Don’t Do That and Other Adventures in the Kitchen

March 30, 2013 By: Juanita Jean Herownself Category: Uncategorized

I’m a fairly decent Country/Creole/Tex-Mex cook.  Anyone of the three, I can handle.  I can make a roux, a gravy, and an enchilada cheese sauce.  I can fry okra, roast potatoes, and make rice.  If I invite you to my house, there’s gonna be food involved.  My friends can attest that you will eat and take food home with you when you come see me.

Bubba barbeques and even has his own special house out back for it.  ‘Nuff said.

That’s why there’s things I don’t understand.  Now mind you, I do not slaughter my own meat or grow all my own vegetables.  But, I certainly do not buy ice tea.  Good Lord, it involves water and a tea bag.  If you can’t do that, get the hell outta the kitchen because you’re gonna eventually hurt yourself.

So, I read today that kids got poisoned because they ate frozen chicken quesadillas.

Chicken quesadillas are not like Julia Child has some 80 step recipe for.  You get two flour tortillas, throw some chicken – hell, you can even use canned chicken if you’re especially lazy – and some cheese and heat up that sucker.  That’s it.  Ta Da!

Next thing you know they’ll be selling frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and people will buy it “for convenience.”

What is happening?  Have we moved out of the cave, marveling at fire, and into the frozen food section, gathered around the frosty glass marveling at frozen scrambled eggs?

Cook something!  It’s good for the soul.

Which reminds me, my friend Bob Dunn is my favorite gentleman farmer and has the best recipe for mango salsa I’ve ever made.  Nothing welcomes spring quite like a juicy mango.

Good eating this weekend, y’all.

By request – Bubba’s Barbeque Condo

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34 Comments to “Don’t Do That and Other Adventures in the Kitchen”

  1. I live in Hamilton. On March 9, the wind blew the roof off of our only grocery store. Try living for weeks on what you can buy at Allsups, Alco, and the Dollar Store. Do not talk about kitchens. I have family coming for Easter. HEB is 33 miles away! The churches are running shuttles. Our shelves are bare! I shall continue whining alone.

  2. Alacrity Fitzhughe says:

    Pictures of Bubba’s BBQ House Please?

    Just Saying…

  3. Too late.

    We don’t buy very many frozen foods, but a recent trip down that aisle brought us face to face with… PB and J sandwiches, located on a shelf at eye-level behind the glass in a freezer. Made by Smuckers. Couldn’t believe it.

    The terrorists have won.

    Happy Eating!

  4. Cooking “from scratch” is the cheapest and most effective cure for a plethora of mental issues. Besides, it tastes great!

  5. Cooking from scratch is wonderful in so many ways, but after I developed chronic anosmia even I find myself just throwing a packet in the microwave. But I wouldn’t do that to anyone else I was supposed to be feeding, particularly if they were kiddos.

  6. When the grocery stores started devoting more freezer space to pizza than to ice cream, I knew the country had gone to he//! The only frozen things at the grocery store I like, other than ice cream, are Stouffer’s corn soufflé and spinach soufflé, which I buy just for myself.

    Bubba’s condo looks very nice.

  7. Susan the Neon Nurse says:

    I guess the generation that grew up without HomeEc is leading the demographics now, and no one knows how to cook ANYTHING. We were trying to find frozen ravioli a while back, and none of our (three) grocery stores carry it anymore. What, boiling and pouring on sauce is TOO HARD for people today?!

  8. Umptydump says:

    Do I need to bring ice for the beer cooler in Bubba’s smokehouse? What brand of beer? Lone Star? Shiner Bock? Some furrin’ kind?

  9. Wow, your backyard and Bubba’s smokehouse are just too pretty. You’re sure you live in Texas?

  10. Sam in Kyle says:

    Just finished a slice of my homemade cheesecake. Been perfecting the recipe for 20 years and it just keeps getting better. Never found any better.

  11. publius bolonius says:

    Sad, innit? Personally, I’ve been conducting a 7 month quest for the perfect mojo pork roast. It’s so easy to make, its pathetic and though everyone loves it and will gladly consume large quantities, I can’t get anyone to make it for themselves. I guess the only thing easier than my recipe is having me do it and pass it around. Convenience, its what’s for dinner.

  12. Brianm0122 says:

    That’s nothin’

    There is a store in Flower Mound that carries this:

    That’s right “New York Brand” TEXAS TOAST! Not only have people forgotten their toast recipe, they are importing that FANCY Texas Toast from NEW YORK CITY!

    Regular Texas Toast isn’t good enough.

  13. I have so many food restrictions, I have no choice….. but to cook. When you have to watch stuff like “sodium”…. (and folks read the labels on all that processed stuff you buy, especially the sodium content). You can eat as much in one dinner…..(salt) as you require in a day.

    I love to cook. I’ve even gotten to the point where I know a trip to the grocery…. is going to take a while…. because I read labels.

    I love fresh veggies, and fruits. I keep hoping the price of lettuce comes down, before it is as expensive as a gallon of gas. Since I can only eat iceberg….. here we go again on the food restrictions.

    We do what we can. I love crock pot cooking when it’s too hot to turn on the oven. So many recipes….. hard to choose.

    More than anything….. I love to cook. Experimenting with recipes is more fun than anything. If you don’t have “this” that the recipe calls for…… what about “this”…. that you do have…. How would that taste? (Usually it works).

    Can’t imagine eating frozen pb&J. Yuk! I’m a peanut butter freak. Not frozen. Won’t do at all. If you have access to my facebook page…. check out the crawfish and shrimp etouffe that somebody made.

    Apparently, it is now the custom (or tradition) where my grandson is employed to have a crawfish (or as we used to call them….. crawdads)…. festival on the Thursday before Easter weekend. They cooked up a bunch, with all the fixin’s, and even some cold beer to go along. The “etouffe” is from leftovers I’m sure.

    Have a Blessed Easter, everyone.

  14. I think you are preaching to the choir here, JJ. (So, what else is new?) Thanks for the Mango Salsa recipe. I’ve copied and pasted it and printed it out.

    For Easter dinner tomorrow, I’m cooking some racks of lamb I bought last weekend out of the back of a pick-up truck in an alley in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. (They are serious small Maryland farmers who sell at the farmers market on Saturdays during the season.)

  15. John in Lafayette says:

    Cooking from scratch not only tastes better, and is better for you, but it’s cheaper, too. When I first moved to Louisiana I asked my boss where to go for the best etouffe. She told me I had better learn to make that stuff for myself if I wanted to live down here.

    So I added a cookbook to my collection (which numbers over 80): “Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux?” Fabulous book; I recommend it highly (along with “Cajun Revelation”). Life has been great ever since.

    The only things that belong in the freezer are ice cream and the quarter cow I buy at the local specialty meat store.

  16. I didn’t learn to cook from Home Ec which I never took (nor did my mother, who was making her own clothes and cooking for her father and brother already when she was in high school.) I learned to cook from women who cooked–MUCH better than Home Ec. I was “helping” in the kitchen when I still had to sit on a fat dictionary at the table, and started “helping” at the stove when I could stir something while standing on a stool.

    My mother cooked when I was little even though she worked long hours in the hardware store six days a week. When she changed jobs and had Saturday off, she cooked on Saturdays. And then I started doing the cooking (and she ate whatever I cooked, some of which–she told me later–was distinctly unusual.) Her friends cooked too: I learned from women who came from different traditions (and that’s why I don’t even know what my cooking counts as–it’s a mix of Jewish, Mexican, Lebanese, Italian, basic farm American, with little touches of other stuff learned from PBS cooking shows and then…altered a bit.)

    Our autistic son cooks–not particularly well, but he sure knows how to do simple stuff. (He does use frozen vegetables a lot. I don’t see a problem with frozen corn. And I freeze soups and stews to eat later, myself.)

    But yeah–cooking from scratch or at least basic components is worthwhile and good for you. (Though sometimes–I just want a Whataburger with everything. Or a piece of fried chicken I didn’t fry and don’t have to clean up the grease on the stove from. And sometimes when I was a kid and my mother had had a particularly brutal day, she’d thaw some frozen chicken pot pies. But not every day.)

    It’s sad that there are people who didn’t have an adult in the house who cooked (and stuff you want to eat–I’ve heard of people turned off of cooking because Mom was a rotten cook.)

    Frozen PBJ…ye gods, people, how hard is it to dig a blob of peanut butter out of a jar, slather it on some bread, scoop up a blob of jelly for the other piece of bread, and then…just eat it. Frozen quesadillas–the whole notion is crazy. Quesadillas are what you make out of the last shreds of the roasted chicken and the last one or two flour tortillas and the hardened end of a block of cheese. They’re tarted-up leftovers.

  17. Marge Wood says:

    We go to Brick Oven a lot. They even have a senior menu and a gluten free menu. I call it my household help. Then the next day I cook and feel virtuous. Thanks for the reminder of quesadillas. I think I’ll fix that tomorrow. It’ll give us more time to paint house trim. (We’re too old to do Easter egg hunts.)

    Now zackly when are we all showin’ up for barbecue? and I forgot but it’s super easy to make barbecue my way; I’m sure it’s not as good as Bubba’s. Brown some meat and onions. Dump barbecue sauce on it. Let it simmer while you set the table and put out rolls and salad. Bingo. Happy Easter or whatever you celebrate. Love, Marge

  18. The do now sell frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the frozen foods at Randalls and Kroger. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing the first time I noticed them. Think thy also come without crust and some are star shaped.

  19. I have made March a meatless month except I did have a little Irish stew at our ladies church luncheon and I zapped a Lean Cuisine one day that had chicken in it … but, so far, I’ve relied on vegetarian type meals … utilizing products from Morningstar Farms but won’t be buying any more of their stuff because they use GMO [genetically modified organism] stuff in their products. There are other companies that are non-GMO users and so I’ve been using some of their products when I can find them at the store. I’ve already lost a few pounds by going this route and may continue on this path if I continue to drop some poundage!

    I took Home Ec, starting in the 7th grade and clear through High School plus my Mom was an excellent cook and baker and learned a lot from her, as well. When my 2 sons were in high school, I insisted they both take Home Ec to learn how to cook, sew, do whatever because some day they’d have to know how to do some of that stuff … they are both excellent cooks … not so good on the other stuff! LOL

    This summer I’m going to be doing a vegetable container garden on my front porch … gonna try planting some corn along the fence and see what spouts and prospers … anything to save a bit at the grocery store and the Farmer’s Markets because they can sometimes charge themselves out of a sale! I prefer to do the from-scratch-cooking myself and only use store bought stuff when necessary! Maybe I’ll even get really good at making my own version of veggie burgers instead of relying on what other companies have at the store.

    JJ & Bubba … your backyard is just gorgeous … who wouldn’t love to have a barbecue back there … even I would! LOL I would definitely fall prey to BBQ pork ribs and a cold brewsky!

    Happy Easter to all you folks … Hugs … Marcia in CO

  20. OldMayfly says:

    Gay is right–supermarkets actually sell peanut butter/jelly sandwiches now–also pre-boiled & dyed Easter eggs.

    As an old-time native Floridian I rely on canned goods. True, as someone on-line pointed out to me, dried beans are more economical than canned. But he was a Yankee–in south Florida dried beans were mildewed soon no matter what precautions were taken.

    I keep the following canned goods on hand at all time–tomatoes, white beans, black beans. Also keep bags of rice. In back-yard in sunny window also have growing: onions, chives, parsley, thyme, sage, basil.

  21. Love the BBQ house shot! Yeah Costco sells those frozen pbj’s – surprised you haven’t heard my snarky comments about them or heard my son laughing at them. (my comments that is). Then again I don’t understand why people think making spaghetti sauce is difficult.

  22. maryelle says:

    Our food supply can sicken anyone at a moment’s notice, i.e. tomatoes, spinach, green onions,cantaloupes, even these unprocessed foods have caused sickness and deaths recently so as much as we like to think home-cooked food is safe, it’s not always true. And trying to grow it yourself doesn’t always work, especially if the deer, rabbits and raccoons gang up to defeat you. Been there.

  23. Elise Von Holten says:

    My mom brought me a Burger King burger with tomatoes and the rest of the fixings…I had just been talking to my daughter about GMO tomatoes–Monsanto used a gene from goldfish to get a bright orangey-red color for the product, no matter if ripe or not…I almost couldn’t put it in my mouth, but I didn’t want to reject my mothers food, she gets upset over that.
    Organic, homegrown, homemade–that’s what I do and what my children are choosing for their children…we had a sit down dinner with candles, music, and a fire in the fireplace (winter evenings) when my oldest was in high school, she protested if meetings were scheduled at 6:00–“haven’t you people heard of dinner?”–it’s gotten so much harder for people since then, my single parent boy friend bought frozen PBJ’s for his daughter–because she hated crusts and it was so easy and quick–he didn’t eat anything green until I came into his life…

  24. Thanks, JJ, for the awesome recipe AND for introducing me to Bob Dunn’s website. 😉

  25. I thought that pancake batter in a jug was the most ridiculous supermarket item until I saw a coupon for frozen oatmeal.

  26. scottybeamer says:

    I no longer eat anything that has “additives”,including food coloring. It’s a nice change and requires actual cooking. I don’t own a microwave. My only crockpot just exploded a week ago. I’m down to the stove and the steamer!
    I’ve cooked since I was big enough to reach the stove. Thank goodness my Momma taught me to cook. Doesn’t take long to shop when you don’t buy canned stuff. Also a lot cheaper, which is an added benefit. It is truly scary what is added to the food supply. Many of the additives in our food supply are not allowed in other countries. Go figure. If it’s already prepared, I don’t buy it, much less eat it.
    I’m lovin’ that Bar-B-Q condo……………:)

  27. I cook, my wife cooks a lot more than I do. We seldom venture into the middle of the supermarket, tending to stick to the outer aisle. I’ve no idea of what is in all of those frozen bins.

    The link to the website I provided is a cookbook, one that is going to get added to more often as I’ve decided to cook one meal a week (I already do some lunches and all of the grilling).

    I also preserve foods, this year is marmalade and fall will be pickles. About 160 pints of marmalade. I have little trouble having guests take it away.

  28. I am constantly “stunned” by the crap in the grocery store freezers – or when I see a commercial for “instant” and “microwave” anything that is about as simple as getting out a sack of flour and a set of measuring cups – As hubby looks and me and says, “go ahead, say it…how lazy are you”…sheesh.

    Sure glad I taught my kid to cook real food.

  29. JJ,

    Gotta say, anybody who “buys” a gallon ice tea for $2.00 is LAZY~or ignorant, but I stand behind “those people” in the Kroger constantly.

  30. EMoon! You made me laugh calling Quesadillas just tarted-up leftovers! Love reading all the comments. Such creative writing can only mean one thing – ya’ll gotta be creative cooks too!

  31. BarbinDC says:

    I admit it: I’m very grateful for two very excellent frozen foods–green peas and artichoke hearts. And, sometimes, chopped spinach.

    I also have frozen filo dough and Pepperidge Farms puff pastry sheets in my freezer because I can’t make the first myself and life is too short for the second.

  32. @John in Lafayette, you’re so correct on the cookbook, “Who’s Your Mama…….,” written by Marcelle Bienvenu, a beautiful woman. I had the pleasure of meeting her some years ago when I was a houseguest of one of her cousins in St. Martinville.

  33. Really sad that people feel they don’t have the time to eat healthy. Enjoyed reading all the comments. Beautiful back yard and BBQ house. I used to go to Louisiana every monthe for my job. Don’t miss my job but i sure do miss the food. Never had a bad meal in Lafayette. Thanks John for the tip on the cookbook.

  34. QuakerGranny says:

    Yep, I too did a double-take when I saw prepackaged, frozen P’n’J sandwiches at the supermarket. This leads to the question, “When are they gonna put microwaves in SUVs, so parents won’t have to go to the time-consuming inconvenience of thawing them out in the kitchen before feeding their kids in the car?”