Reflecting Culinary Heritage

I have mentioned many times my wife’s culinary expertise but I have never commented on my own ability to come up with anything fit to eat.  I am not a cook.  I can, if all other resources cease to exist, fix eggs in various ordinary ways: scrabbled, fried, or boiled (no omelets or anything fancy like that).  I can cook most things that can be cooked in a frying pan: bacon, bologna, sausage…humm… come to think of it, that’s about it.

Sandwiches are really a great testing ground for food research on my part.  I have found that almost any food placed between two slices of bread constitutes a sandwich.  I have probably pushed the limits of that assumption from time to time not so much from the ingredients themselves but the combinations of ingredients.   Some other folks share my fondness for peanut butter with just about anything:  jelly, of course, then with bananas, or mayonnaise and raisins. Not all together, just individually with peanut butter.

I like raw bologna  sandwiches (maybe with cheese),  all kinds of meats like chicken, steak, roast beef, barbecue, sliced roast pork, fried pork chops, any kind of fish (without the bones)

Probably one of my favorite sandwiches is cold turkey.  Usually after a holiday meal at our house there is an ample supply of left-over turkey to satisfy my love of that particular sandwich.  However, this past Christmas we suffered a lack of left-over turkey. As our family has grown it has become more and more common for us to eat at somebody else’s house for holiday meals.  Such was the case this year with the result that the week after Christmas we discovered there was no left-over turkey.

Some times you just do what you have to do.  So with no left-over turkey at our house we went to the store and bought one, brought it home and baked it, put it in the refrigerator and had cold turkey sandwiches for about two weeks.  You might say it took us a long time to go cold turkey.

Fortunately, I am the “Mikey” at any dinner table.  I like all kinds of food. I also have had the opportunity to eat not only excellent home-cooked food but over the years I have eaten at many, many dinner meeting (sometimes erroneously listed as “banquets”) that featured a wide variety of foods.  Most have been excellent.  Some not so excellent.  Many have included barbeque in some form.  This includes pig-pickin’s, eastern, Lexington, and western style servings in places as diverse as country club dining rooms and old tobacco barn sheds. I have eaten enough cold ham and potato salad to have saved Napoleon’s army on their retreat from Russia.  And it was all good and I appreciate the opportunity to share those meals with so many great people.

Now I have finally come up with an original edible, uniquely my own, suited to not only my palate but my heritage and my lifestyle.

A friend of mine who has a local winery that produces North Carolina wine, specifically, muscadine, gave me a jar of muscadine pepper jelly the other day.  I figured it would be good on a cracker with my afternoon beverage.  I began my search for the proper cracker in the kitchen cabinet and wound up with a saltine cracker (a favorite from my youth).  Then I went to Pierce and Company and bought a pound of liver pudding and a slice of hoop cheese.

I then put a very thin slice of the cheese on the saltine cracker, spread a small amount of liver pudding (called “Carolina pate’ if you take it out of the casing) then a small dollop of the muscadine pepper jelly on top of it all.  It was absolutely delicious. I ate each one of my creations as soon as I made them because I couldn’t wait to accumulate them on a plate.  I made a meal out of it.

I called it a “Country Canapé'”, my contribution to the culinary arts.  Not only did it taste good but it reflected my country upbringing and it used products produced right here in North Carolina. We might serve it at the next garden party or family reunion. Or I might send some to Paula Dean.

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