Monthly Archive for: ‘October, 2011’
Fried Chicken and Corn bread

Doesn’t that sound good?  Since I’ve now been a flexa-vegan-tarian for 5 weeks now and counting, the fried chicken is making my mouth water like all get out.  I thought I’d treat the crowd who isn’t beating themselves with a stick (read going on a diet) with a couple of great recipes from my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.  These are consistantly the best pan fried chicken and corn bread I’ve ever eaten.  The down side to these recipes is that like all great cooks, Beverly and Ella Ween don’t use a recipe, but cook by “feel” instead.  I’ll do my best to provide you with repeatable recipes.

Corn bread

Beverly’s corn bread is crisp on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside.  It smells great and is good with just about anything or nothing at all but a little butter.  She insists on using self-rising Martha White brand flour and self-rising White Lily brand corn meal and who can argue with perfection.  She coats the 9″ cast iron skillet with a heavy helping of Crisco shortening, but I bet lard would be good too.  The batter is a mixture of white flour and Corn meal but is heavily weighted to the corn meal side using 3 cups.  The wet ingredients are 2 eggs and a cup of butter milk.  She cooks it hot at 425-450 and it comes out with a crispy crust because of the Crisco in the skillet.

Click here for the full recipe


Pan Fried Chicken

Considering my new status as a non-meat eater, it is going to be hard to get through this post.  My mouth is already watering from the memories of crispy, tender, succulent fried chicken…  …Ok, I’m back now.  This chicken that my mother-in-law, Ella Ween makes is hard to describe, except to say I could easily eat a whole bird, piece by delectable, scrumptious, luscious piece.  Ella Ween achieves a great piece of chicken by removing the skin and generously seasoning the pieces with salt and pepper before dredging in a wet mix of egg and butter milk followed by a dry coating of seasoned self-rising flour.  I’ve seen that or done that before you might be thinking.  Yeah, you might have but did you use self-rising flour or follow that by browning the chicken on both sides in the hot oil, then lowering the temperature and covering the pan while simultaneously frying and steaming the bird?  I didn’t think so.  People, this is seriously good chicken.

click here for the complete recipe




Sodium – Salt

How Much

How much salt should be in our daily diet?

If you are like me, we love salt.  It makes everything taste better, but we’ve been told not to eat too much of the stuff – right?

The AHA – American Heart Association says that we shouldn’t have more than 2300 mg of sodium per day which is equal to one teaspoon of salt.

What happens if we don’t?

They also say that excess sodium in our diets may harm our kidneys (stones) and promote high blood pressure which leads to other nasty things.  Excess sodium is also linked to stomach cancer.

Sources of Sodium

The most common source of sodium in our diet is table salt which is sodium chloride which contains 40% sodium.  Some of the minor sources are baking soda which is sodium bicarbonate and MSG which is monosodium glutamate.  A tablespoon of baking soda contains roughly 1 gram of sodium.  Even lesser sources are sodium nitrate (saltpeter) which is a preservative in food and sodium ascorbate which is used as an antioxidant and is added to antacids and such.

All processed foods and canned foods have added salt unless they specifically state otherwise.


This ones pretty simple.  I’m not going to stop using salt.  I’m going to only add salt while I’m cooking and only at the end of the cooking process.  I’ll avoid the salt cellar and drink my bloodies and Salty dogs with just a little salt on the rim.  But, I don’t yet have a problem (excluding kidney stones) and I’ve been a dietary Flexi-vegan-tarian * for for over a month now.

*Note:  I eat a vegan diet with eggs and cheese occasionally

So like everything else we preach here on the Fat Farm, avoid processed and canned foods when possible and eat as much fresh vegetables and fruits as you can to live happily ever after – jughandle


Proper table settings



A – Napkin

B – Charger with dinner plate on top

C – Soup bowl on dinner plate

D – Bread & butter plate with butter knife

E – Water Glass

F – White wine glass – if serving

G – Red Wine glass – if serving

H – Fish Fork

I – Dinner Fork

J – Salad Fork

K – Dinner Knife

L – Fish Knife

M – Soup spoon

N – Dessert spoon and cake fork

Note – that it often is recommended that the salad fork (J) is placed to the left of the dinner fork (I). However, in this formal setting the dinner fork is placed to be used before the salad fork because it is suggested that the guest awaits the main meal before helping him/herself to the salad.

See: Proper table settings


Here is another that includes informal settings

What goes where on the table and which glasses go with what drinks

Real easy to remember, the etiquette experts tell us. The general rule with utensils is to start from the outside of your place setting, and work your way toward the service plate (the main meal plate): soup spoon first, then fish knife and fork, then service knife and fork. Proper arranging dining room sets with chairs at the end of the table for the host and hostess is another aspect.

Foods you can get by hand:

1. Bread: break slices of bread, rolls and muffins in half or into small pieces by hand before buttering.

2. Bacon: if there’s fat on it, eat it with a knife and fork. If it is crisp, crumble it with a fork and eat with your fingers.

3. Finger meals: follow the cue of your host. If finger meals are offered on a platter, place them on your plate before putting them into your mouth.

4. Foods meant to be eaten by hand: corn on the cob, spareribs, lobster, clams and oysters on the half shell, chicken wings and bones (in informal situations), sandwiches, certain fruits, olives, celery, dry cakes and cookies.

Removing inedible items from your mouth:

1. Olive pits: drop delicately into your palm before putting them onto your plate.

2. Chicken bone: use your fork to return it to the plate.

3. Fish bones: remove with your fingers.

4. Bigger pieces: bigger bones or food you don’t appreciate you should surreptitiously spit into your napkin, so that you can keep it out of sight.

Which glasses go with what drinks

Wine connoisseurs agree that each type of wine needs a particular type of glass to bring out the distinctive bouquet. Using a narrow glass for a rich Burgundy, for example, won’t allow enough room to swirl it around in, and it’s the swirl that brings out its bouquet. The glass also needs to taper properly toward the top so that it captures the bouquet yet allows for sipping. In general, the stem of a glass should be long enough to keep hands from touching the bowl, which can affect the wine’s temperature, and therefor its bouquet.

The proper wine glasses - courtesy of wineview

Water | Brandy | White wine | Pinor Noir/Burgundy | Sparkling wine | Red wine

a. Water: full body glass with short stem. Hold the glass by the stem to preserve its chill.

b. Brandy: brandy snifter. Roll the snifter between both hands and then cup it in one hand – warming the glass brings out the bouquet in brandy.

c. White wine: slightly smaller glass with wider bowl to capture the bouquet. Hold the glass by the stem to preserve its chill.

d. Burgundy Reds and Pinot Noirs: a wide bowl to bring out their complexity. The glass is slightly taller than the white wine glass.

e. Champagne: a narrow fluted glass, which reduces the wine’s surface area and keep the bubbles from dissipating.

f. Red wine: the bigger of the wine glasses. Hold the glass at the bottom of the bowl where it meets the stem.

I just thought we needed a little culture before the formal dinners of the holiday season – jughandle

My Favorite 12 Food Blogs

Of the thousands of food blogs written, these are a dozen of  the 50 or so I follow on a daily or weekly basis in no particular order of importance to me:

1. The Homesick Texan – Great recipes, well written stories, with good pictures.  Not all healthy food, but more like what we all want.

2. The Stonesoup delicious, healthy meals in minutes  Very nice design.  Easy to navigate.  Great recipes with fantastic pictures.

3. Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook – Finding the forgotten feast – – Nicely designed, different point of view.  Great wild game recipes. Even vegetarian recipes.

4. [No Recipes] make good dishes better – – Beautiful, large, close-up pictures. Yes, they have recipes, great ones that are easy to find and catagorized by type of cuisine.

5. david lebovitz living the sweet life in Paris – – My current favorite design layout for a food blog.  Great pictures with nice, if not always complete, recipes and amazing photographs of David’s life in Paris and his travels.

6. Deliciously OrganicSimple Dishes, Vibrant Flavors Everyone Will Love – Great design, pictures and of course, organic recipes.

7. Cooking For EngineersHave an analytical mind? Like to cook? This is the site to read! – – The design is what you’d expect from an engineer, but the recipes are very well explained with good pictures and great descriptions.  Good stories and explanations of techniques like sous vide and equipment.

8. The Pioneer Woman CooksPlowing through life in the country….one calf nut at a time. – – The pioneer woman not only cooks, she confesses, photographs, gardens, homeschools and entertains.  She freak’n does everything – I hate her.  Actually I’m jealous of her. I don’t read everything she writes, God only knows how she has the time to do everything, then write about it.  Her pictures are the best.  She has great stories with very complete recipes and interesting topics.  I don’t want to look at her picture because I’m happy with the image I have of her with a blue suit and red cape with a yellow/red S on the chest.

9. foodgawker – – Not so much a blog as a photo gallery of great recipe pictures and links to their site on the web.  Great place to just Gawk or browse food beautiful food.

10. Smitten KitchenFearless cooking from a tiny kitchen in New York City. – – Nicely designed with great pictures of health innovative food.  Think food outside the box.

11. Zoe Bakes eat dessert first – – Nothing but baking recipes. Great recipes with lots and lots of great pictures on how to do it.  Nice blog.

12.  Big Red Kitchena regular gathering of distinguished guests – – Simple, to the point, great recipes with beautiful food pictures that will make your mouth water.  Unusual, across the board, recipe ideas to liven up your menu.

There are many, many more great food blogs out there.  If you find one you like please let me know – jughandle


Diet Soda – Good or Bad?

Whether it’s zero or one calorie, if it still tastes sweet it has been flavored with artificial sweeteners.  More and more information is being gathered on the harmful effects of aspartame and sucralose among others.  Sure they help you avoid the calorie intake from naturally sweetened drinks if you are in the “habit” of drinking several a day, but at what cost.  A study at Purdue University discovered that test subjects tend to consume more calories later in the day when they have been fed artificial sweeteners prior to meal time.  A Texas study found that people who consume just 3 diet sodas per week are 40 percent more likely to be obese.

Side Effects

A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.

If you have any of the listed maladies above, maybe you are having side effects of artificial sweeteners and not symptoms of old age or something else.  In fact Aspartame can even trigger or worsen brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, parkinson’s disease, alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes according to

Google it and read for yourself.  This stuff is chemical poison.

Are You psychologically or physically addicted to Diet drinks?

If you just “have” to have your diet drink everyday it doesn’t matter what is causing your addiction.  You need to stop. If you drink caffeinated diet drinks it is likely you are addicted to caffeine.  Your problem might just be simple compulsive behavior disorder.  Switch your addiction to something healthy like tea or better yet, water.  But as we here at the Fat Farm like to preach, “you can do almost anything in moderation.”  If you have cravings, you most likely have another problem that needs to be addressed.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, “a key sign of substance dependence is when a person continues to use a substance even when he or she knows it’s causing physical or mental health problems.”

Check out this study on diet drinks and heart attacks – Are you willing to risk heart attack by drinking low carb diet soda?




Do You Need a Label?

Some people can’t do anything unless there are rules and a label on it.  And others, like myself, feel that if, say, I’m trying to be a vegetarian but I fall off the wagon, I’m not a failed vegetarian, I’m a Flexitarian in good standing.  If you are one of those people and it gives you peace, see if any of these eating categories is a better fit for you:

P.S. – For inquiring minds, I’m still a Vegetarian – for 3 weeks now – Jug.

Vegan: A person who doesn’t eat meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, or dairy. They usually avoid honey and foods processed with animal products like gelatin, lanolin. Often, vegans avoid wearing animal products like leather, silk, down feathers, and wool. Vegans are sometimes called “strict vegetarians.”

Vegetarian: A person who doesn’t eat meat, poultry, or fish, but does eat dairy products and/or eggs.

Pescatarian: A person who doesn’t eat meat or poultry, but does eat fish; they may or may not eat dairy products and/or eggs.

Pollotarian: A person who doesn’t eat red meat or fish, but does eat chicken; they may or may not eat dairy products and/or eggs.

Lacto-ovo Vegetarian: Someone who eats eggs and milk products, but is otherwise a vegan.

Lacto Vegetarian: Someone who eats milk products, but not eggs, and is otherwise a vegan.

Beegan: A vegan who eats honey.

Dietary vegan: Someone whose diet is vegan, but who doesn’t avoid all non-food animal products, like for clothing and toiletries.

Flexitarian: Someone who primarily eats vegetarian food, but allows for exceptions occasionally.

Omnivore: Someone who eats both plants and animals.

Carnivore: Someone who consumes primarily animal material

Herbivore: An organism who has adapted to eating plant-based foods, not the same as vegetarian.

Lessetarian: A person who tries to reduce their consumption of animal products, but doesn’t necessarily eliminate them.