Monthly Archives: May 2010

Reviled Foods: Processed/Sliced Cheese

Everyone has their own individual tastes, and with that fact, I sympathize.

One food I hate more than any is sliced, processed cheese: namely, things like Kraft singles.

Processed cheese is one of the most miserable plagues ever to have fallen humanity. If people in general only knew how poor the quality of such food is, they would cease to purchase it.

Actual cheese has a richer flavor and enhances the flavor of whatever food you might be eating. Kraft singles, instead, seem to drain the flavor right from it.

On top of that, it is only the ultra-lazy who are unable to take a full block of cheese and slice the required amount from it. This is not much more time-consuming than unwrapping the abominable Kraft singles, and the result leads to greater gustatory delight.

If you would like to protest me and suggest that your life is so incredibly hectic that you simply must use the Kraft singles, I would like to tell you that you should reconsider your priorities in life.

The "Deli-select" sliced cheese is better, given; but in the same way, it is more expensive, and again, you pay the extra money for the convenience of the company slicing the cheese that you could simply slice yourself.

What about shredded cheese? I have mixed feelings on purchasing pre-shredded cheese. On the one hand, it is more fulfilling to shred cheese yourself. On the other hand, in my experience, it’s difficult to determine how much cheese to shred if you’re doing it yourself. I think overall I prefer doing it myself, though.

Just some thoughts.


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Posted by on May 30, 2010 in food


Fried Catfish in the South

Some of you knew this entry was coming sooner or later!

A huge phenomenon in the South is to go fishing, catch several fish, clean them, and then fry them for a meal.

Most of the fish we eat is freshwater fish, especially things like catfish and mullet and one today that I had never heard of called "shell cracker" or something like that.

I can’t remember a time in my life when we didn’t eat fried catfish.

Below is a picture of catfish I ate today; you can see where I’ve torn it apart.

One must be very cautious when eating catfish as they are not fileted. The bones are tiny and sharp, so the fish must be basically picked apart with the hands.

Many establishments sell "catfish plates" which come with two or three pieces of fried catfish and a variety of sides. Popular sides to catfish include hushpuppies (I’ll get to those in another entry), cheese grits, french fries, and coleslaw. I think in some cases I’ve even seen macaroni and cheese, but this may be my memory playing with me.

If you were to have a plate of fried catfish with cheese grits, hush puppies, coleslaw, and a tall glass of iced tea, you would know exactly what it feels like to have a Southern meal. Also, if you were to eat this meal out on a porch around sunset with family, you would be having an experience that I have had many times in my own life!

I hope you enjoyed this; look forward to the blogs on hush puppies and corn bread!


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Posted by on May 29, 2010 in food


Sweet Potato vs. Yam: Useful Info

As for the most recent blog, I pointed out that what are often marketed as "yams" in the USA are actually properly called sweet potatoes.

The question arose, though, of what a yam exactly is.

Not quite sure myself and only vaguely possessing the skills necessary to differentiate and explain the two, I went on a hunt for information and came back with an important link.

Just click the link to learn more.

This link is to a blog that has additional links.

This link leads to a .pdf on sweet potato awareness. It may take a while to download on a slower connection, so you’ve been warned.

I hope this helps!


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Posted by on May 29, 2010 in food


Yam, Yam, Yam

In a gut-striking moment of discovery, I have found out that yams and sweet potatoes, in fact, are not the same thing.

Traditionally in the South, we don’t use the word "yam." Instead, we refer to the food as sweet potatoes.

And in fact, this is entirely, entirely correct.

Actual yams and sweet potatoes are unrelated foods, as I randomly discovered tonight.

We normally have foods like pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving and sometimes Christmas, though that kind of phenomenon is pretty universal in the USA, I think.

You also hear of the dish called "candied yams."

Turns out, they’re actually sweet potatoes. The reason being, at least according to Wikipedia, is that the softer, sweeter, and orange potatoes are marketed as yams to differentiate them from a harder white variety.

Not withstanding, sweet potatoes are incredibly healthy food. They have a lot of beta carotene, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6. They’re also easy to prepare and have a distinctive flavor.

This is a picture of a sweet potato, but the ones we have in the South are usually longer, thinner, and have a slightly deeper orange color on the inside. The orange color is especially pronounced once they’ve been cooked.

Try one if you have the chance; you can bake them and eat them that way. Delicious AND nutritious!


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Posted by on May 28, 2010 in food


Peanut Butter and Hot Pepper Relish Sandwich

In a strange inspiration to eat today, I made a rather interesting tasting sandwich.

Peanut butter and hot pepper relish is not something I would have ever thought to make, but today, I tried it, and wow.

Also, I put nutmeg in the hot relish.

The taste was much better than peanut butter and jelly and somewhat easier to eat than peanut butter and pickle; I definitely recommend trying it sometime.


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Posted by on May 28, 2010 in food


Spicy Obsession

As a child, my cooking skills were virtually non-existent. That didn’t stop me from trying to add a little pizzazz to the food I ate, though.

The first spices of which I knew were the obvious salt and pepper. These seemed mostly optional and honestly weren’t given the heaviest consideration.

Then came garlic salt. I have no idea when or how I first discovered that we had garlic salt in the pantry, but for the longest time, I put garlic salt on virtually everything, from pizza to chili to potatoes, and I never thought twice about it.

After garlic salt, the hot sauce phase began. Louisiana hot sauce went on everything I ate, in everything I ate. I specifically remember eating hot sauce on eggs as a kid while watching the Disney Channel.

But the hot sauce phase didn’t stop there; I continued eating hotter and hotter varieties, eventually swapping up for Tabasco sauce. To explain just how hot Tabasco sauce is, let’s point out that instead of being red like fire, it’s so hot that it’s GREEN.

These days, I know more about spices and cooking with them than I did as a child. The variety of spices and their general ability to alter the flavor of a dish or provide just that certain hint of something is still amazing to me. Perhaps we often take for granted that there are certain spices included in food, such as the Italian herbs that are in pizza sauce.

When you really think about it, pizza sauce is tomato sauce with certain spices added to it. Even so, the flavor is distinctive!

What kind of discoveries with spices have you made? Feel free to share them!




Posted by on May 26, 2010 in food


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Swimming Pools and Horse Flies

In the South, there are farms everywhere.

Remember this point.

Recently, at my friend Caleb’s house, the swimming pool has been cleaned, and after much persuasion, I actually went swimming one night.

One thing I’ve always liked about swimming pools is how, on certain days, the water is warm like bathwater. I’m not a fan of being in hundred degree weather and then plunging into an icy pool.

Also, I like to swim at night time- not bothering with sun-block is heavenly.

Did I mention Caleb also lives on a farm?

Seriously, you can walk outside and see a cow pasture. For that matter, I live on a goat farm, but we’ll focus on the cow farm currently.

The cows are seriously close enough to the pool that one could probably throw something at them if one had a strong arm.

Cows also bring with them something terrible called horse flies.

Horse flies are huge, buzz, and worst of all, bite.

So there we were swimming, when all of a sudden a lonely horse fly appears and begins to attack us.

Splashing was a good way to rid it, but that only worked so much. Eventually, we had to abandon the pool, because Caleb thought he had been bitten.

Anyway, horse flies are obviously not fun, especially when they attack you in a swimming pool. Please avoid them if you can.

Happy swimming!


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Posted by on May 25, 2010 in food

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