Universal Translator

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Thursday, 24 April 2014

"Symphony of Night" (poem)

Only the Lord knows their numbers,
I’d guess in the thousands.
From my porch, it’s like a million
frogs, bugs, and birds.
You may believe it a cacophony.
But each takes its solo,
Then mixes with others.
Sounds overlap sounds.
Millions of years of practice
 to perfect it,
the natural symphony
of night.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

"My Southern Food Memories, 1979" (poem)

file photo courtesy of Evan-Amos

Hoop cheese, Vi-enna sausages,
and saltine crackers
Eaten on the back of a pickup truck;
RC cola and peanuts,
Pawpaw’s treat at the feed store;
Eating a big Twix ‘n Tween burger
goin’ to Aunt Sue’s.
Fried cornbread, fried Spam and
a pot of black-eyed peas
Mama made in her kitchen.
Fried catfish with hushpuppies
Fryin’ at church on  Saturday.
Granny’s big breakfast with
grits, eggs, and sausage,
and Pawpaw asking
 for sawmill gravy on biscuits
the size of a cat’s head.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Easter Recipes from the South

Southern Baptists never acknowledged Lent in the 1970s but they loved a tooth-grittin’ly sweet dessert anytime.  Christians observing the Lenten season was as foreign to these parts as the Chinese language.  It was planting time down here in the South, and you couldn’t plow a cornfield or plant a garden fasting on fish or giving up fried foods – that’s what they did up in the big cities and the North. 

Girdle-Buster Pie 

20 Oreo cookies, crushed
¼ cup melted butter
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
1 small can evaporated milk
2 TB butter
½ cup sugar
2 squares bitter chocolate
½ tsp vanilla
Whipped cream
Toasted slivered almonds

Combine cookie crumbs and melted butter; pack into pie pan to make a crust, then freeze.  Spoon in vanilla ice cream; store in freezer.  Combine milk, butter, sugar, chocolate, and vanilla in a saucepan; cook over low heat until sauce is smooth, stirring frequently.  Let cool.  Serve pie topped with sauce, whipped cream, and slivered almonds.

(Source: New Holiday Cookbook: Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers, 1974, Mrs. Sara Martin Conkle, Chelsea HS, Chelsea, Alabama)

I remember when I was young if there was a get-together in the South, there was a three-congealed-salad minimum.  During Easter, it sometimes went up to five or six. And our ladies in blue hair religiously enforced it.

Sunshine Salad

1 3-oz. Package lemon gelatin
1 3-oz package orange gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 ½  cups cold water
1 no.2 can crushed pineapple
2 bananas, diced
40 miniature marshmallows
2/3 cup sugar
2 TB flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup whipped cream

Dissolve gelatins in boiling water; stir in cold water.  Chill until thickened.  Drain pineapple; reserve juice.  Add pineapple, bananas, and marshmallows to gelatin; mix well.  Place in shallow, oblong baking dish; chill until firm.  Mix sugar, flour, egg, and I cup reserved pineapple juice in double boiler; cook until thickened, stirring constantly.  Cool; fold in whipped cream.  Place on top of salad.  Grate cheese on top of dressing, if desired.

(Source: New Holiday Cookbook: Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers, 1974, Kathleen Burchett, Area Supvr of Home Economics, Jonesville, Virginia)

Ham was the usual meat dish for Easter in our South.  Some folks say that lamb is an alternative Southern meat for Easter, but that has to be a recent thing.  Lamb was a practically unknown dish in my part of the rural South.  As my Granny would say, “Them’s what they eat up North, that’s why they wear them fleece coats.”  Ham was the traditional dish because hogs were killed in the fall; and by Easter, the hams were smoked and cured to perfection. Anyway, we farm folks would eat plain ham, but some folks – those in the Southern part of the county, the descendants of the plantation people would sometimes serve ham with Jezebel Sauce.

Jezebel Sauce

1/3 to ½ small box dry mustard
1 large glass apple jelly
1 large glass pineapple preserves
½ small jar horseradish
2 tsp coarsely ground pepper

Mix mustard and apple jelly well.  Add remaining ingredients; mix thoroughly.  Place in decorative jars; tie ribbons on jars.  Tie on recipe card and serving suggestion for ham, roast pork or sausage.  Store in refridgerator; will keep indefinitely.

(Source: New Holiday Cookbook: Favorite Recipes of Home Economics Teachers, 1974, Mrs. Emely Sundbeck, Manor HS, Manor, Texas)

Saturday, 12 April 2014

"Great Uncle Clarence in the Springtime" (poem)

Great Uncle Clarence sits on the porch,
The evening sun has set the sky a’fire.
He rocks back in his chair.
“The pecan tree’s a’leafin’ out,
time to put tomatoes in the ground,”
He swats at a spring mosquito.
“The dogwood’s a’bloomin’ too, time for my bath.”
Aunt Minnie smiles, first time since fall.

Friday, 11 April 2014

"A Spring Evening"

 The woodpecker barks,
This knothole is his.
The cardinal calls her mate,
He’s fighting with his twin.
Sparrows chirp frantically
 in the magnolia tree.
The oak tree is budding,
And yellow pine dust
Floats in the air,
The early moon shines silver
in the evening gold of the sun.
A spring day is ending.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

"The Earth"

The great oak rises from the regal earth,
Its huge branches reaching, twisting and turning toward the sky like slow lightening. 
Ancient lightening from the earth bursting forth,
A slow green spark lit by the earth herself.
Through the eons, the steady earth goes gently with seasonal rhythm.
And hard rock melts into tears of sand,
While the sky moves with wild abandon; its wind, its lightening and storms,
A warrior in a constant war whose battles change daily;
The earth, an aged queen,
Repeats herself, quietly retelling her story forever.