photo by Sheri Dixon

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mmmmm...It's What's For Dinner

Armadillo- the other white meat that only MIGHT give you leprosy.

Yep, according to a new study, the cases of leprosy in the US every year occur mainly in the South, and it's been linked pretty conclusively (as opposed to the strong hunch of the past) to contact with, including ingestion of, armadillos.

I've lived in the South for almost 20 years now and have adapted pretty well, much to the amusement of my Yankee friends and family.

I'm stuck in accent purgatory, for one thing. Folks down here listen to me talk for a minute and ask "You ain't from 'round here, air ya?" which is more of a statement than question. People from Up North look at me sideways and say "You're tawking funny".

Epicuriously, I did have some culture shock upon landing in East Texas. Instead of the vast array of family-owned culturally diverse cuisines interspersed with the common comfort food fare of the corner taverns I grew up around East Texas offers...TexMex. And Fast Food. And restaurant chains claiming to be multi-cultural but for some reason the "Mexican" food tastes just like the "Chinese" food tastes just like the "Italian" food.

I had to learn to eat black-eyed peas on New Years Day for luck.

I've always hated peas. And beans. Even jelly beans. Now I tolerate most and even like a few (including the black eyed peas, which if made right I can eat by the bowlful- recipe below)

I've learned to make cornbread in a cast iron skillet in the oven, to bake biscuits and whip up sausage gravy that could make yer mama whistle Dixie.

I've prepared and eaten more wild game in the last 20 years than the entire 30 years before that.

But never armadillo, and now I guess I never will...*sigh*

Whenever some Wisconsin Yankee gives me shit about Southern cooking, I just look them dead in the eye and utter one word-


Texas Caviar

1 16oz. package blackeyed peas
1/2c cider vinegar
1/3c olive oil
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp red pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2c chopped parsley
3 green onions, minced
1 hard boiled egg for garnish

Rinse peas in cold water and discard any stones or shriveled peas. In dutch oven over high heat bring peas and 6c water to a boil- cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 1 hour.
Drain and rinse peas, return to dutch oven, add 6c water and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until peas are tender- drain.
In medium sized bowl, beat vinegar, olive oil, salt, sugar, red pepper and garlic till mixed. Add peas, parsley, green onions and toss gently to coat.
Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Garnish with chopped egg and serve.

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