That’s just not going to happen

Julia Child and producers, circa 1963

Julia and producers, circa 1963

Today I’ve been making Julia Child’s boeuf bourguignon for a Julie and Julia party tonight. I’m not sure how I got volunteered for this esteemed role (after all, it’s the dish that Julie flops in the movie), but I’m giving it my all. (more…)

Goober peas

English: Sheet music cover of "Goober Pea...

English: Sheet music cover of “Goober Peas”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had peanuts on the brain today. It started out with a few Goobers (the candy). Then I considered what an odd word “goober” is. I wikimedia’d “goober,” found this sheet music, wiki’d “goober peas,” and here we are.

Note that the real composer of this sheet music is A.E. Blackmarr, who credits A. Pindar and P. Nutt as the lyricist and composer, respectively. (A pindar is another word for peanut, along with ground nuts and ground peas.) Who says the South doesn’t have a sense of humor?

For those of you not in the know, goober peas are more than just peanuts. They’re boiled peanuts, which a lot of Southerners lived on at the end of the Civil War, after they lost their farms and were cut off from the rail lines.

I guess boiled peanuts are worth singing about when you’re hungry, but I never cared much for them myself — possibly the only peanut product that doesn’t attract me.

At any rate, this folk tune has been sung by people like Burl Ives, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and The Kingston Trio. In recent years, it was covered regularly in live performances by Elton John, although it’s never appeared on one of his albums.

This sheet music bears the address of Canal Street, New Orleans.

Goober peas have been written about far and wide. I really like this story by the Smithsonian Magazine: “The Legumes of War: How Peanuts Fed the Confederacy.”

Verse 1
Sitting by the roadside on a summer’s day
Chatting with my mess-mates, passing time away
Lying in the shadows underneath the trees
Goodness, how delicious, eating goober peas.
Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.


The 12 little squash and how they grew

The powdery mildew squash virus

Troubling evidence of powdery mildew

A few days ago I noticed a white dust on my broad (otherwise beautiful) squash leaves.

It seems I had “powdery mildew.” What to do about it was unclear. (more…)

The secret life of squash blossoms

Yellow squash male fruit and incipient blossom

Female fruit and incipient blossom

Recently I got all excited that I might be able to pick my own squash blossoms, batter them, and fry them up. Maybe even stuff them. Who knows?

“Only pick the males!” my sister warned me.

Males? Females? I felt the anxiety of 10th-grade Biology and Colonel Dick’s disparaging gaze welling within me.

My simple little garden was suddenly a mysterious, frightening jungle. How would I ever be able to tell the difference between a yellow blossom and a yellow blossom? (more…)

My garden adventure

TomatoesOK, I love food. I like reading about it. I like looking at it. I like going to farms. I like photographing food and people who dig and harvest. Colorful produce set against the color of dirt, green stalks, and farmers is sexy. I’ve photographed farms across the United States and in Mexico. For many years, both for newspapers and national television, I was an agricultural reporter. (more…)

Find your own famous potatoes

Organic russet potatoes (photo by Steve Caruso)

The current state license plate design, modifi...

The current state license plate design, modified since its introduction in 1991. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other day, on my way to D.C., I drove behind a car with Idaho plates. The Idaho license plate is quite beautiful really. A kind of red and white sky, and blue mountains and pine trees at the bottom. The slogan – “Famous Potatoes.”

Famous potatoes indeed. (more…)

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