Posts Tagged ‘food’

June with the Yuchi:

June—Blackberry-ripe month—shpa shOnA Zafa—shpah shohnay zayfah

Blackberries good they-taste—shpa gOthl@ z@^–shpah gohthlan zan

I love blackberries and used to grow them—even made my own cobblers.


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Out of the ashes

Pompeiian bread: This was sectioned and cut off to be sold as street food—poor folks didn’t have access to cooking. This was a sourdough type bread and often used to make PULS, a Roman pottage, porridge.

Recipe from carbonized bread, some bakers are known to have survived the volcano: 3/4 cups whole wheat or spelt flour, 1/4 cup bread starter, 2 3/4 cups tepid water, 1 tsp coarse sea salt, 1 tsp toasted git (Roman coriander) seeds, flour for dusting. Baking instructions are complex, kneading and resting twice. 400 F. Stamped with owner’s name. Wealthy Romans ate this with a large variety of things such as dilute wine or olive oil. Bread also flavored with fennel, poppy seed, and such. [do not try this recipe near volcanoes]


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The Legend of Cunningham’s: At the corner of 5th & Shelby St, a house of prostitution operated during the Civil War. The Union Army closed down Louisville rostitution—to make a living, the ladies served food.

1870, Mr. Melton opened a restaurant that changed hands often, until Mr. Cunningham opened a Delicatessen, 1922.

1931, Jimmie Rodgers “Father of Country Music” ate there with the famous Carter Family (I got to see them 1967) while cutting a series of records. They reportedly enjoyed frog legs.

2001, Cunningham’s caught fire, was torn down. 2006, Cunningham’s Creekside opened in Harrod’s Creek. Sorry, no frog legs. I have never been there, I waited too long to visit the old place.

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Before WW2, the second biggest potato shipper in the country was St. Matthews, Kentucky, now a Louisville suburb. (St. Matthews Mall was once a potato farm) The St. Matthews Produce Exchange operated from 1910 through the 1940s. At its height, 400 farmers shipped 1,200 train-car loads of potatoes and onions annually.

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You gotta try this!

Benedictine Sandwiches are popular in the Louisville area. I once thought they were tied to a monastery, but Jennie Benedict ran a Louisville restaurant (554 S. Fourth Street), published a cookbook, and catered Derby events around 1910. Nowadays, Benedictine is often a dip or sandwich spread for bacon or such.

Recipe: 8 oz soft cream cheese, 3 TBS cucumber juice, 1 TBS onion juice, pinch salt & pepper, 2 drops green food dye. [modern variants use chopped cukes, onions, dill, mayonnaise]

I am lukewarm about cucumbers but this combo is fantastic.

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Campfire chili

Headley Hill Chili

I used to make this for my family (they are gone).

1 pound low-fat ground beef

1 pound Purnell’s Old Folks Sausage

Onions, bell peppers, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, red beans, TBS cornmeal.

Chili powder (not mix, straight chili), salt, black pepper, oregano, basil, garlic—all to taste.

Brown meat and simmer everything a while.

I keep cooked spaghetti on hand for those who like it Ohio Valley Style.

Serve with johnnycake or cornbread. Hot sauce ready for hotheads.

Brown beer pairs well but it’s your thirst.

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Instead of calling Louisville Derby City, just maybe we should call it Burgoo City. BURGOO is a spicy, 3-meat vegetable stew that is the Derby food. Old timers would toss whatever they bagged in a huge kettle over an open fire. West Kentucky likes mutton. I usually use country ham, stewing beef, and chicken. Typical veggies would be potatoes, onions, corn, lima beans, okra, Spicy: hot sauce, your choice of peppers, garlic, Worcester sauce. And don’t forget a nip of Bourbon! Call me when it’s ready!

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Ice cream as ritual

On our honeymoon, my wife and I journeyed to Waikiki. Every afternoon, we would get an ice cream cone and stroll the beach—saying little, just enjoying each other’s presence. When we got home, we would sneak away and grab a cone—little talk, just 2 souls intermingling.

Shadows enveloped us—we lived in hospice for 2 weeks. One evening, her son said she was unconscious. I knew his heart was breaking—I told him to go home (my 2 sons remained with me). Midnight came—it was now our 21st anniversary with nothing to celebrate. A nurse brought me a cup of ice cream—I took one bite. My wife had been unresponsive, but her eyes fluttered open—I knew she wanted the ice cream, our bond with each other. I fed her the entire cup. Minutes later, she drew her last breath.

I now go to writing retreats with a Louisville group. We have a Saturday evening ritual of cherry cordial ice cream and moose track ice cream. I join, in my heart I am still feeding my wife ice cream. Time is but a veil.

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My blue pizza heaven

When I was 5, my parents bought a little house on Reo Avenue, Lincoln Park, Michigan. On the corner of Dix and Reo, Mary built a little pizza place, Peppina’s, named after her mother. Peppina worked in the carryout and never learned English except for pizza words which I would have to say 2 or 3 times. Mary bought a house right behind her restaurant, and we lived 3 doors behind her.

Pizza was new back then—Dad wouldn’t touch it—Mom bought pizza with just cheese. Then she learned she could order it with hamburger—Mom called it cheeseburger pizza. Mary expanded into the most popular pizza place around. Maye 20 years ago, a fire destroyed the building. Mary and Peppina are long gone. I’m on a diet, but if I could have one of their pizzas, I would order one in a flash.

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Louisville secret. Green River style fried fish is cornmeal-breaded, spicy with cracked pepper. Green River is south of Louisville in the Mammoth Cave area, but the recipe apparently originated in Louisville at the Suburban Social Club Fish Fry (Masons) south of Churchill Downs. An occasional Louisville restaurant serves it as cod or scrod, but catfish sounds good.

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