Category Archives: BEAUTIFUL LIFE

SHRIMP, LOBSTER, OKRA

My daughter Maggie was digging around in a drawer the other day and found a deck of cards from New Orleans that my son, Zach, bought over fifteen years ago.  They were purchased at the gift shop of a paddle boat on the Mississippi River. It was New Year’s Day and I remember that we thought the ride was a little boring and turned to playing Gin Rummy for distraction.

Since that time, the deck disappeared, has been buried in drawers, carted around the world and surfaced this week only because Maggie is ALL about playing cards these days.  She pulled out the cards – called Louisiana Cajun: Deck O’ Meals and we started playing using rules from UNO.

You might remember seeing these “Deck O’ Meals” cards at one time or another; each card has a Cajun recipe on the face-side and the front of each card is an illustration of recipe ingredients like shrimp, lobster, okra, bell peppers, etc. Because of these illustrations, Maggie deemed our new game “Shrimp, Lobster, Okra.” The other day as we were playing, she was in the lead, got down to one card and when the excitement overcame her she screamed out “SHRIMP!”

Zach and I have had such a laugh and, of course, the rules of the game now require the winner to yell “SHRIMP.”  I actually caught Zach yesterday morning reading the recipes and day dreaming of New Orleans. One of the best cards – the 8 of Diamonds – includes a recipe for “Smothered Alligator.”

I got on the web this morning and found out that the cards are actually quite well-known and the recipes have circulated through all sorts of sites.  According to my (brief) research, it seems that the recipes themselves are highly rated.  I suggest that every family order a few decks for holiday gifts and spend some time playing (and perhaps eating) “Shrimp, Lobster, Okra.”

I wrote to our long-ago traveling companion to remind him of our “Deck O’ Meals” on the Mississippi River:  “Funny how things from the past will jump up and grab you when least expected.”

“Shrimp, Lobster, Okra” or the Louisiana Cajun: Deck O’ Meals


HOLIDAY GIFTS

We sent out our Holiday Gift Guide today…

I know that it seems early; BUT, Maggie has been listening to “Frosty the Snowman” for about three weeks and begging for the decorations to come down from the attic. Yes, I know that Thanksgiving is next week; but, have you tried to argue with a 4 year-old?

So, the decorations box is down. My vintage, aluminum Christmas Tree – inherited from my grandparents – is unpacked and decorated.  Holiday tunes fill the house and the weather outside is a cold, winter rain. So, we are in full holiday spirit and I am grateful for the holiday gift of a 4 year-old.

Our front door is decorated with a mixture of  mums that have seen better days, beautiful, giant pumpkins, turkey drawings and now, an Alabama Chanin style wreath and home-made snowflakes and reindeer taped into the windows.   So, you will forgive me if I am already writing of Holiday Gift Guides?

I have even started to make our holiday gifts to put under our little tree.

‘Tis the season…follow the link to find some holiday cheer from all of us @ Alabama Chanin:

Alabama Chanin – Holiday Gift Guide 2010

AT HOME

Thanks to all the folks @ CasaSugar for including my home in their House Tours.  I feel very grateful for our little home It  has been a great house, an even better neighborhood, and a lovely place to raise little Maggie.

I pulled our holiday decorations out of the attic today and will work on adding holiday pictures and projects over the next weeks:

At Home with Alabama Chanin

FRESH AIR

The first day (and night) of cold has arrived like a breath of fresh air… tomatoes pulled from vines for fear of frost and our walking cape is my new best friend.  Take 20% off from our Collection or DIY Store for a chance to win a walking cape.  Until Nov. 5th, use code FRESHAIR20 at checkout for your chance to win.

Winner will be posted on November 8th, 2010.  All rules and regulations apply.

THE BEST OF THE BEST

“I daresay any fine recipe used in Jackson could be attributed to a local lady, or her mother – Mrs. Cabell’s Pecans, Mrs. Wrights’ Cocoons, Mrs. Lyell’s Lemon Dessert.  Recipes, in the first place, had to be imparted – there was something oracular in the transaction – and however often they were made after that by others, they kept their right names.  I make Mrs. Mosal’s White Fruitcake every Christmas, having got it from my mother, who got it from Mrs. Mosal, and I often think to make a friend’s recipe is to celebrate her once more, and in that cheeriest, most aromatic of places to celebrate in, the home kitchen.” — Eudora Welty of Jackson, Mississippi

I returned this week from Bloomington, Indiana to find a box containing my copy of The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook.  One part old-timey church cookbook, one part storybook, the compilation of recipes from SFA Members is spectacular.  Edited by friend John T. Edge with Sara Roahen, the recipes vary from Brown Butter Creamed Winter Greens by Linton (“Why It Is Worth So Much”) Hopkins (on page 70) to Shout Hallelujah Potato Salad by our friend Blair Hobbs (page 61). Indeed, the entire book contains the best of the best.

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GREEN GRAPES + SIX WEEK SLAW

According to friends, I might be the only person in North Alabama still harvesting tomatoes.  I was angry at myself for not getting them in the ground earlier this year; however, it seems that my busy life made the perfect storm for a great harvest.  One of Zach’s friends gave me a load of heirloom plants to try and I have to say that there were some great selections in the mix:  purple, yellow, and plums to name a few.  However, the “Green Grapes” have become coveted around my house.  I have saved some seeds for next year and will certainly (hopefully) have more than one plant.

Try out this great lunch:  Six Week Slaw (recipe below) with shaved Parmesan and halved green grapes.

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CITIZEN ARCHITECT

Tune into PBS on MONDAY, AUGUST 23rd, 9PM CST

(AFTER HISTORY DETECTIVES)

for the National Broadcast of

CITIZEN ARCHITECT: SAMUEL MOCKBEE AND THE RURAL STUDIO

More Information Here:   http://video.pbs.org/program/1548466406/

If you can not tune in, check out the website / or facebook page for theatrical screening updates / or buy the DVD online:

http://www.citizenarchitectfilm.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/CITIZEN-ARCHITECT-FILM/285692586601?ref=ts

Bravo to our friends Sam and Jay… and, of course, to Samuel Mockbee – who inspired a generation.

Watch and then plan your road trip to Hale County, Alabama…

CONSUMING PASSIONS

I am headed to the mountains of Chattanooga today for a weekend of stitching, cooking and playing with high school girlfriends. Maggie has her bags packed with loads of books for the trip and I have my sewing kit and a book ready for a girls (and kids) sewing weekend with wine, food, reading and relaxing. Sigh. The thick smell of trees and mountain air…

A book arrived on my desk not too long ago and, unfortunately, I don’t know who sent it. In a moment of needing a break from new collections, writing the new book, working on a website update, being a mom, and keeping the garden, I landed on my couch the other night with Consuming Passions by Michael Lee West.

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