Friday, May 24, 2013

Cook Like A Man; Sauce Like a Woman

Golly Gee! Memorial Day weekend has descended upon us and I'm not even ready. Are you???

Marion and I don't have anything spectacular planned for the weekend. As a matter of fact, things will probably be quiet at the "ranch" this year. I'm still recuperating from my trip and Marion is thrilled to once again have the house to herself. She had Marion "sitters" while I was gone and according to her, her daily routine was interrupted more than once:) We may live in the same house, but we have plenty of space between us. We like it that way:)

I may have mentioned it before, long, long ago but heck it's certainly worth mentioning again just in case...not only is May National Barbecue Month but, it also happens to National Hamburger Month too!!! Makes sense when you think about it. Some where in the archives of this blog I'm sure I have written about both however, I don't think I've ever discussed The History Of Barbecue Sauce. As it happens, I won't be discussing that today either because it has been well documented by Meathead at Amazing Ribs! So, what's left to talk about this Memorial Day weekend? Decoration Day of course.

To honor the deceased, soldiers would decorate graves of their fallen comrades with flowers, flags and wreaths. Hence Decoration Day. Although Memorial Day became its official title in the 1880s, the holiday wouldn’t legally become Memorial Day until 1967.
“And now the Torch and Poppy red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.”
– from “We Shall Keep the Faith,”

~Moine Belle Michael~
The Memorial Day tradition of wearing red poppies began in 1915 as a symbol of commemoration of those men and women who we honor today. While reading Ladies' Home Journal, an overseas war secretary named Moina Michael came across the famous World War I poem "In Flanders Fields" by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. She started selling them to friends and co-workers and campaigned for the red flowers to become an official memorial emblem. The American Legion embraced the symbol in 1921, and the tradition has spread to more than 50 other countries, including England, France and Australia. Time Magazine

If you would like to glorify the tradition of the Red Poppy for Memorial Day, follow this link to a recipe for Red Poppy Apple Tarts. Just right!

The Food

In the beginning there was fire, and when primitive man learned to capture and use it rather than flee from it in terror like other animals, a profound distinction arose between his way of life and theirs. Having provided himself with a source of warmth and light against the cold and dark, he learned before long to throw killed game upon the flame rather than devour it raw, and so laid the basis for an entirely new diet... The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking through the Ages p.12
How to Grill Caveman T-bone Steaks

Not only did George Washington have a large smokehouse at his plantation at Mt. Vernon, I read in Politics and Pot Roasts by Sarah Hood Salomon that George Washington "had the first recorded barbecue in America." It consisted of a 500 pound ox which was roasted after the President laid the cornerstone for the Capitol. Perhaps, this is why he is sometimes referred to as "The First Barbecue Critic!" Just a note, LBJ was the first President to hold a barbecue at the White House.

George Washington "went in to Alexandria to a Barbecue and stayed all Night," as he wrote in his diary for May 27, 1769, he won eight shillings playing cards and probably ate meat from a whole hog, cooked for hours over hardwood coals, then chopped or "pulled."  By the early nineteenth century at the latest, a sauce of vinegar and cayenne pepper (originally West Indian) was being sprinkled on the finished product. This ur-barbecue can be found to this day in eastern North Carolina and the adjoining regions of South Carolina and Virginia, virtually unchanged.The Southern Barbecue Trail

Did you know that in the old days of politics, it was quite common for candidates to hold small town rallies that included a barbecue. Local farmers could contribute a hog or a goat to their candidate of choice as support and the towns people had free food and entertainment. Political campaigns have often enticed people to attend events offering food and drink. In 1840, President William Henry Harrison held a barbecue in Wheeling, West Virginia. Thirty thousand people showed up. The food included 300 hams, 26 sheep, 20 calves, 1,500 pounds of beef, 8,000 pounds of bread, over 1,000 pounds of cheese, 4,500 pies and numerous bottles of hard cider."

Hungry yet? How 'bout a Hard Chargin' Blue Cheese Stampede gleaned from the above pictured Marlboro Cook Like A Man cookbook?

Here's the recipe!

The next recipe, from the same book, is titled Thirsty Bird. I've actually attempted this recipe before. Below you will see the results. Let me tell you, it doesn't look anything like the recipe in the book but it sure was good!!! Be careful if you attempt it.

Since I started this post in a saucy kinda manner, it's only fitting I end it the same:) Here's a recipe for Red Hot Mama's Barbecue Sauce

P.S. If you're in need of a fabulous barbecue sauce cookbook, check out The Ultimate Barbecue Sauce Cookbook: Your Guide to the Best Sauces, Rubs, Sops, Mops, and Marinades by Jim Auchmutey and Susan Puckett. Not only does it dive right in to recipes from cook-off champions throughout the USA, it is also spiced with lore from chefs, celebrities, and all kinds of people obsessed with barbecue. It may only have 100 recipes but let me tell you, I don't think the authors missed a thing! I highly recommend the Death Row Bourbon Sauce. Created by quite the ambitious woman, I was delighted when I found the recipe and history for you online at Key Ingredient. Enjoy and have a safe and filling holiday weekend! Louise

1. 7 Things You Didn't Know About Memorial Day
2. Barbecue Diplomacy at LBJ's Texas White House