Friday, September 19, 2008

Wind, Beans, and Headcheese

Well, I sit here at work late this evening contemplating several things.

Hurricane food: Gustav and Ike passed through earlier this month. For a number of days we were without power so cooking became a little more exciting. I went through a ton of PB&J crackers. Not exactly gourmet, but easy and no worries about refrigeration. Two nights before Gustav I found a piece of what I thought was a large pork loin in the freezer. Once defrosted I liberally applied my BBQ rub and left it in the oven for about six hours at 280 F. I shredded it like butt or shoulder and put it into the fridge- then ice chest. It came out rather well. My wife was impressed with it. I can only imagine that if I had taken the time and effort to smoke it, that it would have been that much improved. I was surprised that I didn't do more grilling during our power outage. We prepared a decent amount of food before hand easing our work load.

Work food: As I write this I'm eating a ham sandwich. (I just realized that almost everything I write about has something to do with pork) Crackers, an apple, soda. Basic easy work food. I'm fortunate to be able to use a refrigerator here. I can store several items like condiments, bread, soda, lunch meat and cheese so that I can make a sandwich here instead of getting up earlier to pack a lunch. It seems to me that the more a man works with his hands on the job, the more likely it is that his wife has set aside left overs for his lunch the next day. I've noticed that a lot of the engineers I've worked with tend to bring frozen dinners, eat popcorn, or have a vendor buy them lunch as often as possible. We've been making more meals at work recently as well. Being the designated Yankee, am am being educated as to the ways of Southern Men and cooking. Lately it's been about dry beans and sausage:

1 bag of red beans
2 Onions
4 large links of green onion sausage, andouille
Tony Chachere's
in a decent sized slow cooker- over night
Rice- cooked separately.
Serve the beans and sausage on rice.
One of the guys in for the start-up from Alabama made a "stew":

1 head cabbage
1 16 oz bag of carrots
2 lbs of hard sausage like used above
1 Onion
4 Potatoes
Water to barely cover
Simmered until potatoes, cabbage, and carrots have softened.

Headcheese: We've also been into headcheese. I was first introduced to headcheese 7 years ago in Chalmette. Sliced thin served on a saltine cracker. The guys mentioned it last week. I made an attempt to hit a small hole in the wall place just north of town. No dice. I make a wrong turn and I didn't want to fight traffic more than I had to. That weekend I found headcheese made by Veron's at the grocery near the house. Hot and regular. Brought that along with some saltines. Not bad. One of the guys brought some in from a small town closer to the plant along with Tiger Sauce. Not bad combination. Tiger Sauce and captain's wafers isn't too bad either. Headcheese was supposed to have been originally made with muscle and organ meat from the hog's head. Gelatin would help hold it all together. Today it is more likely scraps. I'm not sure what legislation was passed, but supposedly it is illegal to make headcheese the old way anymore. As they say- they used to use everything but the oink. Now- is it good? If you let yourself forget exactly what it was made of and you don't mind the texture- not too bad. It can be seasoned differnent ways, so it will depend of course upon where it came from.

Enough for now. I have to decide if I'm going to stick around the plant until 3 AM or not.

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