Posts

Showing posts from December, 2016

Christmas Eve with Big Ray

Image
For several years, every Christmas Eve, my mother and I would make the long, winding drive up to Big Ray’s house.  Big Ray was Ray Hicks – the famous storyteller, recipient of the National Heritage award, subject of several books and a Smithsonian exhibit – the teller of the Jack Tales.  To us though, Ray and his family were like our family and going up to Ray’s was as much a part of our Christmas tradition as presents under the tree. Orville (pronounced Arville) Hicks (a famous story teller in his own right) introduced us to Ray, his wife Rosa (pronounced Rosie) and their son, Ted.  Arville was (and continues to be) a close family friend.  Over the years, we accompanied Arville to Merlefest and Jonesboro, and through him, met many famous folks, Doc Watson, Ora Watson, Emmylou Harris, Mac Wiseman, Earl Scruggs, Sam Bush, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Etta Baker, Roy Bookbinder, Guy Clark, Frank Profit Jr. and so many others, but none meant more to us than Ray and Rosie Hicks and their fa…

Stew Basics

Image
My friend, Tim Roper (a.k.a. The Meat Trapper) just emailed, asking if I had a stew recipe.... actually, I don't.  Stew, as he pointed out about chili, is more of a style of cooking than a recipe and can be made with a variety of ingredients.  It may be surprising to some that where I come from, beef stew isn't the norm.  On the coast, we have traditional salt water caught fish stews that have origins in the British Isles.  Around the rivers and swamps, we have catfish stews and even catfish stew festivals.  Further inland, venison stew or bear meat stew is a meal for special family gatherings.  Somewhere in between those regions, we have North Carolina style Brunswick Stew.... named for either Brunswicktown (an abandoned colonial fort), Brunswick County or a British royal... which does not get the respect it deserves. 

NC Brunswick Stew may be older than Virginia Brunswick stew, and is certainly older than Georgia Brunswick Stew.  Unlike VA and GA, NC Brunswick Stew is not so…

Free Meat

I was just talking with a guy who owns a deer processing center. It is the rare processor, that has facilities for aging the meat and makes really good sausage. Of course, we got to talking about what is done with the odd cuts and the deer skin. He sells the hides when he can for less than $5, to a tannery. This would be a huge opportunity for anyone wanting to make leather goods, btw - just go to your local deer processor and buy the hides. Your state will likely require... a paper trail, but you could make anything from fine upholstery and jackets to decorative items. But, what really bothered me was the waste of the meat. Most folks field dress their deer (gut) and few take the heart, liver and kidneys home. To not do so is wanton waste of good food. Sometimes a deer comes into his place not gutted..... by then, he has to throw away the spoiled organs. That is such a shame. Of course, the tripe and lights should also be utilized, but convincing folks to eat such things is…

The Perspective Of A Meat Hunter and Angler - LIFE IS NOT CATCH AND RELEASE

One thing that I will not discuss much on this blog is "catch and release." fishing.  I do not believe in catch and release fishing and I do not practice it.  Sure, if the fish is too small or cannot be legally kept, I will throw it back.  I hunt, fish and trap for meat.  I am not a "sport fisherman."

I realize that catch and release fishing has played a roll in restocking waters that were over fished or polluted in the past, and for introducing new species of fish in areas where they are not native.  This has especially been true for trout fishing in mountain streams.  However, I think it has been over done.  Too often, catch and release fishing is portrayed as the only ethical style of fishing and those who take fish for eating are looked down on, and even prohibited from certain waters.  This really hit home for me when I was reading a cookbook published by one of America's largest fishing tackle companies.  It had some good recipes and some interesting stor…