Sunday, June 8, 2014

Le Chef, c'est moi

So, one of the things I do a lot of when I'm in Arkansas is cooking.
   Friday it was speckled butterbeans and also carrots
   Saturday it was crowder peas and corn souffle as well as peach desert*
   Tonight it's green beans cooked with potatoes and a little onion and bacon, as well as scalloped potatoes (au gratin).
   Still to come, if I can find time for it: spaghetti and also the highlight of it all, vegetable soup.

   All of which makes me wonder: why is it so hard to find vegetables as good as speckled butter beans and crowder peas, when it's so easy to find sub-par vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower and yellow squash. Is it a cultural thing, that only those of us from the South really appreciate some things and the rest of the country, despite much excitement about heirloom tomatoes and the like, hasn't caught on to some of the best vegetables that ever were? Or is it somehow tied in with the long cooking times of Southern style vegetables (an hour at the least for each of the above),** which are currently out of fashion under the current cook-it-as-little-as-possible regime?

   A conundrum.
   Meanwhile, it's back to stirring and making sure things are turning out right.


*this last being a peach jello based dish I originally encountered back in high school History Club but the exact recipe is long lost, so I ad-lib each time.

**except, of course, the desert

current reading: DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY by P. D. James [2011] (a murder mystery sequel to Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE that unfortunately does no credit to James -- Austen she's not).


David Bratman said...

When I visited that part of the world and found a restaurant with a vegetable sampler plate, it had buttered broccoli, hominy, and turnip greens. All of them excellent, and a welcome break from the pork ribs, chicken-fried steaks, etc etc, I was eating the rest of the time.

John D. Rateliff said...

Dear David

"buttered broccoli, hominy, and turnip greens"

--none of which I actually like, but you're right; a good example of trying the regional cuisine when travelling though an area. Glad you had a good experience with these.

Another excellent example (not quite a 'gegetable', but usually counted as one) is cornbread, in any of its many variants (friend cornbread, skillet cornbread, hot water bread, and my favorite: hush puppies.