Have you noticed that our year is very close to being half over? I was looking at a calendar the other day and all of a sudden it dawned on me…2022 is already half over, where has it gone…I know we can’t get it back…guess we just have to live with it! At least, it was lot’s better than two years ago!
Last week, I had yet one more road trip. My daughter, my sister, and I set out on the 11th of June for a road trip to North Texas. My brother lives in a town that is about half way between Sherman and McKinney, and he was hosting a birthday party for my precious sister-in-law who was celebrating a major milestone. It was a wonderful weekend with as many of their children and grandchildren who were able to be there with them and a couple of truly awesome surprises for her! First and foremost, one of their granddaughters slipped in wearing a banner that proclaimed her to be a “Bride to Be”. I had been asked by her mother to keep my sister-in-law occupied, this was not difficult as she was making dinner and all I had to do was ask about the casserole she was making. There were a couple of times that I wondered what was going on, but I kept her talking and cooking…sure enough, in just a little while, a couple more people came into the kitchen and got her to look at the group that had just arrived, her expression was priceless, as she realized what the banner actually said! We had lots of hugs and tears of happiness going on. The weekend progressed in this same fashion, we moved around, visited with this group, visited with that group and it was truly great. There were well over twenty there for the actual party, with a wonderful meal. Someone declared that it was time for cake and gifts and that’s when another big surprise came out, her oldest granddaughter and her husband had face timed, and announced that they were expecting…this caused more tears, laughter, hugs, and we go on and on. Our group got ourselves together about 10:00 a.m. on Monday and headed back to this part of the world, worn out, but happy. The traffic wasn’t bad and we had a good trip home, then, Tuesday morning, it was back to the grind for me! Tuesday was gift shop time, and today, I’ve been totally lazy, a little laundry, a stint at the therapy pool and then back home for a nap. Now, I just thank the good Lord for getting us through everything safely and have lots of memories.
A SHOT OF WHISKEY
In the old west a .45 cartridge for a six-gun cost 12 cents, so did a glass of whiskey. If a cowhand was low on cash he would often give the bartender a cartridge in exchange for a drink. This became known as a “shot” of whiskey.
THE WHOLE NINE YARDS
American fighter planes in WW2 had machine guns that were fed by a belt of cartridges. The average plane held belts that were 27 feet (9 yards) long. If the pilot used up all his ammo he was said to have given it the whole nine yards.
BUYING THE FARM
This is synonymous with dying. During WW1 soldiers were given life insurance policies worth $5,000. This was about the price of an average farm so if you died you “bought the farm” for your survivors.
IRON CLAD CONTRACT
This came about from the ironclad ships of the Civil War. It meant something so strong it could not be broken.
PASSING THE BUCK/THE BUCK STOPS HERE
Most men in the early west carried a jack knife made by the Buck knife company. When playing poker it as common to place one of these Buck knives in front of the dealer so that everyone knew who he was. When it was time for a new dealer the deck of cards and the knife were given to the new dealer. If this person didn’t want to deal he would “pass the buck” to the next player. If that player accepted then “the buck stopped there”.
The Mississippi River was the main way of traveling from north to south. Riverboats carried passengers and freight but they were expensive so most people used rafts. Everything had the right of way over rafts which were considered cheap. The steering oar on the rafts was called a “riff” and this transposed into riff-raff, meaning low class.
The Old English word for “spider” was “cob”.
SHIP STATE ROOMS
Traveling by steamboat was considered the height of comfort. Passenger cabins on the boats were not numbered. Instead they were named after states. To this day cabins on ships are called staterooms.
Early beds were made with a wooden frame. Ropes were tied across the frame in a criss-cross pattern. A straw mattress was then put on top of the ropes. Over time the ropes stretched, causing the bed to sag. The owner would then tighten the ropes to get a better night’s sleep.
These were floating theaters built on a barge that was pushed by a steamboat. These played small town along the Mississippi River. Unlike the boat shown in the movie “Showboat” these did not have an engine. They were gaudy and attention grabbing which is why we say someone who is being the life of the party is “showboating”.
OVER A BARREL
In the days before CPR a drowning victim would be placed face down over a barrel and the barrel would be rolled back and forth in an effort to empty the lungs of water. It was rarely effective. If you are over a barrel you are in deep trouble.
Heavy freight was moved along the Mississippi in large barges pushed by steamboats. These were hard to control and would sometimes swing into piers or other boats. People would say they “barged in”.
Steamboats carried both people and animals. Since pigs smelled so bad they would be washed before being put on board. The mud and other filth that was washed off was considered useless “hog wash”.
The word “curfew” comes from the French phrase “couvre-feu”, which means “cover the fire”. It was used to describe the time of blowing out all lamps and candles. It was later adopted into Middle English as “curfeu”, which later became the modern “curfew”. In the early American colonies homes had no real fireplaces so a fire was built in the center of the room. In order to make sure a fire did not get out of control during the night it was required that, by an agreed upon time, all fires would be covered with a clay pot called a “curfew”.
BARRELS OF OIL
When the first oil wells were drilled they had made no provision for storing the liquid so they used water barrels. That is why, to this day, we speak of barrels of oil rather than gallons.
HOT OFF THE PRESS
As the paper goes through the rotary printing press friction causes it to heat up. Therefore, if you grab the paper right off the press it is hot. The expression means to get immediate information.
We don’t see this anymore since the papers are all done with computers, but if you’ve been or worked in the “print shop” part of The Devine News, you can see tiny bits of lead in the walls. It took me a while to figure out what they were!
Here is a great brisket recipe that has been around in our family for quite a while, and we’ve always enjoyed it. I don’t make it very often anymore, because I don’t always have a crowd to feed, and it feeds a large group of people!
Oven Baked Brisket
1 brisket (6-8 pounds)
1 bottle liquid smoke
Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder (if desired)
Thoroughly season brisket well on both sides. Place in a roasting pan and bake at 250ºF to 300ºF, uncovered, for 4 to 5 hours. Pour one-half of the bottle of liquid smoke over the meat, turn meat over and pour the remaining liquid smoke over the meat. Cook, covered for an additional 1½ to 2 hours. Remove from oven, let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Be sure to slice across the grain of the meat to have nice slices. When the grain changes, give the brisket a one-quarter turn and continue slicing.
Here are two cakes that I’ve recently taken to bake sales or group meals, I entered the first one in a little competition that was going on at the hospital, and while it didn’t win any type of prize, they ate all of it!
The carrot cake is an old recipe and it’s a favorite with most of the men in my family! The chicken salad is a version of a salad that I got from a microwave cookin school in the 70s! I’ve served it to bunco groups, meetings, etc.
Summery Chicken Salad
1/2 cup bottled chili sauce (Heinz, DelMonte)
4 tablespoons picante sauce (mild, medium or hot)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
Mix above ingredients together and set aside.
2½ to 3 cups cooked, diced chicken
4 sliced green onions (tops too)
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
Mix these ingredients together, add dressing and mix lightly until all ingredients are coated. Garnish with additional avocado, if desired. Serve with tortilla chips.
Southern Pecan Praline Sheet Cake
1 box Betty Crocker butter pecan cake mix
16 oz. can Betty Crocker Coconut Pecan Frosting
4 large eggs
3/4 Cup canola or coconut oil
1 Cup half-and-half for increased flavor instead of water
1/2 Cup chopped pecans
Butter Pecan Glaze
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
3 Tbs butter
1/2 Cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease or spray a 9×13-baking dish with cooking spray.
In a mixing bowl, combine all the cake ingredients except for the chopped pecans. Mix well.
Add chopped pecans and stir to combine.
Pour batter into prepared baking dish.
Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Butter Pecan Glaze:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.
Add condensed milk and stir.
Heat thoroughly, then add chopped pecans.
Stir again to combine and remove from heat.
Spoon sauce over individual slices of cake or spread over the entire cake (much easier).
2 cups flour
1½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups cooking oil
2 cups finely shredded carrots (use blender to grate & drain well, or shred by hand)
1 can (8½ size) crushed pineapple (undrained)
½ cup chopped toasted nuts
1 can (3½-oz) coconut (I use ¾ to 1 cup from a plastic bag, as you can’t always find coconut in a can any longer)
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; add eggs and oil and mix well, stir in carrots, pineapple, nuts and coconut and mix just until combined. Pour into 9×13 baking pan or Bundt pan and bake at 350ºF for 35 to 40 minutes. If using a Bundt pan, bake for about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool, either in the pan, or remove from pan and place on cake rack to cool completely. For Bundt pan, cool about 5 minutes in pan and them remove and cool completely.
Frost as desired, but is best with Cream Cheese Frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup butter or margarine (at room temperature)
1 block (8-oz) cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy, beat in powdered sugar gradually beating until creamy and of spreadable consistency, if too stiff, add a few drops of milk.