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Archive for the ‘Food Writing’ Category

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               fried-baloney1

The other day I was reminiscing about my recent trip down to my old childhood home, San Diego.  I visited my old neighborhood and found old friends. I photographed the house I grew up in there and I saw my elementary school and well, you get the picture. Chef Sheila Got a case of the Warm & Fuzzies.    

Major nostalgia for a Navy Brat, Lifer, Retiree, Chef.  ”So there I was…….kidding.

Later in my kitchen, I was reliving some memories of the house and garden and how my Grandmother took care of us and what should invade my nostalgic mind trip? But my granny frying up a fried baloney sandwich…

I mean I could smell it and my mouth was in full blown salivation! Now lets face it folks. I was born into a Navy family of five siblings and parents plus grandma on enlisted pay during the Vietnam War. We were poor. We were “Clever Mommy made my undies poor”. So whatever we got at the commissary usually looked like Navy Issue Food.

Brown paper packaged thin sliced Navy Issue Baloney….REALLY…nondescript packaging. Just like the Navy Coffee, a mixture of various cheap beans…quite good and I remember the great aroma to this day. That was the same with Navy Baloney. Quite tasty and relatively cheap.

A good friend of mine, Craig Crawford,  who is bizarrely hooked (northern girl opinion only) on “Fat Greasy Fried Baloney Sammiches”…That’s right, its called a Sammich in the South.  My Uncle Thomas in Alabama  loves  “Maater Sammiches”….Translate THAT.  

But I digress, Craig Crawford is a typical southern boy who pays typical homage to the hillbilly palate. It bears no pride, counts no calories, and uplifts even the lowliest of ingredients to the heights of celestial delight.  I mean, my Daddy added peanut butter to stew and put everything but the kitchen sink in his grits!

craigCraig’s Sandwich is not so much a recipe, as a southern scripture. The Holy of Holies, passed down from family lore. Heck, doesn’t Cracker Barrell sell FBS in Kentucky?

Start with good bologna – notice the PROPER name here –  deli-sliced about a half inch thick, not the pre-packaged stuff. Get some good deli-sliced cheese of your choice.

Bread is extremely important. Fried Bologna Sammiches are traditionally made on white sandwich bread, like Wonder Bread….YUCK…lol.  I can’t help it. A kid gets bored with just Wonder Bread. I used to take a slice and squeeze it into a ball just to throw it at my little brother!  the bread in the world that is mostly air.

Again I digressed.  –    Heat a small amount of oil on medium-high in a large skillet. Make a slice in the center of each slice of bologna. (prevents curling). Fry it till its browned.   But while it’s frying on the second side, plop on your favorite barbeque sauce. Add a few drops of hot sauce or Tabasco if you like.

Spread mayonnaise on the bread. To build a truly Southern Sammich,  just use the sauced and fried boloney.  DO NOT ADD VEGETABLES.  Top with cheese while still warm and put the sandwich together.

Now me and Grandma?     baloney2Grill both sides of a buttered hamburger bun. Fry the Baloney the same way, except fry up about three or four thin slices. A slice of Velveeta and there you have it!

    Seriously, this sandwhich  tastes better than it sounds.

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“Chicken Soup for the Soul” is an inspirational, true story about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It is a story that opens the heart and rekindles the spirit. Its been a harrowing couple of months and frankly, I’m not sure I can pay anymore attention to the fight that’s going on inside the beltway anymore. So I decided to write about goodness and doing the right thing.
 mr-happy-feet1I’ve always maintained that my only son was the greatest teacher of my life. My little man had such an innocent understanding of right and wrong. He owned a moral code that I truly respected. I found that I had no desire to disappoint my son with a so called, “Do As I Say and Not As I Do” moment and so this led me to strive harder to live up to what he just thought I should be.

Friends and family can argue with me about any influence I had on him and yet, when he was four he managed to prove to me that caring for your fellow man and selfless giving could transcend any age if allowed to, because what he did, I never taught him…

Every weekend when he was very small and “I was too“, we were in a constant state of “hand to mouth“. A restless young mother and very active boy had to have some entertainment, so I chose many places to go that were not so hard on the pocket book, that we couldn’t still afford put food on the table the following week. We loved the beach, festivals, we loved our Church, but Boy did we LOVE to window shop!

Little Man had just begun to understand Santa’s lists for Christmas. So he would study absolutely everything in a toy shop for as long as I would allow him. I was just dreaming of new furniture and the porcelain figurines that were never quite in reach. At the end of the day, as if rewarding the lack of money spent, we would have a scoop of frozen yogurt with sprinkles as a treat.

One particular weekend as we were walking up to the front door of the Mall, He let go of my hand and bolted ahead of an elderly couple, while my startled heart leaped into momentary panic. Before I could react, My 4 year old son grabbed the door and heaved it open with all his might. A very surprised older man bent down, shook his hand, said thank you to him. My mouth still open in shock as well as the unspent reprimand said, “Well thank you for being such a gentleman.” For the rest of the day like clockwork, in a door, hold it open for someone. Out a door, hold it for someone. That day I bought him a double scoop!

The very next day in Church, my four year old asked for a dollar and to sit by himself in the front pew of church with this look of “I’ll die if you say no”. I said yes. What could it hurt. I would be only three pews away and the congregation was our family. So there he sat, all by himself, looking so proud! Anticipating his turn to put his dollar in the offering plate like a big boy. Only the man with the plate was not thinking that way and passed it straight over his head with is little hand straining the get the dollar in the plate..

As I noticed Little Man’s sigh, my heart sank for him. But before I could call attention to him, the little guy summarily stood up, ran up to the Pastor sitting next to his pulpit, and handed him the dollar!

Pastor thank him very gently and then walked him back to his seat. He then announced to the Congregation that this little boy would NOT be disciplined in anyway for his selflessness as gaze landed straight on me.

After service, Pastor picked my son up, took him a few feet away and had a conversation with him for while. Then he led my son over to me and asked me how I had managed to raise such an old fashioned little boy in today‘s age. My only reply was; “I had decided early on, that I was here to guide his soul and raise a good man for society“.

However as I beamed at my 4 year old son in the arms of my Pastor, I realized that he was someone that I wanted to be someday, when I grew up.

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