M is for MoonPie – A Hellacious Belle’s Guide to Sips and Vittles of the Modern South

From my series on Southern food and drinks, I’m picking back up with the Letter “M” to tackle an delicacy near and dear to the hearts of many Southerners…

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[moon pahy]

“Moon Pie!  Moon Pie!” that battle cry of the Mobile Mardi Gras, screamed by thousands of children each year as they swarm the nightly path of parade floats, scrambling and scrapping for the hallowed treats, tossed along with doubloons and beads by masked and costumed Krewes.

Moon Pie, that marshmallow-y, chocolate-ty disc of divinity, harking back to 1917, created by the Chattanooga Bakery, per the request of a Kentucky coal miner who asked for a snack made from graham crackers and Marshmallows, “as big as the moon!”

Moon Pie that iconic duo of Southern snackdom, when served with a frosty RC Cola.

Yeah our idea of high class livin’
Is sittin’ on the porch on a cool night
Our Champagne and Caviar
Is an RC cola and a moon pie

– Tracy Byrd, Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous

 

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The road to Hell

…is said to be paved with good intentions.  Do good intentions become a slippery slope when lacking the mortar of manners?

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”

Emily Post

My grandmother always told me that between thoughtfulness, consideration of others and my upbringing (read: the manners I was raised with), I could hold my head high among the most exalted company, even so far as to dine with the Queen.

Regardless, it’s tough for anyone trying to fit in to new situations or with new people.  Sometimes you don’t know the right thing to say or do.  Sometimes you feel that saying or doing nothing is better than failing by saying or doing something, if it’s the wrong thing.  Sometimes doing the wrong thing seems inevitable. And there’s always the damn fish fork to figure out.

Outwards in is the rule for using cutlery.  Maybe inwards out is the rule for interacting with others.

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While I’ve never dined with the Queen, my raising and grandmother’s advice has successfully carried me (albeit with some nervousness and occasional awkwardness) through interactions with people from all over the world.

If I couldn’t figure it out by watching, I politely asked.  And I listened to what was said. I learned. I smiled.  I tried again. I watched others and asked them about them. Who they are, why they are who they are.  People want to be heard.  They want to be liked.  Respected for their individuality.  Sometimes genuine care is far more important than the right words or the correct spoon.

I was in the catering business for a long time, and the best waiter I ever worked with once told me, “while there are rules for presenting and clearing plates, you ALWAYS opt for the action most gracious for the guest.”

I think that lesson, along with my Granny’s counsel, has always worked best for me.  And Emily Post’s guideline.  She’s the Queen of Etiquette, after all.   To have awareness and consideration for the feelings of others is a way towards communications. Communication is a path towards understanding.  And I think that understanding is an expressway to peace and good will, no matter how diverse people may be.

Being able to interact, with though and care towards others, is the road I aim to be on.  Whichever fork I take.

And yes, it would have been cool to dine with Emily.  I think I might just pull it off, perhaps even with a little grace. My Granny raised me well.

Wishing I was there

It was a long day of driving around and showing property today to a new client. The weather was not at all inspiring – it was a chilly, murky, drizzly, grey, meh. 

I caught myself daydreaming about the last time I was in Seagrove Beach, Florida a few months ago with my husband.  I looked up these photos on my phone (which certainly cheered me up) and I thought I’d share them with you.  ::sigh:: Can’t wait to be back there!

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Thanks for stopping by!

 

Waiter, there is too much pepper on my paprikash!

Tonight we made Chicken Paprikash for dinner.

I randomly ran across this recipe a few weeks ago and tried it out.  (And yes, it’s the same dish made famous in When Harry Met Sally. ) I don’t think this is a super traditional version of the recipe but it looked amazing.  One word for you.  Bacon.  Yes, there is bacon in this Chicken Paprikash and it’s crazy delish.  We always try to cook dinner on the weekends, so we made this again tonight.

(Warning, I kinda tweak recipes as I go, so here is my latest version)

7 slices bacon, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 and a half tablespoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken (I like the chicken tenderloins, which I cut in half)

2 cups chicken broth

1 large bag of egg noodles

8 oz. sour cream

ingredients

First, dice the bacon into lardons and sauté 2 minutes.

Add diced peppers and onions.  Sauté 3 more minutes.

bacon:onions:peppers

Mix together flour, paprika and marjoram with about a teaspoon of salt in a mixing bowl.

flour

Add chicken, toss to coat thoroughly.

chix

Push the vegetable and bacon mixture to one side of the pan and sear chicken well, along with leftover flour mixture.  Let cook for 6 more minutes.

browning veg

Stir together the chicken, bacon and vegetables and cook 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir, then reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and simmer until the chicken is almost cooked through, about 10 more minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook egg noodles according to packaging.

sourcream

Uncover the pot with the chicken, turn the burner to high and cook 2 more minutes. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the sour cream and cook 5 more minutes. Season with salt as needed.

final stir

Drain the noodles and ladle a very generous serving of chicken and sauce on top.

Stuff into your face.

paprikash

Yum.

(Thanks to my awesome hubs for all his hard work dicing, chopping and searing!)

 

That time I wrote a song that was used in a movie.

Last year, my husband produced an independent film called Blind Trust.

It’s the story of a young immigration attorney, who while trying to help his client, becomes embroiled with the cartel and finds his ideals compromised by the kind of money that can both destroy and heal.

It was an incredible experience shooting the film – I was able to work on the production as a media liaison, and I coordinated press and actually wrote the IMDB film blurb and a lot of the content on the website.

They were wrapping up production last summer and my husband was stressing over a lot of the last minute details of post-production, including finding a song to play over the end credits.  The song needed to encompass the themes of the film without overtly tying into it.  He had previewed hundreds of artist submissions and nothing was right.

We were sitting out on the porch one night, having a glass of wine and listening to some of the songs.  He complained again that he couldn’t find the right song for what he needed.

Me (encouraged by a glass of wine): “I can write your song.”

My husband: “Sweetheart, I really appreciate that, but you’re not a song writer and I’ve had literally hundreds of submissions, by professional musicians and songwriters, and nothing is working.”

Me (grabbing a notepad and a pen).  I start scribbling madly.

My husband: “Seriously.  Don’t worry about it.  I’ll find something.”

Me: scribble, scribble, scribble.

Me (30 minutes later):  “what about this?”

My husband (reading):  “That’s great.  It’s really good.  But I need a finished song.”

Me (getting up and going inside to get my computer.)  “I just sent it to one of my musician friends.  Let’s see what he can do.”

Fast forward to a week later.  I get an email from my good friend, Jason Marcum, who I’d sent my lyrics to.  He sent back a fully produced song.  David loved it, the other producers loved it.

Fast forward two months later.  Sitting at the premier, watching the credits roll, I not only saw my name once, as Digital Marketing Content Curator and Media Liaison, but a second time, as the words to my song played overhead to the 200 people watching enraptured as the movie ended, Angel Fortuna, by Kim Ferguson and Jason Marcum.

Now that was really cool.