Cold Beer and Warm Gumbo

Today, I taught Pocket Monkey how to make Dad’s(his Grandpa’s) Gumbo.  It is the simple version that doesn’t involve a roux.  I was laughing because he tried every ingredient after he chopped it.  Just like me!  In the course of preparing the meal, he took a bite of half dozen veggies, and a bit of chicken.  I would chop something to show him how I wanted it chopped, and then turn him loose with the kitchen knife.  He succeeded.

Pocket Monkey just turned 10, so he is of a good age to teach basic cooking skills.  By the time we are done with him, he will be able to cook like a Chamorro or a hillbilly at his leisure.  He can already cook rice and Spam, which are basic Chamorro staples.

Mrs. Snipe and I were deciding what we would name a restaurant if we had it an settled on the name Chamoule  That is Guam slang for a half white and half Chamorro person.  .  She would cook the Islander favorites, and I would do the southern comfort food.

We invited a neighbor to try the gumbo, and therefore had to use the “spice for Yankees” rule.  If you want it spicy, add your own hot sauce.  Most gumbo recipes I am familiar with include the phrase: If you are cooking for Yankees, the elderly or the sick, spice with caution.  Of course, our neighbor loved it.

I love cooking, and love sharing with my friends.  That is all.  Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

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Thanksgiving With Kith and Kin

Many people from my family use the phrase kith and kin. As explained to a young me, kin is the family God saw fit to bless you with. Kith is the family you would have picked if given a choice in the matter.

This year was a lot more kith than kin. It was still fun. We choose ham instead of turkey due to some picky eaters in the thundering herd of young ‘uns. All the sides were the standard bit. We had stuffing, taters, veggies, candied sweet potatoes, and pies.

We were at a friend’s house. We provided a couple of sweet potato pies courtesy of great grandma’s recipe. I helped them get the their papa down here from an old folk’s home near The Major Metropolis. That made me fell warm and fuzzy inside.

We all laughed because despite our collective efforts to not make too much food, it seemed we had enough left over to feed a small battalion. We split everything down the middle and each of the two families got sufficient leftovers for a couple of weeks.

After supper, we played with the kids and watched a movie. Our friends don’t get cable, so we didn’t watch football. Most of the kids are small, so playing football in the backyard seemed rather ambitious. After being in some real remote locations in the world for Thanksgiving over the years, having no football was not an issue. Being with family and friends was far more fulfilling.

I shall go to bed tonight with the echoes of children’s laughter in my head and an overstuffed belly. We reflected as a family on what we are thankful for. Pocket Monkey stated that he is thankful for sleepovers with friends and a cozy house. I was proud. Keeping him warm and safe is one of my major goals and priorities.

That is all. Think before you drink. Fall out and carry out the plan of the day,

Pumpkin Seeds

It should be no secret by now that I like to use everything to its fullest. Pumpkins are no exception. Mrs. Snipe and I were considering what to do with the pumpkin seeds from the Jack-o-Lanterns we were carving. Pocket Monkey was spoiling to roast the seeds. So we did.

Gut the pumpkin. Clean off all the stringies aka the pumpkin guts. Place cleaned seeds on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with spices of your choosing. We used black pepper and season salt. Garlic works too. Roast at 350 degrees for around 10 minutes. The wetter the seed, the longer the roast.

We finished roasting the seeds and they are delicious.

More to come. Fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.

Emergency Preparedness

Every state I have ever lived in has had weather disasters that the general populace was prepared for. In WV, it was blizzards. In Cali, it was mudslides, wildfires, and earthquakes. In Guam it was tropical storms and typhoons. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, it is a little bit of all of the above(except typhoons, of course.)

Everyone knows that you need clean water and food. A radio doesn’t hurt. Nor does a firearm and any edged tool. I have been treating the impending government doom and gloom as a natural disaster. We have prepared appropriately.

I was speaking to Dad on my birthday. I mentioned that we almost bought a decently priced chunk of pork loin at the grocery store we had been at for popcorn sales. He expressed amazement bordering on disappointment that we didn’t buy it. When I told him that we had made like hurricane season and full stocked the pantry and fridge prior to the looming government shutdown, he understood. There was no room for food because we had prepared properly for having little money to by food with.

Having grown up in climes and places where extreme weather was expected, any hiccup in buying food will be met with the same spirit and preparedness that I have learned since a young age. Mrs. Snipe calls it a typhoon kit. I call it a bug out kit. The idea and contents are practically identical. A little forethought and effort goes a long way. I don’t need a grocery store or restaurant when worst comes to worst. That’s where the firearm and sharp and pointy come into play. I also have an Army Survival Field Manual.

Bring it sister! Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

A Country Boy Can Survive

Hank Williams, Jr. once famously sang about country folks surviving. With the impending government shutdown, I was discussing with Mrs. Snipe how far I was willing to go to feed the family. This will be a rundown of how us folks from “flyover country” and the South do business.

I will attempt to get a part time job if I must. I am willing to spend all day in the woods hunting squirrels, or gigging bullfrogs. I will fish until I have enough. I will not ask the state for permission to feed my family.

I am an American fighting man. I have gone tired, hungry, and scared to defend this nation. I will go tired and hungry to feed my family. If it gets bad enough, the cable gets cancelled. I have stuff I can sell. If I must give up my comfort for my family, I will.

I can save money by walking to work. My plan is that Pocket Monkey never realizes the depths of misery this will bring on. He and Mrs. Snipe will be kept warm with full bellies. I have a few pounds I can part with anyway. The rule of 3’s. I can go for 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. I will. If this country is still here in 2016, I have been taking names. If any politicians from my state supported any of these current fiascoes, they will not get my vote.

Fall and autumn

I love fall. My southern ancestors call the weather that we encounter in fall gumbo weather. Wife calls it Kadu weather. Kadu is Guam’s spiritual cousin to gumbo. They use chicken and veggies. We(Southerners) use damn near the entire kitchen.

I love football and the associated fall sports. I am on a life long quest to interest Pocket Monkey in the sport of American Football. He is getting there. He still is unsure of which team to cheer for. Some days he cheers for my team, and some days against. I don’t mind. He and I had a massive Super Bowl party last year while his Mom slept on the couch because she felt ill.

Today, we are making “shortcut gumbo”. It is called short cut because it doesn’t involve making a roux(pronounced like roo).

The ingredients and instructions are as follows.

2 Tbsps. Olive oil
! large sweet onion
3-4 stalks of celery
1 large green pepper
1 large red bell pepper
1 large bag of frozen okra
2 Tbsp. thyme
2 TBSP. parsley
2 TBSP. basil
black pepper and salt to taste
Old Bay or similar Cajun Spice
1 large can of tomatoes or 4-ish fresh tomatoes
1 can worth of water( about 4 cups)
4 deboned chicken breasts
Add everything to the pot except the okra.
When the dish is nearly done ad the okra and the meat.
We add steamed shrimp to be semi-authentic to the Cajun culture.

We bring everything to a boil and then simmer for around an hour. Cooking is not rocket science. Adjust ingredients and procedures to your taste.

A basic gumbo involves vegetables, spices and seafood. Gumbo is the Southern version of chowder. Add what you have, spice according to your audience, and simmer for 2-3 hours. So easy a Hull Tech can do it.

By the way, going to work when it is under 6o degrees must involve coffee or hot cocoa. There is no other way.

Friday Foodie

I live in a large city.  Any food you want is just a matter of a little research and usually no more than a 30 minute drive.  Mrs. Snipe has been wanting oysters.  Today, we were in the Filipino section to get some accessories for her Magic Sing karaoke microphone.  Seafood for extra cheap.  We walked away with a sack full of oysters, two decent sized tilapia, cheese rings, pork rinds, and two cold drinks for the road for about 25 bucks.  Good luck finding that at the commisary or Safeway.  We grilled the seafood for dinner and it shall be accompanied with frosty adult beverages.  Root beer for Pocket Monkey.