“Off the Eaten Path”
You might want to take Morgan Murphy home and feed him, but he’s already eaten his way across the south for this very fun and informative book. The concept of traveling and eating and writing is not new, but this Southern Living book is fresh and adds Murphy’s suggested playlists, such as “Folsom Prison Blues,” for a nod to Johnny Cash’s Arkansas roots. I’d try a Feliz Navidog hot dog in West Virginia, Farmer’s Daughter bacon and okra skillet from Chuckey Tenn., and Indian Fry Bread Tacos from Oklahoma. There’s nothing in this book I wouldn’t try.
He starts in Texas with goodies like Hillside Farmacy Grapefruit Jalapeno Margarita (Austin) and Salsa Fuego’s Chile Con Queso in Fort Worth. Did I mention he Murphy has convinced these fine, offbeat establishments to share recipes? As someone told him, he could charm a dog off a meat truck. Quaint sayings, like “give me some sugar” meaning a kiss, are also part of the fun.
Here’s how I know he knows what he’s talking about. In a bit on Kartchner’s Grocery and Specialty Meats in Krotz Springs, La., he says that boudain is best eaten in the parking lot where you bought it. This place shares a crawfish etouffee and a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin recipe.
Here’s a recipe from Oxbow in Clarksdale, Miss.
1 English cucumber
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt
¼ teaspoon pickling spice
¼ teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1 bay leaf
Cut cucumber into 1/8 inch slices using a mandolin or V-slicer and place in a large glass bowl. Bring 2 cups water, vinegars and next 5 ingredients to a boil in a medium-sized nonreactive saucepan, stirring often, until sugar and salt dissolve.
Pour hot vinegar mixture over cucumber slices. Cool to room temperature (about 3 hours). Cover and chill at least 24 hours; store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks. Makes 2 ½ cups.
The Handy Camel
My husband called it a giant chip clip. Seal up a bag of charcoal, fertilizer or dog food into The Handy Camel clamp and grab the plastic handle and you can easily tote around a bag that used to be a bother. This device keeps your product fresh, neat and portable. If you keep it in your trunk, I’ll bet it could help you haul in a lot of groceries at once by clamping up your plastic bags. (Though I assume you use recyclable bags whenever possible!) I got a sample in the mail and I cant’ decide which of my big bags will get to wear it. I’m leaning toward charcoal. TheHandyCamel.com is your go-to guy.
This mug means business
Here’s how I taught myself to drink more water… I make sure I finish a travel cup full on my way to work. Being hydrated makes me feel better and makes me less hungry. Not many people drink as much as they should. Trudeau’s has BPA-Free travel mug with a leatherette sleeve that may put one in the mind of coffee, but hey, water or tea can go in this sleek number, too. When opened, the lid provides “the ultimate 360 degree drinking experience.” It’s not a stunt. It just means you don’t have to aim for that one little hole. I like the “boardroom” look of this model that’s comfortable in the hand.
I love, love, love bound books so when Sheik Journals promoted itself as Not Your Average Journal, I took note. You’ve got your basic and more adventurous colors, but hey, you’ve got to fall in love with purple paisley lining the zippered pocket, and the quick-ease magnet cover. There, they have already proven their point. See more at sheicjournals.com