Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Weather Boosts Sales of Bread and Milk

Got colder.  Some places folks were warned it might snow.  In some regions of the country, it snowed a lot.  But here in the deep South, the few places that saw any snow at all was a scarce dusting that a mouse could walk through without boots.

Not saying it didn’t get a bit frigid.  It did.  The other morning, I saw two dawgs out in the front yard with jumper cables trying to get a rabbit started so they’d have sump’m to chase.  Today, it never got above freezing.  In fact, if the thermometer dropped any more degrees, I reckon I’d have to turn in my diploma.

When it gets like this, Somebody on the television makes comment about it and throws out the possibility that any precipitation that might occur could form ice crystals–in other words, snow.  Then, folks panic.  They rush to the store to buy milk, and bread, and little else if anything at all.  Did see a few folks buying candles and flashlight batteries.  But that makes sense, so it isn’t a widespread custom.

Under such circumstances, stores have trouble keeping milk and bread in stock, which is a happy time for the bread and milk venders.  On the other hand, the BBQ sauce salesman can take the rest of the week off.

I asked a man rushing into a grocers what he was in such a hurry to buy.  He said bread and milk.  When I asked why, he looked at me as if I was an idiot, and blurted out:

“Haven’t you been listening to the news?  It could snow!”

I didn’t bother him to suggest he might get some eggs, and maybe a bag of potato chips.  Chances are those suggestions could’ve overwhelmed the man.  After all, anybody over the age of five knows quite well the rules say you’re supposed to buy milk and bread if there’s any chance of snow flurries.  I guess if there is a threat of a volcano, you’re supposed to buy marshmallows?  I don’t know.

Everybody buys milk and bread, and none of them show any embarrassment about it.  When you consider the consequences of not stocking up on milk and bread, knowing such irresponsibility will eventually be found out, it’s best to go ahead and gather up all the bread and milk you can pay for.  Over time, even your on mother could find out if you didn’t, and hearing of a negligence of that order could break her heart.  After all, she raised you better’n that, didn’t she?

Nobody ever screams:

“Toilet paper!  Oh, my God, it’s gonna snow, so we’d better stock up on toilet paper!  And Books!  When does the library close?”

Equally true is that there’s no run on bananas, yogurt, canned vegetables, luncheon meats, aluminum foil, or fabric softener during this time, either.  Salt sales perk up, but not enough to effect the stock market.

I’ve studied on this.  Seems when it snows, or even might snow, folks develop a craving for milk sammiches.  So as to be of good service to the community, I offer the following recipe:

*  Get two slices of bread.  Doesn’t matter if you use king thin, whole wheat, rye, or pumpernickel, you’re about to eat a soggy sammich.

*  Scoop out a tablespoon of milk for each slice, and spread it evenly all over the surface of the bread.  If you’re really hungry, use heaping tablespoons of milk, or add an additional slice of bread, and call it a club sammich.

*  For dessert, add a little chocolate to the milk, if you have any.  But if you don’t, let it go.  Don’t go back to the store in this weather, unless you think theres a possibility they could’ve restocked bread and milk since you were there.  In that case you are obliged to go for it.

*  For variety, toast the bread.  It will still be a soggy sammich, but crisper.  Milktoast is not considered a macho food, but you don’t have to tell anybody if you don’t want to.  Your reputation is preserved just by everyone knowing you had sense enough to buy the bread and milk.

Wondering what to drink with your soggy milk sammich?  Well, considering your supply of beverages hoarded away during this emergency, pour yourself a tall glass of milk.  Not only is it all you have, it’s a tradishum.  Best I can tell, during this season that is what is to be expected.

Do not question these things.  Just go to the store, and buy your bread and milk.  If you’re successful and get there before the crowds, go home and feel smug about your accomplishment.  Later, as a reward to yourself and a nice gesture to the rest of the family, fix up a nice plateful of soggy, soaky, drippy, slurpy milk sammiches.  Then look for the signs of gratitude gushing forth from everyone else in the house who realizes if it weren’t for your forethought, they might be reduced to eating steak, potatoes, pretzels, beer, or even pie.

Tater Soup

Ingredients:

*  Taters (called “potatoes” in some regions of the country);

*  Onions (recommended but optional),

*  Water (amount varies, depending on the number of taters you use, and the desired thickness or thinness of the soup),

*  Spices (a variety: see below),

*  Thickening agents such as flour or corn starch may be used if desired, but if you’re using fresh taters, there should be ample starch in them to cook up a pot of glue if you leave it on the stove long enough,

*  Lubricant or grease of some kind (for options, see below),

*  Milk (optional.  Use soy or mammalian.  Milk of Magnesia should be saved to use only after the soup has been eaten).

*  Brandy (wine may be substituted, or even whiskey, but perhaps in lesser quantities.  See disclaimer below**).

**********************

Depending on the number of servings, and depending on the size of the potatoes available, use one potato (two potato, three potato, four…).  If it is for a large party or banquet, use five potato, six potato, seven potato, more (and so on).

Peel the tater(s) (optional), and cut whatever is left over after peeling into bite sized portions.  If the pieces appear to be too large for a soup spoon, plan on using tablespoons or ladles.  Don’t use forks, as you can wear yourself out trying to eat soup with a fork.  But keep a fork handy (see below).

Place the cut-up pieces of tater in a pot large enough to hold them along with an adequate amount of water to cover them.  Use clean water whenever available.  Turn the burner to a setting that will cause the water to heat to a boil.  Otherwise, you’ll be standing there for a long time.

If you’re using onions, peel them and cut them up as you did the taters.  If using wild onions, one should be sufficient for even a very large pot of soup.  They tend to have a strong taste and tend to turn the soup green, so don’t over do it.  However much you use, go ahead and put it in the pot with the taters.

Add thickening agents, but use some discretion unless you need to repair sheetrock or plaster in the kitchen area.  Try not to get it all over your face and clothes, unless you have time to wash up and change before your guests arrive.  You don’t want them to know all your secrets, do you?

Season to taste.  Purely tasteless people shouldn’t bother with this step at all, and it would be especially pointless if your dinner guests are also tasteless people.  Judging from things posted frequently on Bookface every day, such a condition might be more common than some might suspect.  Some cooks like to add parsley, but remember, this is tater soup, not parsley soup.

If you like seeing little oily beads floating in your soup, add oil or some kind of edible cooking lubricant.  But do so sparingly.  Otherwise, the soup will slurp down so quickly you’ll hardly have time to enjoy it.  Some folks like to use butter or margarine, but you can use lard.  Vegetarians should use a vegetable oil.  Bullfighting enthusiasts should use Oil of Olay.  I’m not sure what Presbyterians should use, but whatever it is will have been predetermined.

For a creamy finish, add cream or milk.  The quantity and quality of the milk, if used at all, will be left to the discretion of the chef.  If an intention is to convert the tater soup to a chowder or bisque, you might wish to refer to a chowder or bisque recipe of some kind.  When making bisque, the soup sometimes gets as drunk as the chef, but I’ll leave that up to you.

Pour approximately three ounces of brandy in a separate container such as a glass.  If you’re alone not needing to make a fashion statement, you can forego brandy snifters and use a coffee mug.  This should be a sufficient amount to sip on while your soup comes to its first boil.

You may substitute wine for the brandy, but you should increase the volume by two or three to one if you do.  If the low setting on your stovetop is very low, a second bottle of wine may be necessary.  For those who insist, whiskey can be used instead, but never use any whiskey that you wouldn’t take straight, as it could make your soup crooked.

After the potato pieces and water begin to boil, turn the burner down to a lower setting.  Refill your coffee mug or brandy snifter with a sufficient amount to satisfy your thirst while the soup continues to cook down.

After a reasonable amount of brandy has been consumed, test the tenderness of some of the boiling tater pieces by attempting to jab them with a fork.  It’s a good idea to keep your hand and arm out of the soup during this procedure, especially if you’ve had a recent manicure you don’t wish to ruin.

No matter how done you think the soup is, do not serve until all the guests have had at least as much brandy or wine as the cook.  After you turn off the stove, wait until the bubbling subsides before serving unless the meal is some kind of religious ceremony where you would have all the guests calling out the many names people have used to describe the Deity over the years.

When you’re certain the guests are properly prepared (hints will be that they need to lean on the table in order to stand up, or are making improper suggestions to each other and laughing about it), serve the soup in bowls.

**Disclaimer:  Harrumph!  Whereas and so forth, if the cook and guest have not yet reached the age of adultery, it will be required by law in most states to substitute some non-alcoholic substance in lieu of brandy, wine or whi (hic) skey.

You can use plates, but unless you keep the portions very small, the soup is likely to spill over onto the tablecloth (if you’re using a tablecloth), and even onto the floor.  Nothing else need be served with the soup because by now, your guests shouldn’t even care one way or the other.

If you wish this to be a memorable occasion, have a generous supply of pepper sauce on the table for your guests.  The next morning, each and every one of them will call out your name with a most sincere intensity warranted by the generosity of your adding those spicy condiments to the table the evening before.

You can also use this same recipe for mater soup.  Just substitute maters for taters.  The only variance is the fork.  Jabbing maters to see if they are tender is only necessary when cooking green mater soup, and nobody in their right mind does that.  ‘Sposed to fry green ones anyway, right?

Stinky Cheese On Crackers

Sometimes a wonderfully aromatic cheese will go on sale at a deli or grocery store because it isn’t selling.  It may be an oddball brand, or just a product not called for in your market area.  I found such an item recently.  One of the features of the soft product was the presence of penicillium roqueforti mold as in gorgonzola, stilton, or blue brie cheeses, and wrapped in such a way that your nose could find it long before your eyes could get close enough to read the label.

The expiration dates on the packages were only minutes away, which had contributed to cause the pungency rate to approach a 9.7 on the Richter scale.  In hopes of selling it instead of having to throw it out,  the store had marked it down twice.  Finally, it was selling for about 25% of its original price, thus bringing it into the range of what I call a budget.

I thought to myself:  “I’ll bet this stuff stinks really good,” and I was right.

So, I bought two packages, and went home with the windows of the car rolled down.  When I got home from the store, I let it age in the dairy case of our refrigerator for about 37 minutes.  When I reopened the frig, I noticed that a head of lettuce had wilted, and a bowl of left-over marinara sauce had committed suicide.  I then prepared a small hors d’oeuvres tray with crackers, and put a generous slab of this powerful cheese on each one, and announced:

“Hey!  Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!  Who wants some stinky cheese on crackers?”

My wife gave me a funny look, and said:

“Stinky cheese?  No, I don’t think so.”

Realizing a bit of the brilliance in my calling it “stinky”, it looked like I’d have all of it to myself.  So for those who didn’t follow the story very well, here’s the recipe you should use in order to minimize how much of it you will have to share:

*  Buy some stinky cheese, and a box of crackers (if you don’t already have a box at home).

*  Put slices of stinky cheese on the crackers.

*  Announce to your guests: “Who’d like some stinky cheese on crackers?”

*  Most people will refuse.  But if they do not do so quickly enough, ask them if they remember ever forgetting to take their sweaty gym clothes home from school to be washed.  Then hold out the tray of appetizers, and say: “Stinky cheese?” This should suffice for arranging that almost all of those delicious crackers with stinky cheese on them will be left just for you.  If you’re really smart, you should also call out to your guests asking:

*  “Hey!  Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey!  Anyone care for a glass of spoiled fruit juice?”

After all, the grapes have to ferment if there’s to be wine, right?  By now, some of your guests will be leaving, and your precious supply of these gourmet delights will be safe, or reasonably so.  I put a small bit of it out to see if the puppies would like it.  Instead of eating it, they just rolled in it.

Earthquakermole

Even though the word “earth” appears in the name, don’t put any dirt in this product, even though it might improve the taste if you did.

Peel, and chop up two or three avocados.  Most cooks recommend you remove the seeds.  They are huge.  You’ll have no trouble identifying them.

Mash the avocados as you would mash potatoes.  You will not need to use any potatoes here except as an example of what you are trying to visualize.

Chop up an onion.  Again, you should peel it, but don’t waste time looking for the seeds.

Chop finely one large, or two small cloves of garlic.  Do not get confused by the word “clove”, as that particular spice will not be needed for this recipe.  But if you accidentally drop in a few cloves, it really won’t make that much difference to any but the more erudite epicureans in your dinner party.

Chop up one huge ripe tomato, or two average ones, skin, seeds, and all.  If using a knife, try not to cut yourself.  But if you must, do so only while chopping the tomato, as you will be sure to get caught otherwise.

Chop up a nice double handful of fresh cilantro.  If you don’t have any, use parsley.  In emergency situations, you can use collards, or turnip greens, but do so sparingly–half a handful will do just fine, but don’t tell the guests.

Chop up approximately one and a half tablespoons of each of the following:

Habanero Chili peppers;

Cayenne peppers,

Jalepeno peppers,

Hungarian Wax peppers,

Tabasco Chili peppers,

Trinidad Scorpion Chili peppers,

Bhut Jolokia Chili peppers,

Satanic Viper Chili peppers.

Do NOT touch these with your bare hands!  I strongly recommend you wear a diver’s suit complete with helmet.  Do NOT breathe any unfiltered air in the room where the chopping takes place.

If you’d like, boil an egg.  But it will not be needed in this recipe.  Some folks just like to boil an egg or two while they’re in the kitchen to use for something else later.

Prepare a pot of oatmeal.  This recipe calls for “Quaker” brand oatmeal simply because the word “quaker” appears in the name.  Some folks prefer groats, or steel cut oats, but please understand there is nothing about this recipe intending to produce a nutritional dish.  This is just a conversation piece for the table, and at best, might bring some life back into that old bag of stale nacho chips hiding in some corner of your pantry.

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl or bucket, depending on which you have available that is clean at the time.  You can use a mixer, or a spoon or a fork for that matter.  I don’t care.

You can even use your hands, but wear protective gloves, because some of the peppers called for in this recipe could dissolve your fingernails, or at least eat the polish off them.  This is not an acceptable substitute for a manicure.

When it is mixed to a consistency of goop, place the earthquakermole in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving.  It’s a good idea to put a lid on it so that the aroma doesn’t spread to everything you have in the crisper.

If you or your guests actually eat this stuff, make sure toilets are available, and not too far away.  The effects of ingestion are likely to cause some indigestion, and perhaps more than a little internal violence.  Some have been known to convulse and shake ferociously, hence why the the dish is so named.

This recipe is good for an almost unlimited number of guests, because nobody will ever eat more than a taste of it.  Those that do will emphatically tell others to leave it alone.

Make sure to have a large quantity of inexpensive beverages (water) available, and positioned throughout the entire serving area.  A couple of CO2 fire extinguishers might come in handy.

Your guests may not be able to say “water”, but they will make wild hand gestures pointing at their mouths in such a way to let you know that is what they desperately need.

If they start running towards the sink with their heads down, and their arms flailing wildly behind their torsos, do not get in the way.

There will be leftovers.  There really is no known limit to the number of times you can freeze this stuff, and re-serve it.  Common sense should tell you not to serve it to small children, or to anyone suffering from Tourette Syndrome.

Avoid feeding this to any household pets unless you have pet monitor lizards.  Even so, do not feed it to them in the house.

Yeast Roll Recipe

“When the Roll is Called Up Yonder, I’ll be There”  -James M. Black, 1893

(Note: before attempting this recipe, check the birthdate on your ID to make sure it’s okay for you to proceed.)

Boil a gallon or three of water (don’t add salt).  At sea level, this occurs at about 212 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you don’t have a thermometer, watch for the little bubbles.  Bring it to a rolling boil (called the boil roll).  I was told the purpose of the original boil is to get the water past your eyes, which makes little sense since I never get in the kettle.  In fact, during the boiling,  I maintain a proper distance as steam tends to fog up my glasses.

* Turn down the heat so that the water remains hot, but isn’t boiling.  At this time, add in your crystal malt and toasted barley grains into the water to steep.  I tend to steep longer than some folks do because I live at the bottom of a hill.

Mix in about seven to eleven pounds of (barley) malt syrup or other fermentable sugars (depending on how much roll you want for your “yeast rolls”).  Use a ladle–do not try to stir it with your hands, unless you’re absolutely sure they are clean–check under your fingernails for possible contaminants.  If using your hands, make sure you roll up your sleeves.  The temperatures tend to dissuade me from that sort of thing as they approach the boiling point of water, but then, I’m not as tough as some of you might be.

* You can use dry malt extract instead of the syrup, or in addition to it.  I usually use some as an additional kicker.  Be careful.  Whatever that fine powder gets on will become sticky.  If not careful, when finished you might need to go over everything in your prep area with a warm damp cloth, including the ceiling.

Add a few cups, or several pounds of crystal barley or other specialty grains, depending on flavors, textures, and the color you’re attempting to accomplish.  My personal regular mix is the sans kitchen sink, but others may want lighter hues and body.  I’ve found the time it takes to steep allows me a chance to smoke my pipe.  Lately, I’ve found that if I let it cold steep a couple of days, I’ll have time to smoke my pipe several times.  The grains and how they have been processed will cause some variable factors in color and potency.  If you choose to measure by the cup and not sure which cup to use, use a big one.  An old pair of panty hose will make a good straining bag for the barley (make sure the nylons are reasonably clean before using them in this manner).

* Always take the panty hose off before using them, as the loose grains could otherwise stick to your skin after steeping in hot water.  It could also create a space problem unless you are brewing in a bathtub.  Besides getting all gooey and sticky, you may find very hot water to be less than comfortable for any extended period.  I hope repeating this caution will not be necessary.

Add bittering hops early, and finishing hops later.  I use different hops at three different times in the process, but if you wish, you can use the same hops for all stages.  There is a reason for this, but I don’t know what it is.  Panty hose can also be used for the hops as well as the barley just like a tea bag, or you can buy a commercial hop sack.  Use the part of the hose normally worn on the feet and calves instead of the hip and waist sections, unless you intend to use a lot of hops.  If your spouse see’s you doing this, expect them to roll their eyes.  If the ones you are using would not fit her, she may ask you to explain where you got them.  Do NOT over look this, as it could have consequences.

Other adjunct fermentables such as brown sugar, sorghum, and honey may be added if you desire, or you can use extra malt kicker.  The use of rice, corn, or wheat is allowable although it is an offense to stricter old German standards that call for just barley, water, and hops.  Oatmeal is not recommended at all, whether flakes or steel rolled, due to the tendency to turn your yeast roll into a paste.  But you can use some rye if you like.

Bring the wort to a boil stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. I like a yeast roll with full body and flavor, so I recommend at least a pound to a pound and a half to two pounds of fermentable sugars per gallon of finished product.  The yeast you will roll later into your mix should help nicely to convert these sugars to ethanol.  I do hope the benefit of that effect does not escape you.

After the wort has boiled, let it cool–the quicker the better.  Then, pour it into a fermenting vat and adding as much room temperature water as needed to bring the volume up to the amount of “yeast roll” you expect it to yield.  I usually do about twenty-three liters (approximately six gallons) at a time.  That way, I won’t have to cook every day.

Once cooled to below 70 degrees F (so as not to kill or offend the yeast), it will be time to roll in the yeast.  I use one of several kinds of ale yeasts, but that is how I roll.  Before rolling it into the wort, roll it around a bit in the package so it will be a loose powder instead of a clump.  Open the bag or envelope of yeast, And with your fingers, roll the contents out so it spreads over the top of the liquid in the vat.  I call this procedure the “yeast roll”, and it should be done gently.  Some brewers use liquid live cultures, and others rehydrate dry yeasts before adding.  I’ve had no bad experiences with just rolling it on the surface in powder form.

* Try not to splash it on any clothing that requires dry cleaning.  Some say “pour”, sprinkle, or “toss”, but I like to say “roll”.  Otherwise, this would be a recipe for “yeast pour“, “yeast sprinkle”, or “yeast toss”.

* If you wish to know the efficiency rates of the work your yeast is doing, use a hydrometer to determine the specific gravity of both potential and final essence levels–some folks use the acronym ABV to describe the essence contained.  With those levels noted, some simple arithmetic will help you identify potency.  If you intend to bypass this step, always hide your car keys from yourself before indulging in the finished product.

Expect a lot of carbon dioxide to be given off as a byproduct.  Make sure you have a vent for this, otherwise your vat is liable to explode splattering your yeast rolls all over the ceiling and walls.  The vent should be a kind of water valve so contaminants from the air don’t get back into the vat.  There are wild yeasts and other fungal spores in the air that could render your yeast rolls a bit funky.  I usually use a very large airlock (hose running into a gallon jug of water) for the first few days, as commercially available airlocks are often too small to handle the way my yeast rolls roll and rock.

A sample of the finished product may also be called a “yeast roll“, or “barley pop“, and a friend of mine calls them “chicken sodas” to confuse the children, and keep them from wanting any before dinner.

In about five to ten days, siphon the liquid off the sediment of dead (or dormant) yeasts that have settled to the bottom of the vat.  Some folks bottle at this time, but I like to transfer it to a secondary settling vessel for another five to ten days.   When bottling, I like to use sanitary or reasonably clean bottles.  Dirty ones can cause an infection to your brew, so it’s usually not a good idea to just let the dawgs lick ’em clean.  Then, roll with it.

* There are still some live yeast cells in the brew, which is a good thing.  If you add a few ounces of simple sugar to your mix at bottling time (one to one and a quarter ounces per gallon), the product will naturally carbonate itself in the bottles while conditioning.  If you put too much priming sugar in the mix, your bottles could explode requiring that you to deal with the mess, the extent of which will depend on what else was in the room at the time that now needs to be cleaned, replaced, or just painted.

Allow at least two or three weeks for conditioning in a cool dark place after bottling.  Four or five weeks can be better.  Unless you have an ample supply of older product ready to drink, conditioning time requires you must get control of the inability to postpone gratification.

* After proper conditioning time, move your yeast rolls to a refrigerator.  The time spent taking it to refrigeration and retrieving it later needs to be calculated into your cost of transportation.  This allows some of the carbon dioxide to dissolve better so your rolls won’t go flat too quickly.  There is a commercially available ale called “Fat Tire”, which is nice, but “Flat Tire” is not a good idea.

* Some folks collect the sediment to keep an ongoing live yeast culture.  But you should not attempt this unless you know what you’re doing.  For that matter, most things in life would do better if folks understood what they were doing, but we’ll not attempt to cover all of that right now.  If you intend to dispose of the trub in the bottom of brew vats, you can roll the yeast sediment into either a compost heap, or a commode.  If you keep hogs, you can add it to their feed, but don’t ever feed it to the cat.

* I’m probably enjoying a yeast roll right now while you read this.  I’ve found it’s good for whatever ale‘s you.

No biscuits were harmed during the creation of this recipe.

Pan Crud

The residue formed by frying or cooking just about anything builds up in the pan or skillet after awhile.  The longer you wait between pan scrapings or cleanings, the thicker it gets.  It is best described as “crud”.  It varies from crusty to viscous, but is at its finest when it is a little of both.

There is a lot to be said for the pleasures associated with finding a skillet that has been sitting on a stovetop for several days, and no hint as to what was the last thing cooked in it.  Well seasoned pan crud is a build up of oils used for frying many different items such as: bacon, hamburgers, chicken, fish, potatoes, ‘possum, squirrel, squash, green tomatoes, okra, and (when the budget allows for extravagance) potted meat.

Over time, these add tremendous flavor and texture to the crud.  Also, by not cleaning the skillet out between frying episodes, you don’t have to add as much new lard each time.  This will save money which you will need to pay the deductibles on your medical insurance (it is a good idea to make sure all life insurance premiums are current before using pan crud for anything).

Color varies, usually from dark brown to black, but some excellent pan cruds will be gray with white spots.  This is okay, and normally just indicates a higher fat content (which makes it taste gooder) unless the white spots are fuzzy.  If the pan crud appears to be growing a beard, or taking on shades of green, you might want to place it in an oven for a period of time, and at a temperature that might render it sterile.  Be careful here, because the amount of time, and temperatures required, based on what modern science has learned in the past few years, could melt your stove, or at least stink the place up a bit.

Pan crud should be collected in a bucket, and kept handy.  I am tearful when I think of how often folks discard this wonderful byproduct due to insufficient education.  There are almost unlimited uses for pan crud.  Every kitchen and workshop should keep ample supplies on hand.

Besides polishing silver, stainless steel ware and cuttlery, it’s great for keeping the worm of your shop vice lubricated, and is a good rust inhibitor for tools.  It only takes a dab to make hubcaps shine like a diamond in the south end of a north-bound duck, and is perfect for dipping chisels and drill bits being re-tempered after sharpening too fast.  Be cautious of flames while doing this unless you intend to burn down your shop.  By adding a little pumice or sand, pan crud serves as an excellent waterless hand cleaner.  Just make sure you use plenty of soap and water afterwards.

Pan crud, though often used as a topping for entrees, casseroles, and desserts, can also serve as a main course all by itself, but only if you’re absolutely starving.  Some folks use it as a salad dressing, but I’ve found it makes lettuce too slippery to stay on the fork.  One of the more interesting glazes for baked foods is pan crud mixed with a little fruit juice (or old crayons) for added color.

Substituting with pan crud sure comes in handy between paydays when going back to the grocery store is not economic.  It has been used as a replacement for gelatin, mayonnaise, butter, and even ice cream.  You can also add a spoonful or so to grits or oatmeal as a way to stretch things out when you have company.  If you are equipped with a cast-iron stomach, no homemade soup or stew is complete without it.  It’s perfect for adding the magic touch to a pot of chili, and nothing is better for removing water spots from wine glasses.

When the menu calls for appetizers, pan crud by itself can be used as a dip for chips and crackers, and can be served hot or cold.  Because it is so easy to spread, you can use it as a filling for celery sticks, and pitted olives.

Use it as a shaving cream when it’s not quite time for a new blade, and pan crud is great for slicking back your hair.  It takes a lot of the drag and pull out of the comb.  It will waterproof your shoes as well as shine them, and is particularly helpful when used that way if you’re trying to teach a dawg to heel.  Those of you with small children may recognize the desirable way pan crud helps to control diaper rash, but always check with your pediatrician in case your child doesn’t have the hide of a rhinoceros.

It can be used as a skin cream for those who have leathery skin, but don’t get carried away.  Afterward, dress with loose-fitting old clothes no longer intended to be worn when receiving guests, or attending public events.  If you intend to wear your good clothes, I’d leave it alone (see warning below about using on skin without first checking with your doctor or funeral director).

Some other (but not all) uses for Pan Crud:

* Bird feed suet–particularly for crows, vultures, and buzzards.  Also, a good coat of pan crud on the bird feeder itself will make it a bit slippery for those sunflower stealing pesky squirrels;

* Transmission fluid additive–increases “slippance” to remind you it’s time for an overhaul;

* Decorative candles–blending pan crud with paraffin is a good way to spruce up holiday candles, especially if the holiday is “Halloween”;

* Head Lice repellent–coat the hair and scalp thickly so as to cause the lice to slide ride off onto the floor.  Sleep standing up, or use disposable pillowcases.

* Gasoline additive–makes your car smoke like it has an old diesel engine;

*Diesel fuel additive–makes you think: “tastes like chicken” every time you crank it up, but it tends to clog injectors;

* Fly paper–flies may not stick to it, but you’ll be able to track them easier;

*Radiator coolant–keeps water pump lubricated (note: crud that is primarily from fish fryers is not recommended);

* Ski and surfboard lubricant (the bottoms only-never put it on the tops);

* Makeup base–stretches your cosmetic budget.  Adds flavor to lipstick, and makes nail polish shine (some cruds can also be used as nail polish remover, and even nail remover).  Some football players use it to put those dark, light absorbing streaks under their eyes, but never over the eyes: sweat can cause it to run, and blur your vision;

* Furniture Scratch Remover–hides ugly scratches on coffee tables and other fine wood chewed on by dawgs and chilluns.  But don’t cake it on too thickly, ’cause it’ll stink up the room;

* Flea Repellent–Put a dab on the bottom of the flea’s feet, and watch him repel quickly down whatever he tries to stand on;

* Massage therapy–A great way to spend the day at the spa, but smell like you’ve spent it slaving over a hot stove.  It is a deception, but your spouse should be used to that by now;

* Windshield cleaner–softens caked-on love bugs, but may inhibit visibility.  Parked cars only-never use while driving;

* Humidifier oil–Makes every room in your house smell like “supper is ready”;

*Corrosion retardant–for battery terminals, and other electronic connections.  Caution: some pan cruds are highly flammable, and should not be used where there is a chance of electric spark.  Also, it may attract mice and other rodents and encourage them to chew insulation;

Pan Crud is NOT recommended to be used as (not to be presumed to be a complete list):

* Carburetor cleaner–could attract fire ants, and has also been attributed to significant carbon buildup;

* Antibiotic ointment–but it can be used as an anti-antibiotic whenever germs are desirable.  Because of this, intimate or personal hygiene uses are also discouraged;

* Under arm deodorant–especially if you intend to wear clothes later.  Crud stains are most difficult to remove from linens;

* Eye drops–can lead to eye infections, and even total blindness especially if it’s still very hot when applied;

* Coffee creamer–unless you intend to use the coffee for catfish bait;

*Any laundry application–unless you want spots and stains to grow larger rather than smaller;

* Resurfacing or cleaning driveways, sidewalks, or any other pavement–unless you intend to use it as a traction inhibitor, then it works fine.

* Lubricant or cleaner for motorcycle saddles and tires–anybody who wouldn’t understand this should never get within three feet of a motorcycle (see “traction inhibitor” in above comment);

* Sunscreen–remember, pan crud is a “cooking” oil base, so it will have an SPF factor of zero.

* Perfume–well, unless your intent is to attract ‘possums.

* Using pan crud to lubricate footballs is a bad idea.  I think it’s okay to put it on face guards, because you ain’t supposed to touch those, anyway.

* Sniffing pan crud is an abomination.  Well, a quick whiff to make sure it ain’t too fishy maybe, but don’t inhale!

* Although rubbing your feet with pan crud might make it easier to put your socks on, it could cause the tops of the socks to sag, thus allowing your ankles to get sunburned;

Warning: if you are allergic to botulism or other kinds of food poisoning, you might want to check with your physician (or the owner of a nearby funeral home) before taking pan crud internally, or before applying it to skin, hair, open wounds, or exposed bone.  Some folks are just not as tough as others, and the best thing to do is to go ahead and admit it.  But if it is your custom to eat at the same table with coyotes, cockroaches, jackals, wharf-rats, crows, hyenas, vultures, maggots, and buzzards, I wouldn’t worry about it at all.  In fact, if that is the case, I would encourage you to consider a career in politics.

Tequila Martinis

Sometimes a local Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurant has a special on Margaritas, and sometimes they don’t.  On some alternate nights, certain beers may be featured at nostalgic prices, but I’ve found that the impulse decision to go out to eat has no direct correlation to these specials, as they are never in vogue when I show up, anyway.

Last night, the only beverage special was for martinis, but I was in no mood for gin, or vodka.  So just for the sake of conversation, I asked  the server what kind of martinis they were offering, and she said:

“Any kind you want!  All martinis are half off tonight!”

Bingo!  Sometimes you have to think outside the menu.  I told her I’d have a tequila martini.  I had to say it twice.  She looked kind of surprised, and asked:

” A what?  A tequila martini?  

“Thassrite, tequila,” I responded trying not to giggle.

What kind?” she asked.

I said:  “Dry”

Well cool beans if they didn’t bring me a double shot of Patrone in a martini glass, and rimmed it with salt!

The young lady serving our table said the bartender claimed it was the first one in history, but I assured her that as long as there have been drinkers with an “any port in a storm” attitude, there is just no telling what concoctions have been invented that nobody wanted to brag about.

Was there a splash of vermouth in it? I don’t know, but I like wine, so it didn’t matter.  By the way, it helps if you’d had a snifter of cognac before you go out for such fare as this.  Just know that in such circumstances, be prepared for your wife to point out that you are talking way too loudly, and that the people on the other side of the room would appreciate you calming down a bit.  Woof!