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Showing posts from June, 2015

Glorious Fatback

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It seems that many folks I meet these days, under a certain age, say that they do not like vegetables.  This is incredible to me, because I'm some what of a vegetable fanatic.  Growing up on the farm and in rural communities, huge varieties of fresh vegetables are a part of life.  It has often been joked that mid-summer in the south requires constant vigilance because, the moment you turn your  back, someone leaves a sack of squash on your doorstep or slips it through an open car window.  When vegetables come into season int he south, they come in! Everyone with a garden and even a slightly green thumb is overwhelmed with produce.  Truly, our calendars would be more appropriately marked by frost dates, the peak times for vegetables and hunting seasons than by months.

Life in the south revolves around food.  So, when someone tells me they don't like vegetables, I have to enquire as to the root cause.  Invariably, it is because they have been raised on unseasoned vegetables.  Th…

Possum and "Ruralistic" Food Philosophy

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Several seemingly unrelated thoughts have been nagging at me over the past week in a disjointed fashion.  Oddly, or perhaps appropriately, enough they came together the other night as I dodged a possum.  I was passing through a very rural area, on my way home late at night when a huge possum walked into the road.  It was nearly medium dog sized!  I swerved and it turned back.  My first thought was that it would make someone a very good supper if it doesn't get run over before hunting season.  My thoughts drifted to memories of roast possum and sweet potatoes, a true southern meal that few in our era have experienced.  The fresh, cleaned and trimmed possum is slowly roasted with sweet potatoes so that the potatoes slowly become yams in the rendered fat.  The meat is rich and tender... hinting at both pork and chicken.  The gravy is actually indescribable.....

As I was pondering how just few people these days have ever tasted possum, it occurred to me that perhaps just as few have ta…

Air Dried Country Sausage

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When I was very young, my family made sausage at home.  My great grandfather raised hogs, had his own smoke house and was an artist with pork, of French Huguenot descent.  He smoked country hams and bacon, made sausages, liver pudding and head cheese, and rendered the delicious lard that helped make my family's cooking so very good.  After he passed away, at the age of 96, my grandmother stopped making her own sausage.  I was able to get her sausage and head cheese recipes though, and I will be sharing those on this blog in the near future.  Some of our distant cousins operated a small grocery store and made sausage in house, so that is where we bought our sausage for most of my formative years.

The great specialty sausage made by my family was air dried country sausage.  Air dried country sausage is very difficult to find outside of southeastern North Carolina and South Carolina.  Last winter, I learned that one of the few independent grocery stores that still made it in house wa…