't put my finger on, but it wasn't a good kind of interesting.  It reminded me of amaretto or some other kind of nutty liqueur.  I say pass.

Old Crow 1 Liter - $10.29
For my money Old Crow is the winner.  It's a little harsh if you drink it straight (I still do it after adding a touch of water) but it is awesome when mixing with coke and probably even with Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale (I'll have to try that combo soon).  It was once the most popular bourbon in the U.S.

Bourbon facts from Wikipedia:

  • Bourbon must be made of a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn (maize).[1]
  • Bourbon must be distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume).
  • Neither coloring nor flavoring may be added.
  • Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels[1]
  • Bourbon must be entered into the barrel at no more than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol by volume).
  • Bourbon, like other whiskeys, may be bottled at not less than 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume.)
  • Bourbon that meets the above requirements and has been aged for a minimum of two years may (but is not required to) be called Straight Bourbon.[2]
  • Straight Bourbon aged for a period less than four years must be labeled with the duration of its aging.
  • If an age is stated on the label, it must be the age of the youngest whiskey in the bottle.
  • Only whiskey produced in the United States can be called bourbon.[3]

All whiskeys reviewed above are legally bourbon.

*All prices are from the Alabama Beverage Control Board PDF.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My (Eastern Euorpean) South

It seems I was working harder on this My South post than I had to.  This was from the very first post:

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 was eaiser than I thought; but wait, there's more!

Brookside, Alabama is not known to everyone as an Eastern European treasure trove of delicacies and traditions, but that’s what I think of when I go there.  My Great-Grandparents immigrated from what is now the Republic of Slovakia and raised 10 kids in Wylam, Alabama.  My maternal Grandmother married another son of another Slovak immagrant family and they settled in the small town of Brookside.  It is such a small town that when there was still a Catholic Church there my Mom and her whole wedding party got ready at my Grandparents house and walked to the wedding. 

I would always go to my grandmother's house (My grandfather died before I was born) where she would fix fried okra from her garden, make meatloaf and banana pudding, fix me chocolate milk and bake tradtional favorites from the old country.  Most of them involved cheese, potatoes and onion; plentiful and relatively cheap staples.  Pagachi, halushki, pirogies, real food.  Every Christmas she would pack a paper grocery sack full of baked goods and remind us that if we left hungry it was our own fault.

Pagachi is everyone's favorite.  (Here's a recipe that looks close.  Scroll down 2/3rds) It is a yeast bread dough filled with a potato and cheese mixture (sharp cheddar) then rolled flat and round like a pizza, and brushed with oil that had been cooking with onions.  She would always make a special batch for my Uncle Joe because he liked dill baked in his.  To this day pagachi is still part the traditional dinner in our family after Christmas Eve Mass.  We go to my mom's and eat ham and pagachi sandwiches.  Once I made a huge mistake by saying I didn't like the pagachi that was served at a cousin's wedding.  It was too thin and nothing like my grandmothers.  My mom's first cousin heard me say it and said, "don't let Momma (my Great-Aunt) hear you say that."  Oops.

My Paternal Grandmother was born in colonial India to a physician, so it was a whole different vibe.  She never really cooked.  We call it the Allan gene.  People say, "what is the Allan gene?"  Well, it took 6 Indian servants to run the Allan household of 4, so the Allan gene is laziness.  If you visit this blog with any frequency you can attest to the presence of this gene.  My love of sweet tea obviously didn't come from that side of the family.

Eating Christmas Pudding with brandy butter and having Christmas crackers were also normal and expected during the holidays in our house in Walker County, Alabama.  Not only that but also weekly calls from my father's first cousin in Edinburough and yearly visits from him with the cool and tasty stuff we couldn't get.  Now we can get most of it from World Market and Whole Foods.

Thanks again to Wade and Rachel to their contributions and let me know if you have a uniquely Southern raisin'!  drew [at] okra cola (dot) com

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Buffalo Rock update

Wade has been doing a series on Birmingham's Best Eats and has a brief history of Buffalo Rock as well as some libations made with the stuff.  He even used the photo featured on this blog.


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Wednesday, July 28, 2010


The internet has some new found obsession with bacon, I think the bacon explosion may have given the movement momentum.  Neatorama even has a bacon section in their store

In the South it's always an obsession.  We use it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We even use it for our vegetables and the bacon grease is as valuable as the bacon itself. 

The other day on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives I saw two things I love melded into one.  Bacon infused bourbon.  Oh yes, tis exists.  Not only that but you can make your own!

Basically you cook 4 or 5 strips of bacon and drain the fat off to cool to near room temperature.  Then take a 750ml bottle of bourbon, pour the bacon grease in and let it sit.  I've seen times for as little as a few hours and as much as 48, so you make the call.  Then you put it in an ice bath or in the freezer to let the fat rise to the top and solidify.  Strain off the fat and viola, Bacon-Boubon.  Wow!

Here's an article from New York Magazine which includes the recipe from PDT

What's your favorite thing to do with bacon or some other smoked/cured meat?  Do you have recipes to share?  Post any and all in the comments!

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My South: Greek and Proud of it!

By Rachel

My Great-Grandfather immigrated from Greece near the turn of the century into our country that, at the time, was quite prejudiced against Greeks. Despite the general feelings of animosity, however, he must have been somewhat charming – he convinced my Great-Grandmother to marry him before he knew a word of English or she knew a word of Greek.

I never knew him, but his belief in the value of Greek culture must have been magnificent. they had five children, all who had a very firm grasp on what it meant to be Greek, and how to pridefully carry on the traditions of our culture.

Our holidays, especially Easter, were always celebrated with Roasted Lamb, Spanakopitas, Greek Easter Bread, and Kalamata Olives and Feta Cheese.

(The real olives and Feta Cheese, bought where they should be, in a plastic bag from Nabeel’s Imported foods.)

All of this was delightfully mixed with my Great-Grandmothers truly southern Macaroni and Cheese, my Grandmother’s famed biscuit recipe, Chocolate cake, and Chicken and Dumplins’, of course. I found that Greek Food and Southern food made a delightful combination.

My Aunt Helen was infamous for her ability to read your fortune from the coffee grounds in the bottom of your cup, and loved to spice up a family gathering by cranking up the Greek music and breaking out into dance.

My Granddad, while being truly proud of his Greek heritage and sharing his Greek roots with anyone he was around, was also in the Hillbilly Brigade with the Zamora Temple Shriners, where he dressed up in overalls and a straw hat and drove around acting as southern as possible in his 1920’s Model T.

In proper Greek fashion (and made famous by the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”), I was made to go to Greek School. Despite several years of study of the Greek language, I don’t remember much, except for the Greek girl Penelope who sat next to me, and the boy who sat on the other side of me with thick, black, oozing earwax.

(Sorry for that. I don’t know if thick, black, oozing earwax has anything to do with Greek culture or not, but it is certainly associated in my mind.)

But, much more than earwax, Greeks are known for their food.

My Father went into the Air Force as a teenager, and when his platoon formed, the commanding officer yelled out, “Who in here is Greek?” Dad was the only one to raise his hand, and so was immediately assigned the job of being the cook for the entire platoon.

My Mother is not Greek and did not know how to cook when they got married, but my Father taught her well. I am so thankful that she learned to cook like a Greek woman, and taught me all of those amazing recipes as well.

(Some of these Famiy Recipes can be found on my blog, if you’re interested.)

Besides cooking Greek, I am thrilled beyond measure to live in a city that is full of amazing Greek and Mediterranean restaurants, such as Dodiyos, Nabeel’s, Taziki’s, Zoës, The Fish Market, Jim N Nicks (did you know they were Greek?? I told you all good cooks are Greek.), all of the Sarris family restaurants, and I’m sure a ton of others that I’m not thinking about right now.

So, if you haven’t tried some Greek food lately, you might want to. I promise – you’ll want to get up and dance, and maybe even read someone’s coffee ground fortune.

Rachel writes at Grasping for Objectivity . . . and Alabama Bloggers.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Southern Quotables - Fannie Flagg

"Remember if people talk behind your back, it only means you're two steps ahead!"
-Fannie Flagg

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Monday, June 21, 2010

My South - Wade Kwon

East meets South: The Korean-redneck dinner table

By Wade Kwon

Most of you did not grow up as I did. Asian. American. Southern. Non-Baptist.

Perhaps the best way to show a glimpse of my unique childhood is to have you sit at our dinner table at our suburban home in Hoover, Ala. One night, we'd have American food. The next night, Korean food. This is how I thought other families ate, until I noticed a distinct lack of kimchi at friends' dinner tables.

So we'd have spaghetti, with sauce from a jar. Or tacos, from the kit. Or roast beef, scalloped potatoes (from the box, which I loved) and green beans (from a can).

Other nights, we'd have bulgogi (marinated barbecued beef) and rice. Or mandoo (which you probably call wonton), or ttok kuk (rice cake soup).

We ate in the kitchen, almost never the dining room. And the TV set would be on.

Keep in mind that my mom prepared just about all the meals, and that was after a long day of work and sometimes a 2-hour round-trip commute. Dad was not in charge of the grill; we didn't have one, save for a small hibachi that was never used. We didn't cook out.

And sometimes, we'd have both Korean and American at the same meal. I thought nothing of it, just enjoyed eating and eating and eating. Saturday nights, we'd go out to eat, and every so often, we'd bring home two Little Caesar's pizzas.

I didn't eat kimchi as a child, nor did I ever learn to speak or read Korean. A friend's mother insisted I must have picked up some by linguistic osmosis, until I pointed out that I didn't speak dog either despite having our family pet bark at me enthusiastically for years.

Sometimes, my friend Kenn (who blogs at Dairy of a Madman) would join us for dinner. He was game, despite the odd sights and smells on the table (and the occasional surprise tub of tiny dried fish heads in the fridge). He best recalls what I took as normal.

When he and I go out for hot pots and rice (sadly, I don't know how to reproduce the dishes of my youth), the experience takes him back to our Korean-redneck dinner table decades ago. It is a needed reminder that Southern hospitality extended across ethnicities for a shared experience.

Wade Kwon is a communications consultant and writer. He shares news and features about his hometown on his site, Wade on Birmingham.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

My South

My South is a series I've invited a few bloggers to take part in.  (So I stole the name from Turner South, but it doesn't exist anymore so I'm gonna use it.)  Many people in the South have a normal Southern heritage.  Many have Native American blood, others are just generically German or English.  But there are a few that grow up with a very unique heritage.  I am one of those Southerners and I wanted to hear about everyone else with an interesting background that grew up in the South or have spent a great deal of time here.

Next week, Okra Cola is proud to have Wade Kwon as the first guest post!  This is big for me because it was an idea I pitched and somebody dug it as much as I did and actually wrote it! 

If you are interested in telling the world about your heritage and growing up in the South drop me a line at drew [at] okra cola [dot] com and we'll see what happens.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Southern Word of the Week - All over hell and half of Georgia

"Boy where have you been?  We've been worried and looked all over hell and half of Georgia for you!"
"Where are my car keys?  I've been all over hell and half of Georgia looking for 'em!"

There are many different ways to say it but it often involves hell and not more than half of the state of Georgia.  I honestly haven't heard it much, and have only really seen it in print, but I did use it honestly this morning.  It obviously means what it says, just in a Southern storyteller kinda way. 

Have you used this phrase or have one similar?  Lemme know in the comments.

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Sorry y'all!

Hey everybody!  I really appreciate you all supporting the blog this year and I apologize for not keeping it up that much since around March.  I've been busy at work, with playing music in smokey bars and dealing with my Mom being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  Her last chemo treatment for her first round is today so prayers would be appreciated. 

I'm going to at least try to do one post per week and your comments and suggestions are most welcome.  I'm down for guest posters too, just pitch an idea to drew [at] okracola [dot] com or on Twitter @OkraCola.

I'll have a new word of the week up shortly!

Thanks again for your patience and prayers.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Poke Salad

For those who don't know poke salad is not something you grow in a garden but a poisonous wild weed that is picked for its young leaves (before they get a red hue) then boiled at least twice to get the toxins out of it.  One scientist says that no part of the plant should be eaten no matter how many times it is boiled.

I don't eat poke salad, and I don't know anyone who does anymore, but I do remember going with a friends parents, grandparents and their aunt and uncle to go look for poke salad.  One of my other friends had a school bus driver that occasionally stopped if she saw some "good poke salad."

Many of you have heard the Tony Joe White song Poke Salad Annie which was recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama (they've been known for a song or two) in 1969 and peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

Do you have a poke salad story?  Share with us in the comments section and don't forget to follow @okracola on Twitter!

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Southern Word of the Week - Drawers

(n.) That boy would look a whole lot smarter if he'd keep his drawers  pulled up.
(n.) You'd 'a never gotten in trouble if both of y'all would've kept your drawers on.

Drawers are either jeans, pants, shorts or underwear.  Plumbers are notroious for having their drawers slip down while they are on the job.  Kids often pull off their drawers and run around naked. 

I really don't know where the term came from but I have used it a lot since I've had kids. I'm constantly asking my 4 year old to pull her drawers up. 

As a side note, I was known to my best-friend Micah's family as Drawers because his father would announce me when I called as Drawers rather than Drew.

So pull up your drawers and let me know the best line you've heard using this word in the comments!

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Southern Word of the Week - 'Maters

(n.) Son, go out and cut me two of them 'maters from the garden
(n.) These 'maters sure are juicy. 

'Maters are tomatoes.  Just about every Southerner I know has their own 'mater plant whether they have a green thumb or not. 

And why not?  They are really easy to grow and you can do it in a large pot on your back porch.  Just give it lots of sun and lots of water and you'll be growing 'maters in no time!  We recently bought a Topsy Turvy so I'll try to let y'all in on how that works after the first few tomatoes are harvested.

Last year I did a Brandywine heirloom tomoato and it was one of the most flavorful ones I'd ever tasted!  Some people have their own favorite variety so just get what looks and sounds good.  If you're patient you can make one of the best things to eat on a summer afternoon or evening, a 'mater sandwich.

Got tips for growing tomatoes or any other tomato facts?  Put 'em in the comments!

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pear Salad

And no I don't mean a fancy pear and pecan salad or any other fancy, foodie-type salad with pears.  I'm talking about the pear salad we had in the lunch room growing up in a Walker County, Alabama elementary school.  The one my father-in-law still has with his dinner sometimes.  Here it is:

I had to borrow that photo from FarmHouse Style because I know of only one person who eats eat regularly, and therefore only one person who prepares it regularly so I didn't have a chance to take a photo of it.  I never took to it but usually ate it when it was on my plate in the cafeteria. 

It is literally half of a canned pear, a dollop of mayo in the middle then sprinkled with shredded cheddar cheese.  This photo makes it look way fancier because of the lettuce leaf and the cherry.  Has any non-Southerner heard of this salad?  Anybody love it?  Hate it?  Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Nekid and Naked

While sounding similar, these words have two distinct meanings. 

Naked means you don't have on any clothes, like when a baby is first born.
Nekid means you don't have on any clothes and you're up to something.

So if you happen to find yourself or someone else without clothes, please choose the appropriate word.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Southern Quotables - Flannery O'Connor

"When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville (, GA)."
-Flannery O'Connor

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The R Word

Redneck.  We've all heard the term and we all know what it means or at least says about the person it's directed at: Un-wealthy person of European blood.  Now it is true that it is a truly hateful word, two people of equal socioeconomic status can be in an argument and redneck will slip out of one or the others mouths and then a full on fight can take place.

Some of us call ourselves or others (that are present) rednecks in jest, but we all know its just being funny. But if others aren't present it is usually meant to portray a poor person or family.  It's not nice, but it does happen.

The term came from poor farmers and field workers that spent long hours outside for a low wage and had their necks burnt by the sun.  It's a shame that folks trying to earn an honest living got branded, but good or bad I guess thats how the human animal works.

Jeff Foxworthy is amazing on how he took a joke, the redneck or at least a characture of the redneck, and has made his whole career out of it.  It's a pretty funny bit, but it has run its course.  Same with the emails with the redneck weddings, etc.  They may be funny, but really wasn't Jersey Shore just the same type people yankees make fun of but instead of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, etc. it was in New Jersey?!

Ideas, statements, reactions about this term?  Tell us about them in the comments.

P.S. - I used one instance of the Confederate Flag because that's what a lot of people think rednecks wear. Most are used to the Naval Jack which is a rectangle, but this is one of the battle flags and was square.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Eat some corned beef and cabbage sip on a Irish Stout or some Irish Whiskey.  Sláinte!

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Southern Word of the Week - Wrench

(v.) Take this rag and wrench it out so I can clean up this mess
(v.) Go wrench your feet off; how'd they get so muddy?
(v.) Wrench off this wrench; I dropped it in the oil catch.

Wrench is Southern for rinse.  Often you'll hear someone talk about warshing and wrenching something: cars, clothes, pets, etc.

Do you know someone that wrenches  stuff?  Let us know in the comments!

Thanks to @LuvHouses for the inspiration!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware Y'all!

Just a friendly reminder that it's the ides so beware and watch yer back.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Southern Quotables - Grits

"An inexpensive, simple, and thoroughly digestible food, grits should be made popular throughout the world. Given enough of it, the inhabitants of planet Earth would have nothing to fight about. A man full of grits is a man of peace."

-The Post and Courier 1952

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Southern Style Sweet Stuff

Looking at a bottle of Arizona Southern Style Sweet Tea it made me remember that we do like things sweeter in the South.  I even remember a rumor that Coke and Pepsi were made sweeter down here because that's how we like things. 

I add about cup and a half of sugar to one gallon of tea, my wife's family cooks green beans with sugar and sweet potato casserole might as well be a dessert.  Think about this though, if you even mention or kid about putting sugar in your grits you almost automatically get labeled a yankee.  I admit I don't like sweet grits, but do like a sweet cornbread and the same alligations follow.  Why do we like everything else sweet, yet look down on folks that like sweet grits or cornbread?

Talk amongst yourselves in the comments, and please be sweet to each other.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

New Music Thursday - Carolina Chocolate Drops

A friend of mine heard me sing a song I made up about collard greens then heard these cats on NPR's Fresh Air and told me I had to listen to them.  The Carolina Chocolate Drops play music in the olde time string band style that was popular in the 1920's and 1930's.  This song from YouTube is called "Cornbread and Butterbeans."

Somebody said that the line, "eatin' beans and makin' love as long as I am able" was not quite a romantic line, but I said that sometimes when you're broke all you got is some dry beans and each other and I think that is pretty romantic.

They play many instruments including some killer kazoo solos, but also do some modern stuff with beatboxing.  I dig 'em and think y'all may too.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Moon Pie and a RC Cola

I don't know where I first heard of this very Southern combination.  I think it may have been at Bob Baumhower's Wings Restaurant  where they had a Blue Collar Combo on the menu.  It consisted of one wing, a Moon Pie and an RC Cola.   (For those that don't know RC stands for Royal Crown).

In my limited research I found out that some miners wanted something filling for a snack as they didn't get time for a proper lunch break; Mr. Earl Mitchell, Sr., a bakery salesman, took the challenge.  At the time the workers had taken to dipping graham crackers into jars of marshmallow fluff they could buy in the company store.   Mr. Mitchell took this idea and ran with it.  It became known as the workingman's lunch.  for 10 cents the worker could get a Moon Pie (the biggest snack on the rack) and a 10oz. RC Cola.  A Southern classic was born.

They are still made in Chattanooga, Tennessee and have a web presence at and even a Facebook Fan Page.  You can actually buy the shirt to the left and it's definitely on my birthday short list this year.

If you've ever been to a Gulf Coast Mardi Gras you've no doubt caught a mini Moon Pie.  In the 70's parade floats used to use Cracker Jack's as throws but the sharp corners of the box became problematic and they looked for a softer snack and Moon Pie stepped in to fill that need.

I can't find RC Cola, though I used to drink it pretty regularly back in the day.  You can buy it from the Moon Pie shop in tubs, baskets and boxes for nostalgic friends and family members.

I still get a hankering for a Moon Pie now and then and it has to be chocolate or a banana. What's your favorite RC and Moon Pie memory, or your favorite Moon Pie product?  Let us know in the comments!

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Southern Word of the Week - I swannee

(inj.) Well, I swanee, I cannot believe he said that to you!
(inj.) I swannee, I didn't expect to see you here.

My dad used to say it to convey surprise.  I think he mostly did it in jest as most people don't say it anymore, but I'm sure his grandmother did use it sincerely.  It's almost disappeared except in old timers and people who talk about the Southern dialect.

The small amount of research I did suggested that swanee was short for swear, but being good Southern Christians they didn't want to say swear.  "You aren't supposed to swear," is what I was always told by little brothers and sisters of my friends because that's what their Maw Maw's had always told them.

Did you hear someone say this and get thrown a curve ball?  Do you or someone you know still use this saying?  Let us know in the comments.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras!

Carnival, Fat Tuesday whatever you call it today is MARDI GRAS!  The day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, folks let down their hair and binge on the stuff they're supposed to give up for the next 40 days and nights.  For most its just a hedonistic reason to go out and do what you wouldn't normally do.

Most people know that New Orleans is the home of Mardi Gras in the U.S., but Mobile, Alabama actually has the oldest organized Mardi Gras celebration.  It's now celebrated in Biloxi, Galveston, all over different cities in Louisiana and many other Southern and non-Southern cities.

Parties, balls and parades are held; doubloons, beads, cups, Moon Pies are thrown, and much alcohol is usually consumed.

Another tradition of Mardi Gras is the King Cake.  A large ring of a coffee cake/cinnamon roll type of pastry filled with anything from spices and nuts to cream cheese.  It is usually iced and sprinkled with 3 different colored sugars: Purple for the Passion of Christ (justice); Green for hope (faith); and Gold for the treasures of leading a Christian life (power).  Traditionally a trinket or more recently a plastic baby was hidden in the cake and whoever had a piece with the trinket in it was king or queen for the day; but also had to buy the next King Cake or host the next party.

Of course in our fine country of lawsuit happy people plastic babies are now not usually supplied by bakers; if they are they don't insert it into the cake.  The last few I had were baked with a whole pecan to represent the baby/trinket.

So what are you giving up for Lent?  You don't have to be Catholic, we could probably all use a little mortification now and then.  Think of it as a good reason to pick up the New Year's Resolution you gave up about a month ago (more exercise, fewer cokes, reading more).  If you aren't giving anything up, let us know your favorite hangover cure in the comments.  Also, please let us know your family Mardi Gras traditions.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Regional Tastes - Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale

Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale is a Golden Ginger Ale which is darker in color and much stronger in flavor compared to dry ginger ale (Canada Dry, Schweppes, etc.).  It was created and has been in production in some way-shape-or form since 1901!  I know it is distributed in Birmingham by the Buffalo Rock company, but I have know idea of the brands reach in the Southeast.  

I really have just found a taste and liking for it lately, but know people who's grandmaw's swore by it.  Any time they had a stomach ache or felt bad, Buffalo Rock came to the rescue.  I also know many Otherners and locals who have tasted it and thought it was too much ginger for their tastes.  I have to admit that the first few times I tried it I coughed from inhaling too much before the first swig.

I think I developed a taste for it because of my very British grandmother that ate candied ginger and loved ginger beer (which hasn't got a lick of alcohol in it by the way).

So what's your regional taste?  Got a drink, snack, or dish that is very specific to your region?  Shoot me an email (Drew [at] Okra Cola (dot) com) and we may have you do a guest post on it.

Do you have a Buffalo Rock story?  Tell us about it in the comments.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day!

I love the movie Groundhog Day.  It's one of those movies I can't pass over when I'm channel surfing.  What's sad amazing, is that most of that stuff in the movie (speaking to humans in goundhogese, there only being one Punxsutawney Phil since the 1800's, etc.) is true! 

Here are two Southern groundhogs:
Birmingham Bill lives at the Birmingham Zoo in Birmingham, Alabama and does make an annual appearance.   You can join at the Wildlife stage starting at. 10am on Tuesday, February 2.  Just for reference, the festivities in Punxsutawney, PA begin at 3am ET!  Phil doesn't even prognosticate until 7:25am ET.

General Beauregard Lee, Ph.D. is the official weather prognosticating groundhog in Georgia and makes his home at the Yellow River Game Ranch.  He is scheduled to make his official announcement at 6am CT.  He is reported to be the first groundhog to make his announcement via Twitter.

As an FYI Punxsutawney Phil will have a webcast tomorrow morning.  Click the link and pick your view.  You can also have him text you his prediction.  More here.

Picture from

Do you know of more Southern groundhogs?  Tell us about 'em in the comments.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Driving in the South

I'm not really talking about driving in Atlanta or Nashville, I'm really talking about driving in the rural Southern U.S.  down here things are different.  People give you directions like, "It's up yonder a piece" or "you drive 'till you get to where the old high school was, then turn left."  Some times it's just assumed that you know where somethings used to be.

Then there's the horn.  When you drive in the rural South and hear a horn in traffic it's usually a bad thing.  I've been to New York where a car horn can mean come on and merge in, hold on, or to make known to one driver that another driver is still there so you don't back into him.  It isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can be.

I had a friend that was originally from Pennsylvania that was actually told once, "you can't get there from here."  That sounds like a oxymoron, because you can get from any place to any other place.  Like so many other sayings in the South it isn't literal, its just an expression.  It can be hard to get from one place to another, even in one town.  Once on the railroad tracks by my house a train had been stopped for hours and to get to high school I had to go way around it.  It felt like I couldn't get there from where I was because it was the long way around.

Do you have Southern driving/direction stories?  Share them in the comments.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Okra Cola iPhone App

Okra Cola now has an iPhone App!  I worked with a company called MotherApp and now my blog is an iPhone App!  This is a huge step for Okra Cola and I believe 2010 will be the year many more things happen.

When you get a chance please download the app and see what you think and if you have time leave an honest review of the app.  Part of it form and part function.  The app is out of my hands which should be one level of it, but the content and design is all mine which should be the other level.

I want to thank all y'all for reading and subscribing and please let me know what I can do to make this blog better for you.  If you are interested in doing a guest post or just want to pitch an idea for a post please email me drew [at] okracola [dot] com.

I look forward to hearing from you and can't wait to post some more!

I'm sorry to say this but MotherApp has decided to discontinue these types of apps. If you still have the app it will work but if you don't have the app you'll probably never have it. Sorry but thanks to you who already have it!

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Fun - Thread Count

Found a post on about thread count.  This is Aziz Ansari from Parks and Recreation and this bit is pretty funny.  Southern content: He mentions Southern Living.

Aziz Ansari on Conan from Aziz Ansari

It's a little egdy, but very funny in my opinion.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Blogs and Twitterers I Follow

Just thought I'd share some sites of people that I keep up with on the internet and via twitter.  These are people that have helped me with the blog, inspired this blog, or they are people I look up to.  Hope you enjoy.
So check 'em out and see what they have to say!  Got more links from Alabamians or other Southerners?  Let us know in the comments!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just for fun

After posting Hayseed Dixie's version, I decided that the Muppet version was too good not to post.

No Southern content but fits into the whatever I feel fit to post category.

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Bluegrass Covers of Rock Songs

There have been a good many CD's doing Bluegrass covers of Rock songs.  Pickin' on the Stones, the Grateful Dead, even Blues Traveler.  One such band doing this kinda thing is Hayseed Dixie, which sounds a bit like AC/DC.  Their first album was "A Hilbilly Tribute to AC/DC" in twenty-oh-one.

Here's a video of them doing Bohemian Rhapsody.

Found via

Hayseed Dixie
Their alter-ego is the Kerosene Brothers.
Here's an interview from

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Test Post

This is a test of the Okra Cola testing network.  If this were a real emergency you would be told where to find the nearest fried food and/or bourbon should any still be available.  Thank you!


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Pocket Knife

Most Southern gentlemen carry a pocket knife.  Now just because you do doesn't make you a gentleman, and just because you don't doesn't mean you aren't one either.

It's a great tool to have.  You can whittle, open packages, cut food and make a kids size straw (a very handy daddy trick) along with other helpful uses.  I remember my Paw Paw cutting a BBQ in half for me when I was young with his.  My dad said he saw older guys outside the courthouse carving wooden chains out of a single block of wood.

I recently got a good small pocket knife from my father-in-law for Christmas that I keep in my watch pocket and I use it more than I thought I would.  I used to have a larger Swiss Army Knife, but it was a little too big, the one I have now is light and goes in my change tray at the end of the day.

Lady's, if you have a man in your life that doesn't have a small 2 1/2" to 3" pocket knife (folded) get him one, for his birthday, Valentine's Day or Father's Day.

What do you use your knife for?

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Southern Word of the Week - Swig

(v.) Can I get a swig of your coke?
(n.) Do you have a swig left in your glass so I can take this medicine?

A swig is either taking a sip of a drink or how much you have left in your cup or can.  My grandmother would also use swaller (like swallow) the same way.  "Can I have some of that?  I just need a swaller."

The other day someone used swig and it was an odd usage, not that they didn't do it right, but it wasn't something I expected to hear from them.

Do you use swig, or is there another regional word thats similar?

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Southern Hospitality - Opening Doors

My cousin brought a girl originally from New Hampshire down to a wedding at our church.  While chatting with my wife she said something to the effect of, "Why is everyone opening doors for me?  I can get my own door."  It seems that she missed the point.  Down here gentleman open doors for women.  Heck, we open doors and hold doors open for just about everybody.

I'm sure the South isn't the only place we open doors and hold doors open, but there are a lot of people that come down here that mention how nice everyone is and that somebody always hold doors open for others.

I just wish people had that kind of hospitality in the parking lot.  I hate getting a spot I've staked out for a while stolen out from under me, but that's a different post all together.

Do you hold doors for people?  Do you not like having people help you with doors?  Let us know in the comments.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Southern Accent

If you've spent time in different parts of the South, even just different parts of a Southern state, you know there isn't just one.  When I started high school there was one guy named JoJo and it took me about a week to get used to his speach patterns because he spoke fast and with an accent that was a little different than one I was used to.  He went to a different elementary school from me and just that little bit of distance made a lot of difference in how we talked.

I've met very few people with a "magnolia" accent. It's kind of the Old Southern accent you would see in a movie at a plantation house or something out of Gone with the Wind.  It's when a person would say something like, "Why, whateva fowa?" ("Why, whatever for.") Southern accents are known for extra syllables, and in this magnolia accent it is even more pronounced. I have not heard it often, but when I have, it has been by older ladies and I always have to listen hard to find out if it is a put-on, and usually it is not. I enjoy accents and always ask people where they are from if they have an pleasantly interesting accent.

Please do not tell a Southerner they have a funny accent, especially if you are in their neck of the woods.  If you are not from the South and are sitting in Birmingham, Alabama and think that the person you are talking to has a very Southern accent; they don't, you do.  Also, please don't ask anyone with a unique accent to, "say something."  It puts people on the spot, makes them self concious and is, in my opinion at least a little rude.  If you like an accent just say, "you have a wonderful accent."

Here's something interesting A Dialect Map of American English.

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Hot Sauce

I love hot sauce.  I put it on a lot of things especially steak fries at BBQ joints and leftover (warm) pizza.  I love chicken wings and plan on making my own sauce one day.  A basic wing sauce would be hot sauce and butter/margerine to taste to coat the fried wings.  One place I know smokes the wings then fries them until crispy, then tosses with the sauce.  Moore's makes a really good wing sauce as well as Frank's Red Hot.

I also want to make a BBQ sauce one day since I love my rub, and just don't wan to go through the trial and error on that yet, but I'm sure it will include Tabasco which is my brand of choice.

Found this via
I especially like:
15. Melt with butter and douse over your movie popcorn--yum!
20. Add to chutney for a little pep to the sweetness.
 5. Put a dash of heat/smokiness into ribs.
18. Dollop on raw oysters for fresh-out-of-the-sea heat.
There are 3 entries in the comments to add them to your grits with regular cheese and/or parmesan.
They list other everyday uses for hot sauce for nail biters and keeping squirrels out.  So what's your favorite hot sauce?  What do you use it on?

Here's the link at

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Southern Word of the Week - Sack

(n.) [to a person in the grocery store] Can you put all my cold cuts in the same sack?
(v.) I'm just going to sack up all these leftovers so y'all can have something for lunch tomorrow.

Sack is a bag of some sort.  Paper, plastic even a canvas tote bag can be refered to as a sack.  The plastic kind are known for their versitility.  As a trash can liner for small cans such as one found in a bathroom.  A used plastic sack can also be used to carry lunches in. 

That's about all I've got for this one.  Hopefully y'all will have something for me in the comments.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Southern Weddings

Many weddings up North, and around the world have huge, elaborate ceremony's and a reception that's even more elaborate.  Sit down dinners, open (or cash) bar and a live band or D.J. to cap the night off.  Down here, it's not always like that.  Don't get me wrong, I've been to plenty of weddings here that meet some of these qualifications, but many more don't.

Down here you get to the wedding and it is usually pretty full of music and a some very nice stories of the Bride and Groom, more music and you are usually walking or driving to the reception in about 30 minutes.  At the reception you have a few options: cake, mints, nuts, sherbet and ginger ale/lemon-lime punch.  At the fancier weddings you'll have some additions: fruit, meatballs, and chicken fingers all buffet style.  Catholic weddings usually have the additions above as well as beer, wine and a D.J.

The thing I like about weddings in the South is the fellowship with the wedding party.  At sit down dinner weddings you get placed by folks you sometimes don't know and the only thing y'all have in common is knowing one or the other person getting married.  At Southern weddings you get to see everyone, and that everyone may only be 50 people. 

If you do get married anywhere I suggest a receiving line. It may make some of your guests uncomfortable, but it leaves you more free for the rest of the reception because you've already spoken to everyone once. 

Got a wedding story or comment?  Post them in the comments.

NOTE : I know that niether Ronald Reagan nor his wife were from the South, but it is a copyright free picture of a wedding and I thought it worked.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Southern Hospitality - Sir and Ma'am

Yes or no sir and yes or no ma'am is taught from the time a child is able to speak.  You just don't say yes, no, uh-huh, nuh-huh, most of those are not excepted in the house, or your Paw-Paw's house.  It's just what is done down here.

I have another friend that did some growing up here, then moved up to Ohio.  She actually got in trouble for saying "no ma'am" to her teacher because her teacher thought she was getting smart or sassy.  Are you kidding me!  I just don't know if I could comfortably living in a world where kids didn't say yes and no ma'am.

Cultures have things like this built into the language to honor elders and people of a certain stature.  They are called honorifics and I feel it puts us and our dialect into a different category and it could be a reason we see things differently down here (see the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis).

Have a yes and no ma'am/sir story?  Tell us about them in the comments.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Game Day Drinks

Here are a few drink recipes I thought some of you may enjoy.  If you are underage please only drink cokes and sweet tea!

Alabama Slammer (shots for 4)
1 shot Sloe Gin
1 shot Amaretto
1 shot SoCo
1 shot OJ

Shake with ice and strain into 4 shot glasses.  Enjoy!

Yellow Hammer
The Mother of All Gameday Drinks, THE YELLOW HAMMER- This is the ultimate gameday drink for a real Bama fan. This is my ultimate favorite and I usually drank one before every game during my student days at UA. This drink can only be bought at a bar called Galette’s and since open container laws apparently do not apply during gamedays don’t worry about walking to and fro with your beverage in hand. The Yellow Hammers ingredients remain a mystery but as far as I can tell this is the list. Pinapple, orange, banana juice, Vodka, Light Rum, Geradine, a splash more of orange juice and a splash of Gin. Top it with a cherry and you are good to go! There is no better way to get pumped up to cheer on the Tide!
Just for fun:
The Bear Bryant

A friend of mine originally from Tuscaloosa said it isn't gameday unless you have some bourbon and Coke.  I have my Old Crow waiting.

What're y'all doing for the game?  Let me know in the comments

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Coke - Soft Drinks - Soda

In the South you can ask for Sweet Tea, lemonade or three fingers of Jack Daniel's without any problems, but when you ask for a Coke some folks will ask you what kind. 

This confuses some people, not often at resturants, but at private homes they will often ask what kind you'd like. "A Coke," could be your answer but down here a Coke is any soft drink.  My wife often asks for a Coke and when I'll ask her what kind she'll say, "I don't care" meaning any soft drink will do. 

A Coke is synonomis with a soda but you'll find few people to say that down here.  It's a very yankee thing to say and you'll probably get looked at weird.  It's just something we grew up with and it's part of what makes us Southern.

Got any Coke/Soda stories?  Share them in the comments.

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Snow in the South

Today Birmingham is a abuzz about this snow thing.  Some of you not from the South may not know how we deal with it down here, so I am here to enlighten.

When we first hear talk of snow on the news a week out many people shrug it off and kinda dismiss it; it is a great way for people to watch the news at noon, 6 and 10pm.  But as it creeps up on the date and the forcast still predicts it people start going into panic mode.  Milk and bread fly off store shelves, I assume that milk sandwiches are a delicacy during power outages and during threats of snow.  Of course you must have milk for snow ice cream (Fresh, clean snow, and a bit of vanilla to taste and milk to thin it out into a slush) and you must have bread for sandwiches.

People panic to the point that even right now one school system has said they would be closed tomorrow and Friday, and the snow is at least 24 hours from even showing itself in Alabama.  Schools let out sometimes when the see snow, see snow stick and sometimes just because it is threating.  A few times my school was canceled because it was "too cold."  Of course some peopole aren't as concerned with the weather as much as the National Championship game with James Spann getting threats if he breaks in with weather info. 

Also, if a Southerner mentions a blizzard to you (especially the Blizzard of '93) please don't laugh.  A snow storm or any accumulation will often shut down a city. We just don't often have to deal with it so we don't have the equipment and knowledge we need when it does snow every 2 to 3 years.  One northern transplant said even he wouldn't get on the roads down here, even though he was used to it becuase of all the people who were driving crazy. 

So if it snows enjoy and if it doesn't stay warm, don't run generators indoors, make sure you have milk and bread, and make sure pets are warm and safe.  Oh, and don't forget to wear your toboggan.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Southern Word of the Week - Cut on and cut off

(v.) Cut that light on right quick so I can see what I'm doing.
(v.) Cut the fan off when you leave so you don't waste power.
(v.) Cut the heat down, I'm about to burn slap up in here!

To cut something on or off is to apply power to, or cut power off to an electric device such as a light, fan, or heating and cooling unit.

Some people argue cut would mean to stop something from happening, or to interrupt an action, but for whatever reason to us it means that if something is on, turn (cut) it off and if something is off, turn (cut) it on.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

It's 2010!  Can you believe it?

In the South you have certain things you have to eat on New Year's day: black eyed peas and greens.  It is said if you do you'll have luck throughout the next year.  I usually soak my black eyed peas the night before because the quick soak which is boiling them fast for a while then letting them soak for an hour breaks them up too much and they aren't as good in my opinion.  After the soak drain and rinse them then recover them with water and add your pork (bacon, ham bone, fatback, jowl or any pork you have handy), bring to a boil and simmer until they're as tender as you'd like.

Eating greens is another Southern tradition and I'm told eating them will bring money in the new year.  My family never has eaten many greens, but we do eat something green with our peas.  I hardly ever see collard greens at the store in the produce section, but saw a boatload this past week because of this tradition. 

As you can see there is a new look for the site and now I own!  My goal was to have it up by the new year and I'm amazed that I actually did.  If you have suggestions or comments please send them to drew [at]

Happy 2010 y'all!

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