My First Beer In 64 Years

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Suddenly and without warning, this morning, I got an overwhelming urge to go out to a store and purchase a can of beer. I had not put beer to my lips since I was in the Army National Guard, way back in the year 1958.

In 1958, I was in military uniform for the first time in my life and I was young and filled with yearning for adventure and for all the pleasures that Life had to offer to me. Beer was one of those pleasures — at least in our minds.

So, every weekend, my buddies and I would go down to the “Service Club” on our military base and we would buy 3.2-percent beer because that was the highest alcohol content we are allowed to purchase by law because of our young age back then and we would talk mindlessly for hours while slowly getting drunk on the cheap swill.

It seemed to us to be the “Manly” thing to do.

Another mark of “Manhood” among us young soldier trainees was to try to outdo each other in being loud and mouthy and aggressive, and to speak more and worse profanity than anyone else. The more brazenly profane we could speak, the more approval and admiration we received from our comrades-in-arms.

So today, for some unexplained reason, after 64 years, I went out and got a beer in a can, brought it home, opened it, poured a small amount into a 4-ounce glass and sipped.

Surprisingly, I found this particular can of beer to be much more tasteful and refreshing that I had imagined it would be.

That was my signal to pour the rest of the can down the sink.

I definitely do not need to become habituated to something like that after all these years. And I know full well how what starts out to be an occasional indulgence can easily turn into a habit.

Beans are indeed wonderful things

Photo By Viktoria Slowikowska Free to use on https://www.pexels.com/photo/assorted-vegetables-5677794/

I never feel more alive than I do after a meal or two of beans.

My favorite beans are pinto and large white limas.

My mother always made sure we had a big pot of beans going on the old cook stove and we ate them with cornbread and a slice or two of raw onion — and sometimes that was all we had for our main meal of the day.

I do not know if it is the fiber in the beans or the generous amount of protein that makes them into such a wonderful food but I do know that they put a new spring in my step every time I have them.

There is an over-the-counter protein substance that can be bought at almost any pharmacy that prevents a lot of the intestinal gas that beans can cause and I make good use of it because it is both cheap and effective.

I think I can even testify that a good meal of beans actually puts “More Lead In The Pencil” if you get my drift.

Yes, you can add a little ham or ham hock to the beans as well to ramp up the flavors.

READ MORE about ham and beans here and find a good recipe if you wish to make this wonderful dish for yourself.

Steak and Gravy

Photo by Alex Munsell and Free to use under the Unsplash License

Whenever Cousin Jeanette would come to visit with us from her palatial mansion in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, there was always one home-cooked meal that she dearly loved and that meal consisted of slow-roasted beef steak with creamy mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy. By the way, folks, this has become one of my favorites also.

To make this entree, we always start with either a prime rib roast (If we are feeling particularly posh at the time or, when we are trending toward a leaner budget, we use a common butt roast.)

The idea is to roast it “Low and Slow” for at least 20 minutes per pound of meat, on a rack, in a roasting pan and to make sure there are plenty of savory seasonings on the meat and lots of garlic inserted in slits we have made with a knife into the meat.

The gravy we always use for this is au jus.

Sometimes I like to baste the roast in a good Merlot wine. It adds something that feels a little more upscale to my palate.

When we have guests for a dinner of this sort, I always wear my chef’s jacket and hat just for the dramatic effect. People tend to get a kick out of me all dressed up like that when I am cooking. Of course, I never cook anything unless it has that 5-star appeal because I do have a well-trained palate. I savor the subtle nuances of layers of flavors in any food I prepare. Using the best ingredients and the best techniques always results in a superior meal and I never settle for second best on anything.

Today we also brought home a new piece of sculpture and are using it as a conversation piece in our living room.

The sculpture is of a head that looks like either an ancient Roman figure or a Greek personage of some kind. We call it “Minerva” although we do not have a clue as to who it is supposed to represent. I can tell you that the damned thing is heavy … it feels like 50-pounds and it sits on a black onyx base and we purchased a nicely-carved Greek marble column for it to sit on. I do not know if the sculpture is authentic or if it is a reproduction of some kind. But if it is a reproduction then I can tell you that someone with a lot of skill made it. They even took the time to “Age” it so it looks really like a museum piece would be expected to look.

I like to rub the sculpture on the forehead and ask for favors. I know I am not supposed to indulge in idolatry, being a Christian myself, but it is kind of a private joke with me. Minerva is now fast becoming a regular part of our family …. a family that now consists of nobody but myself, two sons who live very remotely from me, and my dear friend and companion, Jim.

After having had some problems sleeping lately, I have been eating some magnesium gummies before retiring for the night and my sleep has improved a lot. Of course, before I popped the first of the gummies, I did talk to my personal physician about it. I never make any changes in my dietary routines without talking to my personal physician about it first and I recommend that everybody else do the same before they make any changes in their routines too.

In Praise Of Carmel Corn

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One of my favorite snack foods is popcorn coated with a caramel or toffee-flavored glaze with peanuts attached to the kernels.

I have found and enjoyed this flavorful treat for more than 70 years now and over the years it has come in several different name brands — and sometimes it has been made at home.

There are 160 calories in 2/3 cup of this temptation but who is counting. I often find myself consuming a whole 8 ounce bag or box of it before I ever realize what I am doing.

I think I first encountered caramel-glazed popcorn and peanuts in a bag of goodies I had received while trick or treating during Halloween many years ago.

Later, it became part of the appeal of intermission time at drive-in theaters.

The earliest form of this popcorn delight was invented by a man named “”Fritz” William Rueckheim,” a German immigrant who lived in Chicago, Illinois in or about the year 1872. He named his creation “Cracker Jack” which is a brand that endures to the present day.

If you would like to make some of this popcorn for yourself at home, you might be interested in the following recipe:
https://www.food.com/recipe/old-fashioned-molasses-quot-caramel-quot-corn-478917

Let me share a quote with you from an article about caramel-coated corn and its history —

QUOTE … “

Modern Day Caramel Corn

Similarly, modern-day caramel corn is created by mixing a sugar solution (or sometimes molasses) and heating until the sugar caramelizes. It turns to a golden-brown or brown color, perfect for drizzling over popcorn. Caramel corn can be sold as a standalone product. However, some varieties mix-in nuts, including peanuts, almonds, pecans, and cashews….”END OF QUOTE.

The article from which the quote above was taken can be found under the following link:

I would like to point out here that I am not being compensated in any way, shape or form for mentioning any brand names of products or the companies that produce them and I am telling you this because I believe it is a legal requirement for bloggers to make the disclaimer that I have just said to you.