Published in the Rains County Leader on June 16, 2022:
Crawfish. The first thing I did before beginning this column was to Google the correct name for these strange looking creatures. According to those who are supposed to know, people north of the Mason-Dixon Line normally refer to these miniature lobsters as crayfish while residents of the West Coast, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas call them crawdads. But since I married a Louisiana boy where they are known as crawfish, that’s what I’ll go with.
Texas wasn’t mentioned in the blog post I used for reference, but in the era before organized play dates and yoga classes for kids, my friends and I sometimes went fishing for crawdads in the drainage ditch near my house. We’d sneak a piece of bacon out of the refrigerator, wrap it around a rock, tie a string to it, and troll the muddy waters. I don’t think we ever caught one – in fact, I don’t remember ever seeing one. I don’t have a clue what we would have done if we had caught one – but if it was good enough for Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, it was good enough for us.
As an adult, I tend to avoid the unattractive critters. I love a good shrimp boil, but I don’t get excited when the local restaurants begin advertising that the crawfish are in. I did have some fried crawfish tails once which, as I recall, I enjoyed very much. But I don’t want those feelers and legs rising to the top of my bowl of gumbo or gracing my plate of jambalaya. Maybe it’s the eyes. I’ve had a couple of creepy experiences with the eyes of seafood.
Another catch-up post. This one was published in the Rains County Leader on November 4, 2021:
The title of this column probably brings to mind the smell of a pot roast or a soup that has simmered all day while you were at work. I love my crock pot and all the easy meals it cooks, but the slow cooker in this story is me.
I enjoy cooking, and I’m pretty good at it. I can follow a recipe to get anticipated results, or I can adjust a recipe and end up with something completely different. One of my specialties is the creative use of leftovers or produce that is approaching the end of its shelf life in order to avoid throwing away food. That’s what happened last week when David called my attention to four pears that were getting soft and turning brown. A Google search yielded several suggestions such as smoothies, a pear crumble, and several pear breads.
I chose one of the bread recipes and scanned some of the general specs. I smiled at the prep time of 15 minutes. Maybe if I had an assistant who had all the ingredients, bowls, and implements ready for me, but since it’s just me in the kitchen and I’m slow by nature, I always allow at least twice as long as the recipe says.
Published in the Rains County Leader on July 13, 2021:
This city girl had another new experience Saturday – I picked peaches for the first time. I have bought a half bushel at a farmers market and spent hours putting them into bags destined for the freezer, but I had never taken them off the tree.
Connie (across the street) had a bumper crop from her two trees this year. After putting ten bags in the freezer and having a tray full ripening on her counter, she invited me over to pick some. The first thing I learned about picking peaches is that the trees are designed for those of us who are height challenged. No step ladder required like the time I picked figs from Dirk and Pat’s trees.
Strange things sometimes happen while you’re harvesting. Some of the peaches were very close together, and while I was trying to pick a particularly reluctant one, the one next to it flung itself toward the ground. I don’t know if it was intentional, but the poor thing landed on the blade of a mole-chasing windmill and cut itself almost in half. Since the work was already half done, I sliced that one up when I got home, and we had it for dinner.
Published in the Rains County Leader on September 17, 2017:
For the second year in a row I shared a booth at the Rains County Fair with Tennille Case of Tennille’s Cookie Jar. Not only was I right next to all the delicious samples she put out, but I also had the advantage of overflow traffic. My book displays gave her customers something to look at while they waited in line, and she’s a big fan, so she directed them my way.
We had a great location, the same one we had last year. It was right next to the restrooms, so almost everyone who came to the Fair walked right by us at some point during the evening. Even if they didn’t stop, the steady stream of visitors made for great people watching and a nice collection of writing material. Here are a few of the random observations I collected while sitting behind a table, four hours a night for five nights. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on September 3, 2019:
Every Friday night for the past several years, David and I have attended a home Bible study with several friends from our church. As the name implies, we meet at the home of someone in the group where we share a meal, praises and prayer requests, and Bible study. On Mondays, I send out a group email that includes the prayer list and a link to the food sign-up sheet for the next Friday.
Early last week, Brenda signed up for the main dish with a notation that said “not sure what yet.” Being the witty writer that I am, I signed up for a salad with the added quip of “something to go with what Brenda makes.” A couple of days later she changed her post to “baby back ribs,” and since I didn’t want to settle for one of my default offerings of cole slaw or broccoli salad, I went to Google. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on August 8, 2017:
David and I go to a home group Bible study every Friday night. We meet at somebody’s home and share dinner before we study. I post a sign-up sheet on WikiSpaces every week, and we take turns bringing various parts of the meal. Friday was my turn to bring the main dish. One of the men was planning to order egg rolls from the mother of a co-worker, so I decided to stay with the theme and make teriyaki chicken. I had never made it before, so I went on-line and found a recipe that looked fairly easy and tasty. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader September 8, 2015:
Ideas came easily the last two weeks. All I had to do was recount the antics of Spike, the mischievous pet we were staying with while his “parents” were out of town. Both columns were written and submitted on Saturday, well before the Monday morning deadline. Not so this week. When I turned on my computer after lunch on Sunday, I had a bad case of writer’s block. I played several games of Free Cell, Mahjong, and Spider Solitaire while I waited for inspiration, but as dinner time approached, my Word document was still blank.
I finally resorted to a modern source – Facebook – where I posted the following status update: I have a City Girl column due for this week’s paper without a clue what to write about. Suggestions? I received a few responses, but the first one caught my attention. As I was standing at the sink cutting chicken wings apart to make some hot wings, I started thinking about how many chickens I have cut up and fried during my lifetime. Do any of you young girls cut up a whole chicken for frying? My daughter is a fabulous cook, but she wouldn’t have a clue how to cut up a chicken! You young ones weigh in on this…I’m thinking I may have become antique!(more…)
The story of a lonely, innocent girl who gets tangled up in the sex trafficking trade in a small Texas town. It’s about her relationship with Eric, a slick suburban pimp; Jesse, a Christian tattoo artist and motorcycle rider; and Mrs. G, a compassionate but tough attorney and foster parent.