for good luck in the new year!

here’s what I’ll be making today:

Hoppin’ John

1 lb dried black eyed peas
2 T olive oil
1 smoked pork jowl or 1/4 lb thick-cut smoked bacon
Andouille sausage
1 onion, chopped
1/2 t black pepper
1 t crushed red pepper
1 t salt
1 28 oz can tomatoes
1 c uncooked rice

Presoak black eyed peas. Brown pork in olive oil. Add onion, and cook for 5 minutes. Add 8 cups of water, black pepper, red pepper, salt, and bring to a boil; cook for 10 minutes. Add peas, and cook on low boil, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Add tomatoes and rice, reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Turn off head, let stand, then fluff. If you used a jowl, remove, shred meat, and add back in.

(Note: you can sub in frozen black eyed peas, if you, like I often do, fail to plan sufficiently ahead. Ahem.)


herbert hoover

poor guy. what a bum rap he’s given.

I like to go out to the museum and homestead in west branch, iowa and read about the bootstrap boy, the self-made man. what tragic timing– blamed for the Depression. as if one man might singlehandedly effect so much. but we have historically granted our public figures such inhuman stature. lionized and demonized.

I like to drive into the farmland and look at the hair wreath woven by his mother. artifact of an entirely other age. think of it! to build a decorative object out of one’s own hair. and I understand it was not an uncommon craft. such a dark and tangled object, so suggestive.

and, golly, what an age to live in, and through. to draw yourself up out of, to stride across wide, low-slung hills– to step across the slow mississippi and on into the East where the world begins, where America in fact got made. to take an active and determined role in all of that, by choice.

unfathomable from here.

unholy frijoles

it’s really hard to know for sure whether the refried bean is your best friend or your worst enemy. one day it’s a marvelous uberfood: tasty, easy to eat, filling, packed with protein– but then another–[queue dramatic music] duhn duhn duhn— it’s got you in its evil clutches, up with middle-of-the-night throes of zinging pain accompanied by unsavory emissions.

such flip-flopping behavior is just no good in a relied-upon food.

and a dilemma– of course I’m going to throw out the rest of that can of beans– but what about the three others I got at the same time? are their contents part of the same tainted batch? and I constitutionally loathe waste. so do I risk another (or potentially *three*) excruciating night(s) up in the wee hours? I suppose I could give the unopened and suspect cans to the food bank, but that seems like a rather shabby trick– potentially! because who knows! friend or foe?

o donuts

so like the shape I wear around my middle, cast in flesh, perhaps in an effort to become one of you… how you croon to me from the glass-fronted case of the supermarket: “eat me… eeeeeaaaat me.” or at least the bavarian cream among you. lord help me, I am fortunate that his brethren keep mum. else I could not resist, as I so usually do, in my travels through the flourescent-incandesced aisles in search of more necessary and healthful good.

(as an aside, every time I get an automated email message from, I read it “donut reply” at first and get an inkling I’m being offered treats. or being hailed by smart pastries, which is rather more unsettling.)