As I learned to cook, I learned to go toward the middle aisles when I needed rice, pasta, canned tomatoes or cereal. Flour and sugar of course, and herbal tea.

If you really cook, everything is on the exterior. Produce, fish, meat, yogurt, milk, eggs…. and every so often I go to the deli for pepperoni for my homemade Friday night pizza. Yes, I use Italian OO flour for my dough and love MYOP parties for neighborhood kids, that’s Make Your Own Pizza where I make dough and toppings and they roll them out and top them and I bake them. After they’ve eaten they get to make their own dough to put in the frig overnight to rise. I guess it’s also Bring Your Own Bowl. I’ve enough plastic wrap to last a year.

The grocery produce folks are getting to know me. The fish people have inferior product from my eyes. I have a tiny cataract but still know that by looking at its’ eyes this fish has been dead longer than three days. You know the adage about guests and fish.

My butchers know me by name and call me out when I’m going veggie. Yes, they’re saying thanks for the Texas chili, cornbread and fixin’s  (lime and sour cream) I gave them last week. Their turkey (please don’t tell my father-in-law who owns a cattle ranch in Texas that I made turkey chili} with my spice mix was right on. I do believe I’m the only customer who brings food into the market and buys more to give to my butchers.

There are no beans in Texas chili. Lady Bird Johnson taught me that from her recipe for this chili in 1962, about the time I started to learn to read. I just made my own riff on it with more tomatoes and my personally selected chiles, instead of 1962 “chili powder.” Who knows what’s in that, anyway? Certainly not me, who according to my father-in-law, personally started the War of Northern Aggression, in the 1860’s. Up North, we call it the Civil War, and I had nothing to do with it. I’m not nearly that old.

Today I made St. Louis-style ribs. Oven for two hours after a dry rub of equal parts salt, pepper, and I used smoked paprika (pimenton) this time and our home is still redolent of it, then for pork ribs I use 1/3 the amount of sugar. Two hours in the oven, covered with foil, then baste on your favorite BBQ sauce, Grill for a few minutes and done. Check out my cookbook blog, Jeanne Volt’s “Smoked Butts….” She has great recipes and is listed by me as a reference, the book. It’s featured on the blog, classic cookbooks make great wedding presents.

I only took a bite of the ribs, it was tasty but I wasn’t in the mood for meat so ate some couscous and may have some peach yogurt. Perhaps a salad. We’ll see. I can’t sleep, again. Dee


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