I am a Mom, and Moms don't like war. We don't like war for the obvious reason: those are our sons, and now our daughters, who are sent by our government to Who-Knows-Where to fight Who-Knows-Who. Sometimes to die. Sometimes to lose limbs, eyes, brain function, sanity. So it is now, and so it has always been, and so we have always prayed for peace, back to Biblical times and beyond:
Prayers for peace notwithstanding, I cannot remember a time in my own life without the dark cloud of war. I was born during the Korean War, just 7 years after the end of World War II and the end of the Holocaust. I came of age during the Vietnam War. When I woke up this morning, we were at war in the Middle East, just as we have been since 2002. And so it goes.
War is evil, perhaps the greatest Evil of all, but it is a necessary Evil because there have always been depraved, greedy, power-hungry people in charge of certain governments, and to keep their rule intact, they must wage war. To stop them, we must go to war as well. Then, there have always been religious fanatics whose misguided Moms raise them to believe that to die in the service of their cause is a glorious and honorable thing, especially if they can take a few hundred of their enemy with them.
Sane Moms know that War is Hell, and the effect it has on our military sons and daughters can be life-changing in the worst possible ways. Their sacrifice is immeasurable and today, this Veteran's Day, belongs to them.
And now, some hearty chow.
Southern Boiled Dinner
About 6 quarts of water in a large, deep pot
3 large cloves peeled garlic
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons Paula Deen's House Seasoning
2 tablespoons Lawry's seasoned salt
2 tablespoons Tabasco brand chipotle pepper hot sauce
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 - 2 1/2 pound smoked pork shoulder butt
1 pound fresh Brussel sprouts, stem end trimmed
1 1/2 pounds tiny new potatoes
1 or 2 small rutabagas (yellow turnips), peeled and cubed
1 pound Melissa brand boiler onions, peeled; leave the root end intact
Remove the plastic from around the pork, but leave the netting intact. Place the pork in your pot, and cover with water. Do not overfill, as you will be adding the vegetables a little later. Turn heat on high, and add the House Seasoning, seasoned salt, and Tabasco to the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium. Tilt the lid onto the pot so some of the steam can escape, then cook for 1 hour. Add the rutabaga and cook 15 minutes. Add the butter and the remaining vegetables and cook another 20 minutes or until they are done.
Remove the pork to a cutting board, and while still hot, carefully pull off the netting and discard. Cover with a little foil and let sit about 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove all of the vegetable from the liquid and place in a 9x13 aluminum tray or baking dish. Discard the bay leaf. Turn the heat under the pot on high and bring to a boil. Now reduce the liquid in the pot by at least half. It will still be thin, but it will look richer and buttery. Ladle some of the buttery liquid over the vegetables in the dish.
Slice the pork thinly and arrange over the vegetables. Ladle more of the buttery pot likker over the meat. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for the next day's meal. Reserve as much of the remaining pot likker as you like. You can use it to moisten the dish before reheating, or put out as a gravy, or offer to real southerners with some corn bread for dipping.
Chicken Wings in Cola Sauce
This must be a southern thing, as I also came across a recipe where turkey legs are cooked in lemon-lime soda before being grilled ... anyway, I happened across this recipe for Wings in Cola while doing a random search, and the rest is history. Delicious history. Of course I tweaked it. So it is a little sweet with a little heat.
5 pounds frozen chicken wingettes (Cooking Good brand at $2.39 a pound. Buy fresh if you like, but do the math first.)
"Slap Ya Mama" brand white pepper Cajun blend, or cayenne pepper, totally at your own discretion
1.25 liter bottle Coca-Cola (use the real stuff, please)
1 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco sauce, to taste (I used 2 glugs, which made it just a trifle spicy, which I liked)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the frozen wings in a single layer in an aluminum baking tray deep enough for the liquid. Sprinkle liberally with the garlic salt and onion powder, and use a somewhat lighter hand in sprinkling over the Slap Ya Mama spice blend, or use a pinch of cayenne. Combine the remaining ingredients, whisk together so that the sugar dissolves, and pour over the wings. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven for two hours, turning the wings every thirty minutes. Uncover the wings, and return to the oven for 3-4 additional hours, until the sauce is well reduced but not dried out and the wings are very tender and glazed. During that time, continue turning the wings every thirty minutes.
Then eat them right away. You can reheat them the next day and they are delicious, but these taste best right out of the oven. Serve them to your favorite veteran.