Brunswick Stew & corndodgers

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Black & Decker makes tools. I figured they'd make sturdy kitchen appliances.

When our Black & Decker steamer died after not many uses but after the warranty had gone on to a better place we headed off to Wal-Mart to buy a replacement. Which Wal-Mart didn't have. The American masses don't like steamers I guess.

Talking to Gordon I learned that his B&D steamer had died an equally swift death.

We live on the wrong side of Durham, NC for appliance shopping. We have to bother with highways fat with traffic to visit a Best Buy or Circuit City. As badly as my fellow wanted steamed broccoli I ordered a new vegetable steamer from Amazon.

Rival FSD200 8-Quart Digital Food Steamer
Rival Steamer

The Rival Steamer's longevity is yet to be proven. It holds more than the old one. Six and a half pounds of drumsticks from Costco fit in easily. My approach to food is cook lots, put it in the fridge.

I fear I don't live up to the Will & Grace image of gracious queer living. I do not like to cook. When I'm doing the right thing I make big pots of soup consisting of random vegetables and skinless boneless chicken breasts. At my most ambitious I mix the latter with cumin, onions and tomato sauce for a chili of sorts.

I rarely eat beef because I don't know what to do with it if I'm not making a beef and vegetable stew. If there's anything you can do with pork aside from fry it I've forgotten. More thanks to laziness than sane regard for my body's health I don't buy pork.

Only twice have I tried to master cooking. After lots of trial and error I arrived at a densely spicy barbeque sauce. With equally crude empiricism I eventually created a good version of a delicacy of my homeland (um, Georgia) Brunswick Stew. Then I lost the cards I wrote them on.

(I did cook the best corndodgers, hush puppies I've ever eaten but decided that this black cuisine would only give me a heart attack and haven't cooked any in a decade.)

I really should try to recreate the Brunswick Stew. Once you throw out the fat it can be as healthy as it is filling. BBQ I've abandoned. Every bottle I've bought is too thin in spices and rich in sugar.

Before my mother passed away I wish I'd asked her for two recipes. Only a few times have I essayed the cooking of rutabagas. Each time what came out seemed like a food to be served by CIA torturers.

I've made dozens of attempts to make cole slaw. The result might have been acceptable pig slop. Commercial cole slaw seems to always be made with too much sugar and a secret spice that should be called Vileness. To be fair sometimes the only taste that will satisfy is the taste from childhood. I doubt my mother had any rare knack for cole slaw. I may never find that satisfies me.

At least I can steam cabbage.

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A friend of mine invited me over to her house for dinner. It was great. I was invited back several more time over the next month and every time she served a great meal. At one point I remarked that she had stated in the past what a poor cook she was and yet every meal I had been served thus far was wonderful?

She said yes its true she spent her life as a poor excuse for a cook and never could make a proper meal but one day she remembered she knew how to read! She said if I can read? And I can follow directions? I should be able to use a cook book. She bought a couple of cookbooks and tried a few simple things. They all turned out great. She now does more complex recipes and does them well.

She told me. “You don’t need to know how to cook! You only need to know how to read”

She’s right.

Forgive me? But do you not own a bookstore? I believe the answers you seek are already at your fingertips. Do not spend any time trying to learn the “mastery of cooking” Instead do what you must surely love to do, Read.

You’ll find it so much easier…

I thought you might have something to say.

I’ve had a Joy of Cooking for years. I have a book that gives the timings for microwaves.

I’m not uncontent with plain food. My palate is happy with what I grew up with. I do wish I could recreate a couple of things my mother made, no luck with the cookbooks. Probably she learned how to cook dirt poor in the depression. Much of Southern cooking as you doubtlessly know is rooted in making the most out of the least. It is more a chase for an idiosyncrasy remembered than anything else.

Though some of the things I miss most are just the things I need the least because they involve deep fat frying. Lots of grease when a heavy cornbread coating. If cardiovascular health were enforced by legal mandate some of what I grew up eating would be felonies.

I’m not a social eater. I suspect that drives some to mastering the details. I like to read when I eat. A habit I had to unlearn with Charles. While he’s not here figuring out what I’m going to read presses on me more than whatever the food will be.


The Joy of cooking while a good bood is for those that love to cook and know what their doing. Start with the basics

The worlds most basic cook book and the one our Mothers used is Betty Crocker (red/white plaid cover)sometimes called the better homes and gardens cookbook.

Here are some recipe card you might enjoy.

Just this morning as I was munching on a steamed sweet onion, no sauce, not even salt I was remembering my having said I enjoy plain food.

We’ve often had Betty Crocker cookbooks in the shop. I’ll try to remember to look at one.

Joy of Cooking is very strong in the basics of a given ingredient and very importantly in my case what not to do.

I think reading cookbooks help to some extent but isn’t cooking an art itself? And if it is an art, surely it does involve experimenting?

I have always found it quite fun to mentally document the different tastes and smells I have ever come across, spending just that extra 5 minutes to watch cooking shows and finally trying to whip out a dish on my own.

But then I’m an engineering sorta guy, so this is just my theory.

Actually if I just mastered, remembered the few things above I’d be content. Some people enjoy investing time in food preparation. Not me. Lazy? Sadly so.

Your feelings?

Please share your feelings about Brunswick Stew & corndodgers.

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