National Fried Chicken Day is…

National Fried Chicken Day is…

This auspicious day is the perfect occasion for me to reflect on the importance of regularly consuming vast quantities of… well, of fried chicken, of course!

One of life’s mysteries which I cannot explain is that I’ve loved fried chicken for as long as I can remember even though it was never served a home.

That is just a bit weird, isn’t it?

And even though I eat if frequently, I don’t make it at home, either.

I know my way around the kitchen and make all kinds of other stuff. But not this life-giving delicacy.

As great as it is, it’s certainly true that frying this fowl at home is no light undertaking.

You need a Dutch oven, or at least a skillet with some serious depth to it.

And getting a good result means giving up a very considerable quantity of high-quality cooking oil, and not one of the cheaper ones. Peanut oil or coconut oil are preferred.

And then you’re left with a vast quantity of used oil. Yes, it’s not too different from the situation we shade-tree mechanics face when we’re thinking of changing our car’s oil in the driveway. And what to do with it after… yeah, that can be an issue.

So maybe I’m not the only one; maybe lots of lovers of what just might be America’s favorite dish head to KFC or Popeye’s in huge numbers but eschew tossing chicken pieces n’ parts in their skillets at home!

This wonderful feeling of relief, of knowing I’m not so different from my chicken-lovin’ friends, will buoy my spirits 30 minutes from now when I’m standing in that long line of hungry guests at that KFC right around the corner from me!

I wonder if they know what day it is?

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Farmhouse Rules is my new fave…

Farmhouse Rules is my new fave…

Loving the little “discovery” I made today! I’ve been enjoying several of the cooking shows on Create TV for a while. So many good ones; one I enjoy quite a bit is America’s Test Kitchen. I love that the dishes featured on that show are the hearty “real food” offerings that light up my culinary universe.

Well, I just happened to stumble across Farmhouse Rules on the food network today. Very cool show! It just might be my new fave! I like it a lot.

The show features chef and life-long farmhouse girl, Nancy Fuller, and her 250 year old family farm. (By the way, farmhouse girl is a tag that comes from Nancy herself.)

I like that the show emphasizes good, home-style cooking, is set on a real farm and features a lot of her own brood. The 13 grand kids, especially.

One of the reasons that this one really appeals to me is that it beautifully ties together two things that have become really important to me in the last few years: authentic, made-from-scratch American cuisine and small farming, or permaculture.

If you’ve seen Farmhouse Rules, you don’t need any convincing from me about how good it is. If you haven’t seen it and think you’d like to check it out, here’s the link to the site where can get the low-down on this fine offering from the Food Network.

May you feast on fine, fresh victuals today. And may the television programming you “consume” leave you nourished and enriched!

 

 

Renewing my firm commitment to stay away from junk TV, I am,

Bulldog Ben Basile

 

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

I love cornbread too much!

I love cornbread too much!

Back in mid-January I posted about making scratch cornbread. It truly is something I enjoy. A lot.

Strange as it my seem, I think I enjoy the baking as much as the eating.

I did it again. And I’m posting about it again. And I’m not sorry!

I like the photo I took while I had this yummy stuff cooling on the kitchen table. It turned out very well. And it was just the thing to broaden my breakfast choices for this week!

I hope life is going well for you these days. Your kitchen life. Your life in general.

Just eat it up!

 

 

“Baker Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Tabasco HQ is in deep trouble!

Tabasco HQ is in deep trouble!

I keep one eye open for important stories about worsening climate change. There’s certainly no shortage of those these days.

This article is about one spot where the results of warming and the accompanying rise in sea levels is affecting the heart of Cajun country. It’s a place where many folks hold strongly conservative beliefs and where warnings about climate change from scientists and treehuggers are at considerable risk of being ignored or blithely explained away.

Avery Island–where Tabasco Sauce has been made for over 150 years–is slowly sinking. But the main problem is that the water surrounding most of the island is rising very fast. Faster than almost anywhere else on the planet.

It’s not actually an island in the technical or scientific sense, but it’s going to become one soon. By 2050, according to recent estimates.

The Island rises 163′ above sea level now, but the marshes surrounding it are retreating by a staggering 30′ per year. At that rate, the 2,200 acres of Avery Island will shrink dramatically before the mid-century mark, leaving only its core above water. That’s hardly enough real estate to support the growth of peppers and the production of the hot sauce which has made Tabasco one of the best known brands in the food industry and made the McIlhenny family very, very rich.

The Guardian published an article just this morning by writer Oliver Milman which lays out skillfully and in painstaking detail how this unhappy development is unfolding. I strongly recommend this piece to anyone who’s interested in climate change, great hot sauce, or contemporary events affecting life in the American south.

Climate change is real. The seas are rising. And regardless of how long it takes for some Americans to see what’s actually happening all around us, we’re going to have to meet the challenges caused by the damage we’ve done to our planet, and we’re going to have to be for real.

The denying, the explaining away and the foot dragging have got to stop. If we still have a lot of people and a lot of corporations–who have a financial interest in mucking up the issue–pulling in the wrong direction, wondering how we’re going to keep our favorite hot sauce on the store shelves will be the least of our worries.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

Today is National Cabbage Day!

Today is National Cabbage Day!

Today is THEE DAY we celebrate this awesome vegetable! And I must say, that if there wasn’t a day for cabbage, there damn sure should have been!

In all seriousness, I do love cabbage. It’s one of my very faves. Love it a thousand ways…

To commemorate the day this time, I made cabbage, diced tomato, black olive and navy bean burritos. Well, I threw in some onion and green pepper, too. Fabulous!

Fish tacos are another way to get some cabbage in your belly! Too much trouble for me at home, but I’ll be chokin’ down some fish tacos in the very near future, for sure!

Hope you’re having a fine day and that you’re celebrating! Some awesome occasion!

 

Feeling fine on Nat’l Cabbage Day, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

Today’s National Pizza Day!

Today’s National Pizza Day!

It is, indeed, thee day we celebrate this glorious food and I’m going to chow down on some monster chunk of pizza tonight or my name’s not Benjamin Basile!

I know you love pizza too. If you don’t, there’s just no hope for you.

Being Sicilian, I come by my love of pizza honestly. As you many know, pizza in any part of Italy is not at all like the pizza we’ve come to love here in the States.

Many would describe it as primitive. Overly simple. Lacking in character, deficient in taste….

What you’d most likely find in any restaurant serving pizza in “the old country” would be a simple but tasty dough, stretched out on a real wooden peel, topped with a modest amount of good, hearty tomato sauce… here’s the part that’s hard to swallow, so to speak: it may or may not be topped with cheese!

And if it is, a bit of fresh basil–fresh, meaning not chopped to pieces–may well be the only topping other than sauce and (maybe) cheese. An excellent quality cheese and basil, but you can see what I meant about authentic Italian pizza and American pizza being quite different.

Well, regardless of what your idea of what pizza should be like may be, I hope you get to observe National Pizza Day properly… That is, by getting some in yer belly!

 

 

Getting mighty hungry in O’do, I am,

Benjamin Basile

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Mr Basile is not the owner of this fine foto